Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
O'Neill: Academy to Remain Category Two
Tuesday, 14th May 2019 12:01

Town general manager of football operations and academy manager Lee O’Neill has reiterated that the club’s youth set-up will remain at category two despite the club’s relegation to League One and the loss of a number of talented young players to big Premier League clubs.

Town are looking to cut costs due to demotion to the third tier for the first time in 62 years but O’Neill says the Playford Road academy’s status won’t change due to that or the loss of several youngsters to big Premier League clubs in recent seasons.

While the likes of Andre Dozzell, Jack Lankester, Tristan Nydam, Flynn Downes, Idris El Mizouni, Josh Emmanuel, Myles Kenlock, Ben Morris and Ben Folami have progressed through to the first team, the Blues have been powerless to stop some of their more talented academy prospects from moving on, with owner Marcus Evans having hit out at the compensation rules.

Ahead of 2018/19 the Blues lost England U17 international Ben Knight, 16, to Manchester City with Canada-born Mexican U16 international Marcelo Flores, 15, subsequently moving on to Arsenal.

Previously, Harry Clarke departed for the Gunners in 2015 aged 14 and Charlie Brown, then 16, for Chelsea for an initial £600,000 a year later.

“Frustrating, that’s probably the word,” O’Neill said when asked about those exits. “I can confirm our plan is category two, that’s not going to change and if anything our aspirations are still as tight as ever and still as focused as ever on trying to achieve category one.

“I’ve been involved with the Premier League side of things in looking at how the new audit framework is going to be put in place, so I can put the club in the best possible position to be able to understand what the requirements are to meet category one needs going forward.

“I think with those players that you’ve mentioned, I think whether they’re an academy player or even a first-team player, when an exceptionally big club comes in for you, it’s very hard not to have your head turned, both from the financial side of things and the opportunity that they can offer.

“For us it’s been great that we’ve had some younger players go through the academy and make their debuts, a different pathway and a different experience.

“It’s always a concern for us because we want to keep our best talent so they can play in our first team, but there may be situations as you go through that process where other clubs identify talented players in our pathway and they may look to recruit them.

“It’s not our intention to sell a player, at the same time we want players that want to be here and want to be part of our programme and if they don’t want to be part of that programme and they want to go somewhere else, then you have to look at the business side of the club.

“But we’re not a selling club for that purpose, we’re not setting our academy up to sell players. Some other clubs do that and that’s the model that they work towards.

“The reason behind our academy is to try and develop players that can play in our first team.”

Knight, from Reach in Cambridgeshire, is understood to have moved on for just over £1 million with further payments due as his career progresses, although O’Neill wasn’t able to confirm that figure, while Flores is likely to have moved for a lower initial sum but with similar milestones going forward.

“You have the compensation rules that are in place that are something that the Premier League are looking at because that hasn’t changed over a number of years but if you look at the value of players and the specific [recent] transfer windows that has changed, so the two probably need to marry up,” O’Neill added.

“The process if you want [is that] you go into negotiations with the club and look at how things happen over a time and sometimes it is on incentives and playing in their first team and sometimes it is on contracts and things like that, how well they do. So, every case is individual.”

Photo: TWTD

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

TractorCam added 12:23 - May 14
Not forgetting Jack Lankester Phil!

Excellent news regarding the academy, one of our bright sparks of the last few years.

mrmorisato added 12:57 - May 14
This news comes as no surprise to me although this was the 'exciting' piece of news that I was looking forward too. ME intent to build a successful entertaining young team is now seriously flawed!, if he won't buy players and if he can't protect the best youth the club has then how can he expect to build success on the field when the club will continue to haemorrhage talent!!!????!!!!? 😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠 THIS BEGGARS BELIEF!!!!!!!! #EvansOut

runningout added 12:59 - May 14
Every club loses potentially good players. No time to rest on your laurels whatever league your in. Aim high then higher

lightingblue added 13:02 - May 14
Due to the clubs present situation, this should not be the most pressing issue. Keep the structure as it is for now. The club seems to be in a decent place in that respect and producing some decent young talent. Let’s concentrate on getting back up, make the club stable again then review the youth set up to move it forward

Suffolkboy added 13:20 - May 14
Mr O’N reveals how complicated are the rules , how unfair are the situations which develop and how well mannered ,patient and objective the Club need to remain .
Let’s support everybody & move on ,involved and enthusiastic in following all the efforts of a now well motivated team !

naa added 13:22 - May 14
mrmorisato: what are you suggesting is wrong here? That we aren't category one? No league 1 club is category one and very few championship clubs are (mostly ones who have copme down from the premier league).

Even with category one status how do you expect us to keep players who get offers from premier league clubs? Even if we were in the championship it would be very hard. It's a sad fact of modern football that it's all setup to protect the big boys.

Upthetown1970 added 13:46 - May 14
If we were Cat 1 our club would be protected because a Cat 1 club can not take players from another cat 1 club I'm lead to believe. I agree with Lee O'Neill that if the big clubs come calling and a boy wants to leave then why not cash in on them. I know Man Utd are currently interested in Liam Gibbs u16 but I'm lead to believe this lad and his parents are committed to Ipswich Town Football club so will probably stay. This lad was excellent in the Hospital Cup at the weekend and is committed so these are the talented youngster we should focus on.

rugbytomc added 13:50 - May 14
my limited knowledge of Cat 1 vs Cat 2 is not that you stand a better chance of keeping players, but you can recruit players from further away? Correct me if i'm wrong. So as LO'N mentioned, we could have been Cat 1 and the likes of Knight and Brown still would have gone when Man Citeh and Chelski came calling - what we have done well is to encourage the likes of Dozzell and Downes to stay even as they were picking up England youth caps.

Radlett_blue added 14:18 - May 14
"our aspirations are still as tight as ever and still as focused as ever on trying to achieve category one".
Words as empty and meaningless as "We want this club to be in the Premier League" unless we have a credible strategy for trying to achieve the objective.

mrmorisato added 17:41 - May 14
@naa ME has now stated that he will look to the development of the youth players at the Academy to build a successful team around moving forward. HOW DO EXPECT TO BUILD A STRONG YOUTH TEAM WHEN ALL THE BIG PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS ARE ALLOWED TO SIGN ALL YOUR BEST YOUNG PLAYERS FOR A NOMINAL FEE!?!?!?!?!?!

ME will not spend money on transfer fees and sizable player wages anymore as he must bring the club's finances into line with the league's strict policies on expenditure (75% spend for Ipswich on revenue generated this season, next season it will drop to 60%).

If ME will not and cannot sign players that we need then he will have to develop the youth players at the club. So @naa do you see the massive gigantic problem ME has right now!?!?!?

His plan is grossly flawed!!!!

How do you build a strong winning youth team when you cant sign any senior players for big money and all the big Premier league clubs take all your best players.......!?!?!?

Do you then look to the U15s, U14s, U13s, U12s?!?!?!?!?

It goes on and on and on and on and on :(

Rant over.


PaulHurstITFCLegend added 06:32 - May 15
The plan isn't flawed and I think this is a good decision by the club. The problem isn't the plan, it's the rules. A previous post mentioned that category 1 can't poach from category 1. This just makes the richer clubs always richer and the gap will only expand.

PhilTWTD added 16:00 - May 15

I knew I'd miss one from that list! Added. No slight on Jack intended.

PhilTWTD added 16:01 - May 15

Not true re Cat One clubs not taking players from other Cat One clubs, happens quite a lot.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 270 bloggers

Ipswich Town Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© TWTD 1995-2020