by Jeff King
Scottish International, Liverpool legend and former BBC pundit Alan Hansen once famously said that you can't win anything with kids. When Chester-le-Street United step out at Annfield Plain tomorrow afternoon they will be aiming to prove him wrong.
It is United's first league game of the season in the Wearside League Division 1 and the Alan Hood League Cup holders will line up without a single player over the age of 19.
Despite that many pundits from the Wearside League and further afield have installed them as favourites to lift the league title at the end of the season. The reasons for that are numerous.
United have some of the most talented young individual talent in the North East at their disposal. Players from other professional club academies have made the switch to the Park View Academy and get their first-team opportunity at a tender age.
The ability to train on a daily basis under highly qualified coaches drilling them in team ethics and footballing tactics means they'll hit the ground running full of energy, enthusiasm and potential. These are exciting times for the Club.
Saturday's squad of fifteen includes eleven who could be making their United debuts. There are also three under-18's in the squad alongside twelve from the under-19's squad. They are Tom McIntyre, Jak McKinley and Dylan Wilkinson.
Of the under-19's only Goalkeeper James Anderson, Micky Spellman, Cameron Brewis and Taylor Robinson represented the first-team last season. Two of the new recruits Josh Ward and Jaden Timmis have arrived at Chester-le-Street from Hull City and Salford City respectively showing the regard for the Academy system.
They face an established Wearside League Team in Annfield Plain who opened their league season last Wednesday night with a 2 - 1 home defeat at the hands of West Auckland Tunns. Kyle Dixon being Plain's marksman.
Annfield will be looking to bounce back from that defeat and kick-start their own season and there's no doubting that most teams in the Wearside League are looking at Chester-le-Street as one of their toughest opponents.
The action at Derwent Park kicks off at 14:30pm and supporters are welcome and encouraged to come along and see if United can get off to a winning start.