Date: 28th August 2013 at 3:19pm
Written by:

An article from Penton looking at youth. How it should be used and what the benefits are and how we have missed out whereas the lot down the road benefit.

Reading through The Game supplement in The Times on the Monday after the first weekend of Premier League season. My attention was taken by a small piece on the back page written by Bill Edgar entitled ‘Teenage Kicks’.

After reading it, two things struck me. Firstly even as an ardent Pompey fan, I have to admit I found myself full of admiration for the courage and willingness of the Saints management to use Youth.

Secondly, I was left feeling very flat about the way we have abandoned our Youth set up over the years, and how looking down the road, they have nurtured theirs and keep reaping the benefit.

For the first time in Premier League history; a team fielded THREE players aged 18 or younger!

Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers (Defenders) and James Ward-Prowse (Midfielder) we’re all in the eleven which took on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, and even managed to squeak a late win out of it!

The following week, the three were again included in the side which grabbed a late equaliser against Sunderland.

Only five instances of two 18 and unders in a starting line up have ever happened and Everton account for three of those! Everton are another team, which seem to keep finding gems of youngsters and nurturing them into first teamers.

Perhaps it was the realisation that with a lack of funds at their disposal, that they would have to find their own and bring them through that prompted these impressive production lines.

Now we can all bait Southampton because of who they are, but the fact remains that we cannot deny that they have an impressive track record with youngsters. Gareth Bale might this week become the biggest success story of the lot! (I wonder if they unlike us included a sell on clause?)

Finally! Through need rather than want, we are now bringing our own youngsters through the system.

Down at League Two level, this should be much easier to implement and we should in the long term benefit from this practice. With the Trust now owning the Club and of course them having the Club as their main objective, we should benefit from better sell on deals being arranged rather than the immediate transfer money being lost as was the case in past seasons.

The news rules regarding the bringing on of youngsters is weighted so heavily towards the big clubs that the likes of us won’t any longer benefit as we once could of done, but we are in the position now of having to find our own talent, and it looks as they are starting to show throughout the side.

Not all youngsters make it, but fingers crossed we might just find a gem of our own and the sale of these kids could help us in our future rise from the ashes.

To go back to the reason for this thread, I can’t help but doff my cap to the new Manager down the road, not only was he met with cries of who? When Adkins was shown the door. He steadied the ship at the end of the season, and indeed safely steered them away from the drop and a guaranteed windfall this season; but he starts the season with three kids in the starting line up! That shows a lot of balls in my opinion! I wish one or two of our past managers Mr Redknapp and Cotterill to name but two had shown the same sort of courage.

Apart from the obvious and the state we’re in for our past demeanours, it’s the lack of seeing our own talent run out in Royal Blue that’s disappointed me the most, and I know from speaking too and reading the thoughts of many on here over the past 6/7years that a lot of you feel the same!

Whilst them down the road are wallowing in their own success and promising future, so must we! I’ve finally seen a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel, and we too should be courageous and use our youth to bring through and help to build this club again. It’s all about building for a bright future and if we give the right youngsters the chance to shine, we as a club can build and rise, and we too can look elsewhere with some pride knowing that they are forever Blue no matter where they end up, because their success could be building blocks for our future success and sustainability.

Here’s to a brighter future, after all you can’t win anything with kids as it was once so famously said!…Yeah right!

Written by Penton and posted originally in the forum – click here.

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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10 Replies to “Saints; Credit where due, boy did we miss a trick!”

  • definitely a trick missed, if just a small fraction of the money that constantly came the clubs way was used to build an infrastructure we could be much better off than we are… that said we all know that a brand spanking new academy, facilities etc. would have been controlled by someone other than the club so we would not have had that anyway!

    alas, that is the past lets look to the future and YOUTH and using OUR OWN is the way forward – i get that 1st team football is needed but do hope we are not going down the road of ‘ready made replacements’ too much as surely at league one and two level you should be using those that you think have a future and not be loaning them out…
    so long as the likes of webster and maloney are ONLY on short-term loans a la the likes of wallace and butler from last season and they are back in the mix in the new year and have benefited from that time away its not all bad.

  • Yes Saints have certainly reaped the benefits of an academy that produces some outstanding(Bale, Willcox, Shearer, Le Tissier) players, some good(Wallace brothers,Baird,Bridges) and some average players to boot so to speak. There was no sell-on clause for Bale and only a pay as you play clause for Oxlade-chamberland. But that could be a useful ploy for Pompey to adopt if they have to sell the likes of Jed Wallace on day soon. Its going to be a long hard struggle for Pompey to get back to the Championship level with the finances available and the problem they have is that Chelsea have been allowed to set up a remote academy not far away so the number of promising youngsters coming through may be few and far between. Speaking as a football fan first and a Saints supporter second I hope that Pompey do eventually stumble across a ‘winning’ formula to help them get back up the leagues. This year should be viewed as a holding operation to just stay in division 2 and hone a team that will win the league next year. Saints had to do that in division 1 in the end and it didn’t hurt them too much. But then we are quite a rich club and did , to a certain extent, buy our way back out. However our academy did plug a few gaps in the intervening time. That said I wish all Pompey supporters the best for this season and if the team does pull off a promotion I shall come along and celebrate as well.!
    All the best and thanks for the nice article

  • Thanks to you two from down the road for reading it, much appreciated…oh and you too Mr S from Overton…

  • Cracking article, we will all continue the banter and long may it continue but as a saints fan, it would be tremendous if we could meet again with two teams of home grown talent blessed with a little added extras. All the best……..

  • Despite being a Saints fan I fully concur with this article and wish you every success if you decide to follow an aggresive youth policy. We have been very fortunate in that the Leibhur family came to our aid at our darkest time but consistently, despite the (many) shortcomings of our previous management teams the support for youth development has been a constant. Hopefully if you and others also follow such a policy we might stand a cance of developing a good national team. Best of luck with this initiative.

  • Despite being a Saints fan I fully concur with this article and wish you every success if you decide to follow an aggresive youth policy. We have been very fortunate in that the Leibhur family came to our aid at our darkest time but consistently, despite the (many) shortcomings of our previous management teams the support for youth development has been a constant. Hopefully if you and others also follow such a policy we might stand a cance of developing a good national team. Best of luck with this initiative.

  • Thank you to all for making it number one on newsnow, I’m thrilled, chuffed to bits people bothered…

  • Another Saints fan here. Great read and fully agree with everything you say. bringing through youth may have been forced on you but it is definitely the way forforward. Hopefully you’ll reap the benefits as much as us and we can renew the rivalry back in the top league some day soon. Best of luck for the rest of the season – it’s been great to see you guys turning the corner and winning some matches. We owe a lot to David Connolly and it looks like he’s doing the business at FP as well.

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