Bedlington Terriers FC have set in motion plans to create a pathway for junior footballers right through to the Welfare Park first team.
And crucial to the initiative is the appointment of Dave Johnson to the club’s committee as youth development and liaison officer.
Johnson has experience working with community clubs and schools to develop performance pathways for young people.
As CEO of Physical Education & Active Kids Ltd, he works extensively with schools and has a vast knowledge of community junior football clubs in Bedlington.
Bedlington Terriers FC chairman Ronan Liddane said: “We recognise the diversity of different junior clubs in the town is not conducive to the development of players into the Terriers senior team.
“We currently only have two Bedlington-based players in our first team squad, and we seek to work with clubs who show a willingness to collaborate with us and with each other to produce a pathway from tots to Terriers’ first team.
“Dave’s wealth of experience working with schools and local clubs as well as his experience with two professional academy teams means that we can work with junior clubs to ensure that the best players have a direct route into our first team.
“Dave will be working alongside Alison Healy to help establish Bedlington Terriers as a club at the heart of the community, and with the wealth of experience they both bring to their roles, the club looks forward to welcoming children from Bedlington into its heart.
“We have been laying the foundations for this appointment for some time and we have a development plan in place to reach out and work with junior clubs to extend the Terriers brand, and to ensure that Bedlington-based players are not migrating to junior teams outside of the town in order to fulfil their own playing ambitions.
“Dave will be attempting to work with local clubs, schools and the Bedlington Sport Partnership to develop more footballing collaboration and with it more development opportunities for children in the town.
“We want Bedlington Terriers to be at the heart of the community and we are looking forward to having Dave as part of our team.”