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Is Axing Youth A Cut Too Far?

By: Graham Howes
Date: 13/01/2002

THE RECENT announcement by Mr Furneaux is that the youth set-up is the latest to feel the axe. However we must consider the future implications of this decision.

Home > Features > Is Axing Youth A Cut Too Far?

Question and issues must be raised as to where Town are going get their future players from. Also some fans may not be aware of the new Bosman criteria set out by UEFA which protects clubs who develop young players. Although mainly designed for the protection of smaller clubs to prevent losing cash invested in its talent, the ruling would also enable large clubs to demand compensation for the youngsters who leave. Effectively ruling clubs like us out from getting the Simon Ford's/ Chris Thompson ilk standard players as they would command compensation beyond the level of our budget. A typical youth leaving a top-flight club after this season would entitle the premier club in the region of £500K.

There are only two avenues to get players: they are either bought or home grown. With finances in the state we are told they are we therefore cannot buy the talent required for the 1st division. So our only option is we must go down the Crewe road and produce an academy system, which is first class to entice the brightest youngsters around.

...Why the hell can't Grimsby achieve what Crewe are doing?...

In light of this it is more incredulous the decision has been to abandon the one thing which could help the club bring in future Grimsby Town players. We have to question why the hell can't Grimsby achieve what Crewe are doing?

If cutbacks are needed, this not an area we can afford to lose out in and any savings made by this action will come back and haunt the club threefold financially. Take for example Anthony Elding (Boston) who initially was at Town but was released. He is rumoured to be interesting Grimsby and would command a fee in excess of £70K. The situation will be more normal if the system is broken up and will cost the club more than in the short term than the savings we will make.

On another front, like Lennie or not, he brought professionalism to the club in player contracts. Are we going back to the dark ages when the club started player negotiations? Far too late, only to lose him to a cut down sale or Bosman. Any prudent club need to be negotiating between the 18-12 months left period with a view of getting the player signed on an extension contract before he has less than 6 months left (The period he can start talking to others).

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