FORMER York City midfielder Christian Fox has entered into a Dutch and Belgian style partnership with Selby Town.

Fox, who also played for Selby after five years as a Bootham Crescent professional between 1999 and 2004, now runs the All Star Football Academy, which has joined forces with the Richard Street outfit to create a pathway from players from as young as three-years-old right up to senior football.

The intention is to supply first-team players for the Northern Counties East League outfit, where possible, although Fox’s coaches will also continue to recommend the most-talented players under their guidance to professional clubs.

On the partnership model that has been put in place following a meeting with Selby chairman Ralph Pearse, Fox said: “I have seen set-ups in Holland and Belgium where the junior and senior teams are all at one club.

“They start as young as three-years-old and the players and their parents can see a pathway from that age all the way through to adults playing at a good level. Selby Town are no different to a lot of other non-league teams where the club has a senior team and not a lot else, but there is huge potential in growing these clubs and we chose Selby as a club and a town because of its location, size and potential.

“Obviously, our goal is to create professional football players, but we need to be realistic and manage our players’ and parents’ expectations. We want all of our players to fulfil their true potential and play at the highest level possible for them.

“If that is as a professional footballer then brilliant, but if that is at Selby Town, then that is a very good level also, where players are paid to play.”

The All Star Academy was formed two years ago to bridge the gap between grassroots football and professional academies and now trains more than 250 children every week from its York centres.

Since inception, around 25 players have been recommended to professional teams, with several signed up following successful trials, while matches have been played against academy teams from the Minstermen, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough.

The coaching sessions do not interfere with local grassroots teams as development sessions are staged during the week and the academy aim to assist such clubs by providing extra professional coaching.

All Star offer different levels of training with Rising Stars catering for three to five-year-olds, along with the one-hour development sessions targeted at boys and girls up to the age of 16.

Holiday clubs, meanwhile, take place outside school term-time and are being registered with Ofsted, so payment can be made through childcare vouchers.

Schools can also host football and futsal sessions whilst, at the other end of the age spectrum, walking football is being provided for adults older than 30.

The academy’s aim is to run individual age-group sessions from under-seven to under-16 level, along with a goalkeepers’ group, before putting a scholarship programme in place for school leavers to prepare them with qualifications, alongside football coaching and a regular college games programme.

Stadium tours have been arranged too for players and parents to the Etihad, Old Trafford and St James’ Park, along with a visit to St George’s Park – the England team’s national training centre.

The next trip to Anfield has already been planned for the Christmas holiday period and 50 thrilled All Star players formed a guard of honour to welcome the players from both teams on to the pitch at this week’s Middlesbrough v Liverpool Premier League clash.

All Star’s partnership with Selby is a 50-50 arrangement, which will see both bodies share the profits of all activities and Fox, who played 77 times for City and scored one goal having progressed through the junior ranks, hopes to expand the academy’s work further.

“I’m looking forward to working with Ralph and the other Selby Town committee members and I feel excited to be able to offer this opportunity to everyone in Selby and the surrounding areas,” he added. “We will eventually look to roll this out with other clubs if it proves a success and anyone interested could also inquire about our franchise opportunity to run their very own All Star Football Academy.”

A free taster session, open to boys and girls between the age of five and 11, will be held at Selby College’s indoor sports hall on Friday, January 13 from 5pm to 6pm.

All abilities are welcome and, after the first session, the price will be £5 per week with coaching offered every Friday at the same time through term time.

To book a free taster session, please call Christian Fox on 07711 871170. Fox would also like to hear from anybody interested in sponsorship opportunities.