FC Highnam welcomed back a famous former player to open their new clubhouse.
Yeovil Town midfielder Joe Edwards first fell in love with the game on the Lassington playing fields, joining the club as a six-year-old before catching the eye of Aston Villa and Bristol City – where he signed his first professional contract..
Having just enjoyed a season playing in the Championship, the 23-year-old came back to where it all began to mark the completion of a seven-year project.
Gloucester-born Edwards, who grew up in Tibberton, said: “The clubhouse looks brilliant.
“When I was here it was just a playing field with nowhere to get changed, so everyone involved with the club has done a brilliant job.
“We had a good team when I was playing. I may have played up a few years and I can remember us winning the treble.
“Those were special days. Highnam were the only local team I ever played for and it turned out to be a good choice in the end.
“It’s been a pleasure to come back and see how far the club has come and to see a few old faces.”
Edwards, a former pupil of Tibberton Primary School and Newent Community School, has remained in touch with the FC Highnam and West Bromwich Albion development coach Russ Ralph.
The latter organised a morning of football taster sessions for local youngsters on Sunday, many of whom will hope to follow in Edwards’ footsteps.
And the impressive new facilities, made possible with support from Highnam Parish and Tewkesbury Borough Councils as well as FA funding, will undoubtedly help to attract more players.
Edwards said: “I can’t believe how many teams there are here now, especially for girls.
“The girls and boys look like they are doing really well, so a massive congratulations to everyone involved.
“People think of Gloucester as a rugby area but football is a sport for everyone and it’s just as massive here as anywhere else.
“Russ is doing a brilliant job at Highnam and West Brom, although he is a Southampton fan and he gave me plenty of stick when Yeovil played them in the FA Cup last season!”
FC Highnam have FA Charter status and run teams competing in leagues ranging from Under-Nine to Under-16s.
They train indoors and outdoors at Riverside Sports and Leisure Club on Saturdays and new players are always welcome.
For more information call Russ on 07967 273319 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org