ADAM Boyes, whose last York City senior game was at Wembley, provided a pot of gold from which the current Minstermen were moulded.

The 18-year-old’s six-figure transfer this summer to Coca-Cola League One club Scunthorpe United provided the necessary funds for City boss Martin Foyle to reshape the squad to try to transform City from Blue Square Premier strugglers last term to possible promotion challengers this season.

But the route along which striker Boyes advanced from teenager to first-teamer, and then lucrative asset, is in peril because of the ever-pressing need for funds.

Boyes was a product of the club’s Centre of Excellence, whose fundraising needs have been cast into the shadows at the Bootham Crescent club, who have concentrated efforts on attracting backing for the youth team, the level immediately above the Centre of Excellence.

Football League parachute protection payments for City have ended, meaning the club needed to find £55,000 to keep the youth programme alive.

That has indirectly rebounded on the Centre of Excellence, from which Boyes is just the latest product on a multi-million-pound assembly line of talent spanning the last decade with has spawned the likes of Graeme Murty, Richard Cresswell, Jonathan Greening, Darren Williams, Nick Culkin, Russell Howarth, Lee Grant and Chris Hogg.

All those have proceeded to higher clubs, several to the highest in the land, while another product, defender Andy McWilliams, is part of the current senior squad. They all reinforce the importance of a vibrant youth programme at a club of City’s since diminished status, said under-16s coach John Stockton.

Despite hard-pressed economic times, parents of players at the Centre of Excellence’s six teams playing at U16s, U15s, U14s, U13s, U12s, and U11s levels – there are even specialised coaching groups for the U9s and U10s – have stumped up £250 apiece in subscriptions.

The six organised teams regularly play Football League clubs. Tomorrow, City’s U12s, U14s and U16s entertain Darlington – the U11s, U13s and U15s head in the opposite direction to Darlington – but it’s hardly a level playing field. Where City’s bare-bones resources just to survive amounts to £23,000 a year, the Football League clubs they face are cosseted by annual cash sums of around £170,000.

So cash is still needed, prompting an appeal to York firms and businesses by Stockton and Graham Kilby, the treasurer of the club’s long-established Youth Development Fund, which he helped to first establish in 1992. In that time the YDF has raised almost £200,000.

Said Stockton: “Surely in these times when there’s such a lot of publicity about tackling the problem of obesity among the young, there are companies out there who would like to be involved with a programme that is catering for up to 100 youngsters and offering them a sporting way of life.

“The proof, as they say, is in the pudding and the Centre of Excellence role in developing someone like Boyesey who is then sold for a big sum to a better club is vital to York City.

“The subscriptions paid by the parents just manage to keep us going, but there’s so much other stuff to pay for like referees’ expenses, match expenses and travel, various items of kit, insurance, etc.

“We get tremendous support from York Minstermen (supporters’ organisation). If it wasn’t for them and the parents we would not be able to carry on.”

Kilby echoed that sentiment, saluting the “fantastic” fundraising efforts of the York Minstermen, but he explained how more cash assistance was needed for the Centre of Excellence.

“Football-wise, we more than hold our own against Football League clubs,” he said. “Facilities-wise, we are a lot better than most of those clubs, but funding-wise, we have a shortfall and we are well behind.

“We cannot get complacent because further reductions in funding could also take place in the future, or at least until the club regains its Football League status.”

Anyone who is willing to help should phone Kilby during office hours on 01904 430990 or email to or email Stockton at