What is the YDA?
The YDA is made up of a group of volunteers committed to helping the Grimsby Town academy financially with the objective of making it the academy of choice for the best local players as well as gifted players from around the country.
How is this different the PPAG?
The PPAG (Parents and Partnership Action Group) is a group made up of parents of the academy payers and officers of the club who have done a fantastic job fundraising over the past few years which has ensured the survival of the set up during the non-league years and provided the sound base needed to take the it to the next level now that we are back in the league. The YDA is being established to compliment the great work of the PPAG and not replace it.
But why is funding needed now that we receive support from EFL?
It is true that the club now receive £390Kpa towards the cost of the academy BUT that is to pay for an obligatory structure of people and the club have to match with a minimum of £155k to achieve the funding. This spend is vigorously audited each year to ensure all of the spend rules are adhered to and if not the funding can be reduced or withdrawn.
Why is more fundraising needed?
Outside of the budget in place, there are a number of things that are not covered which would help enormously. For example, accommodation costs for players from the outside of the area, transport facilities and training equipment are all in need of additional funding.
Won't this duplicate the work of the Mariners Trust?
The Mariners Trust do a fantastic job supporting the club and they do help the youth development wherever possible but they have many other priorities. The YDA will be solely focused on the Academy funding but we do envisage a number of joint initiatives with Mariners Trust to make best use of resource and skill set. To ensure co-ordination and no duplication we have a MT representative as part of the team.
What else is needed to make a significant improvement?
The single biggest issue currently is the need for an approved standard 4G pitch at Oasis, the base of the Academy. This is part of the EFL requirement for funding and would be a massive benefit. The YDA are keen to make this a priority and are investigating various options to make it a reality as quickly as possible.
Why bother? Why not just take other club's released players?
This is an option that the club could certainly have taken during it's time in non league, and could still take, but we strongly believe that the long term plan has to be to develop our own players and be less reliant on transfers. Also from a community point of view it would be unimaginable for the youngsters of the Town to not have a connection with the club or not being able to aspire to be part of it. We believe the club and the PPAG deserve great credit for keeping funding in place and providing the opportunity for the current crop of young pros. We are very confident that the improved academy will provide a lot more players of the right calibre over the coming years.
So who is on the YDA committee?
As previously stated we are a group of willing volunteers prepared to help the club make the academy a great one. The team is made up as follows:
- Dave Roberts (Chair) - Former Mariners Trust secretary and GTFC board member
- Steve Fenty - Already actively involved in fundraising by organising the annual golf day
- Sam Strandt – GTFC Commercial Assistant. Will provide communication and information
- Graham Pembroke - Young's sponsorship co-ordinator.
- Anne Boyers - Already does a great job as photographer and long time supporter of the Academy
- Ian Fleming & Steve Wraith - GTFC officers
- Dave Smith - GTFC Commercial Manager
- Andy Nutting - Mariners Trust Representative.
- Tony Drinkell - Intermediate League Representative
- Dave Boylen - GTFC ambassador and real advocate of youth development
- Adam Smith - Youth Development Operations Manager
- Ian Scott - PPAG Representative.
OK so how can I help?
There are two ways you can help. Firstly, as well as the committee we will need a number of activists to help e.g. selling raffle tickets, source prizes etc. Secondly, please support the events if you can whether it is a raffle, golf day, quiz night or just going along to watch the games. If you think you can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact any of the YDA committee.