Grimsby Town Century Club scheme is on the ball with stars of the future
GRIMSBY Town's youth team manager says more of the club's homegrown players will have the chance to run out at Wembley one day – thanks to The Century Club.
Adam Smith, pictured right, has worked hand-in-hand with the Grimsby Telegraph on developing and launching the initiative, which aims to raise £20,000 for the club's youth department.
The scheme wants 100 companies to pledge £200 each to reach this target – and in turn produce the Mariners' stars of the future.
Current first-teamers Bradley Wood, Andi Thanoj and Dayle Southwell all came through the system.
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And all could be part of Town's match-day squad at Wembley on Sunday, March 24, for the FA Trophy final against Wrexham.
Smith believes that will inspire the current youngsters within the Academy and Youth set-ups – and should encourage more companies to become Century Club members.
"All of the aspiring professional footballers that we've got in the system – from the under-nines right through to the Youth team – dream of running out at Wembley," he said.
"Every youngster here wants to go on to play for the big boys in the Premier League, play for their country or play at massive stadiums like Wembley. The opportunity is there for any one, or more, of those three lads to realise that dream later this month, and that's what it's all about.
"It makes everyone connected with the club so proud to think of Brad, Andi and Dayle running out at Wembley.
"You only have to go into the Academy bar at Blundell Park on a first-team match-day, and all those lads' photos are up on the walls – it's something our youngsters can aspire to."
Launched before Christmas, The Century Club is already almost a third of the way to its target. However, Smith is quick to emphasise the importance of signing up – especially with the Mariners currently without crucial Football League funding.
"Every single penny that is being invested is going directly in the development, improvement and maintenance of the Academy," he added.
"That money will help us go from strength to strength.
"It will allow us to produce more players for the first-team which in-turn will give more players the opportunity to play at places like Wembley and in the Football League.
"We'll work with the Grimsby Telegraph to keep The Century Club running into a second season and close in on that 100-company target."