Premier League stars to donate strips to South Devon academy
NEWCASTLE United stars Dan Gosling and Mike Williamson are each donating kit to a South Devon academy team through a scheme set up by the Premier League.
Gosling and Williamson, who both grew up and started their footballing careers in South Devon, are supplying full strips to Academy Sports FC's U8 and U10 teams.
Both players are making their donations through the Premier League Players' Kit Scheme, which was set up with £25,000 from every top-flight squad to create a pool of £500,000 to hand out free Nike strips to junior teams.
Midfielder Gosling, who moved to St James' Park from Everton, was coached by Academy Soccer Sports Trust chief Sav Savva from the age of six, where he was a 'minikicker'.
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He was spotted playing for Brixham United in the Pioneer Youth League, and signed professional terms with Plymouth Argyle before a big-money move to Newcastle.
Williamson (pictured above) played for Clennon Rangers as a young lad before moving up the ranks to play for Southampton and then Newcastle.
But Savva said that Williamson did a session or two while he was with Clennon Rangers – though the Totnes and Dartington manager said he wasn't claiming all the credit for the centre-half's rise to fame.
Savva runs the Academy Sports FC teams as a way of enabling children not already enrolled with Pioneer Youth League teams to play Saturday football without the pressure of league tables.
He said it was good to see that the Premier League stars were keen to remember their roots through the scheme.
"There has always been a good relationship between the academy and these players," said Savva.
"Dan has always been in touch, but it's nice of Mike to do it as well.
"These two boys have worked very hard to get to where they are and with all the negative press some players get today, these are example of what good professionals are, with most of their good work within local communities going unnoticed.
"A lot goes on with the pros that the press don't pick up on the good things , so this is a great way to see that they are thinking of where they started from."
Savva said he was also hoping the players themselves would have the chance to come along and hand over the kit.