Three former Watford players feature in a new six-part BBC documentary series which starts tonight (Sunday, 9pm, BBC3 and iPlayer).

'Boot Dreams: Now or Never' charts the progress of 16 young footballers who, having been rejected by professional clubs, try to kickstart their careers supported by a group of coaches, current pros and other experts.

One of the coaches is former Hornets striker Gifton Noel-Williams, while two of the players are Jordan Fankwe (who played for Watford’s Under-21s last season) and Alfie Young, who was in the Academy from age 11 to 19 but was released after the first year of a two-year professional contract.

Shot over four weeks last summer, the documentary follows the squad as they undergo intense training in an unique academy with support from professionals like Chelsea and England’s Millie Bright, and Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes, before playing in front of top scouts with the hope of one last shot at glory.

The 16 young players range in age from 18 to 26, and were released by clubs such as Tottenham, Leeds, Southampton, Birmingham and QPR.

Noel-Williams is part of the coaching team that works with them each day, preparing them for the final match held in front of scouts to try and win themselves another crack at the big time.

As well as the coaching staff, external experts such as sports psychologists will be brought in to give the players the best chance to succeed.

Not all the player stories are straightforward: one was defrauded by fake agents and another was let go by his professional club because he was caught stealing from a local corner shop.

Fankwe joined Watford in January, but his career stuttered earlier after he was released by Nottingham Forest having spent five years in their Academy.

Young was at Vicarage Road from the age of 11 and signed a two-year professional contract, but was released after the first year.

As for Noel-Williams, he holds the record for being Watford’s youngest player to score for the first team and is still held in high regard by Hornets fans.

Now 43, he retired from playing in 2010 after a career that also took him to Burnley, Stoke, Spain and America.

He made 193 appearances and scored 41 goals for Watford, and was part of the squad that got the club to the Premier League for the first time in 1999.

As well as being part of the England youth team coaching set-up since retirement from playing, Noel-Williams has also worked in America and recently managed Indian I-League side Real Kashmir.

“I owe being a coach to my son Isiah,” he said.

“I had no interest in it but when I was close to retiring in America, I took my son to football practice and the coach didn’t turn up so I ended up coaching the session as I would normally just watch.

“After four weeks of the coach not turning up, I decided that I would take the team as I’d be there anyway and my love for coaching began.”

Noel-Williams said it was easy to have empathy for the young players that feature in the programme.

“I’ve seen so many young men that have had their dreams taken away and don’t know what to do next,” he said.

“My eldest son went through that and I was able to be there for him, however most young men don’t have that person in their lives so it’s a real soft spot for me to give that to others.

“Being a coach is great because it means I’m still in football and I’m also not in pain anymore following my career-halting injury.”

What can those who tune in to Boot Dreams expect to see?

“They will learn a lot about football itself and also the things and conversations that happen every day across the country that no one else sees,” Gifton said.

“There will be some drama, learning and hopefully people will fall in love with the boys. I also hope it can help someone who is in or who has gone through the same situation too.”

• Boot Dreams: Now or Never is a six-part series that runs weekly on BBC3 from tonight (Sunday), with all six available from then as a box-set on BBCiPlayer.