Tom makes history as first graduate

By David Watters

Tom Hutchinson has made history as the first NPL Football Academy student to make his debut for the Millers in the EVO-STIK League.

The 19-year old became the 31st NPLFA student to turn out in the Northern Premier League on Monday night when he came on as a second half substitute in the Nottinghamshire club’s 4-0 defeat in EVO-STIK League South at promotion-chasing Frickley Athletic.

The first year star appeared on the Millers bench for the first time in last week’s derby against Basford United after signing his first pro contract for the Millers before Easter with fellow NPLFA students Josh Harris, Joe Sheekey and Tom Spice.

Hutchinson, recommended for promotion to the first team by Carlton Town academy coaches Evan Garnett and Andy Dales, was congratulated on his achievement by the NPLFA’s coaches on Tuesday.

A spokesman said: “Congratulations to him on becoming the club’s first ever graduate and our 31st. Well done Tom and keep up the hard work!”

The NPLFA was founded with the backing of the Football Association at five pilot clubs in September 2014 to provide career pathways into the football industry with youngsters studying on two year BTEC courses.

Still the only league-wide academy in English football combining sport with education and now expanded to 12 members clubs, the NPLFA welcomed its fourth intake of students this season while launching a new higher education partnership with Loughborough University so students could continue their studies to degree level within the Northern Premier League.

To read the full of graduates, including to the pro game, click here:

For further details and information on the football education programme, visit or contact them at

Images courtesy of & @Matlock_TownFC/Twitter

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