A landlord has found a way to stop teenagers hanging around outside his pub – he has formed a football team with them.
Lee Durrant, landlord of the Talbot Head in Rochdale, wanted to stop the youths making a noise and dropping litter so he decided to give them something positive to do instead.
The Talbot Head Albion team are now enjoying their first season in the Rochdale Under 18s Sunday League. The team has 18 members, aged 15 to 17, and a group of fans – the girls who used to hang about on the street with them.
Mr Durrant said: “The idea was to keep them off the streets and it has worked.
“At that age it could have gone another way for them, but they just wanted something to do.
“I spoke to them on numerous occasions about noise and litter at the side of the pub. And on a couple of occasions I’m sorry to say I rang the police.
“But they are a great set of lads and this just goes to show that if you are prepared to work with these kids something good can come of it.”
The team are coached by former footballer John Perrin and train at the nearby Lenny Barn playing fields. Mr Durrant sponsors the team and treats them to a soft drink and lunch at the pub after each training session.
He added: “I’ve been impressed with how they have played and how they conduct themselves in the pub. They have shown respect for me and respect for my pub.
“Every time they shake my hand and say ‘thanks a lot Lee’.
“A lot of people just dismiss kids but I find that it doesn’t cost much to get them into something that diverts them off the streets.”