Coach earns Premier League post

By David Watters

EVO-STIK League Warrington Town are looking for another top coach to guide their next generation of stars in the NPLFA after Keith Southern was snapped up by Everton.

Appointed as head coach at the Warrington Town Academy in July 2016 when he replaced his friend Nick Chadwick, the former Premier League midfielder left Cantilever Park and the Northern Premier League's ground-breaking league-wide academy this week to work with the U18s at Goodison Park and a number of Everton's younger age groups.

The 36-year-old, who was a favourite with the fans at Blackpool during their rise to the Premier League, was delighted to land his new role after a successful 18 months with the Yellows and guiding his student stars to their first piece of silverware in May 2017 when they lifted the inaugural NPLFA Cup.

He said: “I’m very fortunate, that I’ve got a brilliant role at Everton which I am relishing every single day. I work primarily assisting the U18s age group but I also work with all other age groups. I’m learning from terrific coaches on a daily basis and I'm working day in day out with elite players in an environment which in my eyes is the best academy in the country at developing young players."

The former Premier League midfielder has had a successful eighteen months with the Yellows’ Academy winning their first ever piece of silverware in the inaugural NPLFA Cup back in May 2017, an achievement that stands out as the coaches’ best memory.

“Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the NPLFA and Warrington Town and I made some friendships that will remain important to me for many years to come. It was a very enjoyable experience. The best moment for me was winning the NPLFA Cup Final at Stoke City at the end of last season. The lads put a great deal of effort in during the course of the season and were rewarded for their efforts in beating a good Matlock side.”

“I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on everything to do with the NPLFA from all the lads I’ve coached to the general results week in week out from all the teams involved. I speak to Toby Macormac (WTFC Chairman) and Mark Baker (WTFC tutor and coach) regularly so I’ll been a keen observer to everything that goes on.”

An NPLFA spokesman said: “We have mixed emotions on Keith leaving. We are delighted that he has got a fantastic opportunity at a Premier League club but obviously we are sad to see a coach of his calibre leave the programme at the same time.

"Keith has been superb to deal with during his time with Warrington’s academy and everyone at the Cheshire club and the NPLFA will be sad to see him go. On behalf of everyone at the NPLFA, we wish Keith the very best of luck in his new role."

The NPLFA was founded with the backing of the Football Association at five pilot clubs in September 2014 to provide career pathways into the football industry with youngsters studying on two year BTEC courses.

Still the only league-wide academy in English football combining sport with education and now expanded to 12 members clubs, the NPLFA is offering its fourth intake of students this season the chance to continue their education to degree level after teaming up with Loughborough College last summer to launch a new higher education partnership.

To see the NPLFA's latest promotional videos and success stories, follow on Twitter at @NPLFA or visit:

Images courtesy of @NPLFA/Twitter

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