WHITEFIELD-based Manchester League rivals Standians and Stand Athletic have amalgamated.

The newly formed club will play at Standians’ current base in Ringley Road and immediately doubles the size of the playing squad.

Former Bury striker Kevin Hulme will manage the new club with assistance from coaches Nick Woods, Neil Aldred, Dean Royle and Dave Jackson under the name Standians.

New drains have already been laid at Ringley road and significant improvements have been made to the clubhouse and changing area.

Chairman of the newly-formed club Dave Healey said the intention was to safeguard the future of high quality amateur football in the Whitefield area. He said that a long term lease had been secured with the landowner of Ringley Road which would safeguard the future of the new club for years to come.

Fifty-year-old club Stand Athletic were last season tenants at Agecroft Farm after suffering eviction from The Elms, Whitefield, a ground they had occupied for 10 years.

Old Standians were named after the grammar school and were formed 90 years ago as a memorial to former pupils who died in World War One.

Mr Healey said the merger was intended to bind together a strong club which could gain promotion from the First Division of the Manchester League and challenge the suppremacy of neighbours Prestwich Heys.

“It has not been easy for either club to keep players together,” he said. “There are many distractions for young lads these days and you need a large group of players if you are to succeed.

“We are fortunate in that the clubs have a vastly experienced coaching set-up between them and hopefully we we can make the best possible use of this.

“We want to compete with the likes of Heys and other big hittersi n the Manchester League within the next two or three years and merging the clubs was the best way of doing this.

“Our traditions are as amateur football clubs, but who knows where we may go in the future if we can be successful.”