The Guernsey Football Association (GFA) has commenced construction on a brand-new home for Guernsey football, that will be available to all members of the local footballing community.
Situated on the Victoria Avenue playing field site in St Sampsons, which is the field adjacent to The Track cycling ground, the new facility will secure the future of football in Guernsey for generations to come and provide high-quality, accessible and affordable facilities for footballers of all ages.
The project will cost around £10m and is being funded by a £1.175m grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation as well as a £150,000 grant from the Premier League Stadium Fund. Additional funding has come from private donations and The Football Association HQ Grant.
The development will include a floodlit 3G pitch with 400 seats and covered terracing behind each goal; a grass pitch for 9-a-side matches and training; a clubhouse with fully fitted bar and kitchen, and separate meeting facilities; and a changing room block incorporating three changing rooms, two referee changing rooms, a medical/rehabilitation room, and a GFA office.
Gary Roberts, CEO of the GFA, hailed the new facility and explained that it will be open to all: “This is a momentous day for local football and the culmination of years of hard work. This will be the GFA’s first permanent home since it was founded in 1893 but, more importantly, this is a project for Guernsey football.
“Football has more than 2,000 active participants on a weekly basis in Guernsey, so we’ve made it an absolute priority that the site will be accessible, inclusive and affordable for the whole community. The 3G playing surface is compliant with the recommended FIFA international pitch size, so will provide Guernsey with top-quality facilities for football at all levels, from those who play casually with friends, to youth-level football, all the way through to Guernsey FC and representative football.
“We’re so pleased that work is underway and are grateful to the Football Foundation and our private donors for their financial support; the States of Guernsey for enabling us to secure the land; and the entire professional team for their hard work so far.”
The new facility will be available to all of the footballing community in the island, and will host training and matches for clubs, small-sided opportunities, recreational football and cup finals, as part of the Guernsey FA usage plan for the site. Guernsey FC will also play home matches at the site from its expected completion in 2025, and all Guernsey representative matches, including Muratti finals, will be hosted at the new facility.
The site was purchased from the States of Guernsey and Deputy Dave Mahoney, member of the Policy & Resources Committee, said: “This is an important project which the GFA is leading, and a big investment being made into the site by the Football Foundation and private donors. It will deliver something of benefit to the whole community, and all players and fans of the game at all levels, and that has to be welcomed.”
Rihoy & Son is the main contractors for the work, and chairman Gavin Rihoy said: “We’re big supporters of local sport, and in particular have been supporters of local football through our longstanding sponsorship of Northerners AC, so to bring this project to life and contribute to securing the future of football in the island is a huge honour. We’re excited to work with the GFA on this game-changing development.”
Jason Powers Consultants are the project managers and quantity surveyors, and Managing Director Jason Powers said: “We’ve been working with the GFA for more than five years on this project, so to see it finally get underway is a great moment. The site is going to be the home of Guernsey football for decades to come, so we were pleased to have been involved in advising on its initial feasibility and to have made sure that the project runs smoothly to completion.”
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government – to transform the quality of grassroots facilities in England by delivering projects like this across the country.
“Good quality playing facilities have a transformative impact on physical and mental health and play an important role in bringing people together and strengthening local communities.
“This grant award to Guernsey FA is fantastic news for the local community and will help give more people access to a great place to play.”
The architect Lovell Ozanne designed the scheme.
Preparation work on the site begins in earnest in July 2023, with an estimated completion date of the spring of 2025.