Curzon’s Youth Team make history with treble-winning season
Monday 15th May 2017 @ 13:43 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Curzon Ashton’s Youth Team have been celebrating a historic season at the Tameside Stadium after claiming the treble.

Managed by Mark Bradshaw, Curzon have won the Manchester County Cup, the North West Youth Alliance Cup, and the North West Youth Alliance Premier Division.

Amazingly the squad are not finished yet, as they could claim the quadruple with victory over Southport in the Open Cup in two weeks’ time.

Having been involved with the club for 13 years, Bradshaw said he was delighted to win the treble, although he did admit to never expecting it.

Mark Bradshaw (centre left) with coaching staff

Speaking to Reporter Sport following the 2-1 victory over Chorley last week – a result which secured Curzon the league title – Bradshaw said: “When I took over this team, my aim was to win the Youth Alliance Premier League, and we had previously managed fourth, third and second.

“It’s a really difficult league to win, as there are some professional sides in it with catchment areas of players that they pick up from Premier League clubs, so the level of competition is hard, week in week out.”

Although the league contains some tough sides including Chester and AFC Fylde, Curzon have more than held their own throughout the campaign.

Of their 18 league fixtures this season, Bradshaw’s side have won 15, drawn one and lost two.

The squad has racked up 61 goals in the process, with George Jones leading the charts with 30 of his own.

 

The Curzon squad celebrate trophy number two.

Bradshaw maintained that, although there are some gifted players within the squad who have certainly been integral throughout the season, the achievements are the result of a collective team effort. He said: “We knew this year’s crop of players were good, but we didn’t realise just how good they were, but they’ve proven week in, week out to be a real top side.

“We’ve had a left-back score 12 goals – a lad called Ben Matthews who is a real prospect – who scored with his head on a regular basis.

“Our striker is the top scorer, but our goals have come from everywhere, and it’s been a real team effort.

“If we had put all our chances away that we created every game, then we would be possibly looking at double the amount of goals we had scored this season.”

 

Curzon celebrate winning the league at the Tameside Stadium

Such is the standard of quality within the youth team, a number of players are said to have a bright future in the game.

One of those players is Captain, Olly Thornley, who saw his efforts rewarded with a call-up to the first team towards the end of the season.

According to Bradshaw, the defender has been outstanding since joining the ranks after being released from Manchester City. “We knew he had ten years at Manchester City and couldn’t understand why another professional club hadn’t offered him a scholarship” said Bradshaw, who himself had a distinguished career with Blackpool and Halifax Town.

“I persuaded him and his parents that he could come here, play at a standard where he could enjoy his football as well as develop as a player, and he’s certainly blossomed and deservedly got into the first team.

“He’s not only got into the first team, but he’s started to become the player that we know he is in the youth team, which is a great sign.

“The type of player he is; the way he handles training with the first team; the way he’s come into the dressing room and more than held his own; the respect he’s had off the management team – it all looks really bright for Olly, as well as one of two others.”

 

Olly Thornley, who forged his way into the first team, picked up the Under 18 managers’ Player of the Season

Following the victory which secured the title last week, Thornley, 18, spoke to Reporter Sport. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with how the season has gone.

“Towards the end of the season, when we had all those league games and cup games, we had to keep changing the squad, resting players and making sure that everybody got a fair chance.

“It was really tiring towards the end, but it was a real squad effort and I think that’s what helped us get through.”

Questioned on whether he is confident of claiming the quadruple, Thornley said: “Yeah, I think after we’ve won three we’ve got to look at claiming the fourth.

“We’ll take confidence from winning the other three trophies into the game, and hopefully we’ll do it.”

A full interview with Thornley will be uploaded to the Reporter in due course.

Those interested in joining the Youth Team next season can contact Colin Howell for a trial on: 07767 266605