Date: 28th July 2011 at 8:54am
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Pete Gregory, Ellis Martin, Perry Ryan and soon enough, if he has not already, Billy Goddard will have all completely gone the same way as all the other former academy youngsters, bar Joel Ward, in recent years and their departures from PFC will have been complete.

I am not (really) going to reopen the whole ‘right or wrong’ debate on this issue although I will say that seeing this happen again next summer and in future summers, but with fewer kids, ‘seems’, or at least was seeming, the most likely thing to happen again…

Apparently the reserve team will not be returning anytime soon and this is what makes the reoccurring theme there most likely – although the managers’ thoughts and actions regarding youngsters could influence things.

Lets be honest we could not really have had a ressie team last season as we barely had enough players for the 1st team let alone anything else! So, as we stand now, it will be next to impossible to have a ressie team this season either.

Once these kids graduate from the academy reserve team football is the natural next step in their progression stage, without this its always likely that the graduates will become failures as they will be released or sign on as a professional for a year, do nothing, and then inevitably be released after that year anyway!

I said I would not make mention of those released so far under Steve Cotterill but I still find it amazing that a judgement can be made on a player after 10-minutes on a training field, or limited time in a pre-season friendly in suspect climes on suspect pitches after less than ideal travelling methods and schedules. Without seeing them on a more regular basis, or them actually playing some constant football at some level how can you pass judgement?

I fear that we will keep seeing the same situation pan out year after year time and time again then, and in many ways how could you blame them, there will come a time where we have no academy at all because why would youngsters want to come to PFC?

Why would anyone want to come to Pompey, or encourage their kids to do so, knowing you will spend some time here as a youngster before ultimately and somewhat inevitably being shown the door before making any serious inroads into he 1st team! If there is no place for you, and you will not be given a chance even, or there is nowhere for you to go once you come to the end of the academy cycle, due to the lack of reserve football at least, why come to this club?

I think we all know where this means the local talent will end up, it will be on the South Coast but probably with the lot down the road or even with Bournemouth or Brighton who I suspect would then eventually sell on these players for decent money!

Those that did not get a look-in during last season, if they were not loaned out, literally did nothing by all accounts! They were not really welcomed into the 1st team squad and unless ‘a wall’ was needed for set pieces, or larger numbers were wanted for a rare 11-a-side training game, they were not really training with the 1st team anyway and with only a handful of friendlies arranged hardly any football was played and nothing but boredom ensued.

A lack of a reserve team was, as said, understandable last season and will be for a while to come really, you cannot see how it would be feasible to see this return this season, as things currently stand, but we desperately need to look in the not too distant future to bringing this back as a bridging gap from academy – 1st team football is needed!

Without this the ‘not good enough to be in my 1st team’ speech will be something we hear constantly from Cotterill, rightly or wrongly, so we need some foresight and forethought put into our future plans before its too late…

It has been encouraging recently though to hear Cotterill have such a positive thought on a number of youngster, the indication that a 17-year-old, Ryan Williams, will be given the chance this season even more so.

With our 1st team squad, all being well, increasing to near on 20 players in the coming weeks, all contracted, depending on what this seasons youngsters do – and how those on 1st year professional contracts progress – this time next year we ‘should’, in theory, have even greater numbers, right?

So I would hope that the ressies will return for the start of the 2012/13 season…

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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