THE INTERVIEW: TRACEY CROUCH onsıde| ISSUE 39 9 RORY: You’ve recently seen two examples of investment from the Foundation first-hand. The new facilities at Redditch United and the Victory Academy’s new all-weather pitch in Kent. How satisfying is it to know that you’re making a genuine difference to people on the ground? TRACEY: It is enormously important to continue to invest in those sorts of facilities up and down the country. They are hugely important within the communities that they serve and for the football clubs that they are partnered alongside. What we want to do is provide an opportunity for people to play football at all levels of the game. I always feel very humbled to open facilities like the ones at Redditch or the Victory Academy because I know that they will have a huge impact. RORY: The England women’s team has been firing on all cylinders of late, how encouraging is that for the female game? TRACEY: We are seeing a huge growth in girls’ and women’s football and long may it continue. We need to make sure that we continue to grow the female game across all levels of football, from little girls starting to play all the way to the top. Having been involved myself, this is something that I want to be encouraging. RORY: What will you really have loved to have achieved during your time as Sports Minister? TRACEY: There are just so many different things that I want to achieve. Specifically, investing into facilities to make sure that future generations have quality pitches to play on and nice changing rooms to use too. RORY: You’re a passionate Tottenham Hotspur fan. What is your most vivid early memory of a game that you saw? TRACEY: I saw many games as a youngster. I started supporting Tottenham in 1983, which was one of our best seasons. I remember the likes of Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles. I would probably say that one of my most heart breaking memories was the ‘87 FA Cup Final, which we lost to Coventry. I was crying in front of the television while my mum was hoovering around me, totally unaware what the significance was. As a football supporter of any club knows, there are always ups and downs, moments of joy and heartbreak, unfortunately! RORY: I remember that match well. Who was your favourite player growing up? TRACEY: I was a huge fan of Clive Allen. I used to pretend that I was Clive Allen as I always played as a striker.