Whittlesey clubs forge new link to boost chances for young footballers

Female footballers playing at the Inter School Girls Festival in 2019, organised by the Whittlesey Sports Association.

It's hoped a new partnership between Whittlesey Athletic and Whittlesey Juniors can help provide a clear pathway for young footballers to develop. Here, aspiring female footballers playing at the second Inter School Girls Festival in 2019, organised by the Whittlesey Sports Association. Picture: RWT PHOTOGRAPHY. - Credit: RWT Photography

More young footballers in the Fens will be able to boost their chances of progression thanks to a new partnership. 

Whittlesey Athletic and Whittlesey Junior football clubs have joined forces to help encourage the development of youngsters to the senior game. 

The partnership will see both clubs create a steering group, in order to create a pathway for Whittlesey Junior players to move into the under 18 or adult sides at Athletic. 

In a joint statement, the clubs said: “As part of this co-operation, the clubs will be working closely together in seeking funding opportunities for investment and development of all facilities on and off the field, to benefit the clubs’ ambitions and the local community. 

“WAFC and their counterparts at WJFC will continue to be separately managed by their respective committees and will remain financially independent. 

“Forging this solid link between the two clubs will give young players the route through the age groups, learning and most importantly, enjoying their football at the foundation age.” 

Whittlesey Juniors, founded in 1999, currently has 19 teams from under 7s to under 16s, as well as a soccer school for younger children and will relaunch its girls’ FA Wildcats centre. 

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Graham Sharman, chairman of Whittlesey Juniors, said: “This is a great opportunity to formally connect with Whittlesey Athletic FC, providing a pathway from youth football into the adult game within the town.” 

Dave Moore and Gary Munns, co-chairmen at Whittlesey Athletic, have welcomed the chance to work with the Juniors setup in a bid to continue growing the two clubs. 

They said: “Both clubs have made real progress over the years and currently find themselves in a strong position. 

“By bringing the two clubs together will only improve this whilst providing a direct route to adult football within our town, ensuring we cater for all and their abilities, which will be instrumental to everyone’s progress.” 

Last week, Moore announced that Athletic have started improvements to their clubhouse, and have plans for more off-the-pitch development such as a second changing facility and a larger car park. 

It is thought the club has spent at least £200,000 on developments at their Feldale Field home, including the original facilities, new floodlights, pitch improvements and installing Covid-secure measures.