Cottesmore Amateurs under-18 team is rising from the ashes this summer as the Rutland club look to run a youth side for the first time since a fire threatened the very future of the club.
In 2011, Cottesmore Amateurs had two senior sides playing in the league, a veterans team and under-18s squad but in July of that year the club was devastated by an arson attack which destroyed the club’s wooden pavilion containing all its kit, mowers and electricity supply for its floodlighting, causing £80,000 worth of damage.
The club, which did not have insurance because it could not get cover following a spate of vandalism, was almost crippled.
With help the footballing community, who donated kit, balls and posts, Cottesmore remarkably put a team out in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division which kicked off its season just a month later but all the other sides at the club folded.
Reserve team manager Steve Duffy said: “It was scary times but we managed to get through the adversity.”
Now three years later, with the reserve team having completed a season back in the Leicestershire league and Rutland Veterans playing their home matches in the PDFL Veterans league at the club; the under-18s side is next to be revived.
The under-18 team will play in the Leicestershire Midweek Floodlit Youth League on a Wednesday night. It will be run by John Raden and Ash Ward.
Duffy said many top players now playing in Stamford, Oakham and the surrounding area came through the Cottesmore under-18s side.
He said: “It will be somewhere for young people from this area who want to play football to be able to do so.
“We always want more numbers, we have got a core of players already but the more the better. This is a good opportunity to play league football under the floodlights and there is a chance to move up and play on a Saturday.”
The formation of the under-18 team is another important step in the club’s rehabilitation from the fire. A strong youth set-up will provide a pipeline of potential players for the reserves and first team who are looking to kick on after a stable summer.
Anyone interested in finding out more is encouraged to attend training at 7pm on Thursday during pre-season or call Duffy on 07947867623.