SWINDON Town midfielder Jesse Starkey appreciates the importance of getting the next generation engaged with the club.
He was joined by Dion Conroy at the Swindon Town Football in the Community half-term football development course yesterday to help promote this weekend’s ‘Kids for a Quid’ promotion.
Having got into the beautiful game through similar schemes put on by his local football club Brighton & Hove Albion, Starkey knows how important it is to act as role model to younger fans and says Town's players will appreciate any additional support they get in a crunch game with Oldham Athletic at the County Ground.
“When I was their age, I was doing similar things in Brighton and I was doing football camps like these myself,” he said.
“I was at events like this growing up, where they would bring pros down and introduce them to the players and we would look up to them, and it inspires you to do your own thing.
“Some of those children will end up playing for academies or playing for local teams around here and it is important for the club to support them in that.
“You want the local community supporting you because they are the people who really care about the club.
“The club are promoting getting the kids down here and bringing as many people as we can to what will be an important game.
“When people are cheering you on and wanting you to do well, it gives everyone a lift and all the players will see that.
“It always helps when you have got a lot of fans behind you and if we can get as many people as we can down here on Saturday supporting the team, it’s only going to help.”
Starkey has had to bide his time on the sidelines since his arrival from boyhood club Brighton during the January transfer window but has faith that his moment will come, as will Town’s chance to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.
“Obviously, the club are in a tough situation at the minute, being down there,” he added.
“The camp in training and around the building is still positive, so I am confident we’ll get out of the situation we have found ourselves in.
“It’s just a waiting game for myself. I have got to keep fit and keep training hard, and hopefully my chance will come.”
All children under the age of 18 will be able to attend tomorrow’s fixture for £1 when accompanied by an adult.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the club shop on 0871 876 1993, online at www.eticketing.co.uk/swindontown or by visiting the County Ground in person.
Football in the Community will be holding their next development course during the Easter holiday and more information can be found at www.stfitc.co.uk.