Wolverhampton Casuals looking to kick on
Wolverhampton Casuals are planning for a bright future by striking a partnership with a local school.
The West Midlands League Premier Division side have linked up with Ormiston New Academy in Fordhouses to offer budding young footballers a route into the semi-professional game while gaining further education.
Players aged between 17 and 19 will be able to earn a sports qualification on a two-year course while playing football for the Academy side at Casuals’ Binsford Lane base.
That will give them the chance to catch the eye of Casuals boss Dean Gill, with plans further down the line to introduce an Academy side under the club’s banner into non-league football.
Former Birmingham and Stoke midfielder Richard Forsyth is in charge of footballing matters at Ormiston.
Casuals, who are pushing for promotion this season, don’t have a reserve or youth team on their books and Gill believes this is a perfect way to help fill that void.
“Long term we want to get Cassies up the non-league pyramid,” said Gill.
“This is the first step of a big plan that will see us do as much as we can in the community.
“This year, hopefully we can get to step five and then the year after we could look at putting in an academy side at step eight.
“We have an arrangement in place to train at Ormiston so we can bring the two training groups together.
“We can work as close as we possibly can to give these lads an opportunity.”
Gill is renowned for giving young players an opportunity, and has enjoyed plenty of success.
He gained promotion to the Premier Division with Wednesfield and then won the League Cup and secured a fifth-placed finish the following season.
He switched to Casuals and guided them to fourth last term and saw them lift the League Cup.
“We haven’t got big sponsors or a big budget so we have to find other ways of progressing,” said Gill, who guided Wolves defender Dion Sanderson through junior football at Wednesfield.
“And that is by finding the best kids in the area and giving them a platform to play at a decent level.
“Since I started managing in the West Midlands League, the average age of my sides has been around 21. There is no-one who has brought through and played as many young kids as I have over the last five years.
“I am massively into getting the right kids into Saturday football as soon as possible and getting them up the pyramid.
“If they have the ability and the mentality required then I will give them a chance.”