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Town's Youth Programme To Be Restructured

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 18/06/2002

GRIMSBY Town today confirmed that there is to be a complete overhaul of the Youth Development Programme. The club's official web site reported that the Mariners feel that, over recent years, the scheme has not produced the required results given the investment in both time and money.

The £138,000 annual grant from The FA Premier League, The Football League and Sport England has now been confirmed, and a new-look, revitalised youth development programme will be put in place providing the club can secure the necessary finance to match the grant which is a requirement of the award as the grant represents only half of the operating costs of maintaining the GTFC Centres of Excellence.

Mariners Net states: "Plans, drawn up with the full backing of Player-Manager Paul Groves and assistant Graham Rodger, will re-structure the system, encouraging a more efficient and effective production line to the professional ranks at Blundell Park. Indeed Paul Groves will be adopting a "hands-on" approach to this task. Calling on his many years' experience of coaching within The School of Excellence, he will be more actively involved in the youth policy than any previous Grimsby Town manager. No-one appreciates it's importance more than he does."

Chairman Peter Furneaux said: "We did not feel that we were getting enough players out of the scheme to justify the effort and money being put into it. When you consider that we have got teams from ten-years-old and upwards, it just wasn't working." He continued: "We want to make sure that the people coming through are suitable and good enough for the First Division. Too many of our youngsters have come through the system only to leave for lower division clubs.

"With Paul Groves and Graham Rodger very keen to get more involved in the revamping process, we are sure that their input will provide us with a real basis for success. However, without the ITV Digital money, it will be difficult for the Club to find the means to match the funding."

The Chairman added: "It is interesting to note that clubs in a similar position to ourselves have already received financial assistance. Lincoln City, for example, received grants of £45,000 and £50,000 from Lincoln City Council and Lincolnshire County Council respectively. We are appealing to the local business community to put their faith in the future of the Club by supporting the youth set-up with the necessary finance."

Source: Mariners Net

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