This season’s FA Cup run, which we hope will continue past today’s game, has already provided so much inspiration for the Young Daniels, and all the boys and girls playing for our teams.
The Young Daniels provides a pathway for children as young as two-and-a-half years old through to 18. This comes with the incentive of potentially pushing themselves into the senior squad, playing in Step 4 of the Non-League Pyramid (and hopefully higher after this season!).
That pathway has been no better exemplified by the fact that Young Daniels graduate, Max Peverell, started in goal against GNG Oadby Town and Lincoln United in the extra preliminary and preliminary rounds respectively. This shows that the pathway the club talks about is not just a marketing slogan but is a reality – the opportunity is there for all those who wish to seize it.
The FA Cup has provided some great moments for the club in recent years, not least in 2016 when the Daniels won 3-2 away at Wrexham to qualify for the first round proper for the first (and currently only) time in our history. The Young Daniels have also enjoyed their own taste of success this season in cup competition, winning 6-1 away at Ilkeston Town in the FA Youth Cup preliminary round in what was a great for an inexperienced side.
For many of our Young Daniels, that may well be the biggest game they play in their football career. For some, though, that may just whet the appetite for more nights like it and spur them on to make that transition into adult football and follow their dream, playing at as high a level possible.
As you walk around the ground this afternoon, no doubt you will see some of our Young Daniels sporting their kits to cheer on Graham Drury’s side, as they normally do on a Saturday afternoon. These kids are the future – not just of our football club, but of the game in general – and seeing the first team succeeding on the pitch provides great inspiration to over 400 young boys and girls.
In this case, we hope it’s to the FA Cup first round proper, but we know we can’t look past Norwich United, who harbour the same ambition.
The Young Daniels wish the first team all the best and hope the adventure continues.
Come on you Dannies!
Published in matchday programme on Saturday 2 October 2021.