Young football hopefuls in South Tyneside are being given a second chance chance of a future in the sport with the help of a groundbreaking charity.
South Tyneside Football Trust, which boasts over 70 players, aims to help youngsters who have been overlooked or released by the region’s top clubs earn a chance to carve out a professional career.
The charity, led by Alan Millward, also helps boys’ clubs in the area.
If a player who originates from the charity goes on to earn a professional contract, his agent is obliged to give 50% of what they make to the charity. That is then given back to the boys’ club the player came from.
The trust, which is sponsored by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, has associations with 20 professional clubs, and the players are regularly taken around the country for trial matches, while they are able to train once a week at Monkton Stadium, in Dene Terrace, Jarrow.
Mr Millward said: “We set the project up two years ago and scout in the North East for the lads who haven’t been picked up by the three bigger clubs in the North East.
The charity has been very successful so far and has given some lads a second chanceAlan Millward
“We also look at the ones released by those clubs, and get a squad together which we take around the country.
“In the North East, at professional level we only have Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Gateshead, so there aren’t too many chances for the younger lads.
“It has been very successful so far and has given some lads a second chance.”
The trust is partnered by sports management company Quantum Sport, which is part of Quantum Law, meaning players have an experienced law firm looking after their welfare once they turn 16.
At Monkton, the players – mostly made up of under-15s and under-16s – are coached by Gateshead player Jamie Chandler, from Boldon, and goalkeeper coach Michael Poolan, and they regularly go on to get big chances at Football League and Premier League clubs.
Mr Millward added: “We’ve got lads at a host of clubs at the moment, including Leicester, Notts County, Hull, Morecambe, Carlisle and Middlesbrough.
“I’ve just taken a 17-year-old kid down to Morecambe, and I can’t believe one of the top clubs here haven’t got hold of him.
“We’ve got a talented 18-year-old lad called Adam Curry – who plays for South Shields in the Northern League – down at Hull City on trial.
“Morecambe also quite like him, and he has done well at Leicester and Huddersfield in the past, and Adam is someone who came through our system a couple of years ago.
“We train for two hours on a Wednesday night and it isn’t compulsory for the lads, but it benefits them, because it’s a good standard.
“It’s good for the players and good for the boys’ clubs, because they deserve more rewards for the players they produce.”
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