A sponsorship deal struck between a Hampshire accountants and the company set up by footballing legend Matt Le Tissier is helping fund a community sports project in more than 20 schools across Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Smith Newmans, based near Winchester, is sponsoring football coaching programmes run by Matt Le Tissier Natural Coaching, which was set up by the ex-Saint and and his old team mate Francis Benali.

The company's main goal is to provide children aged three to 18 with an opportunity to be coached using a "play with freedom" philosophy and build their confidence, whilst also giving them to be seen by professional clubs.

Programmes are currently being run in schools in and around Southampton, Eastleigh, North Baddesley, Winchester and Salisbury.

The new sponsorship from Smith Newmans will go towards funding new equipment and team kit with the coaches wearing new shirts sporting the Smith Newmans company logo.

Director of Smith Newmans Nigel Newman explains: “We’ve been Matt Le Tissier Natural Coaching’s accountants since the company began and the community programmes they run are truly inspiring – supporting kids through sport and helping to spot the footballing stars of the future. As a local firm we wanted to alleviate some of the funding issues and help this valuable community project expand into other local schools.”

Matt Le Tissier adds: “Obviously it’s fantastic for Smith Newmans to support us. The funding will help the community coaching programme in the schools across the Hampshire and Wiltshire area. It’s a great opportunity for kids to come and play football and learn in a supportive and positive environment with top coaches. This is just the beginning for us - and we may just find the next big star of the Premier League!”