CELEBRATIONS were in order when new pitches were opened by one of the most important figures in football.

Head of the FA Martin Glenn was in Valley Park as young players put the newly refurbished pitches at Knightwood Leisure Centre to the test.

As reported, St Francis Youth Football Club’s 300 boys and girls sides had to pack up and move to Hunts Farm, near Romsey, three years ago because the waterlogged pitches at Knightwood became unplayable.

However, cancelled matches should now be a thing of the past following the installation of the new drainage.

Mr Glenn said: “It’s a pleasure to be here. I go up and down the country visiting pitches. We put a lot of money every year into the Football Foundation which goes towards improvements on pitches that people can play on. It’s good to see an improvement with the grass pitches and seeing so many girls and boys on them.”

Romsey and Southampton MP Caroline Nokes who was given the honour of cutting the ribbon, said: “The local community here is really quick to jump on the borough council if anything needs doing.”

Club secretary Tony Swift said the new drainage was a “massive improvement.”