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Gladiators look to future with fresh youth setup

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Gladiators look to future with fresh youth setup

Plans are ongoing for the return of the Matlock Town youth set up, possibly with the formation of an under 21 side.

The news emerged at the well attended Fans Forum in the Shorts Lounge on Monday evening.

The official announcement came from first team coach James Holmes who himself was a product of Matlock’s former Academy.

“I was absolutely buzzing to be able to announce this at the forum” said Holmes.

While one of the main ambitions will be to provide the Gladiators first team with exciting local talent , Holmes and Chairman Jay Beaumont believe that the initiative can have other benefits.

“It’s much, much bigger than the promotion of players into the first team” Holmes explained.

“It’s about providing a platform where young people can develop and thrive. If we happen to put a few into the first team that’s great but we should be mindful that the development system will be there first and foremost to develop the person. The decision to operate with an under 21 side came off the back of several positive discussions and meetings where all options have been discussed in meticulous detail. We hope to be able to share some more news soon.”

Mr Beaumont who spoke at length on several issues at the forum concurs with what Holmes says.

“It’s a great ambition to have in getting players from the youth set up through to first team level, we share that but in reality it’s more than that. Academies around the world would love for every player who passes through their system to make it into their first team but reality isn’t that way, so we need to ensure that during their time in the system there are many other areas of development that are covered to set players up for whatever their future holds. When we met last week we noted many great examples of players who went through our previous academy who had gone on to great non playing roles within the game that they might not otherwise have done. These are people we should be equally proud of helping along their journey.”

Matlock manager Martin Carruthers also fully supports the project having been the brains behind the formation of an academy at one of his former clubs, Basford United.

“I’m a massive fan of this exciting project and I was hugely involved in the formation of a similar venture down at Basford United back in 2015. Numerous good players came through the system. One Kole Lambert moving on for a fee to Sheffield United and then on to Norwich City. You can find some real gems and that’s obviously one of the main aims here at Matlock as well as developing young people so that they can be the best they can.”

Ian Richardson