The Pompey Site has confirmed that Paul Hart has been replaced by Paul Smalley, who becomes the new director of youth operations.
With Hart becoming the 1st team manager this summer this meant that the academy side needed a new leader and the vastly experience Smalley, who has been assistant academy manager since August last year, has taken over: ‘with the development of the academy I think we have a wonderful opportunity here at Portsmouth to produce home-grown players.
‘Through different age groups we have some talented performers who are committing themselves to the academy programme.
‘We want to produce Premier League players – and if they do not make it here we still want to have given them a great football experience.’
Smalley, a former teammate of Hart’s at Notts County, has previously been a director and national coach for the FA as well as helping with the implementation of the National Game Strategy. He has also worked for the New Zealand FA as a technical director as well as a chief executive officer/director of football with Association USA – so he has a wealth of experience!
Hart has no problems with the 42-year-old taking over and believes that with Smalley’s help we can continue the development of youth: ‘Paul has got a very sound background with plenty of experience at the highest level and I feel he and academy manager Mark Kelly are the people to take our youth operations further.
‘A solid foundation has been laid down with recruitment and coaching strategies in place but we now need to take the set-up to the second base and some very important decisions need to be made internally.
‘This is a reaffirmation of our desire to bring in the best young players in England and Europe.’
Some of the players that Hart has helped develop are already starting to show ‘small signs’ of progression into the 1st team – some have looked impressive enough during pre-season – and under Smalley and his team the Pompey manager feels that this work will definitely continue as they can teach the youngsters to also have the right attitude: ‘we are already seeing snippets of talent coming through with some of the young players featuring in the pre-season friendlies and that’s very encouraging.
‘Lots of kids come in with attitude and think they are already stars.
‘But it’s those who understand that attitude counts for nothing and that they are here to learn and work hard as footballers and young men who will become the stars of the future.’
Good luck to Smalley, hopefully he can continue the work started – something that he has already been a part of for almost a year anyway.
PLAY UP POMPEY!