"and it's Joey Baarton... up the field to Frank Lambard... outside to Shorn Wright-Phillips... a high arcing ball into Ramaldo... NO! That was never a pen!"
Welcome to the football pitch of St George's RC High School. It's a freezing cold windy day and the lads from St George's have come to have a game of footy…except there's no goals, no corner flags and the only markings on the grass are piles of sheep poo. Incredibly, this field, a couple of hundred yards from the school, is marked down on the latest Salford City Council map as being St George's official pitch. It was actually taken off the school years ago and rented to a local farmer with nothing going back to the school in return. Now, PE facilities at St George's barely exist.
"When we have school council the only problem people moan about is that there's not enough sports facilities available, so the field being given over to
sheep is just a joke" says Liam Kilcullem who's doing GSCE in PE at St George's.
"Our pitch has got a slope and it's not a proper pitch at all, just a bit of grass next to the top court where they play netball and rounders" he adds "We've got an old gravel pitch too but that's full of moss and big dips. We have to play on Harrop Fold's pitch."
The school is reliant on the kindness of the head at Harrop Fold school next door who allows St George's to share its pitches, but no-one knows how long this will last as Harrop Fold is in the process of becoming a PFI new build school and might, in future, charge for the privilege.
"We need more football facilities here" says Liam "The sheep having our pitch is a bit pointless because we need the space for football and preparation for GCSEs. The Council won't give it back because they want to close the school, so it makes sense to give it to a sheep farmer."
Photo: Kate Furnell