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Bangor 1876: “We want to work with grassroots clubs – not against them”

A fan-owned football club’s plans to nurture the area’s future talent will be based on co-operation with other teams – not confrontation.

That’s the message from Bangor 1876, which insists its new development centre, launching later this month, will work with local grassroots sides, not against them.

Project leader Iwan Williams said: “We are aware that local grassroots clubs have recently been told that playing even friendlies against Bangor 1876 junior teams is not permitted, and that they face sanction if they don’t abide by this.

“We would like to point out that is actually precisely what we wanted for our development centre.

“We intend to continue this strategy until it is possible to develop further into an accredited academy.

“Our message to the public is that we are not trying to work against local grassroots teams and be ‘elitist.’ Instead, what we want to do is to work with local grassroots teams.

“We have implemented a ‘One Player, Two Clubs’ ruling which means that the children can still train and play for their grassroots sides, say on a Tuesday and a Saturday.

“This approach will allow children to come to our centre for added development and play against academy sides on a Thursday and Sunday, should they wish to do so.”

Williams added: “Our present under-10s team run by Mathew Roberts and Alec Thomas are still classed as a junior team that is part of the Gwyrfai League, and will still be permitted to play against grassroots teams as it counts as a grassroots club itself.

We have so far recruited 16 coaches for the development centre and are delighted that this includes five of our first team squad. The full list of coaches will be announced in due course.

Dafydd Evans of the women’s/girls’ section has been a great help in pushing current developments and will also play a valuable role.

“In addition, we have had conversations with many sponsors about kits required for the teams. The ‘Evening with James Collins’ has provided us with base funding which will allow us to buy all proposed age groups all the equipment they require.

“We would like to thank everyone who supported this event: you really have made a big difference to us and we are tremendously grateful.

“Our mission as a club and long-term goal is to create a pathway that will enable young aspiring talent to progress all the way to first team level, and we are grateful to our first team coaching staff for their support. In the long term, we aspire to turn this youth structure into one of the best, if not the best, in Welsh domestic football.”

As part of getting the development centre up and running, Bangor 1876 has scheduled ‘invitational sessions’ to begin from Monday 23 March from 6-7pm at Treborth 4G, and children of all ages and ability are welcome.

These will run every Monday until the end of May.

Parents and players are asked to arrive in good time to gather everyone’s details and issue a letter outlining all the centre’s plans and information required.

The sessions will run until the end of May, and cost £3 each. They will enable the centre to understand the age groups they can form. This will then mean they can allocate the coaches recruited to specific age groups.

The centre’s hub will be at the new 4G pitch being built at Plas Ffrancon, Bethesda with Bangor University’s Canolfan Brailsford supporting when necessary by making available their facilities and those at Treborth when required.

The club thanks Richard Bennett and Sam Wallwork from Bangor University for their continued assistance.

From July 23 onwards, the development centre sessions will take place on Thursdays evenings between 6-8pm.

Iwan Williams said: “We have decided on Thursday as we believe it’s the evening that is least likely to clash with the training nights of local grassroots clubs.”

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