On Wednesday, Stuart Webber and Academy manager Steve Weaver spoke to the local media about the future of the Norwich City Academy and basically to describe the bottom line, they`re going all in with it.
You can read all about that via the club`s official website here
The club do not want to lose their Category One status and it is clear that if promotion to the Premier League is not achieved in the immediate future, then the production of young players good enough to play first team football for the Canaries is a must.
One of the biggest advantages of being a Category One club is the location of Norwich. The next nearest Cat One academy is around 100 miles away so that is a big pull for parents of lads who are not able or willing to travel that sort of distance to go to training. Let`s be honest, how far would you be willing to drive your lad to football training if you and your partner both worked and he needed to be there at 6pm on several weekday evenings?
A mate of mine`s lad was offered a place training with Leicester Tigers (that`s rugby) but he had to let the opportunity go because it was a 2hr trip to get there for 2hrs training three times a week. The lad was 14 and still at school with both parents working full time. It just wasn`t practicable.
In recent years, I can`t think of any players other than Josh and Jacob Murphy that have made the transition from the academy to the first team and that needs to change if we are going to see a reduction in income, which we will if we don`t gain promotion this season.
Everyone loves a home town (or in our case, City) hero and it gives the fans a boost to see a local lad doing well, not to mention it gives local lads the thought that the club has the right set up to give them a chance.
It`s interesting to note that Huddersfield have made the decision to let their Academy close and that`s why Steve Weaver and his new assistant, Dean Wright have joined up again with Stuart Webber.
Webber says that one of the main reasons for the closing of that academy was the proximity of numerous other set ups near to Huddersfield, so for once, our geographical location works for us.
I am fully behind this decision and think it`s crucial for our club, it always has been, it`s just that perhaps in the past it hasn`t been run in the optimum way and that`s why there haven`t been more successes than Josh and Jacob.
With a Head Coach that is happy to trust youth and give young players a chance, I think we`re headed in the right direction.