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Young guns go for it with Premier link

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

  • COACHING COUP: More than 50 youngsters took advantage of Wincanton Sports Ground's relationship with Premier League giants Arsenal Football Club at a half-term course on Friday. Picture by Laura Jones WGLJ20121102B

  • KICKING OFF: Children take part in a coaching day run by Arsenal at Wincanton Sports Ground. It is hoped the session could be the first of many in the town.

  • EXPERT Advice: Young footballers gather round a coach at a recent Arsenal coaching event in Wincanton.

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YOUNGSTERS in Wincanton are gunning for greatness after a Premier League giant launched its link with the town's sports ground.

Wincanton Sports Ground has completed a deal with Arsenal Football Club to run regular football development courses for children aged six upwards.

The link will see specialist goalkeeping courses, development squad training sessions and courses for disabled people created and run in the town.

More than 50 budding footballers took advantage of the town's "incredible coup" by attending a half-term day course, run by Arsenal FC, at the sports ground on Friday.

Stuart Matthews, chairman of Wincanton Sports Ground, said: "To see 54 youngsters racing around the field with smiles on their faces makes all the hard work that our volunteers do worthwhile.

"Sport has so many benefits for young people. I strongly believe sport can be seen as a metaphor for life.

"It teaches people of the virtues of being part of a team, finding your role in that team, and accepting arbitration from a referee."

Mr Matthews hailed sports ground volunteer and Wincanton town councillor Maureen Emery for finalising the deal and believes there is more excitement to come.

He said: "We are a little disappointed that we could not accommodate everybody we wanted, as we had a waiting list of around 20 youngsters.

"However, for our future courses we are hoping to have more coaches available to make sure we can accommodate everybody.

"We are hoping our relationship with Arsenal Football Club continues to go from strength to strength and are hoping the sports ground will become a base for their under-18 development squad.

"We have also been asked if we would like to host a team of Arsenal Football Club 'old boys' for a demonstration – so we could see the likes of Steve Bould and Alan Smith here in Wincanton."

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