CHRISTIAN Fox is planning to assist fellow former York City players Andy McMillan and Richard Cresswell in their quest to restore the club’s youth production line to its past glories.

Along with Cresswell, Fox was one of a series of promising prospects in the 1990s who graduated from the Minstermen’s junior ranks to first-team level with other high-profile examples including the likes of Jonathan Greening and Graeme Murty.

McMillan and Cresswell, in their respective academy manager and development consultant roles, have now been tasked with improving a success rate at Bootham Crescent that has only seen three home-grown prospects - Adam Boyes, Tom Platt and Tom Allan - go on to make a full professional debut during the last eight seasons.

Ex-City midfielder Fox, meanwhile, is hoping to make their jobs easier by identifying talent for the club after setting up his new All Star Academy Club in Poppleton.

Fox, now 33, intends to improve youngsters of all abilities during his sessions, but would like to recommend any outstanding performers to the team he played for during a five-year spell from 1999 to 2004.

On his ambition to work closely with Cresswell and McMillan, whose boots he used to clean as a City apprentice, Fox said: “I know Andy is really keen to get the youth system back to what it was - producing lots of talent. I came through with Russ Howarth and Lee Bullock, who was sold to Cardiff and, obviously, before us, there were the likes of Jonathan Greening, Crezzie, Graeme Murty, Darren Williams and Nick Culkin.

“I’ve had a meeting with Andy and would like our academy to link up and act as a feeder club for York City. That would give ourselves some credibility and, while every child will have different aspirations, it would give the kids a goal.

“I would also want my old club and local team to have first dibs on any players we deem good enough for them to have a look at. I don’t want to work against what Andy, Crezzie and the community department are doing because that wouldn’t benefit anybody.

“I just want us to be open to all ages and abilities, because I feel we can fill the gap between grassroots football and professional clubs.”

Fox also believes City’s conversion rate from academy to first-team level must now start to reflect the quality of young players he has witnessed in the area as manager of his son’s trophy-laden Poppleton Tigers team.

Under Fox, that side went a full calendar year in 2012 at under-12 level without being beaten and, having recently taken up an opportunity to coach his daughter’s U6 team, he has also noticed those high local standards are being matched in the girls’ game. He added: “The standard of football in York’s junior ranks has gone up massively since I first came to the city and there is some real ability in the area. Teams from around here used to struggle in the County Cups against north-east sides, but they are beating them now and getting to finals.

“There are also some really good girls around here. Poppleton have got a few and I know the ladies’ game is growing and growing.” Fox played 77 times for City before being released at the end of the season the club were relegated from the Football League.

He also represented the England U16s and U18s, rooming with Joe Cole on overseas trips and playing alongside the likes of Michael Carrick and Peter Crouch. After leaving Bootham Crescent, he played at semi-pro level for the likes of Harrogate Town, Wakefield & Emley, Selby Town and Pickering and, more latterly, turned out for the likes of Haxby and Dringhouses in parks football before a dislocated ankle, while playing for Hamilton Panthers two years ago, persuaded him to switch his attention fully to coaching. Fox has previously worked as a personal trainer and coached at City Football Development with former Minstermen team-mates Howarth and Leigh Wood.

He will now be assisted at the All Star Academy by Easingwold School pupil Josh Waddingham, whose coaching potential was recently recognised when he was presented with the FA’s national Football Futures’ Outstanding Contribution award. Other coaches will follow as the academy grows with the aim to provide sessions for boys and girls aged from three to 16.

As well as catering for the higher end of the skill spectrum, Fox is placing as much importance on helping players with more modest aims, such as winning a position in their school team. He is offering weekly one-hour coaching sessions for all age groups held at Poppleton Community Centre and Manor School, along with school holiday clubs.

The academy can also provide one-to-one personal football coaching for individuals or small groups, along with pre-season fitness camps and bespoke programmes to suit a club’s needs.

Football coaching at schools, meanwhile, can be used to meet curriculum requirements and after-school clubs are part of the service too, with boys and girls aged between three and five invited to take part in the Rising Stars football-based development programme, which will focus on fun, games and physical participation.

All players attending the academy will be entitled to regular assessment using video recording analysis and Fox wants to arm them with a greater understanding of tactics, formations, phases of play drills and set-pieces used within the game by incorporating methods used from around the world.

Fox’s eventual target is to establish teams at every age group in the academy to play in friendly matches, including fixtures with sides at professional teams and a game has already taken place against Lee Bullock’s Middlesbrough U14 outfit.

For details of the All Star Football Academy’s existing and upcoming courses, please visit, where registration forms can also be downloaded.