A GROUND-BREAKING ceremony has taken place to kick off work that will transform a Teesside junior football club’s basic facilities to an impressive new clubhouse.

Work is set to begin on the new £418,000 facilities of Middlesbrough-based Cleveland Juniors after football charity Lionsraw helped bring together funding from businesses.

The club has produced players that have gone on to enjoy long careers in football such as Adam Johnson, Jonathan Woodgate and Andrew Taylor, who have all played Premier League football, and were previously forced to use a storage container as changing rooms.

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They will have facilities to be proud of in August, when the new season begins, on the site at Mill Hill pitches in Acklam, which Middlesbrough Council signed over to the club in a 25-year lease.

Cleveland Juniors treasurer Michelle Rush says that seeing the clubhouse become reality represents a dream come true for her late father and founding club chairman Frank Rush, who set the club up in 1985.

“It was my dad’s dream that the club would be the heart of this community, so the ceremony was a proud and emotional day for me,” said Miss Rush.

“This project will help the club to grow and enable us to continue to offer our unique academy that gives free football coaching to allow underprivileged children to benefit from top-class coaching.”