Clubs join forces to develop plan for future of football in Barnard Castle
BARNARD Castle’s junior footballers have entered into an agreement with the Bowes FC senior side which aims to conclude with the amalgamation of the two clubs.
They have agreed to work collaboratively during the next two years which will initially enable both clubs to share resources, equipment and facilities when needed, while also providing a pathway for the oldest juniors into adult football when they are of age.
Currently, Barnard Castle FC does not have a male adult team and they have seen a significant number of young footballers dropout when approaching adulthood.
Darren Harrison, chairperson of Barnard Castle FC said: “We have seen too many young players drop out of football in recent years because they have not been able to find an adult team.
“This may have been for a number of reasons but we believe the main reason to be that our young players have not had a clear and well supported route into adult football.
“We are committed to supporting our juniors into adult football at all levels because we recognise the health, social and physical benefits of football at all ages.”
Mr Harrison added: “We therefore welcome the affiliation with Bowes FC. I played football for over 30 years, with 15 to 20 of those years as an adult, where I made many lifelong friends and unforgettable memories. I and everyone associated with Barnard Castle FC want the same for our juniors when they move into adult football.”
In recent years, Bowes FC has found recruiting players more and more challenging and manager Geoff Thwaites said: “It seems fewer boys want to play football these days.
“We have found recruiting players difficult in the last few years and other managers are telling me they are facing the same challenges.
“That is why we are delighted to be affiliating with Barnard Castle FC so that we can provide a natural pathway for their eldest juniors into adult football, while also ensuring that Bowes FC has enough players to continue to compete. We hope the relationship will be mutually beneficial.”
The two clubs aim to work collaboratively over the next two years to create a development plan which will benefit both clubs.
The plan will address a number of shared goals in the hope of delivering wider participation and improved coaching and facilities for all those playing football in the Teesdale community.
Mr Harrison said: “The opportunity to work with Bowes FC on a shared development plan is exciting.
“We hope that we can form a consensus about the direction and development of football in Teesdale.
“It is felt by both clubs that in comparison with our cricket and rugby counterparts, football is and always has been much more disjointed and divided.
“What is more, football has not benefited from the same clarity of vision as cricket and rugby, meaning football has remained fragmented with multiple clubs operating in the same community, while both the cricket club and the rugby club have a well established integrated approach where all participants play for different teams but for the same club.
“It is our joint hope that the structure of football in Teesdale will one day mirror that of the cricket club and the rugby club who have an excellent youth structure with opportunities for juniors to progress into either a first, second or third adult team.
“We believe this structure will provide the best development pathway for our young players whilst also maintaining a high level of participation.”