WATCH: Ex-Black Cat takes his academy to school

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A FORMER Sunderland footballer is bringing his unique coaching programme to another school.

The Martin Gray Football Academy already works with several schools, including Southmoor in Sunderland and Wellfield Community School in Wingate, County Durham.

FOOTY PARTNERSHIP: Former Sunderland AFC player and now manager of non-league Darlington Martin Gray (red tracksuit) at Framwellgate School, Durham, welcoming students from Year 7 and upwards who have joined the academy for top quality football coaching.

FOOTY PARTNERSHIP: Former Sunderland AFC player and now manager of non-league Darlington Martin Gray (red tracksuit) at Framwellgate School, Durham, welcoming students from Year 7 and upwards who have joined the academy for top quality football coaching.

Framwellgate School in Durham City is the latest to take advantage of after-school academy-style coaching.

Martin, 43, left Sunderland AFC in 1995 at the end of their final season at Roker Park. He played for Oxford and Darlington before taking his UEFA Pro coaching badge in a class which included former Black Cats manager Roy Keane.

Martin is now back at Darlington as manager.

“We have about 45 boys and girls in the academy at Framwellgate School,” he said.

“What we are doing is picking the best players which are just under the standard of those taken by the big clubs, such as Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Some of our players are keen to become professional footballers, or some may want to go into coaching or physical education.

“There is an opportunity to feed the best of our academy players into a good standard of non-league football at Darlington,”

Framwellgate School headteacher Alisdair Nicholas said: “It is a good partnership, we provide the education and the academy provides the coaching.”