Grassroots Football is our life, each and every weekday we immerse ourselves in helping teams find their right team wear and equipment and make it extra special by personalising it with their club crests and names. Each weekend we get out and about to see our children and teams play – we experience each and every minute – just like you!

We use the power of social media to share your stories, to help find clubs find a last minute referee or just to show our support to the hundreds of thousands of parents, supporters and volunteers involved in our beautiful game.

More importantly we will continue to grow and share your stories and experiences – its an amazing and close community  – our children aspire to be like the pros and ever so often we can reflect on significant historical events surrounding our game.

We are delighted to be able to share the story of a club that established themselves in 2013, It has grown extremely successfully and enjoyed a trip to St Georges Park to honour a true football legend – Arthur Wharton….

Andrew Broadbent, U12 Manager & Press Officer of Darlington Young Bulls shares this amazing story…

 

We love a celebration at Darlington Young Bulls. Last season we celebrated two teams getting promoted and the start of a new era at the club with a new chairman and a vision to build on this superb club. 

Born in 2013; Darlington Young Bulls was set up to help the children of Darlington and the surrounding areas develop their skills, health and to socialise with others. What started out as just a few players has grown to over a hundred. We have 6 teams across age groups Under 10 to Under 15 

At the start of the 2016/17 season we wanted the club to be more than just about respect, we needed a figure to idolise and to look up to; a hero. Who better to idolise than one of the first ever black professional footballers and sports pioneers; Arthur Wharton.

Arthur was born in October 1865 on the Golden Coast of Ghana. Arthur moved to Darlington in the UK in 1882 to study but then found football and it went from there.  He went from Darlington to Preston, Rotherham, Sheffield United; some of the biggest clubs this great country has to offer. 

So where do Darlington Young Bulls come in to this? We met with Shaun Campbell, the founder of the Arthur Wharton Foundation who has made it his task to get this great man recognised for what he was; a sporting great, he faced many difficulties just for the colour of his skin. A black man, playing professional football and breaking 100yd sprint records just wasnt heard of in Victorian Times. We wanted our players to believe that they could be anything they wanted to be.

A special gift was awarded to Darlington Young Bulls by the English FA and the Arthur Wharton Foundation. We were invited to the home of football, St George Park to see the statue which stands close to the entrance where some of the greatest footballers on this planet enter. It was a tough task having to pick just 36 players from almost 100; we would have loved to have taken everyone but we promised to bring back our stories and memories for everyone.

We pulled up and were taken straight to the site of the David Beckham pitch; the boys standing in amazement knowing that Beckham himself will have stood in the same place as them. It was a short walk to the Statue itself for photos a talk and to admire the fabulous work which stood before us. It was quite fitting that the stone plaque which stands alongside the statue was crafted in Darlington. 

St George Park is a truly amazing place; world class facility and the boys were itching to get behind the scenes; see the changing rooms, the training pitches, the futsal arena, the signature wall with the autographs of world professionals like Rooney and Messi, see the main training pitch which is an exact replica of that at Wembley.

We were in for another treat when Englands Goalkeeping Coach came in to see everyone; Eric Steele. Eric was responsible for scouting and bringing David De Gea to England. Eric worked for many years with Sir Alex Ferguson and works closely with Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and Jack Butland.

After a kick around in the Futsal Arena it was time to say goodbye and take some final photos at the Arthur Wharton Statue.

What other junior football club can say that they have walked around St Georges Park, have an association with a growing charity and foundation built on respect and pride and have memories to last a lifetime? We only hope that we continue our good work and help develop our players further and one day, one of our players could be going back to St Georges Park to train.

We’re always looking to expand further and develop the next big star. If you’re looking to play or even coach then get in touch with us at darlington.youngbulls@gmail.com

 

mysportswear would like to thank Darlington Young Bulls and Andrew Broadbent for sharing this story and we would love to hear your comments and thoughts……we would also love to hear from your club and your grassroots experiences….email us your story to sales@mysportswear.co.uk

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