New Oaklands deal for City

New partnership formed between football club and college

LAWRENCE Levy says he is delighted that Oaklands College have bought into what the new regime are trying to do at Clarence Park after agreeing a new two-year deal with the college.

The deal will mean that the Oaklands College brand will remain on the front of the Saints’ shirts for the next two seasons at first team, reserve team and youth team level and Levy is delighted a new deal could be struck between the two parties that is beneficial to both.

“They are a great partner for us,” Levy told the Herts Advertiser.

“We’ve sat down and talked about the future; how we can build this football club into the community over the next five years and they are very much on board. Bringing them in for a two-year sponsorship deal is fantastic.

“The club is under new management and so is Oaklands, with Zoe Hancock having taking over as principal there this year.

“Zoe is a football fan, who has quickly realised what we are seeking to achieve at St Albans City and wants to support it. In turn, we think we can offer Oaklands considerable benefits.

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“This is a very good deal for the club financially but it goes way beyond that and towards establishing a long-term partnership for the benefit of the club, college and community.

“Although the club has previously been linked with Oaklands, this is a very much bigger deal and closer relationship as we look to develop our club by bringing through more local talent.

“In turn Oaklands will further their aims of educating young people through sport and enhancing their already strong position in the community.”

Following the club’s takeover this summer by Levy and John McGowan, St Albans have been busy re-establishing links with St Albans City Youth and local schools in the city in a bid to give local youngsters a clear pathway from youth football into the club’s senior side.

As part of the new agreement between City and Oaklands, the current academy set-up will come under review and Levy is adamant that it needs to be fair and transparent.

“St Albans City and Oaklands wish to form a partnership that is fair, reciprocal and transparent and which will benefit the club, college and wider community,” explained Levy.

“The commitment that Oaklands is giving to the club is fantastic and we would like to see many more young players like Sean Shields, Rob Magwood and Ross Dedman coming through the ranks.”

Oaklands principal Hancock was equally pleased with the new agreement and the opportunities it gives both parties.

“Lawrence and the team here have got lots of things going on and it is a really important part of the community,” she said.

“We’re keen to be part of the community and support the community so it is great we’ve got the sponsorship deal renewed. We are proud of an academy set-up which offers education and sporting opportunities to young people in our community. Nourishing sporting talent is very important on a local level and Oaklands College is delighted to enter into the new, improved agreement with St Albans City that reflects the role both organisations play in the community as we both look towards new horizons.”

* City boss David Howell was critical of his players following Tuesday night’s 4-0 defeat at Cambridge City.

The Saints boss said he was disappointed that his team didn’t follow the instructions he had given them.

He said: “We gave them the second and third goal by the poor marking at the back post. From that point it was a bit of a mountain to climb.

“I’m trying to recall for all that huff and puff that we had the ‘keeper having to make a save.

“What was disappointing for me was that players failed to follow instructions.

“The game is simple and I think what happened is that we had a good result on Saturday and we’ve come here, and it’s a nice little ground and the pitch looks lovely and suddenly I think the players feel they’ve got to do things that are more complicated and a bit more creative rather than doing what is a lot more effective.”