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Milton: Bitterly Disappointed But Moving Forward
Saturday, 26th Jul 2014 06:00

Academy sponsorship manager Simon Milton says everyone at Playford Road was “bitterly disappointed” not to be awarded category one status earlier this week but are moving forward and getting on with the business of bringing through young players.

“After putting all the work in, what we thought we needed to do to the facilities, and taking on additional staff you can imagine what it was like up there yesterday and today, although we move on quite quickly in football,” said the former midfielder.

“Everyone was bitterly disappointed, particularly when you look at the margins we’re talking about, 0.3 per cent off the required 75 per cent. And Derby, who got 78 per cent, got through.

“The place was a bit dead yesterday, you realise that after everything that we’ve done that we haven’t quite made it.

“But the positive news from [owner] Marcus [Evans] and [academy director] Bryan [Klug] is that we are going to run an unbelievably successful category two academy with the staffing and facilities of a category one academy. It was that close.

“It’s just that we’re not going to play the games against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs that we want to play and unfortunately we don’t get the grant that category one brings with it.”

As a result, with the academy effectively operating at category one level despite failing to pass the audit, Evans will have to cover the additional cost.

“Make no mistake about it, the owner is still funding the academy,” Milton continued. “When you go category one your budget goes up to £2.5 million a year, of which around £750,000 is a Premier League grant.

“I was trying, within the next five years, to raise £500,000 a year through academy sponsorship. Last season we went from about £100,000 to £230,000.

“But even when we get to my half a million and with the £750,000 grant, the owner’s still got to put in the other £1.25 million.

“The grant at category two is £480,000, so he’s got to put in more. Any financial shortfall in the total budget of the academy will come directly from the owner.


“Sometimes you read things which say we’re going for category one and we’re asking the fans to pay for it, but that’s just ridiculous.”

He says the focus has already moved towards attaining category one next year: “What Bryan’s saying is that there’s another audit, we can keep applying and as close as we were we could be sitting here in a year’s time with a category one academy and a place in the Premier League.

“A year in football is absolutely massive. As hard as it is, I think the Championship will be another tough league, but you just never know.”

He added: “Bryan will know exactly what points we got for every single area. There’s productivity, there’s players that have come through, facilities, coaching, education. There are a million and one things that they go through. It’s a very complex system.”

The audit was carried out by independent Belgian company DoublePass over several days in April. Town were subsequently given time to react to the audit’s findings and comment on anything with which they disagreed, with the auditors then re-evaluating before Town were given the final verdict on Thursday morning. The Blues have no plans for an appeal.

“I think over the last few weeks we were aware we were short of points and have been having these discussions,“ Milton said.

While a lack of recent players progressing into the first team hit Town's mark and was a significant factor in failing to pass the audit, Milton believes the Blues are entering what will be a productive period: “Away from the financials of the academy and the commercial side of the academy, I think we are getting to an era where in the next few years we’ll be producing some really, really good players.

“Now is a good time for us. We’ve a lot of really good age groups. The important bit is still developing players.

“If you took a 13-year-old boy and brought him into the academy this year and we were in category two or category one the actual day to day working with that boy is absolutely no different.

“The facilities are still there, the coaches are still there, the quality is still there. What he won’t do at the weekend is play Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea.

“The improvements are already there, they’ve been made and everybody’s got their qualifications. From that aspect it doesn’t make a difference, but we want to play the top teams at the top training grounds.

“We want to be able to protect our players [from being poached] and we want to get the category one grant.

“It hits us with recruitment as well but you’ve just got to get on with it and show them examples of players breaking into the first team - Matt Clarke and Teddy Bishop started against West Ham the other day.”

The 50-year-old believes that those who have supported the Academy Association since it was launched last summer, amongst them TWTD, will continue to do so: “I’m sure you didn’t put your money into the academy on basis that we’d got to get category one or you’re not going to bother any more.

“The people who are putting their money in are doing so because they can see exactly where their £500, their £1,000 or their £5 a month is going.

“From my point of view it’s very much business as usual. In some ways we want to raise even more money.

“We’re trying to get to £500,000 which is unbelievable, there’s not another club in the country that would raise over £200,000 for their academy in a season. Not a chance.”

He added: “What we’re trying to do is ask people to support the academy and whether we’re category one or two my clients are still going to be sitting in the directors’ box, they’re still going to be getting all the hospitality, all the branding and the benefits, still coming on tour with us, still helping us to fund the facilities, the kit and the games programme.

“Everything that we do, the people who have got the corporate packages with me will still get exactly what we said they would get. And that's exactly the same with the Academy Friends.

“My newsletter which will go out next week will be an open letter to people explaining what’s happened and giving my thoughts.

“If anyone wants to come and chat things over, I’m more than happy to do so. I’m always there to meet up with everyone.”

Milton says the sponsors he has spoken to in the last couple of days have been supportive: “All the emails and conversations and text messages I’ve had from clients have said how sorry they are that we haven’t made it but that I can still count on their support, onwards and upwards, how disappointing it must be after all the work people such as [academy operations manager] Helen Broughton, Bryan and his team have put in.

“I’ve not had a negative comment from anybody who actively spends money with me. Obviously I haven’t spoken to all of them but the emails and calls and text messages I’ve had have all been very positive.

“We’re still trying to bring the best players that we possibly can through. We’re still going to coach them. It wasn’t category one or bust.”


Photo: Action Images



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trncbluearmy added 06:14 - Jul 26
All positive stuff.

But as someone who puts, albeit small amount, regularly into the Academy and will continue to,I would love to know what happened.

ITFC were given chance to correct it but still fooked up.
To fail by 0.3% when you have the answers in front of you is a nonsense
4

blues1 added 06:51 - Jul 26
trncbluearmy. I think if you read the article again youll realise that they only knew they were short of points after the audit was complete, and it was too late to put that right this time. the good thing is that they know what they have to do to achieve the required mark next year. am surprised, I have to say, that they not even considering an appeal, as it seems ridiculous to fail some1 for less than half a per cent.
3

trncbluearmy added 07:02 - Jul 26
Hi blues1

Have you read the Klug interview in the EADT which has just appeared.
Lots of interesting info and we were a bit unlucky.

BUT and it`s a big but, ITFC know they would be short in certain areas so needed to make up for it in others.
So what do they do, not go and get the correct software to pull it all together because they knew they would get it free eventually.
You couldn't make it up, just when a throwing money at it guaranteed success we try to do it on the cheap
1

martleshamitfc added 08:04 - Jul 26
Bryan Klug quotes in the EADt that 10% of the mark was due to productivity ie. players coming through, or not which has been the case. Maybe reason why the likes of Matt clarke, Teddy Bishop have been given their chance this pre-season? hopefully more young players will start pushing for a 1st team place soon.
3

Marcus_Evans added 08:47 - Jul 26
Blues1 - they aren't appealing as they have had discussions and clearly been told they are wasting their time.

Our big issue is player development. Fix that and we would get it easily, but that means youth team in the first team like Derby have with Will Hughes. We haven't promoted anyone in last 24 months and that is crucial here.

Trcnbluearmy - software would make no difference. It was a presentation tool, but wouldn't have lost us any points, just made harder work for team. After spending £2.5m on academy we wouldn't not buy it if it would really have made a difference to our score. Plus they only knew where we were missing after the audit, not before.

Lessons to be learnt, but as Klug says they have said we are a Cat 1 academy in all but name
2

ArnieM added 08:48 - Jul 26
The "system" is inherently biased toward the PL clubs and those clubs that through their failure in the PL enjoy these massive parachute windfalls for 4 years. Its "closed shop" of PL making and frankly an utter disgrace in our game.
1

brittaniaman added 08:51 - Jul 26
0.3% that is the interest I get on my savings which is almost nothing, so these powers of above seem to be working on very fine margins !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1

ArnieM added 08:51 - Jul 26
....and since when have scum ever brought through players into their first team other than very recently and a token appearance of 1 player. What a load of utter bollocks this cat
one is.
0

trncbluearmy added 09:15 - Jul 26
Marcus Evans
Straight from the horses mouth
wrong software cost us

maybe 0.3%?

“The way the audit system is set up means that if you are really good on a computer you can get more marks than if you’re really good out there (points at the training pitches). That makes me really angry, but we have to just accept that, dust ourselves down and make ourselves better.”

He continued: “We’re catching up very quickly on the administration side of it. The Premier League have now provided us with what they call a Performance Management Applicator. That actually brings it all together and we didn’t have that for the audit. We suffered a bit for that.”

So why didn’t the club have that piece of software?

“Well, rather than buy our own in we knew we’d be getting a free one in at the start of this season,” says Klug. “We developed our own system which provided all the information that we needed, but it wasn’t as in depth as the PMA will be. We did get punished a bit for that.”
1

Mark added 11:36 - Jul 26
"While a lack of recent players progressing into the first team hit Town's mark and was a significant factor in failing to pass the audit..."

I wonder what counts as "progressing into the first team"? Does one appearance count? What about if an adademy lad comes on as a sub in a Championship match? 0.3% is just so close and we need to make sure we get a few more points to pass next year.
2

Seasider added 12:33 - Jul 26
Partly lack of players coming thru is that last 3 managers including Mick have not really given the youngsters an extended opportunity for one reason or another.Would Sir Bob have brought more through had he still been with us?
1

harlingblue added 12:48 - Jul 26
Hypothetical question...If we had Garvan and Ambrose signed just before the audit, would they have been considered as coming through the Academy and therefor upped our marking?
0

blueboy1981 added 13:14 - Jul 26
....... we will be 'running an unbelievably successful Cat 2' !!! ............ this to some extent will be like trying to run a racing car without wheels.

One could suggest that this is even more 'hype' from the Club ............. this time next year WE WILL ALL KNOW won't we ??.


0

Axeldalai_lama added 13:19 - Jul 26
“Sometimes you read things which say we’re going for category one and we’re asking the fans to pay for it, but that’s just ridiculous.”
Funnily enough all the people who have been saying that aren't on here today.
0

blueboy1981 added 13:39 - Jul 26
....... all those looking for excuses (sorry, reasons) the Club was informed of the shortfalls in April - three months later not rectified = FAILURE. And it seems the Club were expecting it anyway, knowing they were going to be short of points.

Ample time for any professional organisation to get their ass in gear.

Don't knock the system - knock the FAILURE.
-1

jas0999 added 14:08 - Jul 26
Although I think it's ridiculous that we missed out by 0.3%, there is no point comparing us to Derby ( third paragraph). They got 78% so deservedly got through. We were unfortunate, yet we must have missed out on something. Therefore the team who were responsible for putting our application forward must have missed something. Shame though.
1

theobald1985 added 15:26 - Jul 26
absolute stitch up.id like to know exactly what improvements were needed to make the 0.3% up.maybe we did not wine and dine and bribe the judges well enough
-3

runningout added 21:45 - Jul 26
Come on... You should be wondering what happened to the 25.3%. Not just the 0.3 we fell short.. Embarrassing to say the least
1


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