How many times have we heard those statements in recent years? I've spoke about City's youth policy time and time again on here and in conversation along with thousands of others but they never listen. It still gets mentioned on an almost daily basis by some brainless idiot who lives their lives believing everything they read in the tabloids. However the notion that City pay no attention to their Academy becomes increasingly moot as the evidence continues to mount up.
Such evidence is the reason for this post. Manchester City have publicly announced their partnership with St Bede's College, a rather distinguished local educational establishment, which began last September. "What's the big deal?" I hear you say.
Well this new and unique partnership dramatically changes the way City's Academy works for the players in the 14-16 age group. Previously, they were taken out of their schools one day a week for training with City's coaches, as well as additional training in the evenings at Platt Lane.
Now they are all at the same school receiving a quality level of education, and get to work with City's coaches on a daily basis whilst they are there. No other club in Englsih football has developed a partnership of this kind. City's head of the Academy, Mark Allen has spoken on a number of occasions about the changes being made by City at youth level and the desire to help the boys develop into well rounded individuals both on and off the pitch.
“It's a pre-scholarship football and education programme, and we worked in partnership with St Bede's to give the boys a timetable that gave them appropriate education for their age with access to the right number of GCSEs.
"We have married that with a full time football programme that works towards our plan to create the elite players that we want at Manchester City in the future."
One way in which this programme is benefiting the players is that they are not only getting to spend more time learning about and playing football, they are also able to spend more time with their family because they are no longer having to go back out in the evening for training. It's a more stable and structured set up for the Coaches, the players, and just as importantly, their parents.
City's U14s coach Jonathan Hill, who also spoke to mcfc.co.uk, is pleased with how the boys have taken to the new set up and how they have developed.
“Integrating at the school has been good for their discipline, and that has transferred into the football.
“The boys have really got into the programme, and while daily training has been hard on them we have found that they have had very few injuries.
“It’s been really positive, the boys have matured and I can already see a big difference in them.”
The fact that Hill has seen improved character and application in such a short space of time is excellent news for the club as this is almost a trial run for when City's new training complex is built. When that comes around the Academy players will be taught in-house under a similar education and training system.
So are City only focusing on buying their 1st team? That has never been the case despite recent spending.
Why don't City bring through youth like United? They do, and the 'bring through youth' tag at United is largely a myth (as you can find in a link below).
Why would any young player want to join Manchester City? Because they putting in as much effort as, if not more for the all-round development of young players than any other club in the football league.
Other articles you might like in connection with City's Academy are;
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