Patrick Bamford’s success with Leeds United can inspire Newark's next generation of footballers
Championship-winning striker Patrick Bamford has been praised by his former team-mates and youth coaches after a record-breaking season.
Bamford, from Norwell, played for Newark Town for a limited time from the age of six. Town have congratulated the Leeds United forward on his achievements.
Bamford scored 16 Championship goals this season and featured in 45 of United’s 46 league matches.
As a youth player, Bamford once wore the colours of Newark Town, before venturing into academy football with Nottingham Forest aged eight.
Sean McGuiness, who played alongside Bamford in his youth days, said even as youngster it was clear to see his quality.
‘’I remember signing for Newark Town Blues the day the team was formed,” said McGuiness.
“I can’t remember what age exactly, but we were barely old enough to kick the ball.
“Our team, from the get go, was brilliant. We dominated the Newark leagues and cups as children all the way through to mid-teens.
“The squad stayed together throughout with only a few changes. Patrick signed for us from the beginning and, like everyone else in the squad, he was absolutely quality.
“It is no surprise that he’s made it as a professional — any player in the team could have made it, had they had Patrick’s determination and work rate in the long run.”
McGuiness, unlike Bamford, remained at Newark Town and made the step up to adult football with the club.
A left-back turned centre-half, he later captained the side before he stopped playing through injuries.
Bamford’s story offers hope to all of the aspiring footballers in the town who dream of playing professionally.
Having joined Chelsea on a five-year contract for a fee of £1.5m in 2012, he enjoyed successful spells at the likes of Milton Keynes Dons, Derby County and Middlesbrough, before later signing for Leeds United in July 2018 on a four-year contract.
Paul Baggaley, who was the chairman of Town during Bamford’s period at the club, said: “This was a team like many others that came out of Newark Town’s Saturday club to play in the New Newark Youth Football League.
“When I see photographs like this it reminds me that how powerful sport is — it can change people lives.
“Sports gives us more than it takes away, for very little investment we get so much back.
“All of the players in this photograph, their families and the community have benefited from their involvement in sport.
“Patrick’s success is our success. Without sport and sports clubs like Newark Town FC we will all be poorer.”
Paul Dobb, the current head of youth at Newark Town, said Patrick was an inspiration to all 15 teams in the club’s youth section.
“It’s great to know he started out his club football at Newark Town all those years ago,” said Dobb.
“A ridiculously small percentage of players actually make it to the dizzy heights that he has achieved, so it’s nice that we can share a very small part of his football journey.’’