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Big Teams Owe Debt To Struggling Clubs

Apologies if this has been mentioned elsewhere but a very good article from Henry Winter in today's Times highlighting the work of "smaller" clubs in bringing youth players through with us getting a particularly worthy mention:

When Jordan Henderson was 18, living in a small flat in Leamington Spa, learning to cook and playing on loan at Coventry City from Sunderland, he was written up as “the highly rated teenage winger” by the Coventry Telegraph. Now he’s captaining Liverpool and an England regular. James Maddison also began at Coventry. Now he is starring for Leicester City, a target for Manchester United, and close to England recognition. Callum Wilson, who leads Bournemouth’s attack and is in the national squad, also started at the West Midlands club. The Premier League and England owe struggling Coventry a debt.

At Charlton Athletic, academy heads Steve Avory and Paul Hart worked hard to develop Joe Gomez’s game, his heading in particular, and he now excels for Liverpool and England. Charlton gave Nick Pope his start in the professional game, and he now keeps goal in the Premier League with Burnley and is established in the England squad. Clubs and country owe Charlton, still labouring under an unloved owner, a debt.

So when the England players disperse back to their clubs after tonight’s match against Kosovo, the game should remember those who helped their pathway, whether as starter clubs or taking elite talent on loan, giving them game time and a chance. The FA, which benefits hugely from the development work of many of the EFL clubs, needs to fight for them more when they are threatened. For Premier League clubs, a better remuneration strategy that properly acknowledges the work done down the pyramid has to be considered.


  • And instead the PL gave us EPPP through bribes.  
  • This is a very valid point,but i dont know how it would work.Clubs like Charlton reap the financial rewards by developing players and selling them on to Premier league clubs for big money(Not always enough in our case).With regards the loan of young talent from the top clubs,that suits us as well as the parent club.The only way it would work is if the league could identify the clubs that give the lads a chance and assist them with the expenses of their respective youth academies.But this would have to be done very carefully to avoid any financial help being used for the wrong reasons(I.E.paying debts off).We obviously cannot afford to have any more clubs dying,but clubs must help themselves by living within their means and not getting into ridiculous levels of debt chasing rainbows.I saw the U23 game against Burnley yesterday,so many good lads on either side,the Charlton lads will get their chance,but I wonder how many of the Burnley lads will get any where near their first team.
  • I agree that more realistic prices should be paid by the top clubs when reaping the good work that clubs like Charlton do in bringing really talented youngsters through. However, too often clubs outside the Premier League are the cause of their own financial problems; eg. overspending by irresponsible owners (Bury, Bolton etc.) beyond their means. Derby are a prime example - £10m for one player! This is a huge gamble. All well and good if they reach the 'promised land' but what if they don't? ALL clubs have a responsibility to live within their means.
  • A thoughtful and non-hysterical piece by Henry Winter. 
  • The system clearly doesn't reward smaller teams well enough, though to be fair how much did Waterloo benefit from the sale of Ademola Lookman?

    And a club like Sheffield United, now in the PL, once had to sell its best youngsters e.g. Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire, but is now one of "the big boys"
  • I don't see how it can change. Lower clubs do benefit from having a youth academy and players like Solly are loyal to one club and Charlton have benefited from that. If you invest wisely in the youth setup and provide decent contracts not all players will leave cheaply. Not many clubs are able to produce premier league players so few will command millions in transfer fees so you could argue more should be done to stop these players leaving at a younger age like Defoe did. That's an FA issue. 
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Roland Out!