One: How to stop the trading of kids.
I think football needs to police itself here and ban any trading of players under the age of 16. At that age, clubs can decide if they want to release the player or, offer them a reserve contract. My plan if that every professional club in the world game must have a reserve side staffed with players from 16 to 20 years of age.
At each age from 16 to 20, the club must raise the pay level of each player so for example, at 16 each player in the world earns the equivalent of £1000 and can earn their club a tribunal decided fee because they are under contract. Then, for each year until 20, they can double their money. So, 16 years old equals £1000 a week, 17 years old equals £2000 a week all the way to 20 years of age where they will earn £16000 a week and they can then ether walk on a free if their club don’t decide to offer them a professional contract or, sign on for their club.
This for me is a way of stopping big clubs from plundering the youth set ups of small clubs (yes, I know we gain a lot from this but it really isn’t ethical) and also make sure that if at 16, a player wants to leave to a bigger club, the parent club gets properly compensated. Yes, I know there are flaws but it is a step in the right direction and it does lead nicely onto my second point.
Two: The Arsenal youth set up:
We have this “famed” youth academy but apart from Wilshere, who have we actually produced and not just taken from other countries or smaller clubs? I think it is time for a totally new way of looking at it.
I think it is time to build a La Masia style boarding school and really produce home-grown players of skill and technique. From the ages of 9 years old to 14 years old, we keep the academy as is, kids coming in after school to learn but I think the entire focus of these ages should be technique.
No leagues, no real games except small sided games between themselves. At these age I want the players to learn about the history of the club as well, learn what it really means to represent the old Bank Of England club, the club of Chapman, who revolutionised the game with the WM formation.
The club that first used floodlights, the club of Bastin and James. The club that even managed to get a London Underground station to change its name. The club that has 13 league titles, 10 FA cups and the club of so many world famous players you can’t do a best of without mentioning us.
Then from 15, the go to the La Masia style boarding school and everything changes for the kids. They are now fighting for a contract, they know learn the need of winning as well and continuing their education on technique. They learn nutrition and are now physically trained with weights and state of the art trainers. Yes they continue their education just in case but the learning is more intense. They are around football 24 hours a day, no hanging with their mates, no getting into trouble and most importantly, no getting poached.
This would mean, at 16, only the very best kids get a contract to move on with their footballing education. What 15 year old won’t want to be the very best if it means getting a contract for the next four years and £1000 in the pocket a week?
Then, the reserve leagues can be set up by Fifa and the FA. As I have stated, every professional club should have reserve sides so leagues can be set up as they are now, promotion, relegation and European cups for the winners. This will provide the youths with the need to win and also reward them. Clubs can charge a nominal fee to watch games, say £5 and this will help pay for the boarding school type academy.
What do you Guys and Gals think?
Written by Will