Different kind of fancy footwork at ballroom

Football tournament in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom
Football tournament in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom
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Strictly Come....football.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom hosted its first ever football match as a host of youngsters took over the legendary dance floor to play five-a-side.

The spec ial space is more used to hosting sequin-clad performers, but the under-seven football strips provided plenty of alternative colour.

More than a hundred under sevens from the Poulton and District Primary League joined in the mini football festival, which was hosted thanks to the Football Association’s Respect inflatable football pitch.

A tongue-in-cheek suggestion from Lancashire FA chief operating officer Roger de Nobrega became a serious proposal after talks with staff from the Tower.

Mr De Nobrega said: “Blackpool Tower sponsors two of the county cup competitions and, while chatting about how they could get more involved with grassroots football at a local level, I jokingly said we could put a pitch in the ballroom.

“They took it seriously so we booked the inflatable pitch and set it up.

“There were a lot of open mouths this morning when the children came in and saw the opulence of the place.”

The inflatable pitch, which is the only one in the country, provides a safe area for the youngsters, with bouncy sides and goals.

It took the organisers several hours to set up, with Mr De Nobrega admitting there were a few sticky moments as they attempted to “fit together the world’s trickiest jigsaw puzzle”.

But the final result was well worth the effort.

Brendan Holt, 46, brought three teams from St Annes. He said: “It’s the first time we have done anything like this. The kids are certainly enjoying it and the parents love it, being sat in the balconies in the warmth enjoying a cup of tea!”

The children used a ‘futsal’, a type of heavier ball aimed at encouraging better ball control and skill levels.

Billy Whaite, seven, from St Annes Crusaders, said: “I’ve never been in the Tower Ballroom before and never played anywhere like this. It’s really fun.”

Blackpool Tower general manager Kate Shane said: “It’s been an absolute joy to watch these kids having an amazing time.

“Who knows, we may have the next David Beckham in the Tower Ballroom.”