BASINGSTOKE Town Community FC have officially formed an academy partnership with Premier League club Fulham FC to help aid the development and progress of both clubs.

The new and exciting partnership has been agreed to place emphasis on player and coach development, player care, and recruitment.

The Basingstoke club said the deal is based on a shared footballing philosophy in many key areas.

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Players and coaches will benefit from the partnership, gaining professional knowledge and experiences which will ultimately help both clubs.

With a large focus on academy recruitment, the collaboration with Fulham is expected to open up many opportunities for Basingstoke Town.

Basingstoke Town’s director of football Mike Gilham said: "We, as a club, are acting on the realisation of a shared football philosophy with Fulham FC, and that's why we felt forming a partnership was a logical step to take.

"Both clubs have similar thoughts regarding how they develop players and coaches and the partnership is mutually beneficial. The deal is based on the similar values instilled in both clubs and the shared commitments to a few important areas.

"I'd like to thank Marcus Herron and Mike Cave [from Fulham] for approaching us and working so closely on the partnership."

Mike Cave, academy director at Fulham FC, said: “Formalising this partnership with Basingstoke Town is great news for both clubs, whilst we sit at different ends of the football pyramid, we recognise the existence of shared values and football philosophies at both clubs. We are very excited about the potential of this partnership by supporting the development of Basingstoke’s Academy programmes and in-turn providing potential players with an initial opportunity at a Category One football academy.”

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Basingstoke Town’s chairman Jack Miller said: "It's outstanding for Basingstoke to form this alliance with a club so high up the footballing pyramid in Fulham and we're excited to feel the effect that this new relationship will bring throughout our club."

Basingstoke's Academy will be a chief beneficiary of the partnership with increased playing and learning opportunities for young prospects. There will also be chances for Basingstoke Town’s junior teams to participate in friendly tournaments organised by Fulham.