Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is going back to his roots as ambassador for Budweiser Club Futures.
The new programme will see £1m invested into grassroots football over the next two seasons.
The Magpies boss will lead the UK-wide initiative, launched by The FA and Budweiser, by encouraging clubs to participate and will also be part of the judging panel which decides the eight winners in the first season.
Pardew knows all about life outside of the professional game, having begun his playing career as a non-league part-timer at Whyteleafe and Epsom & Ewell, whilst working as a glazier.
His also had spells at Corinthian Casuals, Dulwich Hamlet and Yeovil Town before he signed for Crystal Palace as a 26-year-old. It was with Palace that he reached The FA Cup Final in 1990, losing out to Manchester United after a replay.
“Having started my career in non-league football I know just how important the grassroots level of the game is,” said Pardew.
“These sorts of clubs are a great asset for the local community as much as the players.
“This is a massive opportunity for teams to help themselves move forwards and become more sustainable. It’s great to be part of such a valuable programme that’s investing in clubs at this level.
“I’m really hoping that as many clubs as possible apply over the next two seasons.”
The Budweiser Club Futures programme will give sixteen £50k grants to teams between steps 5 and 7 of the National League System, split across two seasons, as part of Budweiser’s FA Cup sponsorship.
Within each season, one of the chosen eight clubs will win an additional £100,000 super grant – as voted by football fans from early next year through the official FA Cup and Budweiser UK Facebook pages.
Budweiser European Marketing Director, Iain Newell, said: “Alan Pardew knows the importance of non-league clubs to the future of the game and within local communities, so to have him on board with the programme is great.
“He’ll have a great impact in raising awareness of the programme, to help get clubs up and down the country involved and his background in grassroots football makes him the ideal ambassador to sit on the judging panel.”
Clubs wishing to apply for one of the £50,000 grants can do so via the FA website. Applications close on 31 October 2012.