HUNDREDS of young footballers are set to benefit from the Champions League of amateur facilities.
The days of Blackpool Rangers Junior Football Club turning up to their home games and getting changed in the cold are over.
Blackpool Council has joined forces with the Football Foundation to give the club a much-needed £150,000 to refurbish changing facilities on Bispham Gala Fields and end the matchday misery.
Stephen Simms, chairman of Blackpool Rangers JFC, said: “We are now looking to the future and have bigger and better facilities to go forward.
“Some people used to refuse to use the toilets here because they were in such a disgraceful condition and there was no hot water.
“It was difficult but we now have hand dryers and energy efficient lightbulbs and hopefully it will be quite cost effective.
“We’ve had people coming here from all over the country for tournaments and people haven’t been treating the place as they should be.
“But the new facilities should with stand the every day running of a building.”
The club, which was established 40 years ago, now has 250 members and more than 10 junior teams playing every week.
As part of the changes, an extension will be built on the existing building and a fence will be built around the pitch to stop footballs going on to the road.
Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This year is an exciting time for sport in this country and a tremendous opportunity to create a grassroots legacy.
“The hosting of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will inspire generations of people up and down the country to reap the rewards sport has to offer.”
The Football Foundation handed over £100,000 to the club, while the authority donated £50,000.
Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: “This news is fantastic for the hundreds of children who play at Blackpool Rangers who will soon be able to experience a much more suitable standard of changing rooms and facilities.”