THE youngsters of Ramsbottom United Giants Under-9s swept past a host of teams from the North-West to clinch the prestigious Foxhall Football Tournament title in Blackpool.

The young stars, many of whom have played together for Rammy since the age of five, defied the hot weather to clinch the trophy after victories in each of their seven games on the Fylde coast.

This latest success follows last year’s triple success for the junior section, when the Giants clinched the Haslingden u10s, JSL Rochdale tournament u9s, and the Manchester Cup u9s competitions.

The team is becoming quite the force in the local area with many professional clubs beginning to take note of this talented and spirited bunch enjoying success in matches.

The team will shortly be leaving for Barcelona to take on some of the best teams in Europe in a three-day tournament and, understandably, are excited at the challenge ahead.

One of the teams will be the Barcelona academy team, who will surely provide a stiff test for the boys, whose trip includes a visit to the Nou Camp.

Meanwhile, the senior first team’s plans for the 2018/19 season are well and truly in full swing.

Manager Mark Fell has secured extended stays for several players and moves are afoot to bring some new faces to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium in the next few weeks.

Those agreeing to stay with the Rams are Dean Stott, Luke Thompson, Jerome Wright, Phil Dean, Jamie Rother, Tom Brooks, Greg Daniels and Harry Foulds, with discussions with other members of the squad ongoing.

“There’s been interest in all our lads, that’s the nature of this level of football,” said Fell.

“But these lads want to play for Ramsbottom United, they want to succeed with the club. Some we’ve already nailed down, some we’re still talking to and others have an invite to come into pre-season and stake their claim.

“It’s important we have that competitive environment from the off and with some of the additions we are set to make, all the lads will need to be at their best to be in the starting XI come August 18.”

With more than a month before the players return from their summer break the Rams’ management team have been eager to get their business done as early as possible,

“It’s a crazy time of year,” added Fell. “Me and the staff identified the areas we needed to strengthen and we drew up a list of targets that we are engaged with.

“It’s a player’s market at the moment and we need to ensure deals are right for the club and the player.

“It’s also a time where, as a manager, you have to be alert to the possibility that some players may become available well into pre-season, a case in point being we signed Jerome Wright and Kyle Brownhill the week before the season started last year.

“But we hope to get information out as soon as possible on the new signings as we gear up to what we hope will be a successful campaign.”

The Rams have once again achieved FA Charter Standard recognition.

An inspection by the Lancashire FA at a recent home game confirmed all the criteria had been met, and for the second time, the club has been granted FA Charter Standard Adult Club status.