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Posted by: GTFC_687, May 1, 2019, 6:42am
I see the club keep tweeting about the academy teams playing against NFFC at Blundell Park this Sunday. Sounds like a good day for the youngsters at the club.

Anyone planning on going down to watch? I might pop down for the day as interested to see what future stars we can look forward too. Neil Woods quite rightly getting lots of praise with recent players coming through so I think this might be worth a few fans going down to watch.

UTM
Posted by: Tommy, May 5, 2019, 9:18am; Reply: 1
For anyone at a loose end today:

https://www.grimsby-townfc.co.uk/news/2019/april/gtfc--nottingham-forest-academy-tournament-next-sunday/

All age groups playing.

BBQ and drinks etc.

Free entry.
Posted by: HackneyHaddock, May 5, 2019, 10:13am; Reply: 2
Well done the club for putting this on.  We're very lucky to have a good youth system here and I think THE major success of the season is how we've had some great young players come through, which will help to make the club sustainable over the long term.
Posted by: lew chaterleys lover, May 5, 2019, 11:34am; Reply: 3
Quoted from HackneyHaddock
Well done the club for putting this on.  We're very lucky to have a good youth system here and I think THE major success of the season is how we've had some great young players come through, which will help to make the club sustainable over the long term.


Steady on. Great young players? Making the bench for a struggling lower league  2 club is hardly going to keep us "sustainable over the long term", is it?

The best local players don't come here for a start - they get snapped up by bigger clubs. Yes we can develop the rest, but history shows that most promising players fall by the wayside well before they ever reach maturity.

If we haven't got any foreseeable investment coming into the club then our only option is to hope that some young players make it through, but the chances of younger players making us anything other than League 2 fodder are remote.
Posted by: HackneyHaddock, May 5, 2019, 11:44am; Reply: 4


Steady on. Great young players? Making the bench for a struggling lower league  2 club is hardly going to keep us "sustainable over the long term", is it?

The best local players don't come here for a start - they get snapped up by bigger clubs. Yes we can develop the rest, but history shows that most promising players fall by the wayside well before they ever reach maturity.

If we haven't got any foreseeable investment coming into the club then our only option is to hope that some young players make it through, but the chances of younger players making us anything other than League 2 fodder are remote.


Fine, but still a bit needlessly churlish, especially after they've just won their age group league and provided a third of our match day squad recently.  In our league, having half a dozen competent academy players in a squad can help stretch the budget to allow for more to be spent on other players.  Rather Clifton, Wright and Pollock than be burning through money on the likes of Welsh or Clarke.
Posted by: lew chaterleys lover, May 5, 2019, 11:56am; Reply: 5
Quoted from HackneyHaddock


Fine, but still a bit needlessly churlish, especially after they've just won their age group league and provided a third of our match day squad recently.  In our league, having half a dozen competent academy players in a squad can help stretch the budget to allow for more to be spent on other players.  Rather Clifton, Wright and Pollock than be burning through money on the likes of Welsh or Clarke.


Churlish I agree. But clubs all over the country produce young players all the time, but the best are snapped up by bigger clubs and that is just a fact of football life.

The idea that we are going to be transformed by younger players coming through is remote.

In 60 years of going to BP I have known one set of young players coming through together (Drinkell, Lund, Wilkinson etc) and only a handful of local players such as John Oster playing at a high level in all that time. It just is not going to happen.

Its great that the academy team have won their league; but it is the first team that matters and history shows us that winning things as a teenager does not mean a bean further down the line.
Posted by: forza ivano, May 5, 2019, 12:00pm; Reply: 6
Good points on both sides.there's a long list going back 30 years of youngsters coming through playing a couple o f games and disappearing into obscurity, Graham hockless anyone?
The present crop still have questions to answer , will Clifton and rose be the answ ers once they have recovered from injury, is max Wright strong enough whilst we haven't seen enough of Pollack or Burrell to make any judgement. Having said that i d far rather have them in the squad than wasters like Karleigh Osborne or Paul dixon
Posted by: Grantley, May 5, 2019, 12:18pm; Reply: 7
We might not be reaping the rewards yet or even for several years but our best hope is to adopt something similar to the Exeter model. In the last two years, they’ve sold Ollie Watkins, Ethan Ampadu and Jordan Storey for a combined total of nearly £3million.

Maybe they’ve got lucky but it’s something to aim for. The current situation with the youth is the best it’s been for well over a decade.
Posted by: lew chaterleys lover, May 5, 2019, 12:30pm; Reply: 8
Quoted from Grantley
We might not be reaping the rewards yet or even for several years but our best hope is to adopt something similar to the Exeter model. In the last two years, they’ve sold Ollie Watkins, Ethan Ampadu and Jordan Storey for a combined total of nearly £3million.

Maybe they’ve got lucky but it’s something to aim for. The current situation with the youth is the best it’s been for well over a decade.


And Exeter are still in league 2. It is nice to have the £3 million obviously, minus the cost of running the Youth set up of course. Investment in the first team squad, with one or two promising youth players is great. Relying on a youth system to save us and produce a first team to be proud of is unlikely in the extreme.
Posted by: Meza, May 5, 2019, 12:40pm; Reply: 9
I don't see the youth as the answers to the first team to be proud of as such Lew, I see it as an option to sell said youth to help fund the first team, but that will come once they have established themselves.  Just a couple of examples, not sure who else has come through the youth and we've sold on.  Scunny made most of theres by signing players like Sharp, and Hooper etc, not sure if they have sold youth on for a tidy profit.

Croft - Blackburn 1 mill
Oster - Everton 1.5 mill
Bennett - Peterborough 500K
Posted by: Mariner16, May 5, 2019, 12:43pm; Reply: 10
Notts Forest..who?
Posted by: rancido, May 5, 2019, 5:15pm; Reply: 11


And Exeter are still in league 2. It is nice to have the £3 million obviously, minus the cost of running the Youth set up of course. Investment in the first team squad, with one or two promising youth players is great. Relying on a youth system to save us and produce a first team to be proud of is unlikely in the extreme.



But that £3 million could be instrumental in keeping the club solvent. This was a model that Dario Gradi practised at Crewe for years - every decent player that thet developed and sold kept the club financially secure.
Posted by: KingstonMariner, May 5, 2019, 9:09pm; Reply: 12
I'd take £3m over two seasons in return for 3 homegrown players! Exeter might still be in League 2 but they've done much better than us with a historically lower fanbase, and their ground is getting upgraded piece by piece. I'd be very happy if we took a few leaves out of their book.
Posted by: Abdul19, May 5, 2019, 9:39pm; Reply: 13
Quoted from forza ivano
Good points on both sides.there's a long list going back 30 years of youngsters coming through playing a couple o f games and disappearing into obscurity, Graham hockless anyone?


Terrible example as Hockless didn't come through our yoof system ;)
Posted by: friskneymariner, May 5, 2019, 10:26pm; Reply: 14
There are several young players who's careers were blighted by being force on too early,David Soames,Jonathan Rowan,Darren Mansarram,to name a few..
Posted by: moosey_club, May 6, 2019, 9:29am; Reply: 15
So....did anyone go ?

Posted by: Tommy, May 8, 2019, 12:53am; Reply: 16
It was a good day. Only really know how the younger age groups got on, where there were some really good games against very good opposition. Don't know any actual scores other than u11s and u12s, where at both ages the Town boys won.
Posted by: diehardmariner, May 8, 2019, 10:24am; Reply: 17
Quoted from friskneymariner
There are several young players who's careers were blighted by being force on too early,David Soames,Jonathan Rowan,Darren Mansarram,to name a few..


Mansaram, yes.  Expected to play as the lone striker in a struggling Championship (as it is now) side was borderline cruel to the lad.  I saw him in the reserves the year before he broke through and he was a completely different player.  Confident, intelligent, strong, quick and deadly in front of goal.  In the first team he just looked like a rabbit in headlights, totally shot of any confidence.  Definitely one of those cases that we'll never know but I think it's difficult to argue that he would have benefited from a more gradual introduction into the first team.

Soames and Rowan?  Not sure about that.  Soames was blighted with injuries whereas Rowan was a few months shy of 20 when he made his debut and nearly 21 before he was regarded a first teamer.  

I don't think there's a tested method for when you play young lads.  John Oster, albeit a once in a generation type talent, was more than well equipped for the professional game at 17.  I look at some of the young lads we've got on our bench who are a year or two older and they're nowhere near that level yet.  Equally so someone like Mattie Pollock looks as if he will be able to more than be a physical match for anyone in the professional game.  

The difference between Town and far bigger clubs when it comes to youth development is time.  Bigger and richer clubs can afford to develop their players beyond the age of 18, hence why the big clubs give contracts to everyone beyond 18.  We, on the other hand can't afford that.  Whilst the young professionals might not break the bank, when it comes to a first team budget the pressure is on to make sure it's spent to benefit the first team.

Paul Hurst was a classic example of this.  Year on year he would hold back a little bit of his budget for a few loan signings towards the end of the season with the sole intention of giving the squad a boost for the final push.  Ultimately a lot of those signings were bloody useless (Anthony Straker, Christian Jolley, Dougie Wilson....).   It used to frustrate the life out of me that we spent wages on these guys when we could have given another year to some of the talented youth team lads who weren't quite there at 18 but might have been worth a gamble to see how they developed up to 20.  

The response seems to be that the lads we release never go onto anything better.  They end up at Clee Town, Grimsby Borough, Brigg, Grantham, Armthorpe etc. I don't think this is a reflection on the ability of the lads, not all of them anyway, but more the fact that they've nowhere to go but to the semi-professional levels.  Once they drop down to that level they're training less, they don't develop at the same rate they would at a professional level, they pursue other careers, they develop vices....some will bounce back.  There's plenty of stories of players getting released from professional clubs, going non-league and coming back even better.  But for every Jamie Vardy there are hundreds of Joe Lightowler's.  

From the outside looking in it looks very much like Jolley has committed to the fact that he wants a steady supply of youth team graduates making the step up into the professional set-up each and every year.  He's probably ring fenced part of his budget to accommodate that too.  He knows that not all of the lads who get a professional deal will end up having a significant career with us or in the game, but those with a degree of talent and appetite have had the opportunity to see how they fare with the men.

That, to me, is a great approach.  We struggle to recruit, that much is bloody obvious to anyone.   If you can't bring players in from the other side of the country, why not try everything to develop the potential talent you've got under your nose?
Posted by: HackneyHaddock, May 8, 2019, 10:39am; Reply: 18
Quoted from Mariner16
Notts Forest..who?


Only Notts Forest fans are allowed/supposed to bite at references to Notts Forest.
Posted by: Abdul19, May 8, 2019, 10:43am; Reply: 19
Quoted from diehardmariner


Soames and Rowan?  Not sure about that.  Soames was blighted with injuries....


Aye, he never started a league game for us!
Posted by: lew chaterleys lover, May 8, 2019, 11:54am; Reply: 20
Quoted from diehardmariner


Mansaram, yes.  Expected to play as the lone striker in a struggling Championship (as it is now) side was borderline cruel to the lad.  I saw him in the reserves the year before he broke through and he was a completely different player.  Confident, intelligent, strong, quick and deadly in front of goal.  In the first team he just looked like a rabbit in headlights, totally shot of any confidence.  Definitely one of those cases that we'll never know but I think it's difficult to argue that he would have benefited from a more gradual introduction into the first team.

Soames and Rowan?  Not sure about that.  Soames was blighted with injuries whereas Rowan was a few months shy of 20 when he made his debut and nearly 21 before he was regarded a first teamer.  

I don't think there's a tested method for when you play young lads.  John Oster, albeit a once in a generation type talent, was more than well equipped for the professional game at 17.  I look at some of the young lads we've got on our bench who are a year or two older and they're nowhere near that level yet.  Equally so someone like Mattie Pollock looks as if he will be able to more than be a physical match for anyone in the professional game.  

The difference between Town and far bigger clubs when it comes to youth development is time.  Bigger and richer clubs can afford to develop their players beyond the age of 18, hence why the big clubs give contracts to everyone beyond 18.  We, on the other hand can't afford that.  Whilst the young professionals might not break the bank, when it comes to a first team budget the pressure is on to make sure it's spent to benefit the first team.

Paul Hurst was a classic example of this.  Year on year he would hold back a little bit of his budget for a few loan signings towards the end of the season with the sole intention of giving the squad a boost for the final push.  Ultimately a lot of those signings were bloody useless (Anthony Straker, Christian Jolley, Dougie Wilson....).   It used to frustrate the life out of me that we spent wages on these guys when we could have given another year to some of the talented youth team lads who weren't quite there at 18 but might have been worth a gamble to see how they developed up to 20.  

The response seems to be that the lads we release never go onto anything better.  They end up at Clee Town, Grimsby Borough, Brigg, Grantham, Armthorpe etc. I don't think this is a reflection on the ability of the lads, not all of them anyway, but more the fact that they've nowhere to go but to the semi-professional levels.  Once they drop down to that level they're training less, they don't develop at the same rate they would at a professional level, they pursue other careers, they develop vices....some will bounce back.  There's plenty of stories of players getting released from professional clubs, going non-league and coming back even better.  But for every Jamie Vardy there are hundreds of Joe Lightowler's.  

From the outside looking in it looks very much like Jolley has committed to the fact that he wants a steady supply of youth team graduates making the step up into the professional set-up each and every year.  He's probably ring fenced part of his budget to accommodate that too.  He knows that not all of the lads who get a professional deal will end up having a significant career with us or in the game, but those with a degree of talent and appetite have had the opportunity to see how they fare with the men.

That, to me, is a great approach.  We struggle to recruit, that much is bloody obvious to anyone.   If you can't bring players in from the other side of the country, why not try everything to develop the potential talent you've got under your nose?


That is a well argued post, and exactly as you say if they are not ready at a certain age they are jettisoned.

The other factor of course is that a lot of players look fabulous at 14, 15 16 years of age. Then suddenly they lose it; usually because at the younger ages they were faster, stronger than their peers. Suddenly the other kids catch them up in terms of physique and what was so easy a year or two before now becomes much more difficult.

I have seen young players in the youth set up in the past who could not trap the proverbial bag of cement, but were bigger stronger and faster. A couple of years later they are nowhere to be seen.

If the youth system was based on ability on the ball, a sense of what the game is all about and a complete acceptance that physical attributes in the young age group mean absolutely nothing when they reach maturity then I would back that.

There are many reports of even England youth teams who were great at 16, falling by the wayside to such an extent that only one or two made it into the professional game. I suppose the point I am making is that very very few players who were fantastic at 16, go on to make a career in the game. This is for a whole host of reasons - injuries, lifestyle, commitment or lack of, apathy or whatever.    

In a more general sense it is blindingly obvious that young players physically mature at such different rates is absolutely crazy to have them in the same team. At school, when I was 14 I was about 4ft and 5 stone wet through, a complete child, yet was in the same team and against boys who shaved every day, were 6foot and about 14 stone and this was still the same set up many years later in all the local lads football teams but I am not sure what it is like today.

This is, therefore, a conundrum for clubs like ours. Do we spend money on a youth set up, which may win things at a very young age, but is statistically proven to provide very few first team players, or do we pick up well thought of players who are let go by bigger clubs who have got to an age when their ability can be relied upon, but are not quite good enough for the club they have left - for example Ryan Bennett.

A lot depends on what sort of player the manager is looking for; how long he stays and whether the youth set up is here for a generation with specific aims or will disappear into the ether when a new manager comes along.
Posted by: Maringer, May 8, 2019, 12:00pm; Reply: 21
If only we had played Hockless regularly. We'd be competing in the Premier League now. Possibly the Northern Premier League.

On a more serious note, the days of developing young players to sell on to bigger clubs for big bucks are probably gone thanks to the EPPP land grab. 99.9% of young players seen to have much potential will be hoovered up by the big clubs and our best hope in that regard is to pick up those released in their early 20s after they've played practically no first team football and hope they can adapt to the League.

As for our academy, if we are able to produce one or two decent League Two or even League One standard players every season, we'll be doing pretty well. That's the level at which we're likely to be playing so, nice as it would be to have them, we don't actually need young players capable of playing in the top two tiers. It's not lacking ambition to take this view because, in the longer term, if we develop a reputation for bringing youngsters through into the first team, we'll probably be slightly more likely to pick up one or two of those dropping out of academies at bigger clubs.

Geographical location is always going to be the biggest issue for us, unfortunately, but there is no doubt that a positive reputation for dealing with young players could help to some degree.
Posted by: diehardmariner, May 8, 2019, 12:54pm; Reply: 22
There's a lot to be said for the softer benefits of producing your own talent too.  

Nothing connects quite with the fans than having one of your own in the ranks.
Posted by: forza ivano, May 8, 2019, 1:01pm; Reply: 23
Talking of younger players moving on. I see dembele played a good number of games for Posh this season. Anyone know if there are additional payments due on number of games played etc.? I have a vague memory of such arrangements being in place when the transfer was negotiated
Posted by: TownSNAFU5, May 8, 2019, 1:58pm; Reply: 24
Just an observation, not based on direct evidence:  over many years, the majority of young players that we develop seem to lack physicality and robustness.  They can be bullied by bigger, tougher and older opponents in this division.

I know they are young and still growing. And that good footballers come in all sizes.  However, as an example, Kevin Drinkell was in the first team at 16 and nobody ever messed with him!
Posted by: Maringer, May 8, 2019, 3:40pm; Reply: 25
Some young players (e.g. Rooney and Owen) have the physical capability to mix it up when younger and compete with older players. Others just don't develop the physical strength until they get a little older. You get no end of young players who are released when younger because they are 'too small' who later develop into fantastic players once they are a year or two older and stronger (e.g. Griezmann). I don't disagree that too many of our young players have been a bit 'underpowered' in recent seasons. Most of the senior ones too, for that matter.

I was encouraged by the performance of Burrell at the weekend as, though he looks like a skinny kid at the moment, he was getting into the correct positions, using his body correctly in shielding the ball and timing his jumps to compete aerially. He also seemed to be quick enough covering the ground. Burrell might not have the pace and power of Rose, but he looks like he knows what he is doing otherwise and I think he's probably got more potential as he gets older and presumably stronger.

Wright also did pretty well and showed he had that innate burst of pace which just can't be developed through training. Hopefully he'll prove robust enough to keep going when the opposition chop him down to slow him as they did on Saturday.
Posted by: KingstonMariner, May 9, 2019, 11:20pm; Reply: 26


That is a well argued post, and exactly as you say if they are not ready at a certain age they are jettisoned.

The other factor of course is that a lot of players look fabulous at 14, 15 16 years of age. Then suddenly they lose it; usually because at the younger ages they were faster, stronger than their peers. Suddenly the other kids catch them up in terms of physique and what was so easy a year or two before now becomes much more difficult.

I have seen young players in the youth set up in the past who could not trap the proverbial bag of cement, but were bigger stronger and faster. A couple of years later they are nowhere to be seen.

If the youth system was based on ability on the ball, a sense of what the game is all about and a complete acceptance that physical attributes in the young age group mean absolutely nothing when they reach maturity then I would back that.

There are many reports of even England youth teams who were great at 16, falling by the wayside to such an extent that only one or two made it into the professional game. I suppose the point I am making is that very very few players who were fantastic at 16, go on to make a career in the game. This is for a whole host of reasons - injuries, lifestyle, commitment or lack of, apathy or whatever.    

In a more general sense it is blindingly obvious that young players physically mature at such different rates is absolutely crazy to have them in the same team. At school, when I was 14 I was about 4ft and 5 stone wet through, a complete child, yet was in the same team and against boys who shaved every day, were 6foot and about 14 stone and this was still the same set up many years later in all the local lads football teams but I am not sure what it is like today.

This is, therefore, a conundrum for clubs like ours. Do we spend money on a youth set up, which may win things at a very young age, but is statistically proven to provide very few first team players, or do we pick up well thought of players who are let go by bigger clubs who have got to an age when their ability can be relied upon, but are not quite good enough for the club they have left - for example Ryan Bennett.

A lot depends on what sort of player the manager is looking for; how long he stays and whether the youth set up is here for a generation with specific aims or will disappear into the ether when a new manager comes along.


I always thought that was often due to the British game being so physical and young players with ability who were not strong lads never got the chance to develop fully. As opposed to the stereotype of the nippy little, talented types in Spanish football. Even relatively recently Charlie I'Anson was shown the door by Scott n Hurst as being a bit lightweight was regarded as a typical English barn door when he went to Spain.

No the Premier League rewards players falling down at the brush of a shirt, it looks like we might be catching up at the top level. I don't think it's a coincidence.
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