A football club is investing the money it made from the sale of a former star player into a scholarship scheme for youngsters.
When Conor Washington was sold by Newport County to Peterborough, it meant there was a £20,000 spin-off windfall for St Ives Town.
The 22-year-old striker, who now lives in Alconbury, returned to St Ives on Friday (October 17) for the launch of the scholarship, which starts next September and will allow 20 16-year-olds to combine football development with education.
He joined the club at 16, but left in October 2012 for League football at Newport. But it was when the South Wales club sold him to Posh during January’s transfer window that a sell-on clause came into play, benefitting St Ives.
The BTEC Level 3 Football programme, run in conjunction with St Ivo Outdoor Centre, will be overseen by Jack Cassidy, who joined St Ives as first team assistant manager in the summer when Ricky Marheineke was appointed manager and will become the youth team manager when the team is set up.
Mr Cassidy, 24, said: “I went through the same course in Bedford when I was younger. It’s a great chance for 16-year-olds to develop their football, join a youth team and, hopefully, feed them through to the first team, while also continuing their education.
“We will be scouting lots of under-16s matches to look for the right talent and the right players. We will then develop them on and off the pitch and help them progress through to, hopefully, professional or semi-professional football or on to coaching.
“Other outcomes could be they go off to university to continue their education, or to scholarships in America, either playing or coaching.
“Conor was a postman before he was picked up by a [football] league team. He is proof that you don’t have to be at a professional club since you were 10 to make it in football.”
Conor said: “I am really proud that the money from my move is being invested in a scholarship scheme.
“There are a couple of players at St Ives who can make that step up.”
INFORMATION: If you would like more details on the scholarship, email Jack Cassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org.