All I am saying, is give homegrown a chance....

by   |   19/09/2017  15 Comments  [Jump to last]

This is my first time posting an article on Toffeeweb, but I’d like to suggest an entirely new way forward for the club as a talking point. I think this will be a ground breaking approach in the current era and could transform the team to the winning one we all want with no outlay in transfer fees whatsoever.

Sounds far too good to be true? Well, let’s see...

The starting point is our amazing academy. We all know the players it’s produced and the prospects it continues to produce, most of which are out on loan at the moment. Currently the academy is made up of local players and ones bought from other clubs. And this is where my first point comes in – don’t buy young players from other clubs. Let those clubs develop their own local talent and we can develop ours. The talent is there, I’m convinced of it.

We then use the academy as a basis for the first team, and, over time, we replace ALL of the first team with local players trained and schooled in the academy. During this time, experience is developed by some local lads, eventually leading to a team with a good blend of youth and experience, all local. There’s no need to buy any players in, why do we need to?

We’ve signed so many players that leave you feeling rather empty; is what’s available out there really any better than what we can develop ourselves?

I’d like to point out that I am not from the area (Somerset, actually), so this is not some mission to promote a community I know. I have supported Everton for well over 30 years, watched a few games over the years, and am truly fanatical about the club. I just believe a local club needs local players, and lots of them (I realise this might seem hypocritical, so I’ll take any criticism on that).

The thing that annoys me most, by far, is when we sell our homegrown talent to ‘bigger’ clubs. This is especially true of Wayne Rooney. I am in the ‘don’t go back’ camp, so I’m not happy to see him back in a blue shirt. Again, I can see how this seems hypocritical, but my point is he should never have left. I know there are reasons why he did (mainly financial and because he wanted to), but what if he’d stayed, along with the likes of Franny Jeffers and Michael Ball and built a core of great Evertonians playing for Everton?

It could have been immense. Players the fans can relate too, truly get behind, players who truly love and support the club. Homegrown in the truest sense. At no transfer cost whatsoever.

Case for the defence: Tom Davies. I’m so excited about him, I just hope he is allowed to play, mature and flourish, I think he could be one of our best ever players. (I see a lot more in him than I ever have in Ross, though I think he could still be a good player for us too.)

This obviously is a long-term plan and requires the right manager, the right attitude and backing from the board and most importantly the fans. And of course it is a huge risk, but then where has our current approach got us? Why can’t we unearth our own Kane, Bale and Ronaldo? Why would the talent not be there? I think it is and it just needs to be nurtured and given a chance, long term.

And lastly, think of the money the club could save and spend on the new stadium, keeping ticket prices affordable, community projects, expanding the academy! I know we’ll miss out on the excitement of the big money signings, but honestly, if everyone is as bored of the transfer window and especially deadline day as me, then we can probably live happily without all the speculation. I’d rather speculate on who had a great game for the U23s and is ready to step up.

So what do you think, fellow blues? Crazy talk or a blueprint for the future?

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Reader Comments (15)

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 20/09/2017 at 18:21:57
Stuart, I think it's a good idea in principle. When I was younger I always thought there was no reason why English players couldn't be as good as Brazilians (for example). Surely it's all down to spotting talent, encouraging it, and providing the right coaching and facilities.

Our best side of all time (arguably), the 69-70 title winning one, had plenty of players who'd come through the youth ranks. I know times have changed, but not so much as to prevent this happening again.

Andy Crooks
2 Posted 20/09/2017 at 21:13:27
In an ideal world, Stuart, yes. However, most academy players do not make it to the Premier League. The Sky money dictates that a club relying on youth will be blown away by other clubs who buy the finished article.

I do, though, like the idea of an Everton team winning the Champions League with the blueprint being the Lisbon Lions. Sadly those days are gone.

Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 21/09/2017 at 04:42:39
I think there's something in Everton's early history, when they started pulling in ringers from Scotland, and paying them, rather than simply relying on the talent that was available around and about in 19th Century Liverpool.

After much consternation, and a famous ousting from the FA Cup, Everton led the way for football to become professional and the clubs started looking to sign the best players they could find, regardless of place of birth or affiliation.

If you know your history...

Darren Hind
4 Posted 21/09/2017 at 05:21:17
I still see Celtic winning the European Cup with an entire team of local boys as one of the greatest achievements of all, by any British club.

This City is a conveyor belt. It has always produced very good footballers. There is never a time when the Premier League isn't sprinkled with Scouse players.

If somebody had brought this dream to fruition 15 years ago people like Gerrard, Rooney, Baines, Carragher may have been part of it. Top class players with a street fighting mentality on a mission to conquer the world...

What a fantastic post, Stuart... and it has happened a few times.... but the alarm always goes off and my dream is broken.

Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 21/09/2017 at 06:02:01
Not that fanciful as we have before played with at least half the team coming through the ranks; Wright, Labone, Hurst, Harvey, Husband and Royle and we could include another local Johnny Morrissey who almost came through at another local club. And wasn't another club told you won't win anything with kids?

I don't know the strength of the Schoolboys set up these days and there are other clubs but it does seem a little unfair, if not unwise, to ignore say young Irish and Welsh players. And we used to get a lot from outside of the area, wasn't John Hurst from Blackpool and Jimmy Husband from Newcastle.

Then, would we really want to miss out on an Alan Ball?

Eric Myles
6 Posted 21/09/2017 at 06:12:32
Crazy talk, most of the academy players will not be good enough for Premier league teams. The last one we produced that was is Rooney.

Hopefully one or two of this current crop will make the grade but to try to rely on a full squad of local lads would be madness.

Alan J Thompson
7 Posted 21/09/2017 at 06:32:53
Eric(#6); It's stretching a point but under Kendall the Academy was closed as a cost cutting measure which ended with a lot of Evertonians coming through across the park; Fowler, Macmanaman, Owen, Carragher.

I've always been a bit dubious about the Gerrard story and photos and while he was signed from Chester you could include Rush. On the other hand wasn't Peter Reid one of theirs via Bolton?

Busby's Babes could be Koeman's Kids.

No, I see your point about madness.

Michael Penley
8 Posted 21/09/2017 at 06:49:28
You could say that most of the academy players will not end up being good enough for what we are aiming for, but couldn't you say the same thing for most of our purchases? I'd rather have Barkley and Davies in our midfield than Besic and Klaassen.
Peter Warren
9 Posted 21/09/2017 at 06:55:31
I enjoyed the article and don't think it's crazy talk. Loads of excuses always made by people that Premier league too tough - it isn't, European clubs are better than our league and have been since the 90s coninciding with the invention of the Premier League! Athletico Bilbao do it and they to my knowledge have never got relegated (unless recently?). I think they beat Barcelona fairly recently in the Spanish Cup although I think they had gone 30 years without winning anything.

Doing this would make me proud of the team. Whilst I love us I can't say I'm proud of our team for a long time. I'm proud of our class (except Moshiri with Jim White!) and extremely proud of our charity. I'm proud of our fans but only of a handful of players.

My biggest hump in football is there's no love for the badge (not just our team). Whilst none of my business it makes me cringe when the shite applaud players like Suarez and Countinho immediately after they go on strike to try and force a move - have some respect for yourself please.

The –difficulty I think is not the lack of quality but so so much money in our league that players and mangers whether local or not will go for the money and better clubs – Jeffers, Rooney and Barkley cases in point (I know people will disagree and say some went for different reasons). Southampton is an example for mangers – Pochettino and Koeman. Do people realise that Pellegrini's support staff get paid more than the average Spanish premier manager? The money in premier league is crazy.

Also, as a club, I've always loved our history of players from all over – as Michael said, it's in our history. As such as much as I would like it to happen I'm actually not for it. Southall was my favourite player and we would never have him under this policy.

I would support trying to harness youth and having a policy of only having a limit of say 3 overseas players etc. Can't see anything like this happening, however.

Russell Smith
10 Posted 21/09/2017 at 08:50:45
When Ferguson brought through Man Utd's exciting young players he still bought experienced players for mega money (at the time) to blend the team together. They brought through 6 or 7 exceptional players but still needed Cantona, Shmicheal and Vidic of the world to knit them together. He also bought in younger but established key players like Keane, Ferdinand and Ronaldo to blend into his teams.

Without exception all his focal point strikers where bought, they did not bring through an out and out 20 goal a season striker, nor did they bring through a key centre half or goalkeeper

We undoubtedly have a similar exceptional set of players coming through from the youth system, we have bought some potentially exceptional young talent in Pickford, Keane and Vlasic (and possibly Sandro) but, as many on these sites have alluded to since the transfer window closed, we are still missing the key players to knit all these together.

Klaassen will not make it in the Prem he is totally unsuited both physically and mentally, Rooney is unfortunately past his best, Schneiderlin is way off what he appeared to be at Southampton, and both our senior centre halves are past their respective sell by dates. I think Sigurdsson will prove to be a good buy once the team is more settled.

We are not far from being a very good side (how often have we said that over the past 30 years) and, if we could find these missing links in the next transfer window ,this could yet turn out to be the start of a golden period.

Dale Rose
11 Posted 21/09/2017 at 00:07:36
Good article, I like your style and quite agree with you.

I've been beating the drum for the young players in this club for ages. As a club Everton are not up there with the top 6, last season showed that we were well out of the running.

At the moment we are the nearly men. The top 6 clubs seem to pick up high quality players on the cheap, because they want to play for them. there aren't many players beating a path to our door, so why not try a different approach and use our homegrown lads.

The huge influx of foreign players in this country has not improved the game; from an international football perspective, England are very poor. We need young British players to be brought through for our own clubs and the international set up.

I think Everton will see the glory days in the next five years without a doubt; the most exciting prospect at the moment are the under 23 team. We should be integrating them into the first team. One of the arguments coming up over this is the fact that they will be knocked around by the players in the Premier League, and that they are too young. I think this is garbage, they are young and fit and strong and will be able to cope. That's the career path they have taken.

Brian Williams
12 Posted 22/09/2017 at 00:53:42
Stuart. In an ideal world it would be wonderful.

Unfortunately we don't live in that world; we live in a corrupt, cynical, dog eat dog football world fucked by Sky and Abramavoic and the like and one where those with most money win.

Even those with plenty of money, but not quite enough, struggle (Arsenal, Liverpool). Huge clubs in their own right that just can't quite compete with the mega rich.

It's a travesty, but the only way for less well off teams like us to compete is to buy young potential, bring one some of our own and hope it comes together. But that takes time and this day and age no fucker gets much of that.

Stuart Bellamy
13 Posted 25/09/2017 at 19:34:17
Thanks for all the comments, many of which I agree with. Some of my favourite players in the past have come from outside the city (Big Nev, Sheedy) and many clubs have obviously been successful by buying big, but I really think this philosophy is worth a go.

I disagree that the academy can't produce the players, I think we'd be talking about many more successful products if they'd be given a chance (and I mean a good run in the side) instead of some of the mediocre players which have been brought in.

Of course in this day and age of massive money in the game it would be a big gamble and a brave move by the club, but how do we know until it's tried? You don't have to go the hole hog for many seasons, building over time, and arguably we would be in a position to start next season (if the manager was willing).

Give Jonjoe and Tom a regular starting place, start to integrate Dowell, Browning, Connolly, Pennington, Williams, Dyson into the side when they're back from their loan spells, throw in a couple of other academy players who are performing well (eg. Liam Walsh), and let's see how it goes...

Martin Mason
14 Posted 25/09/2017 at 19:47:36
The problem is the gap between U23 and first team and only exceptional lads can make it. The club has to buy foreign experienced players when no local players are available to make the transition.

The lad who fails has to be loaned out and many are lost. The only way it can work is that local young players are promoted and the fans accept poor results. Fans don't accept poor results, they demand success.

Raymond Fox
15 Posted 25/09/2017 at 20:46:53
Nice idea ,Stuart, but in practice doomed to failure. If we want to compete with the best who are scouring the world for talent, we must do the same.

That said, there's never been a better time to nurture our youth players due to the barmy money now wanted for even average Premier League players.

We now have five U20 World Cup winning players on our books plus other promising young players. The problem is, if you're in the Premier League, the managers and owners are naturally reluctant to take chances and play young players who may be good enough or may not.

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