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A decent piece from the Star

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He's saying a lot of the right things in that article but it's well documented on this forum what I've previously thought of our academy set up and Haslam. 

He's been part of the development phase set up since 2013 and academy manager since 2017 but we're only just seeing a pathway. We might have had first team managers who didn't fancy putting kids in, apart from Jos, but that shouldn't have stopped the academy from getting a saleable value out of what we had. Instead we kept bringing through group after group then just releasing them. If each released player had £200k of training then we've spunked upwards of £5m on academy releases (shit, just given 1867 something else to add to the manifesto) How much has Ciaran Brennan cost the club in training and wages? 

But, to give the academy credit there now seems to be a better scouting operation in place, instead of just holding open trials. There seems to be a long term plan and linear pathways from u14/15s through to scholarships. More readiness to secure talent to longer contracts rather than rolling one year deals. We're now seen as an attractive proposition. We are pinching from other academies and becoming first choice for those with several offers, some of which are financially better. 

But I think this pathway is more Neil Thompson's doing. All this has happened since he got the 23s job after Bullen left. It's no coincidence that the influx of academy players into the first team set up coincided with Thomson joining Rohl's coaching set up. 

But all this leaves us wide open to Cat A and foreign club poaching. We are being actively pinged at an alarming rate for our 14s to 16s, nevermind our scholarship players. Daniel DaCosta is being tracked by Porto, who've already tried once. Will Granger is on Liverpool, Villa, and Man City's radar. We need to play on the stat Haslam uses in the interview. 97% of former Category One academy players who were now aged between 21 to 26 never made an Premier League appearance 

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Further thoughts on this. 

In 2019 our U18s won the league. Only two made it into the professional game but neither with us. Liam Shaw and Conor Grant. The rest are playing 7th tier or below. 

In 2021 Will Trueman wins Championship Apprentice of the Year as an 18 year old. An award previously won by Jude Bellingham, Ryan Sessegnon, Ademola Lookman and others. Haslam is all over the official website and local media saying what a talent this lad is, how special he is. End of last season he signs for Mickleover in Southern League Premier. 

So, excluding Shaw, what happened to conveyor belt that was supposed to bring these lads through? Even if there was no integration there should have been a coaching set up that monetarised these lads. 

Like I said earlier, the pathway appears to be there and the structure appears to be in place. The proof will be in what happens to the likes of Charles, Shipston, Reed, Sequeira, Da Costa, Granger and the others.  

Edited by Tylluan
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