A BRADFORD City legend has helped open newly refurbished sports facilities in Bradford city centre.

Wayne Jacobs, former assistant manager at City as well as former left back, was at the University of Bradford this afternoon to open the upgraded sports hub on Laistridge Lane.

The facilities, described as playing a “key role” in local sports, were upgraded thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation.

That money has enabled the university to replace a poor quality sand-dressed artificial grass pitch with a third generation pitch. There has also been a major upgrade to the hub’s changing rooms and indoor facilities.

The new pitch can be used all-year-round and will benefit university’s students, as well as other community and schools teams that use the facility, including Phoenix JFC and Athletico FC.

The West Riding FA will also use the 3G AGP to deliver coaching qualifications.

The University worked alongside the West Riding FA and the Football Foundation to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.

It is expected that, thanks to the upgrade project, the number of teams using the site will rise from 44 to 71. This supports an expected 87 per cent increase in overall sport participation across all age groups.

Additionally, thanks to plans for the West Riding County Amateur League and Bradford Sunday Alliance League to move fixtures to the new 3G AGP, a 99 per cent increase in football participation for those over the age of 26 is predicted.

Joining Mr Jacobs at the launch was former Bradford South MP and sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

Mr Jacobs, who is also the co-founder and CEO of the One In A Million charity, said: “It’s so important for our community to have access to state-of-the-art sports facilities like this one.

"Through my work with Active Bradford, as well as my football career, I know first-hand the difference that grassroots sport can make to people’s lives, and I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their investment and support of the University throughout this project.”

Chris Spargo, Head of Commercial Services at the University, said: “The significant enhancement of the University’s sport facilities has been a key strategic objective for the University for some time.

"The support provided by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund in terms of finance and professional advice, has enabled the University deliver its objective of high quality state of the art facilities for its students, its staff and the local football community. The facility is now being used by a variety of local clubs for training and match play, for coaching courses and a wide variety of University sports clubs – the feedback to date has been exceptional.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications.”