Needham Market and Brantham Athletic set to join forces in opening of a new academy

Needham Market captain Kem Izzet (left), who will take up the position of head coach when the new jo

Needham Market captain Kem Izzet (left), who will take up the position of head coach when the new joint-academy opens in the summer - Credit: Archant

Needham Market and Brantham Athletic Football Clubs are joining forces to expand the Marketmen’s current academy.

Needham Market Academy Head Coach Kevin Horlock in action for the Marketmen during his playing days

Needham Market Academy Head Coach Kevin Horlock in action for the Marketmen during his playing days - Credit: Archant

And the new academy, set to open next summer at Brantham, will be headed up by former Colchester United star Kem Izzet, who is taking up the position of head coach.

The 34-year-old club captain at Needham Market already works one day a week with Needham Academy Head Coach, Kevin Horlock, the former Manchester City and Ipswich Town star, at Bloomfields.

But now Izzet has his own goals, as Needham extend their feelers in the pursuit of more young scholars.

“I can’t wait to get going with it,” Izzet said.


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“It’s a win/win situation for both Needham and Brantham as far as I’m concerned.

“I enjoy working with Kevin (Horlock) at Needham’s Academy (where there are 37 scholars). It’s so productive coaching 16-18-year-olds who have such good attitude and spirit.

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“Kevin has done a fantastic job and if I can do a similar job at the Brantham centre, then Needham Market Football Club – and Brantham Football Club – are both going to be in strong positions in the years ahead.”

The Bloomfields-based outfit have made no secret of the fact that their first choice as a partner in this venture was Brantham Athletic, and after a series of meetings between the two clubs agreement was reached on a shared vision for the future.

Darren Smith, chief executive of Brantham, said: “When we were approached by Needham Market we saw this as an excellent opportunity to align both clubs, who already have a strong bond with former players, managers and coaches.

“From our perspective this is a chance for the youth of Brantham and the Stour Valley area to join a successful and well-run Academy where the benefits to them will be first class”.

Meanwhile Needham Market chairman Keith Nunn added: “The implementation of our Academy has, since its conception, been identified as key to the long-term future of the club, and in its short lifetime we have seen the many benefits it brings to an ambitious non-league club like ours.”

Commenting on the choice of partner as a second Academy, Needham Market’s chief executive Graham Emmerson said: “It was crucial that we found the right partner to accompany us on this journey and I am delighted that we have found exactly that in Brantham Athletic.

“They were our first choice for a number of reasons and this was born out in the meetings that took place between the two clubs, where there was no difficulty in identifying significant benefits and common ground on both sides.”

On the field of play, Needham Market’s promotion hopes from Ryman North were boosted on Tuesday night when nearest rivals Harlow Town lost 3-2 at Thamesmead.

Mark Morsley’s side are now a point ahead of Harlow at the top of the table, both teams have played 25 games.

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