Anyway, when I took my seat inside Colchester's brand new stadium and when the teams were announced, I was surprised to see that Southend had a striker called Scott Spencer playing.
A bit of history on Scott Spencer:-
David Moyes signed him from Oldham in May 2006. At the time he was 17 and very highly rated.
Moyes paid around £200,000 to secure him and actually saw off a late bid by Spurs.
Spencer had never played for Oldham's first team but he had scored 29 goals for their youth side.
Oldham's manager Ronnie Moore had this to say of the lad "He is quick and he has a good eye for a goal. Over 20 yards he is lightning quick and when he gets a chance he finishes it."
At the time it seemed like David Moyes had secured a very useful player for the future.
Unfortunately it didn't happen for Spencer at Everton. He spent most of his time around the youth and reserve teams.
In 2008, Spencer was loaned out to League One side Yeovil but failed to break into their side and didn't make a single appearnce for them.
He returned to Everton and then a couple of months later was again loaned out. This time to League Two side Macclesfield where he made three uneventful substitute appearances before returning to Everton.
A year later, Spencer was the forgotten man at Everton having been overtaken by young strikers like Agard, Baxter and Jutkiewicz.
Spencer was released from Everton and appeared to be in the football wilderness. Then, during the summer, he signed for League Two side Rochdale and made 5 substitute appearances for them.
At the start of 2010, he signed on a free for Southend, where he scored on his debut and has been a regular for the past month. He even scored a second goal a couple of weeks ago.
Anyway, he played up front for Southend in this game against Colchester and I was very interested to view his performance.
Spencer is 21 years old now but to be fair he doesn't look like a young player. His movement was very lumbered and any pace he once had was not evident during this game.
In the 73 minutes of football he played, I can't remember a single problem he caused Colchester. In fact, his performance was completely forgettable. He looks set for a career in lower league and it's hard to see what David Moyes ever saw in him.
The point of this post isn't to complain about the money Everton wasted on him because all promising kids are a bit of a punt. Rather I wanted to draw attention to how difficult it is for young players to make it at the highest level.
Lukas Jutkiewicz is currently doing well at Motherwell (10 goals now) but he soon could find himself released by Everton. Poached starlets Luke Garbutt and Femi Orenuga have big futures predicted for them but do they really stand a chance at Everton? More likely they may find themselves playing lower league football... like Scott Spencer.
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1 Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:35:44
It seems we’ve a poor youth scouting set-up...
2 Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:38:49
3 Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:53:46
There have definitely been some disappointments: Vidarsson, Turner, Spencer, Jutkiewicz for example, but as the original author says, it’s always a bit of a punt when it comes to youngsters.
As a further point, I believe the academy has its own transfer budget and none of these players were bought for money that could have been spent on the first team and Moyes may well have had only a limited input in comparison to the intense scouting he’s reputed to personally undertake when a first-team target is identified.
4 Posted 10/02/2010 at 14:52:26
Cadamateri too to some extent. Ruddy and Lukas are doing well up in Motherwell. But what of the young could-have-beens... like:
Peter Clarke, Milligan, Carney, O’Kane, Kissock, Vidarsson, Rodrigo(l).
Hopefully Anichebe and/or Vaughan can get it together after their injuries along with Coleman and fly the flag for the youngsters.
5 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:26:22
Vidarsson, Lukas, Spencer are the three we’ve noticeably spent money on recently...
6 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:28:13
Never going to make it here....
7 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:21:00
8 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:28:02
Also, on the other side of the coin, they need more motivation to get to the high levels that the Prem demands and some aren't up to punishing their bodies that much.
9 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:33:26
10 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:33:09
The cream always rises, so they say...
Though bit harsh on Gosling there Ciaran, only 19 and plenty to offer in years to come...
11 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:44:28
I remember the hype surrounding this player when Everton signed him. Then they disappear and having only time to follow the first team, I tend to lose track of this sort of "can’t miss" player. Hope you do this again with others - Peter Clarke, Danny Cadamatieri, Jamie Milligan, etc.
Where are they now?
12 Posted 10/02/2010 at 15:43:53
He might be a late blossom - but I honestly can’t see it...
Defensively he’s shaky and offensively he’s average... He’ll have a career no doubt — I don’t think it will be anywhere near the top of the Premier League — and maybe not even in it.
Harsh? Maybe... but it’ll probably be accurate.
13 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:02:50
14 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:08:19
15 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:13:15
16 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:22:32
17 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:24:05
I think you may be getting him mixed up with Scott Sinclair....who we didn’t buy.
Maybe the same thing happened to our scouts -- a dodgy phone line and two blokes with similar names......fork handles.
18 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:33:14
19 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:30:54
Richard Dunne is another who misbehaved at EFC and was let go, but since then he has had a very good career....
Rodwell seems to have come through very well and may fullfil all the good things that he is promising to do, but really, we do not develop too many through our youth system (Rooney apart). Perhaps it's a lot to do with our dithering manager who tends to rely on the regulars and only brings the kids in when he has to through suspensions or injuries.
In the old days, players were dropped into the reserves when they lost form and were not sat on benches having no match practice... now it seems most of the lads get paid for bench warming and some play about the length of one game every two months, spending an average of about 15 minutes actual playing time per game.
It's no wonder that they prefer to go out on loan. It's a pretty poor situation when a Premier League side has its young goalkeepers out on loan and an ageing Carlo Nash as back up for Howard.
20 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:39:44
21 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:47:32
22 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:50:40
23 Posted 10/02/2010 at 17:00:00
Old timers must be kicking in.
Paul while I object to being called a muppet please dont ever compare me to a Kopite.
24 Posted 10/02/2010 at 16:51:39
And whats your point about Dunne? We got him as a school boy, and then sold him on for 3 million! He was not ’let go’. He was sold. There is a huge difference.
I personally do not watch youth games, so I couldnt really comment on our policy. Obviously other people must watch them, or is it again people with the ’I reckon so it must be true...’ mentality commenting on things that they know absolutely nothing about? I suspect the latter...
25 Posted 10/02/2010 at 17:54:41
I could be wrong, but I’m talking about cutbacks made during the end of Peter Johnson’s chairmanship. Baines, Barton and Jage would have been 14-15 at the time so my case is based purely on arithmetic and not much else.
26 Posted 10/02/2010 at 22:17:48
27 Posted 10/02/2010 at 23:54:51
28 Posted 11/02/2010 at 00:45:50
29 Posted 11/02/2010 at 02:40:44
John Ebbrell - remember reading a full-page article at Uni in The Independent (it was a housemate's), tipping him to be an England regular / even captain, for a decade. Injury saw to him.
Billy Kenny - mentioned recently on here.
Michael Branch was another one who faded into obscurity quickly after leaving. Phil Jevons... the list goes on. But loads of clubs have the same thing.
Occasionally you get the odd one who has the mindset / attitude to "prove you wrong", but generally all clubs get it about right.
Having lots of youth players on the fringe of the 1st team is something bitter-sweet. It shows we’ve got talent potentially emerging, but is symptomatic of our injury situation / squad depth due to finances etc.
30 Posted 11/02/2010 at 06:18:35
31 Posted 11/02/2010 at 10:24:31
32 Posted 11/02/2010 at 10:48:05
Who Remembers Scott Spencer? Why should we remember him? He made zero first team appearances, sat on the bench zero times and from what I gather, struggled to get a start in the Reserve team.
33 Posted 11/02/2010 at 10:39:21
I hope Scott Spencer may be able to turn his footballing career around before the opportunity completely passes him by.
Why am I so interested in this piece? Because the way you describe the young Scott is almost a mirror image of my own son. Half British, half Ghanaian, he’s like grease lightening out wide on the left. A deadly left foot and a good right foot too. 23 goal from 18 games this season and most of those are from tanking down the left like a steam train and burying it past the keeper. Good vision, always passes when he has too, but always scores when he can. A good temprement, always polite, always listens and is always willing to learn (first touch could do with improving though).
He appears to have all the right credentials to make a good career in football but I’m still not 100% certain. Why? because he’s only 8 years old and there’s a long long way to go (but we love him to bits whatever happens!!!)
ps: If he ever played for Everton one day I would die a happy man!
34 Posted 11/02/2010 at 12:34:06
The Spencer we signed from Chelsea was John Spencer aka ’The first catholic signed by Rangers’ who was front page news in Scotland when he signed for Rangers at the age of 9 (I think).>
35 Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:08:16
Wind yer neck in.
36 Posted 11/02/2010 at 21:09:37
37 Posted 12/02/2010 at 01:26:15
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