Good evening everyone!

I write this at what is a very positive time of the season on the pitch for us. The men’s first team are heading for our highest-ever finish in the National League North, our women’s team are in the top three of their league after a double promotion last season, and our Emerging Talent Squad are top of their league with games in hand in their first-ever season.

Our deaf team have won their first-ever deaf futsal championship and qualified for the European Deaf Futsal Champions League, alongside their pre-qualification for the Deaf Champions League, and our grassroots teams are, as ever, performing fantastically well.

We’ve had our biggest single crowd ever for a men’s match (2,333 v Scunthorpe), and our highest average attendances for a men’s season so far, not to mention some great results on the way, and upsetting certain people as we do it! Not too bad for a “village team”!

There will be more updates coming from me over the next few weeks, as we have been extremely busy behind the scenes as ever. I will only update you when things have been done, so there is no “we will”, “we hope to” or “we want to”, only “we have”.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of hard work and effort, particularly from our Director of Football and all of those in his team, I have been a part of and seen the effort these guys have put in to make this all come to fruition! So thank you for all you have done!

We are delighted to announce a number of significant positive developments in our academy structure, educational programmes and organisational structure at the club for next season!

These developments will not only put us at the front of the queue in this region when it comes to our educational offerings, facilities and first team pathways, but will make us nationally one of the more forward thinking and progressive organisations in this sector.

Over the past six months we have invested heavily in terms of time, effort and resource to put into place the Farsley Celtic academy and player scholarship models.

This has included the creation of a high specification learning centre upstairs in the sports hall, linking up with one of the largest education providers in the UK. It also includes the creation of our ETS side, who have thus far performed beyond expectation in progressing to the FA Youth Cup first round proper and topping their league in their first season against more experienced and older players. Our ETS side has enabled us to give debuts in the first team to a significant number of these young talents.

Farsley Celtic are launching a Women’s Academy. Photo: Ivor Hughes

New women’s academy

Firstly… Farsley Celtic will, from next season, be offering a women’s academy!

This will mirror the current men’s offering, as well as offering A-levels and BTEC qualifications for 16-year-olds as well as GCSE re-sits will provide football coaching from A & B licensed coaches with clear defined pathways to first team opportunities at Farsley Celtic.

This offering supports the progression we have made in developing the women’s section this season which was hugely accelerated by the appointment of Sue Hawkshaw as the head of ladies football last November.

Sue said: “The women’s section is excited and looking forward to the opportunities that Farsley Celtic’s female academy will bring to our team. This will give us an avenue to further strengthen our squad and build on our successes, while providing girls with a great educational offer at the same time.

“The potential for the academy students to be recruited into the women’s squad provides them with a fantastic opportunity and we look forward to welcoming the first intake of students to the programme this September!

“Being able to offer girls the opportunity to study post 16 education while developing their football is a great asset to the women’s game as a whole, and we are proud to be able to provide such a great offer!”

In the home dugout: ETS players (from left) Rayhaan Khan, Liam Wilson, Will Morrisey and Ebenezer Ameho. Photo: John Baron/Farsley Celtic

Men’s academy extension

Secondly… We are extremely proud to announce that we will be extending our men’s academy programme next season to offer a degree programme for both domestic and international students.

We are linking up with a prominent UK university to offer these programs, which will allow us as a club to offer a complete post-16 educational program. This additional set of programmes also acts as the final stepping stone in one of our alternative pathways to the first team, enabling us as a club to retain students who might have otherwise left to pursue post graduate studies elsewhere.

Director Of Football Pav Singh commented: “This really takes us to the next level in terms of what we can offer as we can provide our students with that complete post 16 educational program offering clarity and a clear route for both their footballing aspirations as well as their educational ones, for potentially the next five years of their lives.”

Gaffer Clayton Donaldson with Director of Football Pav Singh at Carlton Bolling

Pathway partner

Finally… to support and facilitate these huge developments in our offerings, Farsley Celtic would like to announce a new collaboration that will offer strength and depth to our existing programmes, and help to bring in new top talent to support our pathways to the first team.

We are happy to announce we are bringing in Pro-Elite as a pathway partner.

This will primarily provide the club with a pool of high-level talent for our scholarship programs, and ultimately the best young players to join our ranks, progressing towards first team action.

Pro-Elite will sit along side our existing grassroots section and act as a further exclusive source of players for Farsley Celtic, both feeding into our system.

Pro-Elite are recognised as one of the best young player development organisations operating in our region, and we have employed a number of their staff previously as part of our current academy set up. Over the last few months we have identified where they could come in as a third party partner to support us further and to add greater value to our offerings.

Luke Dean, who is currently employed by the club as our head of academy. is also a director at Pro-Elite. He said: “I am thrilled to announce that Pro Elite has joined forces with Farsley Celtic as their pathway partner for their scholarship program, providing opportunities for young talents in both boys and girls categories.

“This collaboration allows aspiring athletes to pursue their footballing careers alongside academic studies, including a variety of A levels and vocational subjects.

“At Pro Elite, our talent pool of over 600 players across different age groups will offer Farsley Celtic the chance to scout and evaluate a diverse range of young talents in the West Yorkshire region. We are dedicated to aligning our core values with those of Farsley Celtic, ensuring a unified identity and structure for the development of these promising athletes.

“The successful pathway for young players into Farsley Celtic’s first team, with debuts as early as 16, speaks volumes about the commitment and belief of Paul, Pav, Clayton and the management team in fostering the potential of young players.

“I am proud to be part of this collaborative effort and look forward to contributing to the growth and success of aspiring footballers through our partnership with Farsley Celtic. Our shared commitment to professionalism and common values will undoubtedly pave the way for a successful and impactful program.”

Farsley Celtic Director of Football Pav Singh added: “Having Pro Elite Academy as a pathway partner keeps us at the forefront when it comes to identifying players for both our development and emerging talent pathways. The collaboration with Luke and his team of coaches, connecting with our men’s and women’s senior management teams, will provided valuable opportunities for players and coaches to be continually stretched and challenged.

“We eagerly anticipate the ongoing journey of pushing ourselves to become the best versions of ourselves, aligning with the core values of Farsley Celtic.”

I am thrilled that we have managed to put these new structures into place securing the longer-term future of the club, and ensuring that we will not only attract the best talent, but also offer the players currently in our grassroots section the opportunity to stay with us for longer and hopefully progress along our pathways to first team action!

Further details of all of these courses and opportunities will be posted in due course!


Paul Barthorpe