BEGINNING next week, former Sunderland players Martin Gray and Gary Bennett are embarking on a joint venture to provide more football training opportunities.

They represented Sunderland during their playing days, Bennett making 350 appearances for the Black Cats, while Gray also played for and managed Darlington, winning three promotion in his time with The Quakers.

Both hold highly accredited coaching qualifications with the UEFA Pro and UEFA B licenses, and together have launched the MGB Academy.

The aim, they say, is to provide elite training for young people in the Sunderland area.

Gray said: “We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Sunderland during our careers and we look forward to providing further opportunities for the young people in the region.”

Bennett added: “I am delighted to partner with Martin on the MGB Academy. We have worked together for many years and we are very much looking forward to supporting and developing the local footballing talent.”

The MGB Academy kicks off with two free invitational training sessions taking place on March 3 and 10 at Silksworth Sports Complex in Sunderland. The sessions are open for 5-15 year olds and take place 6.30pm-8.30pm.

More information can be found by emailing