By Tony Dewhurst
A decade ago Burton Albion Football Club were lining up against Bradford Park Avenue, Lancaster City and Bamber Bridge in the craggy foothills of the Northern Premier League.
The title they won that season, the Unibond League, was the first in the club's history, and a testament to the progress made since by the Staffordshire club, that has seen the Brewers step up to The Football League and construct a new ground, the 7,000 capacity Pirelli Stadium.
With canny Canadian manager Paul Peschisolido steering a steady course in npower League 2, this is a club that have barely taken a backward step in the past 11 years.
They have earned a healthy respect too, last season they posted a healthy profit, while, at 27, one of the youngest community managers in the land, Andy Taylor, has come up with a winning formula for Albion's Community Trust.
"Burton's run properly, the manager and the chairman, Ben Robinson, both see the great benefit of a strong community team, and they've helped us enormously," said Taylor, who joined Burton a year after their promotion to The Football League.
"The chairman is a huge driving force, and one of the first things the manager said to me was 'Andy we need to get the message out via the community scheme.'
"Paul Peschisolido is very supportive, he understands that we are trying to target the next generation of fans and that the more work we do in the community the more impact it will have on a Saturday.
"It is not about what we do now, it is about where we can be in four or five years time."
Former Stoke City and Birmingham City striker Mark Sale, Burton's College Development Team Manager, has bolstered their links with the schools and colleges, while Taylor successfully used the Future Jobs Fund to add two more recruits to his staff.
"One was an administrator, who has a Masters in IT and Business, and has since taken over as the club's ticket manager, while the other lad had just finished university, and was also a Level 2 coach.
"We've got great staff, they should be very proud of what they are achieving.
"Perhaps some community schemes and clubs don't have a joined up relationship, but the environment is right here. Burton's a very happy club."
The post was a natural progression for Taylor, who cut his teeth as Shropshire Football Association Development Officer, following an apprenticeship with Port Vale.
He was captain of the youth team at Vale Park and played alongside Anthony Gardner and Chris Birchall, who featured for Trinidad and Tobago against England in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and now stars for Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS.
"I was a regular in the reserves at Port Vale, but I don't regret not making it as a professional, it was the best thing that happened to me," he added.
"I wasn't good enough, and you need to be in the right place at the right time, unless you have unbelievable talent and you'd make it anyway.
"It gave me the opportunity to go to university and do other things."
Burton have had to work diligently to secure their fan base, with football supporters in the locality traditionally drawn to the big three in the East Midlands, Derby County, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest - while half an hour down the A50, there's Barclays Premier League football on offer at Stoke City.
"Burton has always been perceived as people's second club locally, attracting an older generation to games, so it has proved hard in the past," said Taylor.
"Our biggest target was getting kids to come to the games. It has taken time, but we've turned that around.
"We do a family ticket deal, a junior fan club and the feedback we've had is incredible.
"The players are extremely good. For example, they got involved in our reading scheme, going out to primary schools, helping kids with their reading.
"A lot of schools don't have male role models and some children don't have a male role model in their lives, and the players, through this project, have helped fill that gap."
There is no doubt Burton's FA Cup draw with Manchester United in 2006 and the subsequent replay at Old Trafford, where 11,000 Brewers fans saw the second tie, generated the extra momentum Albion needed to realise their Football League dream.
"That was just a huge occasion for Burton Albion, it did change the club," said Taylor.
"To be where we are is a massive achievement and Burton's the envy of a lot of clubs."
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