Altrincham bosses have defied the current uncertainty over football’s future by boldly declaring they will press ahead with plans to have an Academy up and running for the start of next season.

The scheme was plunged into doubt by the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.

But while cutbacks have been the norm elsewhere, Alty have bucked the trend and pledged that they will open up a potential pathway to manager Phil Parkinson’s first-team squad for the area’s emerging young talent.

Buoyed by emphatic evidence of the club’s importance to supporters, in the form of an appeal fund that now tops £17,000, and eager to reap the benefits of producing homegrown talent, director Lawrence Looney explained the board’s stance by saying: “We had a tough choice. Do we go ahead and launch the Academy in these uncertain times, or play safe and wait until next year? Our decision was clear – we go ahead.

“The ending of the academic year has caused so much stress for young students, who now face massive uncertainty about their future.

“By sticking to our plans for the Academy, we offer a way forward, and hope to those with a place. We will use distance learning to begin with if necessary, but we will go ahead.

“The benefits of being able to support our community at this time far outweigh the potential financial burden that this may put us under. Altrincham Football Club are committed to setting up this Academy and we are delighted to be able to go ahead for 2020-21.”

Pre-lockdown trials were held at the club in January, with Looney, fellow director John Coyne and assistant manager Neil Sorvel all in attendance.

The Academy will start with around 20 places this year, growing to nearer 40 from next year.

Meanwhile, Alty’s appeal for funds reached £17,309 after a donation of £750 from former Robin Duncan Watmore, now at Sunderland, and £860 from fans group The Flaggers.