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Football star Gary goes back to his grassroots
10:33am Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
FORMER Manchester United and England hero Gary Neville returned to his home town to visit the club where his illustrious career began.
He met Bury Juniors FC coaches and young players and, much to the delight of the youngsters, took a training session to put them through their paces.
Neville, now a TV pundit, also talked about the importance of recognising the volunteers and coaches who make the grassroots game happen every week.
He is urging people to nominate their grassroots heroes as part of the 2013 FA Community Awards.
The awards, which are run by McDonald’s, recognise and celebrate coaches, volunteers, clubs and leagues across England who dedicate their time to grassroots football in their local community.
He was joined at Bury Juniors FC by Eric Harrison, McDonald’s head coach and Neville’s ex-Manchester United youth coach, who also influenced the careers of other United legends, including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
The club, founded almost 30 years ago by Neville’s parents, now has teams for 11 different age groups.
Neville said: “These awards help us each year to recognise those at the very heart of the game — the true champions of football in England.
“Without the energy, enthusiasm and continued dedication of these unsung heroes, grassroots football in so many communities would not exist.”
He added: “Bury Juniors was a fantastic place to start playing football. The club has a great atmosphere and I will always be eternally grateful for the free time that the coaches and volunteers sacrificed to ensure that I could play football.”
Bury Juniors FC have played a part in the development of Neville, his brother Phil and West Bromwich Albion centre back Craig Dawson over the last 30 years.
l To nominate a football coach, club or volunteer go to mcdonalds.co.uk/awards