Footie plan could save Wigan green site

Community groups are celebrating after a junior sports club arranged to make an important green space its new training hub.

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 1:43 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 8:27 am
Standish Panthers

Standish Panthers, which allows more than 200 youngsters aged up to 16 to enjoy the beautiful game, will practise at The Rec in Standish from March.

The club has been forced to play games and train away from the township because of a lack of suitable pitches, currently adopting Wigan Sports Club near the town centre as its centre of operations.

But thanks to a rental deal with Wigan Council the Panthers will once again have a place in Standish, with the teams expected to be training on The Rec throughout the spring and summer months.

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The news has also gone down well with grass-roots organisations in Standish seeking to secure the long-term future of the green space.

Club secretary Colin Parker said: “We’ve always been looking for a home in Standish and we were negotiating with the council to use Ashfield Park but it didn’t come to anything.

“I went to a meeting with the Friends of Standish Rec and while it’s not big enough for a full-size pitch we can mark out some smaller training pitches there.

“We agreed because the group is desperately trying to keep it as a rec.

“We also don’t want to lose any green spaces that are fit for football because at the moment there aren’t that many of them around.

“It will be great to have somewhere in the town so people don’t have to travel into Wigan for training, especially during the week.

“We will be staying at Wigan Sports Club during the winter, though, because they have an all-weather surface.

“Our ultimate aim remains to have a home in Standish.”

The Panthers is an extremely busy organisation with no fewer than 20 teams covering different age groups.

It means that youngsters developing their ball control and tackling will be an almost daily sight on the recreation ground once the club moves in.