Thurlow Nunn Premier Division Fakenham Town unveil plans for attracting top teenage talent

Fakenham Town's Dion Frary is a product of the club's excellent youth set-up. Picture: Ian Burt

Fakenham Town's Dion Frary is a product of the club's excellent youth set-up. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Fakenham Town are building for the future with plans in place for the launch of a full-time Academy, writes Gareth Davis.

The Clipbush Park club are setting up their own system to build on the success of their current youth programme which has seen countless young players progress to the first team in recent years and the under-18s reach the first round of the FA Youth Cup for the first time in the club’s history.

The Academy, which will be run in partnership with Fakenham College and Onside Sports Training Ltd, will offer players the chance to further their education after leaving school while also receiving increased football coaching.

Ghosts’ director of football Geoff Saunders said: “We are setting this up to give the club a more professional way of bringing teenagers into football when they leave school.

“We will have an education room at Clipbush Park and we will be looking to get that sponsored as it is a facility that will allow us to use it for other purposes when it is not being used for the Academy, which will be operational for the start of the new academic year in the autumn.

“The football coaching will take place on two days a week and while I will be in overall charge of the Academy, we will have a coach who will be running things day-to-day along with Onside and Fakenham College, our education partners.

“This is going to be an excellent facility for our local teenagers who want to get into football when they leave school while allowing them to benefit from further education, and it is also going to strengthen our reserves and first team as a football club.”

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Teenagers joining the Academy will undertake a Level Three Apprenticeship, which will allow them to achieve further qualifications in sport as well as core academic subjects.

The two-year apprenticeship will see them work towards a BTEC Diploma in Sport (Sports Development), an NVQ in Sports Development and a Level Three Award in Employment Awareness in Active Leisure and Learning – all of which are accredited by Edexcel – along with ‘functional skills’ qualifications in Maths and English.

At senior level, the Ghosts finish their 2014/15 Thurlow Nunn Premier Division campaign at home to Newmarket Town tomorrow (7.45pm) – a game that has now been designated as a ‘pay what you want’ occasion.

Fakenham will be looking to end on a high after defeat at Ipswich Wanderers last Saturday. They trailed early, led at half-time through Kyle Plumb and Sam Garner, but conceded twice in the second half.