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West End's goal is to conquer region.

STOCKTON West End Under-18s will turn a new page in their football careers this coming season when they play in the Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League.

With no Under-19 football available in the Tees Valley, the Teesside Junior Football Alliance Division One champions have opted to step up to Under-21 level against sides from the Newcastle and Sunderland areas.

West End will be the only Teesside team among 17 in the division - a feeder for the Northern League - which features the likes of Horden, Seaham Red Star, South Shields Juniors and Whickham.

They kick off their campaign with a home game against Felling Magpies on August 16 at Middlesbrough Football Club in the Community, Eston.

"It's a new challenge for us and we will be looking to do well," said club chairman Keith Maude.

"It's an Under-21 league, so we will be up against more experience.

"We would have liked to stay in this area ideally, but were one of only four applicants to go Under-19, so they couldn't form a league.

"But we have got a reputation as a good footballing team and will be sticking to our principles and are looking forward to it."

West End finished top of TJFA Division One by four points from North Ormesby A. Boasting a fortress-like home record, they won all of their games against visiting opposition and top-scored with 41 goals in 14 matches.

Team manager Chris Gibbons said: "Last season was terrific. Having won the League Cup and Durham Cup in previous years, we wanted the title more than anything."

Skipper Danny Rowbotham is optimistic that West End will do themselves justice in the Tyne and Wear Youth League.

He added: "I feel proud to be team captain. I've been at the club since I was 10 and a lot of the lads have developed together.

"We have a great team spirit and we're looking forward to the new season and trying to win more honours."

West End have already bolstered their ranks for the imminent campaign, snapping up midfielder Adam Gell from North Ormesby and former Newcastle forward Stuart Bath.

* Any players under the age of 21 who are interested in joining them can get in touch with Keith Maude on 01642 890329 or Chris Gibbons on 01642 789546.

CAPTION(S):

REGIONAL CHALLENGE: Stockton West End under 18s. Pictured from left to right are, back row: Rob Barrett ( coach), Keith Maude (club chairman), Niall White, Charlie Gaffney, Aaron Bryan, Josh Hayes, Billy Smith, Terry Robinson, Chris Hobbs, Danny Rowbothom, Chris Gibbons (manager). Front row, left to right: Hugh Geoghegan, Peter Bulmer, Chris Burton, John Hall, Michael Dowson, Mikey Roberts, Shane Henry. Players not on photograph: Johnny Rea, Dan Dawson, Joe Devitt, Mark Lilley
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 29, 2009
Words:456
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