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United awarded a seal of approval

PUBLISHED: 10:15 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:54 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG BETHNAL GREEN UNITED have been awarded the Charter Standard by the Football Association to highlight a season of progress for the Middlesex County League club. United become the seventh Tower Hamlets club to receive the award, which was

By JONATHAN CLEGG

BETHNAL GREEN UNITED have been awarded the Charter Standard by the Football Association to highlight a season of progress for the Middlesex County League club.

United become the seventh Tower Hamlets club to receive the award, which was announced by the FA earlier this month, and are currently the borough's most senior team to boast the mark.

The Charter Standard Scheme is a best practice guide that sets standards of coaching, administration and child protection for all clubs outside the Premier and Football League.

The accreditation now means the club can move forward to provide the best quality standards of coaching and administration for the benefit of players of all ages within the community.

United, who plan to field a women's team and Under-10s and Under-8s sides next season in addition to the existing men's team and two Under-16 squads, have made considerable off-field progress this year.

The club moved to Mile End Stadium from their old base in Meath Gardens this summer in a change of venue that will allow the team to compete at a higher level in future seasons.

The first-team squad are delivering on the field too, with the senior team currently third in the Middlesex Premier Division and manager Justin Gardner believes the club are now fully prepared for promotion to Step Five of non-league football next year.

He said: "It's a big achievement to be awarded the Charter Standard because it's a very prestigious award.

"In terms of the set-up and structure of the club, everything is geared up for promotion now.

"We've got a permanent home at Mile End Stadium that is suitable for Conference level football, so progression is in our own hands.

"If we had won the league last year, we wouldn't have been allowed up but now everything is in place for promotion. That's the goal of everyone at the club and we've made major progress in the last 12 months - we've done what it takes some teams three years to achieve."

United are just two points behind Premier Division leaders Park View following a remarkable run of 10 successive league wins, but their bid to climb to the top of the table last weekend was held up by the weather as the club's trip to Kodak Harrow was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Despite the absence of captain Jamie Barry, who faces a month on the sidelines with a broken arm, Gardner admits he is eager to get back to action this weekend when new signing Amos Foyewa could make his debut.

"At the moment we're looking forward to every game," said Gardner. "On the playing side, things couldn't be going any better and if I can keep this squad together and keep hold of the key players, there's no reason we can't win the league.

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