Wembley hero returns to coach Town youngsters
Today we can announce the return of a Hatters hero to the Luton Town fold, with League Cup-winning winger Kingsley Black joining the coaching staff on the football education programme at the Arena in Baldock.
He will be coaching 16-19 year old boys every day throughout the week as part of Barnfield College’s course, ‘The Luton Town FC Football Programme’.
Homegrown product Kingsley, who made 156 appearances and scored 31 goals for the Town before being sold to Nottingham Forest for a fee of £1.5million in 1991, was at Kenilworth Road this morning with his 19-year-old son Charlie, who recently completed the course.
He told lutontown.co.uk of his delight at being asked to wear the Luton badge again in order to help the next generation.
“I’ve got wonderful memories from my time here as a player, and from playing against Luton Town for various clubs,” said the 48-year-old, who starred in the 1988 Littlewoods Cup win over Arsenal and won 30 caps for Northern Ireland.
“I supported Luton as a boy and it’s the club that has a special place in my heart.
“So to be involved at the development stage for some of the young players who are doing the college course at Baldock is a big thrill for me, and hopefully I can help them to improve as footballers and people.”
Together with head of youth recruitment Lee Cowley, Kingsley will be casting his eye over prospective new players to join the course on Monday morning, with a trial being held at the Arena on Norton Road.
“Everybody is welcome,” continued Kingsley. “We are going to keep a good eye on some of the young players to see if they are going to be able to cope with the course, and have the ability to improve, because that is important. Hopefully there’ll be some good talent that we can nurture.”
The programme run jointly with Hitchin Town allows 16-year-old school-leavers to participate in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport course, giving them a minimum of 16 hours of academic tuition per week plus 12 hours of football coaching each week from highly qualified Luton Town coaching staff. This includes studying for their FA Level 1 and Level 2 coaching badges.
The boys play in the Football Conference Youth Alliance against some of the top professional clubs in the country, and in recent seasons the team have won regional league and cup competitions.
At the end of the course there are a number of career and playing options open to the boys as the qualification they earn counts towards the university admissions system; they have coaching qualifications which might open up opportunities to move into coaching either locally, maybe within Luton Town’s Community Trust or as far afield as the United States, where some ex-students are now working.
Luton Town always monitors the progress of the boys and many of the players extend their playing experience via Hitchin or other local semi-professional clubs.
Kingsley himself knows the importance of education having studied for A-levels at Luton Sixth Form College while playing for the Hatters’ reserve team from the age of 16, before turning professional at 18.
“I was on non-contract forms at 16 because I went to sixth-form,” he adds. “I signed pro on my 18th birthday, but in those days, it was a slightly different set up. There weren’t any development squads back then, it was the reserve league.
“I studied economics, maths and politics at A-level, and with football being a precarious occupation at the best of times, it is nice to get an education behind you.
“It links back to this particular course with Barnfield College quite well in the sense that it’s a 50-50 split between the education and the coaching.
“It gives the boys an opportunity to develop their football, and hopefully they’ll be able to step up to a higher level. But if that’s not the case, they’ve got an education background to help them down that particular path.”
*The trial being held at The Arena in Baldock is on Monday, July 4th at 10.30am. For more details contact Lee Cowley on 07508 850155 or visit www.northhertsarena.co.uk and click on the Luton FP tab.