Codnor Boys Football Club took home the first ever ACE Challenge Cup after a hard-fought competition in Heanor.
The contest, launched by Amber Valley Borough Council and Heanor Town Football Club, aimed to find the cream of under-19s footballing talent in the area and saw teams from Codnor, Ripley and Heanor take part, with the ultimate goal of starting a new team for the under-19 age category. It is hoped the new team will play its games on the artificial football pitch planned for the new Charles Hill sports complex.
The Codnor club beat Ripley Rangers 3-2 in Monday’s tense final under the floodlights at the Heanor Town ground on Mayfield Avenue.
One of its organisers, former Heanor Town chairman John McCulloch, said the matches had been a great success. He said a Heanor Town under 19s team will give young players extra time to develop before going into the senior teams.
“People do develop at different ages,” he said. “All we are hoping to do is to give them an extra couple of years to see how they grow.
“Some players, like Wayne Rooney, develop early, but that’s not always the case. The best example I can think of is (striker) Peter Osgood. His uncle took him down to Chelsea when he was 19 and he didn’t get in the team until he was 21. What a player he turned out to be.”