Date: 23rd February 2009 at 1:31pm
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Pompey have today announced another new, and potentially very exciting and lucrative link-up with another club!

Having already established a link to Belgian side Zulte Waregem Pompey have now agreed a 3-year deal with Irish club Home Farm, a deal that will see the club fund their youth development for players aged 9-18, with the best of them then linking up with Pompey’s academy at the age of 16.

Home Farm have a fantastic record of producing top-class footballers and have produced 60 Irish internationals over the years with former Leeds international trio Ian Harte, Stephen McPhail and Gary Kelly, along with former Liverpool and Ireland captain Ronnie Whelan and another former international captain Kenny Cunningham being some of the more recent names to come through the club.

Paul Hart, who heads our youth development programme and is of course the current caretaker manager at Fratton, has had close ties to Home Farm in the past during his time with Leeds and Forest and is delighted with this link-up, telling the Pompey Site: ‘this is a significant step for us in widening our network in the search for young talent.

‘Home Farm FC has consistently produced young boys of a high standard and I worked closely with them when I was at both Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.

‘They have an excellent set-up and with our resources and expertise we will be working together to improve that even further.

‘Alongside our relationship in Belgium with Zulte-Waregem and work we are doing in Australia, this is providing the club with an excellent base to bring young players through and, hopefully, eventually into the first-team environment.

‘You cannot underestimate how important it is to put the right processes in place to produce your own talent.

‘The best team in the world, Manchester United, have an excellent youth set-up and can see the value in producing their own.’

Home Farm chairman John Lyon added: ‘we are very excited about our new alliance with Portsmouth Football Club. Home Farm have a good history of providing players for the professional game and we can only see this going from strength to strength in the future.

‘Every lad who joins the club dreams of becoming a professional player and our job is to assist in every way to make that dream come true.

‘Portsmouth Football Club have a similar youth development policy as ourselves, encouraging good football with the emphasis on good technical ability.

‘The support we receive from Portsmouth will enable us to expand our academies and provide quality coaching for all our players.

‘Portsmouth have already agreed to sign Carl Walsh from our under-16s and have been impressed with several other lads who have been across with them.’

This is another fantastic piece of news for Pompey, and leaves me to believe, even more so, that our longer-term future is going to be a bright one – we have plenty of talented youngsters already on the clubs books, and this gives us the chance to bring in even more!

This is also another example of the wonderful job that Hart is doing with the youngsters at Pompey, and for me another reason why his long-term future is much more vital to the academy set-up than a role as 1st team manager – for the immediate future that is fine, even until the summer, but then we must bring in someone else and allow him to get back to the post where I feel he will best serve us…

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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