Tag: premier league

Premier League side Huddersfield scrap all academy teams U7s-U16s

In a devastating blow to junior football and homegrown pathways into the professional game, Premier league club Huddersfield Town scrap all academy teams from U7s – U16s. A huge blow and one we hope doesn’t set a precedent to other professional clubs, please see extracts from a club statement from their website….

Huddersfield Town has confirmed plans to reorganise its Academy system after a lengthy review process conducted at Board level.

Led by Chairman Dean Hoyle and the Board of Directors, a detailed evaluation of the Club’s youth system and pathway to the First Team has taken place over the last few months.

A review of the way the Academy has operated since its inception in 1999, and particularly since the introduction of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), has been conducted.

Following this review, the decision has been taken to completely restructure the Club’s Academy system.

With immediate effect, the Club will commence the process of recategorising its Academy from the existing Category 2 setup to Category 4 under the EPPP.

Huddersfield Town is acutely aware of the impact this change will have on its existing players in the Under-8 to Under-16 groups in the Academy currently, as well as the impact on Academy staff. A consultation programme has already begun with those people affected and the Club will offer as much support as it can over the coming weeks to aid the transition.

Huddersfield Town Chairman Dean Hoyle explained:

“Since my first year as Chairman in 2009, we have taken great pride in always doing things our own way.

“The need to find ways of being competitive is more pertinent than ever following the Club’s promotion to the Premier League. We must find ways of being competitive against our peers.

“Huddersfield Town fully committed to the new EPPP rules introduced by the Premier League in October 2011, investing large sums of money to establish Category 2 status. The climate has proven difficult for this Club considering EPPP rules and the number of big clubs on our doorstep, which offers strong competition for the best local players with Category 1 sides.

“Our Academy system must provide a strong and obvious pathway to the First Team for players who are good enough, whilst also representing value for the Club. Upon review, this is not something that we could claim.

“This decision has been the biggest we have undertaken in my time as Chairman, and not an easy one. However, we cannot be afraid of change. This is a vital area to the long-term success of this Club and we must make every effort to get this right.”


It’s difficult now in 2016 to remember a time when there was no Premier league, kids of today will assume it has always been this way, I can assure you that I for one am unfortunately old enough to remember when the whole league system was united and money was shared.

So we look back now and consider…

Has the Premier league failed to live up to its founding principles??

Good question, let’s go back to 1992 when the elite clubs fought to  have a breakaway league, they said;


Are they analysing a grassroots or premier league game?

It felt like watching Neville and Carragher discussing a Premier league game…….

Yes that’s right.

On my travels yesterday I was invited to a training session in Leeds to observe the kids, what I observed were a great bunch of coaches with excellent rapport and a healthy team-coach relationship.


The coaches explained to me that they train twice per week and play on Saturdays. It was great to see the interaction between the coaches and children U10s.

I couldn’t help but over hear 2 parents who I happened to be standing next to, they were analysing all parts of last weekends game to a level only surpassed by Sky Sports or MOTD.

I said it’s great the coaches (working lads) spend 2 nights per week every week come hail or shine for your children and spend their weekends on the team.


I was shocked at the reply, both parents told me…

They need to pass more, they need more structure, they need more discipline, they give up to easy, coaching could be better, little Johnny is in the wrong position, the formation is wrong etc etc.

I said “When I look out onto the pitch I see volunteers giving up there time to allow your kids to play a game, they’re  doing it for free, they have raised money for strips, hoodies, tracksuits, coats and I see the respect that only a coach gets from their team. I see happy kids laughing with their coaches and banter between teammates.

What I saw was inspirational, I saw only happy children playing a GAME they love.”


A final message before this coach walks away from the game.

As I write this, I know maybe it’s my last diary entry, hopefully my feelings will Change but right now maybe my last before I walk away from something I’ve done for 3-4 years now.

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I’m a Coach who has just had enough of too many parents doing everything but being happy there kid loves football and loves coming and seem to complain, whinge and moan about everything, even criticise other people’s kids, cause trouble and tell lies about other parents and situations. Why do this?

Most coaches work full time, have families, other responsibilities, yet myself like others give up at least 2 nights a week to coach your kids, plus more time away from that planning sessions, sorting fund raisers, chasing kits, sorting tournaments, answering emails, arranging weekend game, replying to text messages 11pm at night, Plus much more and we do this for FREE cause we enjoy it and love seeing kids develop and grow.

YOUR kid develop and grow!!!!!

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So why do parents find the need to send you messages a mile long slamming the performance of a young team in mini soccer despite the fact you win most weeks, these texts happen when you do actually win too.

Why when you are not happy about the littlest thing do you find it necessary to spread that with other parents and convince them your right and encourage them to hound the coach too?

Sadly I can’t give you examples of the situations I am talking about here, but the point I am making is how many coaches have to walk away mainly due to how parents behave and conduct themselves and how they go on sometimes.

Where have all the parents gone who just turn up watch there kid play and as long as they enjoy it everything is good. These days it’s like the parents want to coach, watch and run the club and the coach is there employee…..

It’s simple….. no coaches means no grassroots stop before it’s too late!!!!!!!!

While Grassroots dies of poverty, the pro game gorges on greed. 

The headline says it all.

What has happened to our game?

We see grassroots teams collapsing and facilities in a complete state of disrepair in the Grassroots world (the real world)

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Then at the other end of the game (fantasy land) we hear of wide scale corruption and greed at the very top of the game.

What has happened to our great game. It seems to be the more they have the more they want.

Football was and should be the people’s game, where pro clubs were built on communities and had the communities at the heart of everything they did. Scouts would scour the local area and find the best the area had to offer.

The distance between the Grassroots game and Pro-Game was within reach, touchable, these were people just like us that lived for and loved our game.

Everyone will have an opinion on how we’ve got to where we are now. But what football really needs right now is a re-balance.

The game needs to be more balanced, financially balanced and funds need to flow from the top down empowering grassroots teams to flourish,using funds to improve facilities. In addition pro clubs need to re-engage with the grassroots community and be seen to work with grassroots clubs.

Pro clubs have state of the art training facilities dormant on a weekend when grassroots teams are desperate for quality pitches, how bold a step would it be for a club to come forward and offer the venue to a local league, therefore reducing prices!! The facilities are already there.

There is so much that can be done to Re-balance the game, what thoughts do you have. One thing is for sure, we can’t stand by and watch grassroots die of poverty whilst the elite gorge themselves on greed.

Heres some ideas we would put forward

You have seen ideas that we would put forward, we would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Could the success of Leicester City benefit Grassroots Football???

The answer might not immediately appear to obvious, so let’s look at why we think it may benefit grassroots. 

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Since the billionaire club known as the Premier league was taken over by corporate owners wanting instant overnight commercial and footballing success the landscape began to change. 

Historically the successful teams grew and developed there own teams through nurturing youth players and buying abroad as the exception and not the rule. 

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If we look at the 80s and 90s the 2 examples that spring to mind would be Liverpool and Man Utd. Of course big money moves from superstar players occurred because these players wanted to play for the best teams but youth players weren’t cast aside and were given time to develop. 

If we jump forward in time to the Chelsea’s and Man City teams that have dominated the last few years based on being able to buy the best players, often buying up and coming uk talent to be forced into the bench. 

Now we move to Leicester who have bought players for lower leagues, youth squads and abroad and created a team that work for each other. It works, Vardy has proven there will be 1000s of players in the lower leagues and youth academy’s that could take the premier league by storm. 

Football has a funny way of going round in circles, if the Saudi and Russian billionaires are watching homegrown talent and youth players outplaying there 250million pound squads, believe me they will reconsider why they are spending so much. 

So our original question was will it benefit grassroots football, the answer could be yes, a new generation of players will see Vardy can go from lower leagues to premier league. Players from the lower leagues can see a ladder to the premier league and clubs could see the benefit of recruiting more players from the grassroots game and maybe investing some of the money at the bottom instead of at the top. 

But that’s just our opinion, and football is a game based heavily on opinions. What do you think??

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