A major new partnership has been announced between a grassroots football club in Northumberland and one of the world’s most famous teams.
Alnwick Town has secured the prestigious deal with AC Milan to become an official junior camp partner of the Italian giants, one of the true superpowers of European football.
The long-term venture, which could span two decades, will bring with it many perks, including the chance for some youngsters to pull on the Rossoneri’s iconic kit and play in the huge San Siro stadium against juniors representing fierce rivals Inter.
On top of that, legendary AC Milan defender Franco Baresi is set to attend a press conference at Alnwick Town next year.
Alnwick Town chairman Tommy McKie spoke of his delight and described the partnership between the St James’ Park club and the 18-time winners of Serie A as exciting and amazing.
As part of the agreement, two training camps will be staged at Alnwick’s ground during the 2016 school summer holidays.
Each one, running from Monday to Friday, will cater for up to around 150 children and be aimed at boys and girls aged from six to 15.
A number of AC Milan coaches will attend the sessions to put the youngsters through their paces and give them a taste of coaching at the highest level.
Children will also learn other pro tips, including advice about nutrition and the benefits of eating correctly.
Four or five children from each camp will then be picked for an unforgettable experience in 2017 – to play at the 80,000-capacity San Siro, which is home to AC Milan and Inter and was used as a venue for the 1990 Fifa World Cup.
The camps will not be exclusive to Alnwick Town Junior players and Mr McKie is keen to stress that it is an opportunity for children throughout the county.
Mr McKie said: “For Alnwick Town to be involved with a high-profile club like AC Milan is absolutely fantastic and amazing. But this is not just for Alnwick Town, this is for all children in Northumberland and we look forward to welcoming both boys and girls.”
The partnership between Town and AC Milan, seven-time winners of the European Cup/Uefa Champions League, is a sign of how far the Northumberland club has come in recent years, having been on the brink of extinction in 2008, before Mr McKie and a new committee took over.
One of the real success stories has been the expansion of the junior section and the development of a girls’ team.
AC Milan official UK representative Carl Dunn said: “Alnwick has been chosen for a number of reasons. Both the town and the football club have got a great history, the town loves its football and I was really impressed with Mr McKie’s enthusiasm.
“We are looking at this for the long term and the spin-offs will be huge. Other opportunities will include bringing AC Milan junior teams over to Alnwick in the years to come.”
The camps will run from July 25 to 29 and August 8 to 12. Prices and places for the sessions will be available shortly.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Carl by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07595 672240.