BRADFORD (Park Avenue) are confident that if they get their new academy right, it can build the club a greater fanbase for years to come.

Bradford have decided to rebrand their youth set-up to include two teams at each age group from Under-5s up until Under-18s level, with all the teams playing at the Horsfall Stadium.

In the 2019/20 campaign, Avenue had the third lowest average attendance (484) in the Vanarama National League North, only above Gloucester City and Curzon Ashton.

The Low Moor-based side have struggled to attract supporters due to Football League club Bradford City’s better product being so close by.

This is something director of football Martin Knight has been brought in to address and he thinks the academy could help with that.

The 50-year-old said: “This (the academy) will be the future of the club. It allows me to grow a younger fanbase, which we have been missing for the last few years.

“One of the offers we are going to have is that every child under 16 (in the academy) will get a free season ticket, along with a parent, for all our home games. If we can treat them right, they become Avenue fans.

“Being a non-league fan is more of a vocation than a pleasure. Part of my job is to build our fanbase. We have got to be aware as a business that our fanbase is ageing. This is an opportunity to have one Bradford (Park Avenue) family.”

Individual training has already begun for the new season, with signed on players working with club physio Tally Clayton.

As for a date for the start of pre-season, July 20 is the target for Mark Bower and his squad, but all the health and safety provisions must be in place for that to happen.

September 5 is the rumoured date for the start of the season, although again that is dependent on government guidance, given the FA have already said they won’t be bringing back non-league football behind closed doors.