Academy forge link-up with Northern Irish academy

A link-up has been forged between the Spireites academy and Maiden City Soccer Academy, who are based in Northern Ireland. 

Three players from Maiden City have joined the academy. They are all on a full-time education programme, as well as training full-time.

Academy manager Neil Cluxton is hoping that this will be the start of many players coming over from Northern Ireland. 

He said: “Two out of the three players have had a couple of sessions with our first team and are playing on a regular basis with our under-19s and our under-21s. They are doing really, really well.”

Cluxton believes that establishing partnerships with clubs from around the globe is vitally important. “This is what the club is all about at the moment,” he said. 

“We’re truly a community club and we want to forge as many working links as we can with clubs all over the world. With us not being in the Football League at the moment, it just means that we have to explore other avenues of bringing players in, which suits both parties.” 

Paul Kee of Maiden City says he is “very excited” about the link-up between the two clubs, adding that it has “been very productive” for his club. 

He commented: “The link is vital because this is middle England. There are a lot of clubs around this area and the kids in Northern Ireland will get the opportunities that the kids here do.

“There’s a very big holistic development programme here. We see it as a good platform – a springboard for our kids to show what they can do in a football environment. It’s a good step up from what they’re doing back home.” 

Kee acknowledges that with the help of the academy staff, the three youngsters are settling in well. “They’ve been first class and they’ve really enjoyed it. Neil Cluxton and the staff at Chesterfield have made them feel really welcome and they have enjoyed the Chesterfield culture.”

*Paul Kee (left) is pictured presenting a plaque to Neil Cluxton