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Milne: Cost Could Force Clubs Out of Academy Category One
Friday, 20th May 2016 11:35

Town managing director Ian Milne says Championship clubs with Category One academies could switch to Category Two as they become more and more expensive to maintain. The Blues missed out on Category One by 0.3 per cent after an audit in the summer of 2014 and are set to stay at that level again next season.

Milne says owner Marcus Evans these days takes a hands-on role at Playford Road: “He’s personally spent a lot more time with the academy, he has regular reviews. We’ve got one coming up shortly.

“He is very much into it, how it’s run and particularly with the EPPP and also with the sports science side and there’s a lot of new things that we have to do in the academy.

“The nutritionist, the educational side which you must do, the sports science side and all the other things, that’s a big investment, but he quite enjoys that side to make training more sophisticated and, of course, also having excellent coaches and producing four England young players [U15 international Dylan Crowe and Andre Dozzell, Ben Morris and Nick Hayes, who were at the European Championships with the U17s] plus the lads we saw in the first team in the last couple of matches.

“He loves to see them come through, and so does [manager] Mick [McCarthy]. Seeing Teddy Bishop back out there as well as Myles [Kenlock], Josh [Emmanuel] and the rest, it was great to see those guys and they played well. And hopefully they will progress during the next season.”

Town are in the process of installing 3G surfaces at Playford Road, as required at Category Two, although the pitches are of Category One standard.

“They’re currently under construction, one outside and a half-size one indoors in the dome,” Milne continued.


“We’re also spending quite a lot on pitches down there, drainage and what have you. Mick was quite impressed with what was going on there.”

Milne says Category One has become harder and harder for Championship clubs to obtain with the goalposts having been moved.

“We don’t want to make a big issue of this because there are no surprises but it's because of this ‘clustering’ issue,” he explained.

“There was a Cat One standard but then they introduced this clustering bit, which completely confounded [academy director] Bryan [Klug] and everyone else.

“It is complicated and I think very nefarious that they’ve put it in. As I understand it, and I’ve been told I’ve got this right, you can get to Cat One status but you may not be categorised as Cat One unless your facilities compete with the other academies out there, Premier League clubs and a few from the Championship.

“So, you’re spending on staff, on grounds, on buildings so they’re ‘five star’, but what they’re saying is that if everybody’s gone up to ‘six stars’ - a lot more staff than you need for Cat One, better facilities, better grounds, all your pitches are in absolutely peak condition, offering more education and what have you - you have to compete with that, which is quite a large bill.

“Don’t take this for gospel, but that seems to be costing a lot of these clubs about £4 million or £5 million more than they are paying at the moment in order to ensure themselves Cat One status.

“We’ve taken the view because it’s a bit of a nefarious type of arrangement or standard that we intend to stay in Cat Two, which is still a very high standard, having paid for a Cat One 3G pitch. We’re not letting go of going Cat One but next [season] I think we will go for Cat Two.

“I think the other point of this is, ‘Does that mean you’ll get a lower output of players?’. The boys at the academy have done the statistics and looked at other clubs and we’re well up with Cat One in terms of players going into the first-team squad.”

Given the spiralling costs of maintaining a Category One academy, Milne wouldn’t be surprised if other clubs follow Bolton’s lead in switching to Category Two, Wanderers having made the move last summer to save around £1 million.

“Bolton came out of Cat One and I see the same sort of thing happening elsewhere,” he added. “An owner’s got to have a balance between what they’re prepared to spend on backing the academy and getting the players through and the money he’s got to give to the manager for the first-team squad.

“This season, on the academy including the pitch, it’s going to cost us about £3.5 million.

“The other thing about this 3G pitch is that it’s really used by those who are 16 and under. Scholars can play on it but it’s primarily for the U16s. Those carpets will last about six or seven, maybe eight years before they’ve got to be replaced and that’s another £100,000.

“Again for Cat Two you’re being asked to have a lot more people involved, a psychologist, a nutritionist, we’re taking on an extra person on the physio side. The coaching side has got to have full-time staff.

“It’s not a case that Cat Two is drifting away from Cat One, it isn’t, and that’s proved by the players that are coming through from both categories to first team squads and beyond.”


Photo: Action Images



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monytowbray added 11:42 - May 20
So running a football club means spending money in places that aren't transfer fees?!

SINCE WHEN!? This is a revelation to modern football!

How will the ERVERNS EURT HERS BLEERDERN TER CLERB DRER ERND LERKS ERNBERSERN brigade deal with this news?
0

runningout added 11:53 - May 20
weak excuse from Ian Milne again...
-9

MattinLondon added 12:01 - May 20
To be fair its not a weak excuse - from what I've been reading the PL is consistently rewriting the rules on Cat 1. Its becoming a closed shop and its wrong.

The PL is may well be the richest league in the wrong but it’s also the playground bully
10

ElderGrizzly added 12:03 - May 20
Runningout - how is it a weak excuse? We don't know where we're aiming at for Cat 1 due to the PL making it a closed shop, but we're spending £3.5m just to maintain category 2.
The equivalent of £70k a week!
6

casanovacrow added 12:04 - May 20
seems like yet another premier league conspiracy. Any way they can attempt to pull up the ladder n they'd do it.
3

ArnieM added 13:12 - May 20
Premier League is a closed shop. They don't want any CC involved in PL initiatives and will continue to move the goal posts, change the admission criteria and costs to be involved. And it's only about the so called Big Five. The rest don't count. Frankly the top clubs can dodgy off to some super European league and take their foreign overpaid imports with them. Sky money does NOTHING for teams outside of the PL.
3

J2BLUE added 13:26 - May 20
@runningout Did you even read what we are doing? It sounds like the academy is in good hands and we're just refusing to bow to the ridiculous demands to get category 1 which, when you consider all the resources he has listed there, is a meaningless label.

When kids and their parents are shown round the academy do you think they'll be looking at the resources and coaches on offer or asking if we're category 1?

Massive credit to Evans here and it kind of flies in the face of those saying he wants to get out. He's looking after the long term interests of our club and we should be thankful. He's clearly here for the long term.
5

MattinLondon added 16:18 - May 20
@ArnieM
Sky money does NOTHING for teams outside of the PL.

Without the money from Sky Bournemouth would not have had the eight million for Mings and Sunderland would not have had the same amount for Wickham. So money does get filtered down to clubs.
1

DurhamTownFan added 17:46 - May 20
It sounds like we have a decent set up anyway. Does it matter that were not category 1, if we keep producing decent youngsters? Maybe it swings the decision of one or two, but I think we're doing ok. If much rather see the money being spent on the first team, if it's 2m for the next category.
2

Seasider added 18:19 - May 20
I am glad that CEO has clarified the position on Cats 1 & 2.

Seems like he is being more communicative,which is a good thing.

Maybe too late to get a lot of season ticket holders back;but still nearly a couple of months before the early bird deal runs out,due to the extension;so positive transfer action etc could bring a few back into the fold.

Think the hierarchy have been shaken by the number not renewing.
2

WhoisJimmyJuan added 22:49 - May 20
Again, Milne sounds like he knows what he is talking about. I get the impression he is focusing on better communication with fans about where the club is going because things seem better explained at least than for a few years.
1

cats_whiskers added 09:31 - May 21
Academy my @rse
Football has become too bleedin' scientific for its own good

Watching it today and most players really don’t know what to do once they get near the oppositions penalty area

It’s all sideways and backwards and such slow build up with someone trying to thread a ball amongst and between 18 players.
the heading ability today of strikers today is absolute rubbish as they haven’t the ability to rise to meet a cross and meet it properly on the forehead.

All that central bunching up at free kicks and corners,
(no one actually making a run to meet the ball in flight), Like a John Wark could do

defenders concentrating on shirt pulling, or wrapping their arms around their assigned player.

Is that what those in football academies are being taught?
You don’t need too much skill to foul or a brain either for that matter.

Players have become so robotic that you can hardly tell one from another and a majority of today’s players would make it in the teams of the 70’s and 80’s when the were actually footballers in the true sense.
0

cats_whiskers added 09:40 - May 21
(Had to make a couple of word adjustments of my post as it didn't quite read as intended)

Academy my @rse
Football has become too scientific for its own good

Watching it today and most players really don’t know what to do once they get near the oppositions penalty area

It’s all sideways and backwards and such slow build up with someone trying to thread a ball amongst and between 18 players.
the heading ability today of strikers today is absolute rubbish as they haven’t the ability to rise to meet a cross and meet it properly on the forehead.

All that central bunching up at free kicks and corners,
(no one actually making a run to meet the ball in flight), Like a John Wark could do

defenders concentrating on shirt pulling, or wrapping their arms around their assigned player.

Is that what those in football academies are being taught?
You don’t need too much skill to foul or a brain either for that matter.

Players have become so robotic that you can hardly tell one from another and a majority of today’s players wouldn’t make it in the teams of the 70’s and 80’s when those then were actually footballers in the true sense.
0


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