LEEDS United’s Paul Green is hoping a new state-of-the-art indoor football centre near his town of Pontefract will be a training ground for a string of football stars of the future.
The 30-year-old United and Republic of Ireland midfielder is a major player in a scheme to create the A1 Football Factory in Knottingley.
Mr Green is one of three business partners seeking to transform a 52,000 sq ft warehouse behind the Turnpike pub on the A1 Business Park into an indoor football centre.
The trio plan to create a centre with at least four 3G artificial grass pitches, which will be available to local leagues and social players. And Mr Green wants to establish an academy to coach promising young footballers from Castleford, Pontefract and the surrounding areas. Work to convert the warehouse was expected to get under way today and it is estimated to be completed by early March.
Mr Green, who grew up in the Churchbalk Lane area of Pontefract, signed for Leeds United last summer after a four-year stint at Derby County.
He is living in the village of Beal near Pontefract with wife Claire and their four-year-old daughter Ruby.
He is working on the project with friends and business partners Simon Fletcher – head of physical education at Earlsheaton Technology College in Dewsbury – and builder Phil Lindley.
Mr Green said: “When we were growing up there was never anything like this in the Pontefract area.
“There is still nothing like it around here, there are a couple of outdoor pitches, but no indoor ones.”
He added: “It will be a brilliant facility for local teams, both youngsters and adults. Not many professional footballers come out of Pontefract. It would be nice to get a few more recognised players.
“There are loads of junior football teams in this area and I just think youngsters need that extra bit of coaching and people to help them on their way.”
Commenting on his time at Leeds United, Mr Green said: “It’s been brilliant. I’m not playing as many games as I wanted to this year, but I’m back training now and feeling good.”
Go to: www.a1footballfactory.com