CREWE Alexandra is not the only sports club in South Cheshire with an incredibly successful youth policy.
Just down the road almost 350 youngsters aged between six and 18 pour into a popular rugby club every week to learn how to play their favourite game.
The rugby boom sparked when England won the World Cup in 2003 is still in full flow and Sandbach RUFC are reaping the rewards.
Many of their players have gone on to to play at county and international level over the years. Mark Cueto (1998-99), now of Sale Sharks, is the latest old-boy to hit the heights, playing for England in this year's Six Nations.
But it is working at local level also. Sandbach's first team is currently playing at the highest standard in their history - in the Euromanx South Lancs/Cheshire League Division One - and 75% of the players have come through the youth ranks.
Friday is the only day of rest at their Bradwall Road base, which will soon boast four full-size and three mini-pitches. On every other day of the week, it becomes a hive of activity.
Now Sandbach are celebrating 30 years of mini-rugby. Mini-rugby chairman Martyn Hurlstone-Johnson said: 'The fact that we are expanding the ground demonstrates the boom. The club would not need to expand if it were not for mini-rugby.
'A few years ago the club made a commitment to focus more on youth and to bring the average age of the first team down. It has come down from around 32 to around 21. Having 75% of homegrown players in the first team is phenomenal.
'We are bursting at the seams and, while we wait for the expansion to come to fruition, we have been using Offley Junior School's pitch on Sunday, for which we are most grateful to headteacher Mark Avis.
'England winning the World Cup was very helpful and Sandbach is indicative of what's going on in rugby now. Kids want to play rugby, whereas before most of the talented sportsmen were lost to football, because games often clash and youngsters have to choose.'
Sandbach's mini-rugby setup was started in 1974 by Tony Brookes. A national lull in the sport almost saw it fold in the mid-1980s, but in the early 90s a new structure and renewed ambition was born.
At Sandbach, kids begin at age U7 and U8 in mixed-sex nine-a-side teams playing 'tag rugby'. With no contact, the boys and girls simply learn the rules, and how to run and pass.
At U9, tackling and a non-competitive three-man scrum is introduced. At U10 the scrum is competitive, and at U11-U12 they move to 12-aside games with a five-man competitive scrum, with kicking allowed for the first time.
From U13 upwards, boys and girls are spilt up and they play for the first time on a full-size pitch. The process is slow, deliberate, carefully thought out - and it works.
Mr Hurlstone-Johnson, 38, who has been mini-rugby chairman for two years, said: 'We start them off with the basics so they can learn without worrying about someone crashing into them.
'We don't have a 'win at all costs' mentality at that level. In fact, seeing someone who is not a star of a team doing better than before is often the most rewarding thing.'
All the sides are showing a flair at the club, with the U15s perhaps most successful at the moment.
Ten Sandbach players were in the Cheshire U15 side which lost 15-14 to Lancashire last week.
But it is the fledgling girls section which is thriving most. Set up 12 months ago with six females, a total of 42 women of all ages were at the last training session, many of whom also represent the North West.