MIDDLESBROUGH defender George Friend joined the celebrations at Kader FC to officially open the club’s newly-refurbished 3G artificial grass pitch.

The new pitch, for one of the largest junior football club's in the North Riding area, was made possible thanks to investment from the Football Foundation through a £363,967 grant towards the ambitious project.

Alan Formby-Jackson, chairman and treasurer at Kader FC, said: "We'd like to thank George for coming to the opening. We're really proud of the facilities we now have at Kader, so for the Middlesbrough captain to take time out and visit us was brilliant. A huge thanks too to the Football Foundation for all their support in this project."

The Northern Echo:

Trying out the new pitches

The new pitch is set to enable the club to nearly double in size over a five-year period, growing from 25 to 47 teams and adding another 306 players on the club's books.

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The support of the Premier League, The FA and government enables the Football Foundation to help improve community sports facilities across the country. Their funding has played a key role in delivering this newly refurbished state-of-the-art 3G AGP in Middlesbrough and I am delighted for everyone associated with Kader FC.

“Taking part in community sport at any level offers many benefits and rewards, not least the opportunity for people to enjoy themselves and socialise with different members of the community. ”