RIVAL football teams in Mossley have come together to form a new junior set-up.
Thirty-seven teams representing Mossley AFC and Mossley Juniors will operate under Juniors’ umbrella.
And the dream is to create a pathway from the juniors to the senior side that plays in the Northern Premier League.
Mossley AFC chair Stephen Porter said: “We are genuinely delighted and excited that we are all in the same shirt as part of the partnership.
“If we don’t leave another legacy, I believe this is the biggest thing we have done.”
Vice chair James Bull added: “A lot of people said it couldn’t happen.
“They asked why there were two organisations for junior football in the town.
“It is the right thing for junior football to thrive in the town that there is one organisation for junior football.”
Previous attempts have been made and failed, but Mossley AFC’s current board of directors has forged close links with Mossley Juniors.
Stephen’s grandson George Cooper, James’ son George and finance director Graeme Jones’ son Leon all play for Juniors’ U11s.
Rob Brooks, Juniors’ treasurer and coach to two teams, is excited by the merger.
He said: “We have never had a formal pathway from the juniors to senior set-up.
“I have known Stephen from when we played together in open-age teams, and we began talking that there should be a formal arrangement.
“The wide-eyed dream is to have as many starting players for the senior side as possible who have come through the junior set-up.
“That may take between five and 10 years to happen but that is why we are striving to achieve.
“We want to drip feed one or two players initially, but the lasting legacy would be to have an entire Mossley AFC team that has come through the junior structure.”
Juniors have 30 teams from U7s to two open-age sides while Mossley AFC have seven junior sides.
As part of the new set-up, every junior player will receive a free season ticket to watch the senior side in Northern Premier League, so they feel they are part of the club.