GOALKEEPER Shay Given has officially opened a new Martin Gray Football Academy in Darlington.

The Irish international player, currently on loan at Middlesbrough, was invited to the Eastbourne Sports Complex to formally unveil it as the new headquarters for the Martin Gray academies.

The complex boasts a full size pitch, several practice pitches, a gymnasium and an academic training suite and will now be a hub for the academies which provide football coaching courses in venues across the North East.

Mr Given, who is one of only a handful of players to have played for the North East’s top three clubs; Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle, took a tour of the site after formally opening the new academy.

Read more about Shay Given's visit in this Saturday's sports supplement.