The next generation of young Mariners introduced to Grimsby Town fans
YOUNG footballers dreaming of a career in the professional game have taken the first steps in that journey after joining Grimsby Town’s youth team.
Nine hopefuls from all around the region have joined Robbie Stockdale’s squad as first-year inductees after signing two-year youth contracts with the club.
The new faces joined their second-year counterparts for preseason training earlier this week to start what will be an important period in their development.
Youth team boss Robbie Stockdale, told the Grimsby Telegraph: “I’ve had this group since they were under-16’s so I know a lot about the different characters within the squad, which is just as important as understanding their playing ability.
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“They are a good group of lads, all of them, bar one, has been in our system for a long time now, Sam is the only boy who has joined us from away.
“Hopefully, they will take to training full time easily; I’m sure they will find it difficult at times but I hope they can kick on and really enjoy the two-year scholarship.
“It is vital that the new group mix with the second-year lads. They can be the leaders of the group because they know what it’s all about.
“I’m expecting the second years to guide these new first years by letting them know what’s right, what’s wrong and what’s expected of them.
“A lot of these boys played in the youth team last season anyway so the second years know them and they have trained with them already.
“While we played really well last year, we did get out-muscled in a few games. Among these new lads we have a couple of six footers who can really add that physical side to our game.
“Hopefully we will have the best of both this season.
“It is a massive time for these new lads – the start of the season is always an exciting time, everyone is full of hope and expectations.”
Hamish Falconer, 16, who is also a top young squash talent, said that he was determined to grasp the opportunity.
He said: “It is something that I have been working hard for so when decision time came around and I was handed the contract, I was absolutely over the moon.
“Since that day, I’ve been looking forward to getting started.
“I know these will probably be two of the most important years in my life so far, so I’m just going to give it everything and go for the goal at the end which is the pro contract.
“If I don’t make it then it certainly won’t be for the lack of effort.”
Sixteen-year-old Sam O’Malley has been given a second chance by Town after being released by Hull City last year.
“In October, I had a sit down with the people at Hull City and got told that I wouldn’t be taken on as a YT.
“But then I got a text from Robbie Stockdale inviting me down for a trial, which was fantastic” he said.
“I came down for training sessions with the youth team here and I was over the moon when I was told that I was being taken on.
“It is a great opportunity for me after not getting taken on at Hull. It is down to me now; putting in the hard work every day. Hopefully something will come at the end of my two years here.”
Paul Walker, 16, added: “When you get a YT contract, you’re not a professional footballer, but everything that you are expected to do from that point is as a professional would do.
“It is great for someone to have the confidence in your ability as a footballer to hand you a two-year contract and say ‘go for it – give it your best shot’.
“It is the start of a massive two years for me and I can’t wait for it, hopefully it will be successful for me.”