Nuneaton Town’s Academy have won a prestigious tournament organised by the Premier League.
The club were one of only six clubs in Britain to be invited along to take part in the tournament, which was held at St. George’s Park and used to give Premier League match officials the chance to try out the new Video Assistant Referee technology.
“This is a huge achievement for the football club,” beamed Chairman, Lee Thorn. “After just two years as a full-time club and Academy, it shows that all of the hard work and effort is really paying off for us.
“I could not be more proud of what we have achieved here; six of our Academy lads have already made their first-team debuts and I have no doubt that more will follow.”
Academy Manager, Liam O’Neill, was bursting with pride at the end of what has been an intense three days for his youngsters.
“I am absolutely made up,” he added. “We played some fantastic stuff throughout and as well as winning the tournament we also got the Goal of the Tournament prize.
“Seven games in three days is an incredible effort and the lads conducted themselves extremely well both on and off-the-field.
“There were some excellent performances and it really does bode well for the future. These boys have grafted so hard and what a way it is to start the season with such a prestigious trophy coming back home with us.
“It was a real honour to be invited along and help the Premier League. It just shows what kind of reputation we have here.”
Boro boss, Tommy Wright, added: “I would like to congratulate Liam and all of his squad. To take such a young squad to St. George’s Park and walk away as winners is a fantastic achievement.
“Steve Chettle and I had the belief that the boys could win this and they have delivered. They are a special group with so much talent coming through.
“These players will feature heavily throughout pre-season; that was the whole idea of arranging 14 games into a 21-day schedule. I need to test these boys at the highest level possible and this experience will be invaluable.
“Winning this competition sets us up nicely for a strong 2017/18 season. They excite me because there is so much ability within this group. I have every faith in them and even though I haven’t really seen the new intake yet, I’ve already had glowing reports about them.”
During the tournament, Hawkeye was on hand to provide the technology which will enable another referee to study footage of the game and intervene to advise the referee on key decisions. VAR is a topic that has generated significant interest from the media and could be the latest innovation in the professional game.