With one eye on the short term new Blyth Spartans manager Steve Cuggy has been hyperactive – signing numerous new players ready for next season. However his other eye has been focused on the longer term in establishing an exciting new link with a local Academy.
The innovative partnership between the Spartans and Monkseaton Academy will prove to be of mutual benefit in providing an exit route for young footballers intent on forging a career in the game.
Academy Manager Lee Picton, a UEFA B qualified coach, said:” We’ve been a football academy for seven years during which time we have had unbelievable success on the pitch. We’ve been to three National Schools Finals in the past six years, winning two of them. Plus we were the National College Champions in 2009! For a relatively small high school it’s been an incredible achievement.”
The Academy already has some exit routes for their players including scholarships in America but it is the link with Blue Square Bet North club Blyth Spartans which Picton finds just as exciting.
“This partnership provides an excellent opportunity for the lads to go on and be part of a team playing at such a high level of non league football,” he commented. “In 2012 we hope that a team from the Academy will represent Blyth Spartans in the FA Youth Cup and possibly in the Conference Youth Alliance.
“I know the Spartans’ management duo Steve Cuggy and Gavin Fell very well and we all see the benefit of working together.”
An added benefit to Blyth is the use of the Academy’s state of the art training facilities. The team start pre-season training next week and the intention is for the Academy students to train alongside the Spartans.
“It will give the students a real lift,” said Picton. “It will provide them with a vision of what they can aspire to.”
Spartans’ Chairman Tony Platten was equally excited: “This is a brand new venture for us and one which we really believe in. We will have access to young players who are basically training as professional players do, every day of the week. I am looking forward to building this relationship into something really special.”