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Reds announce new academy set-up and four-year kit deal


Redditch United have unveiled their junior set-up which will incorporate the club’s 50 youth teams.


And in conjunction with the exciting new plan, a four-year deal has been struck with major kit manufacturer Sondico.


The Reds Academy will see all the teams in the club’s thriving youth section come under the new management structure which will also be responsible for summer camps and education in matters including nutrition.


Training courses will also be organised to encourage parents to start out on their own coaching careers, perhaps leading to a future role within the set-up. There will also be courses in stewarding, first aid and refereeing to offer the entire Redditch community the opportunity to benefit from the facilities and expertise.


Nick Spencer and Jim Nicholls have been appointed joint Reds Academy managers, responsible for the development of players through the age range and overseeing their training on the club’s state of the art 3G pitch.


Club chairman Chris Swan said: “We have worked hard to put a structure in place and I’m delighted to be able to unveil the Reds Academy.


“We will have 600 children of all ages using the 3G pitch every week, a figure that rises to 1,000 when you factor in all those involved with our partner clubs including West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City.


Our thriving Bournville College programme, which will have nearly 60 children studying full-time at the Trico, will also come under the Reds Academy and we’re excited to be able to offer courses and events for parents and those in the community interested in getting involved.


“In Nick and Jim we’re lucky to have two people at the top of the Reds Academy who have a real passion for the club. Their knowledge and experience will create a blueprint for the future, building on the hard work that has already gone in to building such a strong community club.


“This is an exciting time and means that there is a pathway for juniors looking to progress from junior football into the adult game.”


The four-year kit deal with Sondico – who also supply Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and Oldham Athletic – will see a range of training tops made available to parents.


Jamie Hall, Sales Manager at Sondico Professional, said - “We are extremely pleased to announce this four-year partnership with Redditch United. Not only do we have the opportunity to showcase our brand and exceptional product range but we are able to do so with a fantastic club. They are a terrific community-minded club and they have a superb vision for the future that we are delighted to share in.”


Anyone interested in finding out more about the full-time football programme run in conjunction with Bournville College should head along to a taster session at the Trico Stadium on Saturday. The event runs from 10am to 2pm and will include training sessions on the 3G as well as the chance to learn about nutrition. Students will need to be in sportswear and bring moulded football boots to be able to use the 3G facility.


For more details and to find out about trials for the Reds Academy age groups, contact Redditch United Football Club on 01527 67450 or email


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Manager adds two more to new-look team


Striker Jamie Matthews and midfielder Stuart McNaught are the latest editions to Darren Byfield’s new-look first team.

Matthews had a spell at Hednesford Town last season, scoring for the Pitmen against the Reds in the Birmingham Senior Cup. He includes FC United, Nuneaton Town, Colwyn Bay and Latvian side Daugavpils among his other clubs.

The powerful 24-year-old can also play out wide and hit the headlines when, as a teenager, he reached the final stages of Sky TV’s Football’s Next Star before injury robbed him of the chance to turn out for Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan.

“All I want at the moment is some stability and to play for a club where I’m rated,” Matthews said. “I’m looking forward to playing for Redditch on the 3G – it’s the best surface and suits my playing style. Defenders are going to have a nightmare playing against me out there.”

McNaught was a Hednesford Town favourite last season and also played at Sutton Coldfield Town, Boldmere St Michaels and helped Stafford Rangers to their Evo Stik North Division One title in 2016.

And the 30-year-old admits his game has changed a little over the years.

“A few years back I was probably a box-to-box midfielder but for the last couple of seasons I’ve played more of a sitting role, getting on the ball and passing it around,” he explained. “I’m not afraid to put my foot in when needed.

“I’ve spoken to Darren a few times and he’s sold the club to me. I can’t wait to get started now.”

The first team return to training on Saturday, June 24, with the first friendly away at Coleshill Town on July 1.




Winger Jones agrees Reds deal


United manager Darren Byfield has agreed a deal to bring former Walsall and Tamworth winger Jake Jones to the Trico Stadium.

And the Reds boss plans to announce more new arrivals over the next few days as he gears up for his second season in charge of the Southern League Premier Division side.


“Jake is someone who I spoke to last season.” Byfield said. “He was eager to come and play for Redditch and it is those sort of players who I want at the club.

“His background is with a professional club and he has a fire within him which I can manage. I want winners at this football club. I learnt a lot last year and realised I need winners here and he certainly fits the bill.

“He has an ability to go past players. My plan is to be successful at Redditch and to do that I need players with the X Factor – players who, when they pick the ball up the fans get excited. Jonah will do that, create things and score goals.”


Jones had a spell on loan at Redditch in the 2011/12 season, coming on loan from Walsall along with current Alvechurch wideman Connor Deards.

And the 24-year-old is delighted to work with Byfield as he looks to get his career back on track after a nightmare season plagued by injury.


“I’ve been around a bit since coming here on loan,” Jones admitted. “I’ve learnt a lot and matured a lot since then.  I think I’ve been to every non-league club in the Midlands but I’m looking to settle down somewhere now. 


“I had a bad time with injuries last season when I fractured both ankles and stopped playing for a while. I had signed for Stafford Rangers and did my left ankle. Then, in my first game back, I fell awkwardly on my right ankle in the last minute of the game. It was one of those things but it put me in a bad place – mentally, physically and financially because I couldn’t work.


“I feel ready now to come back and start enjoying my football again. Things are sorted financially and I’ve got the buzz back. I can focus on my football again and this is a good opportunity for me being able to work with Daz. I know him having worked with him before – he was a pro at Walsall when I was a youth team player there and then he was player-coach at Tamworth when I was there.


“I’ve learnt a lot over the last two years – not just in football but in life as well.”


Pic: Jake Jones is looking forward to the new season



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