New Doncaster Toll Bar chairman Ray Green is hoping to turn back the clock to the time when the Prospect Road club boasted one of the best junior set-ups in Yorkshire.
As well as fielding an open age side, Toll Bar once turned out a side at every junior level – making them the envy of many a more established club.
But, for a variety of reasons, Toll Bar are now down from 11 to just four junior sides and came close to being forced to call it a day during the summer due to a lack of officials.
They may well have done but for Green, who has held a variety of jobs at the Dons over the years, agreeing to take charge.
Green is no stranger to the club. He played a leading role in the development of sons Peter and Wayne, and the likes of Craig Lawton, Dean Colton, Johnny Woodcock, Chris Hemmings and Tom Buckenham, who all went on to play professionally for the Dons.
But the production line has dried up in recent years as far as the Dons are concerned and just one current first teamer, Mike Kelly, has connections with Toll Bar.
“The fact that the Dons haven’t had an academy side in recent years, due to financial restraints, hasn’t helped in that respect and three or four of next year’s under-16s players are on Sheffield’s books,” said Green.
“The players out there and some of the young players show a lot of promise, but you have to bring them through the system in the right way. There are no short cuts.
“A lot of clubs start teams at under-16s but you can’t teach lads who haven’t played before the skills at that age. They get knocked about a bit by more experienced players and lose interest.
“By getting youngsters at seven or eight and teaching them the basic skills and continuing to coach them through the various age groups, you end up producing good quality players in their late teens who can then kick on.
Although Toll Bar’s first team will continue to operate in the Pennine League until April, the junior teams won’t be back in competitive action until the spring of 2014.
But the plan is to keep things ticking over during the winter months in order to retain interest and prepare for next season.
“We are still looking for players at under-8, 9, 12 and under 16s level,” said Green. “
“Anyone interested can give me a ring on 07506 647571.”