Darlington FC have appointed Paul Thomas as the club’s new Director of Youth.
Thomas has been heavily involved in the youth set up in recent years – the most recent as Head of Academy – and with strong support from coaches, players and parents has greatly contributed to the club’s recent progression, enjoying plenty of success in the Russell Foster Youth League, and the Teesside Junior Football Alliance.
Darlington manager Tommy Wright said; “Paul and his staff have done an outstanding job with the Youth set up. They have given us something to be proud of and now it’s our job as a football club to ensure that the best local players want to play for the biggest club in the town. Paul is the best man for the role, he is Darlo through and through, he is proud of his work and wants to make it even better.
“Developing young players is a huge part of my philosophy and is important in my remit here. Alan White and I will be working closely with Paul and his coaches to make sure we are delivering the right sessions and giving the players the best possible chances of making the first team.
“The youth set up is the future of this football club and I want everyone involved to feel special and rewarded for doing well. I want young local lads to support this club and their goal to be focussed on making the first team. In turn, I want our first team lads delivering sessions or even just giving advice to the youngsters.
“The vision for the Youth has to be for youngsters to go through the age groups, progressing into the Academy and then into the first team. It’s the process at professional clubs and that’s why starting the Academy was so crucial to that.
“There will be players in the area of course that choose a different pathway away from the club, it might be the long way around and delay their progress but that’s a decision ultimately that the individual makes.
“Any young player that has worked for me, knows I give them my all, not only on the pitch but also off it. I am there to guide and mentor them. Alan has the same mentality and mindset as me and that needs to filter through the club moving forward.”