Darlington’s Head of Youth Craig Liddle is hoping his club’s lack of cash doesn’t damage the club’s youth programme.
The Quakers Youth boss is keen to replicate last season’s success when they finished fourth in the North East Youth Alliance League. They also secured a spot in the final of the Youth Alliance League Cup and produced a strong run in the FA Youth Cup which was only ended by Premier League giants Arsenal.
However the youth department is facing a further cut in Football League funding after the club were relegated in 2010 and this has been further exacerbated by losing the financial support of Darlington Supporters Trust which sponsored the club’s youth team last term.
Liddle is now hoping a new sponsor can be found to help the club meet this shortfall in funding.
“Money is at a premium at our level and we’re desperate for sponsorship,” said Liddle.
“We had a sponsor for the last couple of years and now we’re looking for somebody to help us out and hopefully they can help us bring through the next Dan Burn.”
He added: “We’re not looking for mega money, but anything a local company could offer us would be a great help.
“I hope they would feel some pride at being our sponsors, knowing that they are doing their bit to help local lads come through the ranks.”
Alongside results on the pitch, part of Liddle’s remit is to provide talented youngsters with the potential to become a first team professional and there is evidence to prove this has happened.
Most notably defender Dan Burn was the subject of a £325,000 transfer to Fulham only 18 months after making his first team debut.
Middlesbrough’s most recent acquisition came in the form of the Quaker’s youngest ever player and goal scorer, Curtis Main.
Other products of Darlo’s youth programme are John McReady, Michael Smith and Phil Gray who are all in line to feature for the North East club this campaign.
“We’ve had a few make the grade over the last few years and we’ve had a few good results on the pitch too, but it is going to be more difficult without a sponsor,” added Liddle.