MOVING Bradford Park Avenue's academy from Southfield Grange Trust to a newly-developed Horsfall Stadium this autumn can help change lives for the better.

That is the opinion of Avenue's major benefactor Gareth Roberts, who is negotiating with the club's Community Benefit Society (CBS) to take back control of the club.

The 16 to 18-year-old male (and female) students will begin studies at what will be known as Horsfall College of Sports in September, and could form part of the club's new reserve team.

Horsfall Stadium will also provide classrooms and a fully-equipped medical room, while pitch improvements are also planned.

Roberts said of the Horsfall-based academy: "It is a win-win as far as we are concerned.

"We are a community club and we need to get youngsters off the streets.

"I know it is difficult to break into professional football, but we hope that several will make it into our first team.

"In some cases it could be life changing for them if they can make it as far as the Football League."

Roberts added: "We need to develop local players to assist with the future of the club.

"We will be starting a reserve team, and the academy players will have the chance to play alongside the first-team players.

"Our facilities are vastly under-used, and by developing Horsfall we believe we can provide Bradford with a valuable community asset and enable it to be used to the maximum for the youth of the city."

An Avenue statement said: "Bradford Park Avenue CFC opened their academy 18 months ago in conjunction with Southfield Grange Academy.

"The decision was made this year to move the academy to Horsfall Stadium under the guise of Horsfall College of Sports to start this September.

"The club are grateful to Southfield Grange for the assistance they provided in establishing the academy and hope that we can continue with the partnership.

"The idea to move the academy to the stadium was made so that we are able to provide a professional sporting environment for the students at Horsfall.

"The college is open to both male and female students who wish to progress in a sporting or academic environment.

"The aim is to develop Horsfall with the addition of classrooms and a fully-equipped medical room.

"The academy will be run by fully qualified A-licensed head coach Alex Meechan, along with the first-team sports therapist Natalie Clayton."

Courses will gear students for BTEC Sport Level 1, 2 and 3, and students will represent the college and Avenue in the National Youth Alliance & College Leagues and the FA Youth Cup.

Interested students can attend an open trial at Horsfall Stadium on Friday, April 6, when there will be a presentation at 10.30am, followed by a training session.

Anyone wishing to attend can register their interest at

The college will also be seeking applicants for a full-time tutor, part-time maths and English tutors, as well as part-time coaches and a part-time administrative assistant.

CVs and salary expectations can be sent to Rob Stanley at