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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Magpies shut down youth operation
Meadow Lane
The club narrowly avoided relegation last season
Struggling League Two club Notts County are closing their centre of excellence and youth teams as part of a cost-cutting drive.

Several staff will lose their posts, including centre manager John Gaunt, who has worked at the club for more than 20 years.

The centre worked with young footballers in the local community, providing training and other support.

The club said a lack of financial sponsorship was behind the closure.

Difficult decision

It is estimated the Magpies will save 250,000 by closing the centre and laying off its staff.

The club will close its youth team and "concentrate on the development of a core group of young professionals each season as part of the full professional squad", the team website said.

This has been a very difficult decision for the club to make
Magpies' chairman Jeff Moore

The closure will affect about 120 players who train with the team's under-9s and under-16s.

Chief scout Ray Bradley said: "It is devastating - I cannot believe the club is going down that road.

"Certain members of the board are cost-cutting - they have tried to do it before and they are doing it again."

He said a recent Football League audit said the centre was the third best-run academy in the country.

Bradley said a lot of talented young footballers would be affected by the closure.

Magpies' chairman Jeff Moore said: "This has been a very difficult decision for the club to make.

"Supply lines to scout, develop and acquire young professional footballers will continue to be kept open, as always."

The teams also confirmed that assistant manager Ross McClaren has left the club by mutual consent.

McClaren was put on leave just days before the final game of the season.




SEE ALSO:
Thordarson wields axe at County
11 May 06 |  Notts County
Notts County appoint new chairman
08 May 06 |  Notts County
Thordarson plans for the future
07 May 06 |  Notts County


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