• Current Donation Goals

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Michael Tucker

West Bromwich Albion 3 Chelsea 0

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BlueFizz   

Interesting debate.

Personally, I'd like to see us try to turn 2 or 3 of the current crop of talented youngsters into first team players - simply to get a return on our investment in what is now widely seen as the best youth set up in English football.

I really think that level of return is all you can expect, because the standards demanded by a top four PL side that intends to win trophies regularly and compete in Europe at later stages of the CL is so extraordinarily high.

And whilst a great deal of time is devoted to Sterling - a rare example of a young player breaking through - when you look at our real competitors: United, City, Arsenal - how many of them are actually regularly playing youth developed players in key games? Certainly not City or United anymore. Even the Arsenal set up now seems to factor quality/experience over youth.

Another factor to consider is the changing age profile of the typical PL footballer. Improved fitness/lifestyles is pushing it up. So whilst in the past a player might hit the first team at 18 and retire in his late twenties, now many play on and are in their prime in the late twenties/early thirties. Subsequently there is less 'capacity' for younger players to move into. I feel that 22 has now become the new 18 if you get my meaning.

It would be interesting if we decided to treat the Capital One as a 'youth experience scheme' from now on - using it to blend young players in - perhaps 3/4 in game against lower division sides. I don't think many fans would object. I just get the feeling Jose's winning mentality would see this as a risk.

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In all honesty DWMH, your responses above are far easier to appreciate and debate and, as you say, the bottom line is 'IF'. Even when we were shite it was difficult for players to come through the youth system. Take a look through the programmes from the 1978 or 1979 season (for example) and see how many recognisable names there are in the S.E Counties league or Football Combination Squads (not including recuperating or out of favour first teamers). In fact, next time I can hoist myself into the attic I may just do that.

When that internet thingy came around on a 56K modem, I used to look up soccerbase for all the youngsters we had had and played the odd game as substitute and check out how their careers developed (early 90s youth players typically). And yes it was a really small success rate. But in those days young players cleaned boots and earnt a YTS wage. We didn't pay 7 figure sums for foreign kids or £500k to poach a player from another Div 1 or Div 2 club. We had very few U16 internationals then, nowaday most of them are. And if this year's U16 keeper is not at a big club, we will go out and try to get him.
BTW we were never shite - just temporary resting (but if we ever were, I'd have still been a fan...)

So, I don't think many are going to get particularly heated about what you say 2 posts up, but many more will when you simply appear to dismiss the youth side and any virtues it may have. Regardless of your own view of its effectiveness, it seems that the club itself are keen for it to continue and prosper and to my mind there has to be a reason for that which is far beyond simple vanity of the owner.

I'm quite specific in my criticism, although the defenders are very general in their support for the Academy.

I'm very critical of anyone who claims the Academy is there to make a profit - note not critical of the Academy not making a profit, but critical of anyone who claims it will or is intended to. They have just failed to think it through.

I'm very critical of the argument that a strong team is equivalent to saying that Chelsea standard players are more likely to break through. There is only a small part of logic in that, and it misses lots of points.

There could be a great discussion here about just why it is hard to identify the 23 year olds that make it from the 16 & 18 wannabees. I doubt though many really would want it. Factors would include separating the timing of physical development in teenagers (some early, some late) from the other qualities. The damage of earning more in a month than any of the adults amongst your family and former neghbours earn in a year. Playing in teams with no weaknesses and strong benches against teams where some are just making up the numbers. The "good enough for the Championship but not good enough for my clubs bench" problem. And just the numbers game - Surely we have twice as many young players in our Academy as most clubs (+ loans), and I can't see that it helps finding exceptional talents.

And I am very critical of the "surely these players will break through" statement. Go seek gamblers anonymous. Or as Einstein said, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I'm not critical of the Academy per se, though I don't recommend it as a pipeline for players. And I am never critical of the young players themselves.

And I am full of praise for one part of our recruitment strategy. Our signings of players who have made 50+ appearances in their domestic leagues has been terrific, despite paying full market prices for them. That is where young successes like Hazard, Courtois, Oscar, Azpi and if you like Matic have come from. Zouma was close to 50 apps too. And some purely financial successes too, like Lukaku and KdB and perhaps Salah.

I won't do the paper and pencil calculations as suggested though, simply because I'm not the slightest bit interested in that. The club employ people with all the facts and figures to hand, all of the business plans and have all of the knowledge of what is trying to be achieved. Me sitting with pencil and paper seems to be an utterly futile task for all concerned, especially if it ends up with me coming to a spurious conclusion based upon scraps of evidence tainted with my own personal preference for the outcome. I'd simply end up calculating that Liverpool are a waste of space.

Pity - it really is a most enlightening exercise.

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paulw66   

If.

Buying Hazard was a much cheaper success.

If.

SWP, Veron, Sheva, Torres, Boulharouz, Del Horno, Salah, Kezman, Mutu were expensive mistakes.

Hindsight is an exact science.

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Interesting debate.

Personally, I'd like to see us try to turn 2 or 3 of the current crop of talented youngsters into first team players - simply to get a return on our investment in what is now widely seen as the best youth set up in English football.

I really think that level of return is all you can expect, because the standards demanded by a top four PL side that intends to win trophies regularly and compete in Europe at later stages of the CL is so extraordinarily high.

.............

I feel that 22 has now become the new 18 if you get my meaning.

I can't help thinking that the first bold goal is contradictory to maintaining the second. Out another way, the second is not the best route to the first.

On 22 being the new 18 - I suspect physical development is so crucial to actually playing at u18 or U21 level, that a lot of the best 18 year olds are simply the ones that developed fastest. Whereas a lot of the best 25 year olds would have been unidentifiable as future Chelsea players at 18. But I am sure that it is yet more complicated in practice.

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If.

SWP, Veron, Sheva, Torres, Boulharouz, Del Horno, Salah, Kezman, Mutu were expensive mistakes.

Hindsight is an exact science.

I have argued before that in terms of appearances in the first team and playing a role, both Sheva AND Torres work out cheaper than our Academy (or at least our youth development program overall).

I won't repeat it here, but how many first team PL starts has the Academy made?

It certainly costs more than either Sheva or Torres.

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Sea foot   

After reading all the arguments for and against, I'm going to revise my prediction to 4:1 to us.

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I refuse to recognise this WBA in their non stripey shirts.

Think if we can get through this without Jacob maiming Hazard it'll be job well done.

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I can't help thinking that the first bold goal is contradictory to maintaining the second. Out another way, the second is not the best route to the first.

On 22 being the new 18 - I suspect physical development is so crucial to actually playing at u18 or U21 level, that a lot of the best 18 year olds are simply the ones that developed fastest. Whereas a lot of the best 25 year olds would have been unidentifiable as future Chelsea players at 18. But I am sure that it is yet more complicated in practice.

The last time an English club graduated youth players en masse was Man U and yes - that crop was widely regarded as the best in the country.

This argument makes no sense for me. Neither have you attempted to explain it. It's like saying we're more likely to get one of the first team players to the English NT is if the squad is bad vs. if the squad is good.

Why would a youth player be worse off if he played with better teammates? For me it's so obviously the opposite - they are much, much better off. For starters they are more challenged in practice. They can play a more advanced style of football because everyone have the ability to do so.

It feels like you've not really thought this one through.

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Blue Rod   

Interesting debate.

Personally, I'd like to see us try to turn 2 or 3 of the current crop of talented youngsters into first team players - simply to get a return on our investment in what is now widely seen as the best youth set up in English football.

But you know that's not going to happen. We already have youngsters who are good enough to at least regularly come on as substitute for some of our struggling midfielders or strikers (if we have any player with such title other than Costa) Anyone who thinks that we are going to see two or three young players playing some games next season can dream on. The club ownership has its own strategy - to develop young players for the first team. The manager agrees with that strategy so long as they don't expect the young players to feature in matches. It wouldn't be so confusing if we didn't keep signing the likes of Cuadrado or giving new contracts to Drogba. The bottom line is, Jorge Mendes does not get his commission by promoting youth players into the first team. Perhaps we could send our young players to Portugal and buy them back. Seems a shorter path to first team football for them.

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The last time an English club graduated youth players en masse was Man U and yes - that crop was widely regarded as the best in the country.

The rules have changed - you can't scout players from around the country anymore - Giggs and Beckham couldn't train at Man U nowadays as school kids.

Lots more has changed too.

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