Football club finds new home after growing to 20 teams in just three years


Newcastle Strikers FC had to have a whip round among parents to buy footballs when its only team got together in 2018.

Three years on and the junior club has twenty sides and is looking forward to the season from its new home ground at Pool Dam playing fields.

The club looks after the ground in partnership with Newcastle Ladsandads, and Strikers chairman Darren Bailey is understandably proud of their progress.

He said: “We started with seven lads and one team. Then people saw the job we were doing and other teams came forward to join.

“By the following season, we had five teams but we have grown again, massively through this year and now have twenty.”

Those teams include two girls under-7s teams who face each other this weekend but will be playing against boys in their other league fixtures this season.



Newcastle Strikers girls team. Picture by Leanne Bagnall
Newcastle Strikers girls team. Picture by Leanne Bagnall

The club also has a mini-strikers section for budding players aged 4-6, and runs teams up to under-16s.

As the club grew, they moved from Bradwell to the larger facilities at Pool Dam this summer.

Chairman Darren, whose children Archie and Ella, are among the club’s 246 players, is especially proud that the seven youngsters who formed the first team three years ago are still with the club, now playing under-11s.

As he explained, the club showed off their teams and their facilities at an open day this month.

He said: “The open day was to show our club and our parents, managers and people what we have achieved. We have extended the car park, cut the grass so it is lovely, marked several pitches, we have a café and seating area and have completely tidied the place up.

“It was a very busy day, there were 1,500 people there.”



Newcastle Strikers chairman Darren Bailey, front middle, and club volunteers at their open day. Pic Leanne Bagnall
Newcastle Strikers chairman Darren Bailey, front middle, and club volunteers at their open day. Pic Leanne Bagnall

Clive Dean, chairman of the Staffordshire Ladsandads junior football charity, says the partnership with Newcastle Strikers is working well.

He explained: “It’s a Ladsandads model we have been working on for a couple of years now where we get a major club in the branch to take some ownership of a centre, in this case Pool Dam.

“They can then treat it as their home ground and will be able to maintain it, develop it and generally keep it in good order which benefits both their club and Newcastle Ladsandads.

“Darren was looking for somewhere and this was a perfect fit for us. He has been there for three months and has transformed the place.

“Also, in April and May, Staffs County Council put us a major drain in because we’d had trouble with flooding on the pitches. The work disturbed the ground at one end and they filled that in and left us with a nice area, which was stoned, and we could put the club-house and some outside seating on there.

“It was a perfect solution for Darren to move in and do that.”

Meanwhile, Clive is happy to report Staffordshire Ladsandads is thriving two weeks into their new season.

He said: “We have just under 400 teams altogether. Everybody is desperate to play football after the major lockdowns. The grounds are looking superb because they have had a lot of work during the summer and very little use last season.”





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