Lincoln City is fighting to save the future of their youth-team due to a shortfall in funding.
The Imps finances at youth level have been stretched since their relegation from the Football League two years ago.
Director Roger Bates admitted that since then the club has struggled to keep the department afloat with this year’s deficit thought to be in the region of £50,000.
The club hopes that fans and local business can help to bridge that gap and keep the youth department in operation.
With that focus the club recently launched the Future Imps Fund to offer people a chance to invest in their youth programme though the club is still looking at how they might reward any contributors.
In recent years the clubs has produced several players including Jack Hobbs, Scott Loach (pictured) and Lee Frecklington who have been sold on to provide much-needed.
Former Burnley and Bury defender Dean Wes started his career at Sincil Bank and is now an ambassador for City’s youth department. He believes that it would be a disaster if such a quality programme was lost.
“I fully support the Future Imps Fund. It’s vital that a club like Lincoln City retains its close links with the community and we’re working hard to keep local people, fans and businesses involved to help keep this thriving youth system in place,” said West whose son is now at the club’s academy.”
“Looking back at my time as a trainee at the Club, I remember it fondly. With the ultimate goal of being offered a professional contract, I learned to work hard. It’s an opportunity that not many boys get – so you have to make the most of it and give it your best because it can lead to bigger and better opportunities, not just in football but in life itself.”
“Now, as a parent with a son at the Academy, I’m hugely impressed by not only the standard of coaching and the standard of players at every age group, but also the feedback and communication from the coaching staff throughout the club. The Academy has a philosophy of hard work coupled with creating a really enjoyable environment, and it has very high standards.”
Head of Youth at the club Grant Brown added: “We are determined to continue to operate a youth academy at Lincoln City Football Club.”