Date: 6th June 2008 at 1:26pm
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A special report by Toast’s new summertime columnist Al Fresco, with apologies to Candi Staton for the headline.

(Toast would like to add the song was actually written by the late Dave Crawford.)

While Lord Harry Redknapp of Sandbanks has had his wallet firmly in his hip pocket, Youth Academy supremo, Paul Hart, has been busy in the transfer market adding yet more internationals to his developing group of youngsters.

Speaking to the Portsmouth News Hart said ‘The first thing I did when I came in was bring Alan Miller in from Aston Villa as head of recruitment and we are looking all over the world. It’s a necessity. We want to produce players for the first team. I am not employed by England, I am employed by Portsmouth Football Club’? He added: ‘We have also signed four or five local lads on local forms’.

Players bought in this summer are –

James Hurst an England U 16 international full back from West Bromwich Albion. Hurst had been at West Brom since the age of 10 and hails from Sutton Coldfield. He was called into the England Youth squad for the Victory shield game against Wales last November.

Gael N’Lundulu a France U 16 striker from Paris Saint Germain. Pompey had to fight off Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton who all wanted to win the signature of the young Frenchman. N’Lundulu told Le Parisien newspaper “The offer from Portsmouth was very interesting. If PSG had really wanted to keep me, I would have stayed.”

Others to arrive during Hart reign include-

Liam O’Brien highly rated goalkeeper from QPR. Another fight with clubs including Arsenal, Villa and Manchester United was needed before he signed for Pompey and Liam will soon sign a three years professional contract.

Callum Reynolds a central defender signed from Rushden and Diamonds last July.

Paris Cowan-Hall a striker who also came from Rushden last summer.

Tom Kilbey Leytonstone born midfield player signed from Millwall in the autumn.

Hart was appointed Pompey’s director of youth operations in the spring of 2007. He had a career spanning eighteen years the most famous spell being at Leeds United. Signed from Blackpool to replace Gordon McQueen who had moved to Manchester United he played 223 games for the Whites in 5 years.

His early managerial career was not spectacular with spells at Notts County and Chesterfield before he found his volition as Youth Team Coach at Forest and then Leeds where he won the FA Youth Cup in 1993 and 1997. Further managerial position followed notably back at Forest but Pompey have given him the chance to do what he does best – turn raw talent into stars.

With his assistant, former Forest star Ian Woan, the Pompey stars of the future are in very good hands. Add to that the favourable reception given to the club’s proposed new training facility at Lee on Solent the other night; it should become easier to attract the young talent from around the country and the world.

It will be interesting to see who is the first player to come off the inevitable Hart production line and to find out whether the cash outlay has been well spent.

It will also be hoped that if the possible tie up between Vital Pompey and the club goes ahead we can hear more about how our Academy players are developing.

Written by eastneydave.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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8 Replies to “Hart’s young, run free!”

  • I agree Dave, with any link up with Pompey we should encourage more reports on the youth team. These are the future stars, and I for one would be very interested to see how they are getting on on a regular basis.

  • Exciting times ahead for all concerned. Makes us the top attraction in the south for the kids. Anything to stop them going scum side.

  • bets on the first player to make an apearance? i reckon (based purely on what i have read of the youth reports) it could be matt ritchie or paris cowan hall – but liam obrian could make the bench sometime soon if one of our goalkeepers goes awol, and another gets injured…

  • we have what promises to be a very, very bright future ahead of us! my bet to come through first would be paris cowan hall – i reckon he might be an outside bet to get some league cup action next season?

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