Chairman excited by launch of academy

Berwick Rangers Chairman Len Eyre said he is excited about the prospect of launching the club's new Football Academy.

Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 9:53 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 3:21 pm
Berwick Rangers chairman Len Eyre.

Eyre was in attendance at the first scheduled academy presentation.

He said: “The turnout of 12 prospective students for the first presentation from Northumberland Education exceeded both my own and the football club’s expectations.

“The presentation by tutor Simon Dutson, who will be in charge of the academy, was excellent.

He explained the pros and cons fully to the students and their parents, which were received very favourably.”

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Expanding on the structure of the course, Eyre added: “The timetable for the course is yet to be set in stone, but there will be four days studying modules, with six hours football training and coaching by Berwick Rangers staff included in the timetable.

“The fifth day will then be spent playing competitive matches against other colleges in the Northern College League.

“The students will have a full education curriculum. The course will be provided by Northumberland College, and take place in the JB Lounge at Shielfield Park and at educational facilities in Berwick. There will also be guest tutors available when required for certain subjects.”

First team manager John Coughlin and captain Jonny Fairbairn have both committed themselves to the programme, which requires 14 students ahead of the new academic year.

Students must be aged between 16 and 18 and have their parents’ consent.

Further presentation evenings will be held at Shielfield on August 24 and 31, at 6pm.

“After the students complete the course, there’ll be a wealth of options,” said Eyre.

“Completion will enable them to enrol at university to further their education in their chosen path in sport or discipline, whether that be education, coaching, physiotherapy, science, development or otherwise.

“With John [Coughlin[ involved throughout the course, he’ll be able to keep a close eye on our students as players, meaning any talented youngsters will have the chance to impress him on a regular basis.

“And whilst we hope that the course will allow students to broaden their prospects and open up opportunities to work in the sport industry, we’re also keen to cater for those looking for a pathway into playing football.

“We’re implementing that pathway via the introduction of Berwick Colts, and there will be the potential for progression for our students through to our under-20s side, from where a number of players have graduated to our first team, including the likes of Jonny himself and Darren Lavery amongst others.”

Eyre hopes the academy could help the club spearhead a bid to bring a plastic pitch to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

“My opinion of the proposed Berwick Rangers Football Academy is that it will benefit young students of Berwick and district aged between 16 and 18 immensely.

“On a club-level, I also see the academy as a prospective vehicle to pursue the funding for the installation of an all-weather playing surface at Shielfield, which would benefit the whole community.”

Prospective students who would like further details should contact Simon Dutson at or

Alternatively, application forms are available from the Northumberland College website to download.

Prospective students should send their application to either or by post to Berwick Rangers or Northumberland College, Adams Drive, Spittal, TD15 2JF, though prospective students are advised to attend a presentation to learn more about the course first.