In an international break special, Neil was joined by Sean Rogers, The Times Tony Barrett, The Sunday Times Jonathan Northcroft, Chief of Liverpool Primary Schools football Andy Reidel and Tranmere Rovers Head of Youth Development Sean Garnett as they look at the challenges of bringing players through Youth Academies and the ramifications of EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan).
Music this week from The Ragamuffins
DIRECT LINK TO CITYTALK: YOUTH FOOTBALL SPECIAL
Interesting podcast! Thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s futile talking about Liverpool during an international break. This is one of my pet hates though.
I live in fear of these scouts. Any time there’s a tournament or a big game they’re there like predatory paedos. Recently, Everton invited me to get some training off their academy staff. I thought it was a really nice gesture. Improve me (I’m talking about all the coaches in kids football. Everyone gets invited)and as a result of me improving my coaching skills the kids improve. A brilliant community initiative. At the end came the truth. They said ‘thanks for coming, hope you’ve learned something. We’ll send you an email and ask who your best player was in each match, who the opposition’s best and if you recommend a player to us and we sign him, then we’ll buy your whole team a new kit.
I’m quite aware that it’s 2013 and you get nothing for free. Million pound bond wins from the Nigerian Govt. just doesn’t happen. As it happens we played our first game in our new kit on Sunday. I went to our local housing association and asked them for £500 for a kit. Simple. So, a kit’s no incentive for me to give up my best players. Maybe if they gave me personally some cash I’d reconsider.
It may appear I’m holding them back by not recommending them but most have already been when they were 7 or 8 or 9. They’re now under 11’s. To be told at 8 you’re not gonna make it is a joke. They all get rejected in the end. My team’s from Chester and since the Premiership started, I believe only Danny Murphy has made it. Shawcross, Speed and Owen are from just over the border but from the City it’s only Murphy.
Our team’s been together 4 years and we’re from the least well off suburb of Chester. Parents can’t afford to get trains to Tranmere and Port Vale but they do it because they also buy into the dream that there son is gonna make it and make them rich. I’ve seen kids who were rejected feel guilty about letting their parents down. They’re not allowed to play for the team they’ve grown up with anymore. Some of them lose focus in school because they think they’ve made it. It’s just a treadmill of disappointment. When you go to the league meetings though all the emphasis is on the well being of the child.
I can see that’s coming across as a bit selfish and it’s true. I don’t like losing my best players to the academy circus. My experience though, makes me think the scouting system needs calm down a bit. It’s getting like the gold rush. Everyone’s desperate to find future players. Some lads develop later too. I just haven’t warmed to it all. I’m all for my lads growing up playing for their local area, with their mates and becoming successful.
great post Robin. I’m not sure if there’s anything with more mixed messages around than the development of children.
Let them play, test them, mark them success or failure, push them, let them be, make the compete, do it for fun yada yada.
Honestly, it’s like those women’s mags that are designed to f*k girls up from the day they learn to read.
Gove decided to bash school achievements as worthless – it’s notable that the biggest failure appeared to be the privatised exam boards – despite the cursory glance on the bbc site and the pearson.com site showing vast improvements in the UK on a worldwide basis since the early nineties putting us well inside the top ten in various subjects.
Then he pours billions into his free schools and up come examples of new schools with minimal outside space amongst other sins.
Anyhow, I digress.
The thing is, we just can’t wait for the next prodigy to appear in the club’s youth setup, developed or purchased.
The football fan is famous for, if nothing else, forgiving all sins in pursuit of glory.
They are prepared to accept commercialisation no matter the source of money, whether it is the stolen wealth of russia, 2/3 of which is controlled by a dozen oligarchs, or financing via tax havens. Any pretence at moral outrage is just that, a pretence. To the football fan, the end justifies the means.
The scary thing is it is an extension of the emotional level football is celebrated at.
Perhaps it is a closer reflection of what we really are as people than we would generally like to believe.
Ha, I must admit I’m also a victim of forgiving all sins in pursuit of glory. I’m probably going to digress now, too.
Thing is, in life I like to think I have some morals. Without digressing even further, I’ll just say I’m not a fan of multi-nationals. When it comes to Liverpool though, I’m happy to turn a blind eye to pretty much anything except them nicking my players.
I wouldn’t want us to have a sugar daddy and especially one with blood on his hands. That would be too soul destroying even for me who’s biggest wish in life is for my son to see what I saw growing up – Liverpool being the top team in the world. When it comes to FSG though it’s like all the things I’ve thought for years (i.e Liverpool can’t compete until they sell their soul or their brand, at least) are finally happening. I suppose deep down I probably feel it’s the lesser of 2 evils – the corporate club or the wank club that everyone’s laughin at. I had a cataclysmic shift overnight though. I supported Being Liverpool and chose to focus on the need to get a foothold in the emerging U.S market. I accept that when I take my son to Anfield I’ll be buying 2 adult tickets. In fact, I support nearly all aspects of it. Those previous points go against everything I believe in other aspects of my life. I commented on the ‘Family Values’ podcasts, comments page that I’ll pretty much accept anything other than Mighty Red on the pitch and Tom Hark playing after goals.
Back to my point. We’re just greedy, selfish people on the whole. Most want for money and will do anything to get it. My steam roller is LFC. I’ll happily flatten villages and villagers in far away continents if it was going to somehow bring success for LFC. It’s the same with these scouts and clubs. They dress it up as fabulous opportunities for kids but really it’s about cash. Just greed.
Why don’t you just let the kids enjoy themselves?And enjoy playing football for the sake of playing football.
Why does everybody want to be Jose Mourinho or Ferguson?
Hi Brian. Not sure whether your comment is aimed at me or the scouting system. If it’s the latter then I agree. If it’s the former then I’d say my passion for winning is not a result of my own ego or desire to win. I feel I carry the hopes of my players on my shoulders. A lot of them are from backgrounds you wouldn’t wish on anyone and football is their biggest chance of achieving something. They’re all desperate to win and I feel a responsibility to help them achieve that. Admittedly, when we lost our first league game since January on the day LFC beat Sunderland, the lads were laughing and joking on the way home where as I was suicidal. I feel like my team are like my sons (1 of them is) and I’ll do whatever it takes to make them feel like winners. What I don’t like is the rejection they go through.
It probably took me three hours to get through that podcast, due to me rolling it back continually, and I have to say it was a tough rope to chew through. I recall one member of the wrap clan, many moons ago, shutting all up by mentioning that “the best footie player your school ever produced never made it, so no, none of them are crap” Much like the ridiculous reality shows on telly, people are convincing themselves their sons or daughters are going to make the big time. The DNA of the modern footballer is made up of all the people who actually took an interest. I can only relate to Carra, as am I originally from the same area and old enough to be his father, but remember the likes of Ronnie Moran spending an entire Sunday watching multitudes of games on Buckley Hill back in the seventies. Now, after thirty years in the ‘States I am watching the game challenge hockey and even baseball as a popular sport. The only difference I see is here the game is decidedly middle class, and like it or not a working class family would struggle to fulfill the obligations required to transport, equip and support a likely lad or lass. The game is full of rags to riches stories, but I bet they are becoming increasingly rare. Check out what is going on in Brazil, and most of the southern and central countries of the americas, investment in youth. The FA and Premier league need to wake up. In order to encourage young people to engage, enjoy and participate in football today, we need to take a step back and remember what a joy it can be as a child to be part of a group, allow them to win and lose cordially, and make the whole experience something they look forward to rather than consider it a “test of character” Childhood is painfully short, the thought of a family depending on a nine year old child to ” make it” is pathetic. What have we become? Why on earth would any dough arsed fan feel he or she has the right to call any athlete crap? Bread and roses, our 21st century gladiators, thumbs up or thumbs down. Kudoes to Robin C and all who take the time to organise and coach our children. Hopefully one day the premier league oligarchs will realise who provides their bread and butter and make an effort to bring back some joy into the business, sorry, game. Until then, someone will continue to provide the heroin to the masses that is modern football until the game decays in front of our eyes. More of these occasional jolts back into reality please, though not too many, I am just getting used to second on goal difference.
HI Robin,absolutely no offence intended there and apologies if it sounded like that.
But here’s the thing;those kids have got more chance of winning the X Factor than being footballers.Please believe me;I’ve seen it all before
You sound like your heart’s in the right place when you talk about rejection.But that’s what 99.9% of kids will face.And what happens then?
My personal belief is to encourage kids to play sports and let them enjoy whatever they get out of it.It could be tennis,snooker or boxing or whatever ;it doesn’t matter.Just so long as they enjoy it and who knows? They could turn out to be World beaters.
But good luck with your Team anyway.And don’t be too hard on them!