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Pay or Really Pay!

Pay or Really Pay!

That is my message to Alexander Gaydamak. I`m not referring to bringing in Thierry Henry for forty million from Arsenal. I`m talking about what teams like West Ham, Southampton, Manchester United and Arsenal have been doing for years…


Fans have continuously questioned what is happening about the stadium. Even us websites have given it a lot of coverage but I think a youth academy is even more important…

Arsenal, West Ham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Charlton, Ipswich, Norwich, Millwall and Fulham, are where youngsters in the South of England are going.

You may be thinking… So what? A load of fifteen-year-olds aren`t going to get us into Europe next season. You`d be right, however a load of thirty five-year-olds on high wages aren`t going to be playing for Pompey in 5 years time!

My Argument For It

I think that we are missing out on a lot of young talent to those lot down the road. Look at Theo Walcott (it`s possible he would be playing for Pompey if we`d had a better academy). The cost of English players is increasing and this will continue to happen, especially considering the increase in TV revenue coming in next season. Teams will get away with charging even more for their young players. I believe failure to pay for youth facilities now will result in a much higher price to be paid in the future!

Think how exciting it must have been for Everton fans seeing Wayne Rooney (the next big thing) breaking into their first team? When was the last time Portsmouth fans walked out of the stadium saying; "he`s going to be amazing when he gets older." We have been blessed over the years by the likes of Paul Merson, Robert Prosienski and Teddy but look at the age of those three!

Other's Arguments

Navy Blue

Just heard that Pompey have released ALL of their Second Year Scholars. If this is true it is a disgrace. What does this tell younger players who have been asked to join or are thinking of joining Pompey? It tells me that our coaches are not up to producing players from the obvious POTENTIAL that is about.

I know a couple of local players at Saints now - both Pompey fans, who wouldn't touch us with a barge pole. What a sad state of affairs when our own local lads would rather play for Saints.

What is happening with the proposal for the new Youth Acadamy in Titchfield? I was down in Portsmouth a couple of weeks ago and watched the Youth team play, they were pretty crap to say the least. Saints seem to have their Acadamy producing players left right and chelsea, why can't we?

Pompey just seem to have missed a whole generation of local kids and Saints seem to snap them up. Do we not have a scouting network? What is Dave Hurst's position? Why aren't we picking up local lads. Jake Thompson, Matt Paterson, Mike Byrne, Jamie White and Ollie Lancashire all Hampshire lads. Why are they ALL at Saints. I just can't believe we have no one looking?

Pompey don't have the facilities or the balls to pick up young players and give them the opportunity to come through the ranks it is a disgrace. I have watched 'kids' football for the last 20 years in the Pompey areas. In the last two or three years I have seen some of the best prospects in that time - two of them are now at Stains one at Moneyfields and another has gone to Cambridge City! To have a club grow you must have youth. Harry must stop bringing in old players and spend the money on the Acadamy and the POTENTIAL that is in this area.


We have to face the fact that whilst we are a Premiership registered club, we are not in fact the least bit Premiership off the field. In fact, we are close to being an embarrassment - in reality we have a crap ground, with crap facilities, crap training ground, crap ticket office, crap club shop and really have a crap mentality towards anything that is needed to make this club really successful off the field.

Say what we will about Scum/Saints - they do at least have a decent ground and a superb academy/training set up, we're still faffing about in Division Four mode as far as that is concerned!


The 'build an academy' mantra has become the panacea for all ills. Simply start an academy and you can have half a first team of youth players that are free and sell the ones who don't make it to Championship sides....

Well its a great theory but it doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.

An academy costs about £2m pa to run, let alone the set up costs of
several mill. So this means you need to produce a first team player
pretty much every year (at prem level, 4 or 5 at Championship level)
to make it worthwhile, or a superstar every few years.

Almost every academy in the country fails to achieve this.

Liverpool haven't turned out a player since Carragher and Gerrard, 8
years ago. Ok, great players, but still most academies year after year
don't produce a player.

Even if we had had an academy the chances are we wouldn't have
produced a player since GON.

Even if we put in place an academy and in 5 years time it rolls out a first team player, that player will have cost us about £14m. 5 years at £2m a year plus £4m in set up costs.

Some academies are more successful than others of course. Villa and Boro have produced quite a few first team players, but these are mostly very average players. Downing and Agbonglahor are probably the best, but for the money it took to get them in the first team I would back HR to buy a better player every single time.

The other thing with really young players is that they tend to make a lot of mistakes in the early days. Then, if they manage to iron out the mistakes and become a good player someone else comes in and buys them. Which would you rather have bearing down on goal in the last minute of a match we really need to win, an 18 year old kid or Andy Cole?

The most successful youth programme is Arsenals' who simply go round Europe stealing everyone else`s best 16 year olds for some small compensation.

The fact is that nearly all young English players are not good enough for the highest level. That is why they are no longer coming through at Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea.

There is one real reason to have an academy - the prem league rules say you have to.

Crewe and Millwall have two of the most successful academies out there, and both are thinking about closing them.

So by all means lets start an academy, because we have to. But don't think its going to save a lot of money long term. It isn't. Our future viability rests on continuing inflows of TV money (which make up 80% of our turnover next season) being matched by a support base catered for by a new stadium.

Academies are a total irrelevance to our long-term financial viability.

What Do You Think?

Lot`s of people have posted their views on the importance of youth facilities at Portsmouth Football Club and now I want to hear your views!

Click here to read the thread.

Click here to register.

We are hoping that Peter Storrie will comment on the article at some point today.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 14 2007

Time: 2:05PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
deal with it now! That's what i think
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 14:07:00

As a Pompey fan based in the Midlands I agree with much of this. Leicester, Derby, Forest all have a good clutch of young players coming through the ranks. For the club to be able to move on they really need to think about this, if in the future we shoudl drop out of the Premiership then the so called bigger names would not entertain us and we would need to look at our Youth Talent.
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 14:59:00

yer thats a great good point! The likes of David James Matt Taylor Gary O'Neil Pedro Mendes would all be on there way had we gone down this season
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 15:14:00

"We are hoping that Peter Storrie will comment on the article at some point today."

Er, should I need to call my lawyer??
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 15:35:00

What??? lol You've confused me there. I no it's a joke but i can't work it out...
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 15:40:00

As you have quoted me, he just might want to sue me for my comments, lol!!
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 15:51:00

Im an Arsenal fan, and our team is benefiting greatly from the Youth Accademy/Scouting system we have in place. Ok they are not all English, but who cares as long as they are good enough. Wenger seems to be the master at spotting talent and turning them into superstars. Pompey should go with the the Academy as in a couple of years it will defo bear fruit! good luck for the rest of the season.
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 16:47:00

Thats what the land at Titchfield has been bought for. A training ground, and youth academy. Keep up lads, we just waiting on the land registers now before we can build. Milan set these wheels in motion, but because of English Land registration law, we cant actually do anytning on it just yet. I think Pompey are free to start developing the land in July/August.
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 16:54:00

well lets hope it does get built
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 17:03:00

Thanks Limpar11, I have long been envious of the youth academy at Arsenal. Many have said Arsenal have lost their way the past season or so but that was purely a transitional period. Looking at the side now with the crop of new younger players coming in, it is clear to see why a youth academy is important. Arsenal are going to be the side to beat next season for sure.

Midge - this has already been commented on in the forum, we are all well aware what it has been bought for - the question still remains will there ever be real money invested into the youth program? Thus far it has been a shambles, the club have even let three go recently, such is the poor standard of things without such an academy.
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 17:06:00

I agree with you TPB, and i have been commenting about our lack of professionalism off the field for somewhile. part of the problem with kids getting anywhere in ponpey youth and young blues is that unlees their parents are friends of the coaches that kid wont make progress and there are worse rumours than that doing the rounds. One child a pompey supporter has now gone to scum and his parents wouldnt come back to pompey if we were the last club on earth. it is a real shame. from paddon to hardyman things havent been good. Having an academy (or applying) to build an academy is one thing ( PL rules say as a Pl club you must do it) but the club needs a change in culture and it needs driving from the top down. Then one day we wont be so envious of Limpar11.
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 17:38:00

It's goox that fans care about off-field matters!!
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 17:48:00

This is a good article - to build or not to build that is a very good question. At first it seems obvious but when you consider the stats and finances . . .
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 18:13:00

Build an academy to bring in the youth, it seems just common sense to me. But, it all remains to be seen as to whether the new administration really has the funds to achieve this.
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 18:42:00

academy is essential, i'm involved in youth football and i know of a few kids whose parents are pompey season ticket holders and they are with the scummers academy
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 22:40:00

An academy counts for more than just the production of Premiership class players. It helps build the young and old fan base, raises the profile of the club locally and nationally and helps produce good quality, predominately British footballers - for whatever class of league.
Report Abuse
14/02/2007 22:48:00

It has to be said though that an academy may not always give as much to English football as you would hope. Bolton and Arsenal both have excellent academies, however when they both played each other last night in the FA Cup replay, out of the 22 who first took to the field for kick off, only one was English and that was Kevin Nolan. It also needs to be noted that at the same time, there were players from 17 different countries on the field too. Home grown talent? [Edited by TruePompeyBlue]
Report Abuse
15/02/2007 07:10:00

there is no doubt academy status is needed but even if we had it would Harry play them?
Steve C
Report Abuse
15/02/2007 07:45:00

My contribution to this comes in the form of you first reading a story from 2004. http://www.portsmouthtoday.co.uk/CustomPages/CustomPage.aspx?sectionid=4523 Look at the names: Billy Huntley, Jake Thomson, Louis Bell, Tom Cotchin, Jason Prior, Ray Rogers, Tom Roberts, Sean Howe, Jack Stanbridge. These lads proved themselves to be amongst the best U-15 side in England. Nearly three years on, where are they? While our biggest rivals had at least half of the team on their books, alongside (at least) £25m worth of talent (Walcott and Bale), Pompey gave a scholarship to Louis Bell. He signed for Newport IOW in october 06 on a months loan.
The Rabbi
Report Abuse
15/02/2007 12:42:00

Thats a good bit of investigating there Rabbi, if you dont watch out you will have your own TV series soon..... Tonight the Rabbi investigates...... etc, SteveC raises an excellent point, would Harry use the academy? I honestly didnt know the answer so i asked a hammers colleague and he says it was Billy Bonds and frank lampard senior who did it all at West ham and Harry wasnt intrested until he realised that there might be money in it. He also made the same point as i did above, ALL premiership clubs MUST start an Academy in order to receive a share of the money sloshing around.
Report Abuse
15/02/2007 19:11:00

If players are good enough Harry would use them from the academy (when we have it), he did it down the road didn't he... This is something that is essential to bring through young talent homegrown and otherwise. For the forseeable future this talent would mostly be exclusivly homegrown you'd think as until a real solid and consistent move forward is made top overseas youngsters would not make Pompey their first port of call would they... Not just Premiership clubs need accademies, all clubs need them, but Premiership clubs without them are almost criminal... This will happen soon but will take time to bare any real fruit, but when it does it will only benefit the club on and off the field...
Report Abuse
16/02/2007 09:26:00

RussellM, i don't think Harry would use the youth academy. Lets not forget that Gary O'Neil needed Alain Perrin (remember him?) to rescue him from his loan hell. Harry didn't rate O'Neil at all. if our youth system became successful then harry's favourite agent Willie Mackay would probably go bust. We wouldn't want that would we?
The Rabbi
Report Abuse
16/02/2007 11:38:00

Hopefully go watch the pompey couple of times next season cause im goin portsmouth uni anyway good luck with the rest of the season MARTIN ALLENS MK ARMY
the rodge
Report Abuse
16/02/2007 13:13:00

I have to agree Haryy has shown little sign of using young players since he came to the club, Gary O'neil owes his place in the team to Alain Perrin and the chance to show Harry he was too good to leave out. Richard Duffy was signed by Harry but hasn't had a look in. Whilst I know Harry used young players at West Ham he has a poor track record at Pompey as far as young players go.
Steve C
Report Abuse
16/02/2007 13:42:00

Rabbi i think you hit my nail on the head, ruggers Harry had no choice but to use youth when at scum, he had no money and admitted the same on the box.
Report Abuse
16/02/2007 23:03:00

Youth academys are so important. We've had 3 superb players come up from the youth team into our 1st team this season and as a small club benefit greatly from loanees often from the bigger clubs youth teams. It's what is missing in the UK bringing our own players through.
Report Abuse
17/02/2007 20:51:00

and the will to do it fpr some
Report Abuse
19/02/2007 20:28:00


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