Boro Star Gives a Boost to Students; FOOTBALL: COLLEGE SUCCESS: Gez Murphy Pays an Inspiring Visit to Sports Academy Players

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Byline: By Danny Boyle

FA CUP star Gez Murphy is hoping to boost the success of league- topping young footballers.

The Nuneaton Boro striker, who hit the headlines with his last-minute penalty against Middlesbrough, called in to see students on the sports academy course at Henley College in Coventry.

He presented the students with new Adidas-sponsored football gear.

The players, who are currently five points clear of nearest rival South Birmingham in the British College League, are on a vocational football development course at Henley, which also includes academic portfolio work.

Gez is the sports development manager for Coventry City Council and is involved with the New Deals for Communities scheme which operates in the Henley and Wood End areas.

He said: "The College Football Academy is an excellent vehicle for aspiring footballers.

"From what I've seen over the years, any youngster who comes here with the desire and commitment could progress to a semi-professional level very easily, like I did.

"They have loads of support at their matches from other students and really are a credit to the college. If they're passionate about sport then this is a great stepping stone."

Team coach John Woodward said the team would be motivated by Gez's new- found celebrity status.

He said: "They play at such a high standard and hope that one day they might get the opportunity to emulate Gez.

"He's like a role model for them, and because he's a local player, his success is tangible to them.

"Originally the scheme was for players who'd been released from professional clubs, but now we have full-time students."

Almost 5,000 Nuneaton fans will be travelling to the Riverside stadium tomorrow for their replay against Middlesbrough. …