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About Juni

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  1. Sheffield United 3 Chelsea 0

    Wanna watch every pass played to him yesterday and tell me what chance he had? https://streamable.com/3yxdmf
  2. New Kits

    They're always pretty in isolation and people who produce them know how to use Photoshop, but actual kit designers also take into account how the kit looks on players, on the pitch, in front of cameras and a bunch of other things that your casual designer doesn't think about. Also, nobody cares what the kit looks like after it's been worn a few times.
  3. Following Chelsea's Loans

    You probably have, and it would've been the same goal, I've just been quite lazy this season in getting them uploaded around the time they were scored.
  4. Youth Team Production

    Up to the age of 14 they'll play for their schools and county representative teams, but it's at that age that Cat 1 clubs are permitted to take charge of a player's education themselves, and Chelsea have been slowly increasing the numbers they have on-site full-time. There are maybe between 15-20 across Years 9, 10 and 11 at Chelsea right now, so those boys are in every day, but the rest of their teammates are at normal schools, doing day-release programmes, and still playing for school and county sides where allowed. It definitely tapers off the older they get though. Why has nobody who arrived between 9 and 15 'made it'? I think it's a bit of a freak circumstance tbh; (Nathaniel) Chalobah arrived at 10 and could easily have done had the club not wasted £70m on Drinkwater and Bakayoko, Ola Aina probably could have too, and there are doubtless others you can make a case for. Naturally, you'd argue that the longer you're in an elite system, the better your chance of developing to a high level of talent is, so while it might only be a year or two at a formative age, the foundations laid early on could be argued to produce significantly better results, especially as the academy itself grows stronger and stronger each year. I think the youth coaching (in an all-round sense, especially the mentality) has to make a difference, otherwise you'd ask what the point of trying is, and instead go down a Brentford route of just signing 17-21yos (something nobody has proven to make work yet). I'm also drawn to the fact that the bulk of academy recruitment per age group is done at U9 and U16 levels, and they touch it up in between. You bring in a full set of players at the youngest age and decide whether to keep or release them every two years. If you're releasing a majority of any one intake then you're already sort of resigning yourself to the suggestion that group isn't going to be a particularly successful one, and recruiting from elsewhere is harder (you're taking everyone else's released players, or poaching their better ones (harder to do en masse), or relying on grass roots (quite hard)). At U16 level you can legally then recruit from across Europe, opening the door to a much larger talent pool. I don't think anyone at the club will pretend they've not made mistakes either. That's part of the day-to-day work; to discover why players haven't developed as well as initially hoped, work out where those originate from, and try to implement fixes. There's been a move toward younger coaches (younger staff all-round really) over the last few years that I think is to ensure people are seeing the game as it's played in 2019, not how it used to be played, and little things like that can have a big impact (both ways; if you get it wrong, you've wasted your time). Does our advantage disappear soon? I don't think so, and I think it all comes back to Neil Bath. I don't mistake stability for staleness, because change is often good, but in Neil you have someone who's been at Chelsea for 25 years and in his current job for 15. No other Academy Manager in the PL/Cat 2 has been in charge for anywhere near as long, and I genuinely believe it's his ability to move with the times, raise the bar and be at the forefront of youth development in this country that keeps Chelsea ahead. The academy now isn't the same as it was in 2017, nor the same as it was in 2012 or 2005. Everyone else has chopped and changed at the very top trying to take a shortcut or to catch up and, while that's admirable, it means you end up with a rather itinerant youth development policy that might last no more than two to three years before someone else comes in to influence it. For as long as Chelsea give the academy full autonomy to operate as it sees fit, Chelsea will be one of the country's leading youth systems. I know it's quite easy to say that now because it's become ultra-productive, but those of you who've been around here long enough know I've said it for a while with full conviction, and I genuinely believe there have been talents wasted by the club because they didn't employ a manager who cared enough to use them. We now have one, and long may that last.
  5. Youth Team Production

    There isn't a requirement; as a Category One academy, Chelsea (and 23 other clubs) have the freedom of the UK to recruit into. The majority of their work is still done locally though, in London and the South East, which typically means they try to dominate all of the boroughs south of the Thames as well as Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. Part of that is achieved by having Development Centres stationed around these areas - they have more than a dozen of them now I think, and there's some background on how they work here: https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2016/01/21/the-young-generation--centring-on-development. They're a necessity because pre-academy recruitment is a real arms race now; you can't formally sign anyone until the U9 age group, so families are free to take their boys to as many clubs as they want to before settling on a two-year contract with one of them. If you get them early and get them feeling a part of Chelsea, the hard work is done, but there also has to be high-quality coaching done in these development centres, and it's where a lot of the coaching staff started out as well (even going back as far as Neil Bath in the mid-90s when the equivalents were running in South London). If you've got good coaching and good recruitment, you've put yourself in a good position to succeed, but the old adage that you can never be sure of anything in youth football still rings true (a coach at a rival club once described it to me as 'Talent Identifiction'), so all you can do is put best practices into place, build a sustainable culture, and see what happens. The finer details of exactly what they coach likely don't matter as much - how many ways can you skin a cat etc - but the mentality they instil and develop matters a whole lot more to me. Chelsea have definitely done that better than anyone else for the last decade; yes, there's been some money involved - there has to be if you want to have a large and diverse staff who you want to develop alongside the players - but show me an equivalent club where that isn't the case. Bath's latest with the official website this week (https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2019/11/19/neil-bath-exclusive---when-you-ve-known-the-players-since-they-w) is also instructive (when he speaks, we have to listen) in term of how they go about sustaining such high quality. Most clubs will always look for the same sort of traits; in Chelsea's case they want someone who has an obvious comfort with the ball (ideally on both feet), shows a personality on the pitch, and has some sort of definable athletic ability. When you're going in as young as that, you're literally looking for raw material you can mould. It's genuinely staggering that they producued four senior internationals from one U8 intake in the mid 2000s (Solanke, Abraham, Tomori, Chris Mepham) and continue to be as prolific in a wide range of ways of defining production.
  6. Following Chelsea's Loans

    More than that, they have a full-time independent tutor who oversees their programme and takes the lead on post-secondary education (so in Jack's case, he won't have attended a school to do his A Levels, but done them on-site at Cobham (like all the schooling now) and in his own time, only going into a school for examinations as the law requires. There are a few other cases over the years but they're exceptions rather than the rule - Solanke went to Vitesse just before his 18th birthday, Cork and Bertrand both went to Bournemouth as 17 year-olds waaaaaaaaaay back when, and the odd case in between. It's mostly because it's too young to loan players out in general, but educational requirements will play a part from time to time.
  7. Following Chelsea's Loans

    School-age players have been loaned before but it's rare. Jack Wakely went to Basingstoke last season while still doing his A Levels but he was still training at Chelsea half the weeek.
  8. Guardiola managed one season in Spain's third tier, Zidane had 18 months in Spain's third tier, and I find his TD shadowing experience a bit insignificant. I certainly have no issue with those providing cogent arguments against his appointment, I just disagreed with the notion that no big serious club would consider hiring a manager off the back of one year's experience at a lower level, when history tells us that plenty of them have, to mixed success.
  9. Without considering why they went on to succeed, were the decisions to hire Guardiola and Zidane by the two biggest clubs in the world too much of a gamble, or are they not serious clubs?
  10. Chelsea Reserve & Youth Team

    It varies, but the answer is 'not much' after their GCSEs (which are required by law of course, and Chelsea have had mostly good results from their relationship with the school they work with, the lads are educated on-site at the training ground). Some lads who are academically-minded do pursue a near-full A Level load (Richard Nartey and Ruben Sammut have done this, for example), others might dabble in extended education but they mostly sign their pro deal on their 17th birthday during what would be their Year 12 season and don't go a lot further.
  11. Chelsea Reserve & Youth Team

    There's no doubt it's a more competitive environment to sign players now, the education thing isn't linked to that though, it's a mixture of whether the club feels the player is good enough to warrant that investment from Year 9 upwards, and whether the player and his family would rather stay in their current school because it suits their work-life balance better. Going into the full-time programme often means moving out of home and into digs earlier than usual, so that's a big upheaval for a 14 or 15-year old kid, and it doesn't suit everyone. It just means that if you come into your scholarship 'cold' as it were, you're learning more on the fly than you would be if you'd have spent a year or more getting ready for it on a (near)full-time basis. One other thing, fewer players aren't coming through the integrated education programme, there are loads this year and a good number in the next two years, it was just this particular group that didn't have as many.
  12. Chelsea Reserve & Youth Team

    I appreciate that isn't actually brief, but then it's hard to be. I suspect I'll write more in-depth in my season reviews anyway.
  13. Chelsea Reserve & Youth Team

    I'll try to be brief; this year's group of first-year scholars aren't as good as those that have preceded them, nor are they as good as the ones to come. It happens, it doesn't mean they're bad players, but when a perfect storm of events happens that challenges them more than your average year, you end up with a little drop in performance. The most tangible difference for them is that only two among them were in the club's full-time education programme before becoming scholars, so the rest were on day-release and had less exposure to the day-to-day environment by comparison to those that went before them. One of those two was Tino Anjorin, who was too good for that level, so moved up to the U23s full-time before getting injured. Ian Maatsen did the same, so you've taken away the two best players in the squad, while you could also have had Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu if you wanted, plus Jon Panzo left. That's a core few teams can afford to lose, and when you consider that the previous years of dominance have come with a strong balance of second years, first years, and the odd talented schoolboy, you're now fighting without that experience and depth of talent. There was also a change of coach, which brings about new learning all-round, and even Myers himself missed a chunk of touchline time mid-season after rupturing his achilles. You're also fighting against REALLY good Arsenal and Tottenham teams in the league - teams with that depth and breadth of experience across three age ranges - and they ran into Man Utd in the FA Youth Cup. They were their own worst enemies in that match but United are a very capable side and the lad that scored the hat-trick to knock them out played against PSG in the Champions League a couple of months later. So there are some mitigating circumstances for the Under-18s, but no excuses, because that's the way this stuff goes. There's no entitlement to success, there will be down years, and it makes the success they have experienced all the more incredible when you apply that sort of context. I don't necessarily think youth success is a great predictor of senior success on an individual level but, when the games programme at this age group is heavily centred around 'Learning to Win', I do think there's inherent value in the mentality it teaches you and requires to meet every challenge along the way. There are lessons to be had in winning and losing but it's ultimately down to how each player handles those experiences in their journey, and while we can learn from what's gone before us, desire is the one true wildcard that you can't legislate for.
  14. Squad Status: 2020/21 Season

    This is where you're falling down in your entire argument; the club doesn't have to listen to the 'manager' because Conte isn't the 'manager'. He is the First Team Head Coach. It is a role that does not have explicit input in transfer activity, and it's something he will have been aware of when agreeing to come to the club. He can ask for what he likes, but he can have no tangible complaints if he doesn't get them because it's not the way Chelsea are structured, it's not the way most clubs in the world are structured, and the sooner English football realises this and stops obsessing over the cult of the manager the better. If he doesn't like the way things have gone he can leave. He's the highest paid person in his position in the league (after signing a contract for more money but no extra tenure, to give you an idea of his commitment to the club), money he's paid to coach, so he should get on with that.
  15. Chelsea Reserve & Youth Team

    Yeah, but whenever you bring that Ampadu discussion up, people fight back with "yeah but Conte sees them in training and Ampadu's played well, so he must be right", forgetting that academy politics are very much a thing (extremely so in Chalobah's contract-afflicted situation), and that it's impossible for any of those to be better or at the very least as deserving of a chance.