Residents in row with football academy

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ANGRY residents have pulled the red card on a football academy for playing midweek games.

Crofter’s Estate residents, in Newbottle, claim the Russell Foster League building, off Stadon Way, is breaking rules by holding games on midweek evenings.

They claim the Forestry Commission stipulated games could only be played between 8.30am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays when the development was given the go-ahead.

Paul Bennett, chairman of the Trees and Wildlife Action Group, which opposed the development, said: “When they play during the week you can hear the parents swearing and chastising the youngsters because they haven’t made a tackle or missed an open goal.

“Because Newbottle is on a bank, everybody can hear them. It’s like being at the Sunderland Empire.”

But Mick Clark, secretary of the league, said it is local people using the site during the week, not league players.

“The majority of the games on an evening are kids from the estate,” he said.

“We’re trying to build up a relationship with the people from there.

“We found that on a night, families were coming down and some of the parents were coming down to coach the kids.”

He added he has been in talks with planners about the Forestry Commission rules.