Suffolk club’s link with Norwich City

BRANTHAM Athletic have linked up with FA Barclays Premier League Norwich City to launch a centre of excellence at the Suffolk club.

The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division club will host weekly sessions for boys who have been recommended to Norwich City by their network of scouts.

Gregg Broughton, head of recruitment for Norwich City’s Academy, said: “From Norwich City’s point of view we are looking to identify boys between 12 and 15 years old in the area.

“The mechanism we have put in place means once they have been identified they can come along and train at Brantham Athletic, and if they do well they are then invited up to the Academy at Norwich City.

“With the club going for Category One status – one of only 16 in the country to do so – we wanted to choose a club that sends out the right message to the boys and their parents.”

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Norwich are paying to hire the leisure centre at Brantham, which is the Canaries’ second centre of excellence to be opened in Suffolk.

Broughton said: “We have had one in Bury St Edmunds for a number of years for younger players and will continue to do so.

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“Brantham is just outside Colchester and relatively close to other suburban areas.

“We can have a maximum of 30 players at any one time aged 12-15 – we have scouts out identifying players all the time.”

The centre of excellence, which launched last week, will take place once a week at Brantham Leisure Centre on a Monday evenings from 6pm until 7.30pm.

“We have nine centres of excellence in East Anglian and North London and once every six weeks they come together and play each other so we can see all the boys together,” explained Broughton.

Head coach at the Brantham centre is Angelo Harrop, whose father Geoff was involved with the youth set-up at Colchester United for a number of years.

He is being assisted by Needham Market skipper Pip Boyland and Arron Hall, son of Brantham Athletic manager Tony Hall. All three are Level 2 qualified coaches. Harrop signed for Brantham at the start of the season, but has now left the club and joined Ryman League Division One North newcomers Wroxham.

Broughton added: “Angelo runs his own coaching company and knows the local football scene well.

“He is a young, enthusiastic and driven coach who we felt was the right person for this opportunity.”

Tony Hall said: “The benefit to Brantham Athletic is that we know a Premier League club is trying to capture our local talent.

“That gives the youngsters of Brantham Athletic and the surrounding areas who are good enough the opportunity to try to progress in professional football.”

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