9:19pm Sunday 18th May 2014
DARLINGTON FC has come under fire for its lack of support of a junior team.
Coaches and parents say the club has broken promises made when the U13 Rockets team was formed as part of Darlington Youth FC at the start of the season.
The team's coaches have resigned and training has been cancelled until further notice.
Despite the Quakers stating last year that junior players would be involved in all aspects of the club, families claim they have not had any help from those involved in the senior team.
Derek Rutherford, from Shildon, whose 12-year-old grandson Dylan plays for the team, said: "There has never been any contact with these youngsters by Darlington FC.
"The coaches have become so disillusioned with the lack of support that they both resigned last week."
Darlington Youth FC was formed in May last year when Cumby Rovers YFC, a junior club based in Heighington, approached Darlington FC about a partnership.
Ian Pullan, a former Cumby Rovers coach who joined the club to manage the Rockets, said: "There were lots of promises from Darlington that they never really delivered."
Mr Pullan said the pitch was often not marked out and the grass was ankle deep at times.
"On one occasion only half the pitch was cut but that just made it ten times worse, said Mr Pullan, who is hoping to start a new team at Newton Aycliffe Sports Club.
"We were given an alternative pitch to play at but the gates were locked when we turned up.
"The most disappointing thing for me is that the kids have been let down - it sounded like a good set up but we've had very little support."
In response to the criticism, Martin Jesper, chief executive of Darlington FC, said Darlington Youth Football Club was an autonomous organisation and had its own administrative set-up.
He added: "Darlington FC monitors the progress of players at all ages and provide progression pathways for those players showing ability at the grassroots development stage.
"Indeed several youth players have already made appearances for the Quakers first team in the last two seasons.
"We have been made aware of the resignation of a Darlington Youth FC manager and understand that DYFC are dealing with the matter with a view to providing the best outcome for the particular group of players and their parents.”
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