Moore: Klug Outstanding Academy Boss
Tuesday, 12th Jun 2012 16:24
Retiring Academy recruitment officer Malcolm Moore says his “outstanding” former boss Bryan Klug is just the man to take over at Playford Road as the Blues’ youth set-up goes into the new era of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). We understand Klug’s return to Town as Academy manager may be officially confirmed as soon as tomorrow.
Moore, who spoke to TWTD having announced his retirement at the end of last week, feels Klug is the just the man to take over from the exiting Sammy Morgan: “I think with the situation with everything as it as at the moment, somebody with his ability, his skill and his knowledge [is ideal]. He is a people person, and it’s all about handling people. He’s top drawer as far as I’m concerned.
“I just hope that if he does come on board I get a chance to see him and have a chat with him before I leave.”
The 65-year-old, who has decided to step down to move closer to family in the west country, worked under Klug during his previous spell in charge of the Academy, a position he relinquished to become Jim Magilton’s assistant manager in 2006, switching to a head of football development job before being axed by Roy Keane in 2010 and joining Spurs, where he has been their assistant director and head of player development.
Looking back over his years with the Blues, 14 in his current role, Moore says he has a lot of time for members of staff both past and more recent: “I’ve worked with some good guys, people like Colin Suggett and Ken Goody.
“I’ve had good bosses, Klugy is outstanding, but I’ve worked for Paul Goddard as well, Tony Humes came along, another good guy, Richard Hall, Sammy Morgan and also the one steady person who has been at the Academy as long as I have for 14 years, [youth secretary] Helen Broughton. They’re good guys. Klugy had a good team when he set it up and got it going.”
Moore’s time with Town actually stretches back even further than that: “I played non-league football and I was involved in coaching. I came into the club through coaching, Terry Westley got me in many years ago, but the big change was when John Lyall came.
“John Lyall wanted to focus more on recruiting local talent and I was one of the guys who was called in to see if I would do that for him. That was what I did and gradually I got involved in coaching with what was the Centre of Excellence with boys coming in in the holidays.
“Then when Colin Suggett came along and George Burley took over as manager, the Centre of Excellence was lot more involved. We had boys at U9, U10 and U11 training twice a week while still playing for their boys’ clubs and the U12 to U15s started to play regularly every Sunday.
“That was where I got heavily involved in the coaching alongside people like Steve Greaves [now U16s coach at Southampton].
“Then the academies came in 14 years ago and there were a lot more positions and I finished up becoming the recruitment officer under Bryan. And that’s where I’ve stayed.”
He says it’s not just the big names he has brought to Portman Road and seen into the first team who give him a sense of pride: “There are lots of boys who come in and you’re proud and pleased to see them progress. Everybody talks about Darren Bent, everybody talks about Connor Wickham.
“With Darren Bent when our scout [Barry Kettlewell] saw him initially I’d sent him off to watch somebody else. He came back and said ‘he’s no good but I want you with me next week to cast your eye over this boy’, which is what we did [Bent scored all seven goals in a 7-0 win].
“With Connor Wickham, it was through a personal relationship with the Academy manager at Reading at the time that he came to us when his father moved after being transferred by the army.
“But there are lots of other players who you take satisfaction from. I even get satisfaction from me and Bryan Klug having to sit down with Ryan Bennett [now with Norwich] and his dad and telling them he’s not doing quite enough and we weren’t going to take him on because we wanted to shake him into action.
“When Bryan and I meet we pull one another’s leg, him saying he wouldn’t have let Ryan Bennett go and me saying ‘neither would I!’. But we did and we helped him focus and he has gone on to do very well.
“I was asked to think of a few names by [the official website the other day] and I was coming up with too many - Shane Supple and Lewis Price in goal, Bent, Danny Haynes or Billy Clarke as goalscorers, midfield players like Owen Garvan, Darren Ambrose and Liam Craig, people like that.
“When I get home on a Saturday afternoon I switch on Sky's Soccer Saturday and watch all the names of boys we’ve had here come up – Alan Connell, Craig Reid, Ed Upson scores a few goals, Liam Craig puts some in, even Charlie Sheringham and people like that, they all keep scoring. It’s good. I think to myself, ‘I’ve been involved in that a little bit’."
He believes he and his scouts have identified youngsters who are already at the club who will come through in the years to come: “Player-wise there is a lot of potential there.
“The full-time staff are quietly confident that in next year’s youth team, although they have to improve, there are a lot of potentially decent, good players who could go on.
“As you work your way down through the age groups, even into this year’s little U9s coming in, when you see what they can do [there’s potential there]. People don’t see the work that goes on with the part-time coaches.”
Moore says he has covered around 40,000 miles a year as he keeps up with his extensive network of scouts, both in East Anglia and elsewhere: “In terms of people that are registered with me, there are just under 40.
“I’ve got just over 20 in the local area, who are spread all over East Anglia in about six counties. They go anywhere from mid-Norfolk right down into North London, as far across as Bedford, Stortford and Ware.
“I’ve got some in Scotland, some in Ireland, both sides of the border, and in Wales. Then I’ve got contacts in other countries, New Zealand, for example, hence Tommy Smith.
“There are the official scouts and then there are all the contacts that anyone in my job or in Steve McCall’s job get, people who give you information on a personal basis.”
He says he meets up with those further afield when they’ve spotted a potential new recruit, while forging relationships with clubs abroad is also important: “I’ve tried to get round to the distant scouts when the opportunity presents itself - when they’ve got two or three boys they think are worth following or sometimes to help that scout along, give him support or meet people and deal with relationships with clubs.
“There are lots of clubs in these countries where I’ve got good working relationships where if players come up sometimes club people tip me off and say ‘we’ve got somebody here, you better send your guy along’.
“It takes time to build up these relationships. There’s a lot of work that goes on that people don’t see or understand, probably because I’m the only man that’s done the job since the Academy was formed 14 years ago. A good scout keeps his ears and eyes open and keeps his mouth shut!”
While his retirement from full-time work is “purely a family decision” it comes at a time when youth football is in a state of flux with the introduction of the EPPP, which he feels includes a lot of positives as well as negatives: “I think there are a lot of good things that are in there. My concern at the moment would be that the authorities are trying to drive it through 12 months too quickly.
“Everything seems rushed by everybody. Every time you talk to a club, everybody’s rushing, dropping everything.
“The authorities are not realising that all these clubs have still got academies and have got to keep everything going.”
The big plus is that coaches will spend more time with young players: “The more contact time we can have with them, the better chance they’ve got of developing both in a technical way and the way they approach the game.
“There’s going to be a lot more of a thought process going into looking at their football development, physically and mentally. A lot more sports science applied to it and they will be given every opportunity.
“But the big thing is that the clubs are going to have more time with the boys and I think that’s very important.
“Instead of doing one day, a lot of clubs are doing two days and will also think about getting a little bit more contact time with them at 13 or 14.”
Clubs such as Town outside the Premier League will continue to be at a disadvantage, however: “They’ve got so much money they can have four or five in and hope they get one through, whereas if we’re going to bring one in we’ve got to make sure he’s the one.
“They bring the family over, they find the family jobs, accommodation. It’s amazing. I’m not certain whether people really understand what other clubs do.”
He says his time with Town won't necessarily be an end to his days spotting new talent: “Once I’ve settled down and my body’s recharged I might be looking to do a bit of part-time work. Not necessarily for Ipswich, it could be anybody, maybe Barcelona!
“Over the years people have said ‘if you ever leave Ipswich, give us a shout’, but there’s a lot of difference between giving a shout and coming up with the goods.
“There are a lot of good people I’ve met [since I’ve been at Ipswich], I’ve met a lot of nice people and at the heartbeat of it it is a good club and I just hope that whoever comes in, if it is Bryan, can just tickle it a little bit and get that message back out in the field again.”
Photo: Action Images
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