LAST month, when the experienced Des Hazel was relieved of his duties as Bradford (Park Avenue)’s academy head coach, many fans were unsure what direction the club was going in with their youth set-up.

However, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal that the club have decided to rebrand their academy to align with the new lease, which enables all their teams to play at Horsfall.

The set-up will feature two sides for each age group, an academy team and a community one, ranging from the Under-5s up to the Under-18s.

In the coaching department, Bradford want to move away from parents taking training and ensure that paid qualified coaches will be leading all sessions.

The players who feature in the Under-18s academy side will also have the opportunity to train with the first team.

From an educational point of view, Avenue currently offer a two year BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport qualification and have targeted a 100 per cent gateway to full-time employment from September 2021.

The club also want to install a DNA that is followed for decades to come. They will adopt the Coerver Coaching philosophy, a comprehensive coaching program for young players, teaching both individual skills and team play.

Director of football Martin Knight believes a fresh outlook towards the academy system is something Avenue have needed for a while and he can only see it being a success in the future.

He said: “This is the biggest change we will make this year. I think it is a massive opportunity for the kids because they are going to have different facilities, proper structure and coaching, a route to the first team and a good educational provision.

“We have got this great new playing surface and the challenge for us is we want to make sure that whatever your potential is, you get to it. Some children are born with more natural ability than others. You should be given the same facility and same quality of coaching regardless of your potential.

“From ages five to 16 they will receive a football education and at 16 to 18 we will be responsible for fulfilling their educational potential. We are not going to get everybody but if we improve our offer, then the quality of players we can attract will increase.

“It is difficult to say the number of coaches, it is easier to say the number of coaching hours. We don’t need to go and find 50 coaches.

“I don’t want the quality to drop. This is about fulfilling a child’s potential. There was no club philosophy or a plan, now there is.”

The man in charge of leading the project is Alex Cross, who has experience at academy level with Cambridge United and Notts County. His last job was heading Grantham College’s Centre of Excellence, while being first team coach at Northern Premier League Division One South East side Stamford.

The 27-year-old, who is currently on his way to earning a UEFA A Licence, is glad he made it through the extensive interview process and is determined to deliver a ‘five star experience’ for kids at all age groups.

Speaking about why he went for the job, which he will start in the middle of July, Cross said: “I liked Martin (Knight)’s ideas and where he was putting the football club. It was a bit different to what you normally hear in non-league football.

“I had five good interviews and it gave me clarity that, if I was successful, I would be making the right choice in joining what is going to be a fantastic project.

“We want to offer a five star experience on a football and education side of things. Football doesn’t last forever and we need to make sure we are giving a really good educational programme to our players.

“We are going to have an opportunity for a clear pathway for players to go and play in our first team. I fully expect that it won’t be long before we see that used.

“This needs to be something that continues to thrive in 20 years’ time and making sure that happens is crucial for the football club and Bradford as an area.”

Knight added: “A lot of footballing people are not ready to embrace the new. While we acknowledge that Alex is not the finished product, in terms of philosophy, ambition and potential, he ticks every box. I had people in the education and football sectors interview him and he came out as the stand out candidate.”