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Academy to Sponsor New Darlington Wheelchair Football Club

Darlington 1883 manager Martin Gray and his players are to take on a new team from Darlington Power Chair Football Club in a special exhibition football match.

The former Sunderland midfielder, whose academy will sponsor the new team in its inaugural season in the Wheelchair league, will be part of the six-man team from the Evo-Stick Northern League team to try the game in Power Chairs for the first time at The Dolphin Centre, Darlington on Thursday, December 19, 7pm kick-off.

The newly-formed Darlington Power Chair team join the third tier of the national league and are looking for players.

The club are holding taster sessions for interested players who want a run-out on power chairs. The vehicles have a top speed of six-and-a-half miles an hour and specially-fitted bumpers at the front.

The Martin Gray Football Academy will sponsor the team’s kit which will be worn for the first time at next week’s match.

After the demonstration game with players from Darlington 1883 a taster session for new players will begin.

Among the Middlesbrough squad is James Radcliffe, a 17-year-old player from Heighington, with muscular dystrophy who aims to be a coach for the new Darlington team.

Speaking of the new sponsorship deal, George Radcliffe, James’ father and chairman of Darlington Power Chair Football Club, said: ‘We have been thinking about putting together a team in Darlington for nearly a year and we are running taster session to get people involved.

‘We have 11 players signed up at the moment who are practising regularly and we are certainly looking for more.

‘The new kits are a very welcome contribution for a new club and we are very thankful to Martin for his help. Having his name, and the link with Darlington FC is great news for a new club likes ours.’

Martin Gray said: ‘I am delighted to sponsor Darlington Power Chair Football and to be associated with such an excellent venture.

‘Hopefully the club can attract new players at this exciting time and be prepared for their first season in the national league.

‘And the lads and I are really looking forward to trying the game for the first time next week. It promises to be even more challenging than playing in the Premier League.’

The Martin Gray Football Academy offers an exciting and different opportunity to combine sporting ability with modular study leading to further educational courses such as a Foundation Degree in Sports Science/Studies or Sports Science Degree.

There is also Diploma in Sports Level 2 (with football and women’s football). Extended Diploma in Sports Level 3 (with football, women’s football and rugby).

On offer are educational courses which give youngsters an opportunity to make a living out of football and rugby.

The academy has sent scholars to coach in the United States, and assisted students further their sports education at university.

The BTEC Level 3 and 2 Extended Diploma in Sport could also be a path to a playing career in both men’s and ladies teams.

Please feel free to pop along and join Martin Gray and the team at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington on Thursday, December  19. We expected the exhibition match to start at 7pm. Refreshments will be provided and Martin and George Radcliffe and the players will be available for interview. Reporters,  photographers and cameramen, and women, are welcome to attend.

For more information contact Denis on: 07970 738432 or email: