BRADFORD (Park Avenue)’s director of football operations, Martin Knight, thinks the club must develop their academy.

Avenue’s youth system was founded to develop footballing talent from the local area, while providing an education to help students begin their career in sports.

Knight points to fellow National League clubs as an example of how he wants to transform the club’s academy, to benefit both themselves and the community.

He said: “Look at Boreham Wood or Kettering, their academies have 200 plus kids in them, with both being accredited education providers.

“From a financial standpoint, for each one of those kids, they get £4,800 every two years for educating them. If you have 200 of those and they are getting that much money to educate them, you can do the maths, that is almost £500,000 a year.

“In order to facilitate that, you would need three teachers and seven coaches. There is still a net income from a revenue point of view.

“More importantly, we want to offer vocational sport qualifications. We want to add personal training, sports massage, physiotherapy, sports journalism, any sport related BTEC that we can do.

“Five years from now, we want 95 per cent of our students to go into full time employment or education.

“If we get the odd player who goes into the first team, that is great, but we will work as an education facility that is putting something back into the community.

“We benefit from that as a club, because it generates some cash for us but intrinsically, we want to be an education facility from an academy point of view.”

Knight also gave an insight on how the club would like to recruit going forward.

“We are going to be a development club,” he said. “We want young players like Lewis (Knight), who got released by Leeds at 18 and had nowhere to go. We want them to come to Bradford (Park Avenue).

“We want them to play for a year or two and do what Alex Hurst did (join Port Vale). We want to give something to these kids, who are often just discarded.

“The big clubs treat them as a piece of meat and not a human being. We want to speak to the other lads who have been released from clubs and say 'come to us and we will give you an opportunity'.

“We are putting a process in place where it isn’t a load of blokes asking who you fancy. Long term, we will put in a Moneyball system. We are going to get a full time data analyst, though that won’t happen this year.

“This year, we are going to get player technology, which is the GPS player trackers that teams in the full time leagues have.

“We want a hybrid for the players we do get. So some of them will be full time, five days a week, while the older lads who have careers will be part time.

“It will enable us to attract a different type of player, because full time football is more important to some than money.”