Hampstead kids to join forces with Kentish Town

KENTISH Town FC and Hampstead FC have revealed ambitions plans that includes the development of young players, just months after teaming up to buy Chase Lodge in Mill Hill.

The Spartan South Midlands Premier League outfit teamed up with youth football side Hampstead to form the Camden Community Football and Sports Association (CCFSA) which enabled them to purchase Chase Lodge from Camden Council.

The Association’s bid, believed to be in the region of �700,000, was backed by the Marathon Trust Charity as has secured a permanent home for both clubs while providing them with a solid foundation for the future.

Along with the ongoing regeneration of the 16 acre site that they hope will be the best sports facility of its kind in the area, club representatives have revealed their intention to use Hampstead as a feeder club for Kentish Town.

“Ultimately our goal is to have players from Hampstead youth pass on to us when they are over 16 to give them the chance to play at semi-pro level with Kentish Town,” Franco Zanre, Kentish Town’s director of football told Ham&High Sports.

“When the site first became available two years ago we were approached by Camden Council but at the time we thought it was too much for one club to take on.

“I later met Diane Culligan from Hampstead FC, who is now the CCFSA chairman. We saw the size of their set up and we decided that it was a good idea to join forces on this venture. Camden Council came back to us 18 months ago as it was going to go on the open market and we decided to go ahead with the purchase.

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“At the moment we are upgrading the changing rooms and increasing the number of pitches from four to nine to have three junior, three mini soccer and three senior pitches. Astroturf pitches are planned for the future but first planning permission is needed and then funding must be arranged. It is a five-year plan but when it is completed we hope to have the best facilities in Barnet.

“Ultimately we hope for it [Chase Lodge] to be Kentish Town FC’s home ground but we expect to be at Copthall for the next few years.

Hampstead boss Mike Powell, who oversees the club’s 36 youth football teams – a total of 700 young players – agrees with Zanre’s comments.

“Hampstead players moving on to Kentish Town is a natural progression,” Powell said.

“When many of our players get to 16 years old the teams tend to break up as players tend to go off to pursue interests elsewhere, or even look to start coaching or refereeing. This arrangement will give players another exit strategy.

“The new venue and increased number of pitches will give us more opportunity to expand and pitch wise it will really help us. You could play six games a day and you can train on it all year, whereas at the moment you can only play one game on the regular pitches each day.

“We will only be playing some of our games there initially and will continue where we are for the time being while we are getting the money together for the Astroturf pitches.

Another person who is delighted with the potential set up is Rak Hudson, Kentish Town’s first team manager.

He said: “It’s great news for the club, it will be fantastic to finally have training facilities that will enable us to develop players, and offer them the best facilities in non league football.”

? KENTISH Town lost 2-1 to Hertford Town on Saturday. Jerry Lyons was on target for Kentish Town.