So with the recent signing of Callum Chettle on a two year scholarship by Ilkeston FC, I want to talk Academies.
Ilkeston have managed to produce a lot of first team players such as Kane Richards, Che Adams, Ashley Hunter and Keiren Wallace to name but a few.
This is credit to our youth system at the Robins. But why do we need to be signing a youngster from Bermuda also on a two year scholar?
I have no doubt in the players’ ability, it’s just I believe that all clubs and the English game would profit from locally grown players.
To tap the local talent pool and let it leak into our club is vital.
Duffers Diary: Winning mentality spreads around Ilkeston FC
As the living ‘Nottingham Forest Legend’ Steve Chettle Academy Manager and assistant to Kevin Wilson once said: “It’s run like a proper academy and we’re trying to take local kids to get through to our first team, or even progress them enough to get them into the Football League.”
The Key word is LOCAL. To harness a spark within our youth until it ignites into an inferno and they move on as they progress through the ranks controlled by those who have the knowledge and experience is the way forward.
Southampton are currently reaping the results of their hard work at the top flight and I am sure that all other clubs will follow.
Ilkeston are ideally located in the centre of the Midlands with Nottingham Forest and Notts County, Derby, Leicester, Aston Villa all within a car drive meaning they can take advantage of their close proximity.
I refuse to believe that there’s such a shortage of talented youngsters that we need to go abroad to spot the next Ballon D’or winner (hopes & dreams).
Are our facilities enough? You’re damn right they are. Many Premier league teams are building huge great, all-singing, all-dancing player factories hoping to provide themselves with the next big player.
These ‘factories’ should be more than just bricks and mortar or trophies to say ‘hey look what we’ve got’ but more of a pathway to a better person, a better player, an education, a place of worship almost.
To have the first team staff involved also would be a massive asset to any club, to pass on their experience and their knowledge and put their own stamp on the young guns.
Maybe this is how Ilkeston have achieved so much already in the last three years. How many first team managers know their youth teams? I fear not many.
To have that kind of influence from a club is invaluable as a keen youth trying to make it in the great game.
Responsibility has to be taken by the players as well, to earn your way, not to just turn up and play.
To help out with duties, putting the first teams’ kit out ready, cleaning senior players’ boots, keeping on top of diets and education, making sacrifices, it’s all character building stuff.
Maybe Ilkeston FC is writing a present day version of the ‘Class of 92’ film.