How To Sign Talented Youngsters At No Cost
At our recent Public Open Meeting we raised an idea that our Club should hold open days to give trials to young players. As far as we know, no other Premiership club does this.
We thought we'd expand on this idea here; if after reading it you have any comments to make please leave them on this article or send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org we always welcome feedback, questions and input.
During our research and planning stage we looked at a few football clubs here and abroad. There was one in particular that jumped out at us and that was Ajax.
Ajax are well known for developing much of their own talent and Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Franck Rijkaard, Dennis Berkamp and Patrick Kluivert are a few of the international players to have come through their ranks. At City we have one of the best academies in the Premiership of that there is no doubt. Many Premiership clubs would pay a small fortune to find out Jim Cassell and his team's secrets to producing so much talent on a regular basis. But could something else be done on top of all the great work they already do?
At Ajax each year they hold a three day "Talent Week" where 1,400 youngsters are able to showcase their abilities in a series of tests and skills. Usually they pick up a player or two for their academy this way. When thinking about this we thought that our Club could do something similar. Before you jump to conclusions or think that every potential young talent has been picked up by Clubs already, please keep reading, there is more to this than meets the eye!
If City were to run a "Talent Week" then they could cover a wider age range than Ajax, perhaps run it for 10 - 18 year olds. This would not only give youngsters unattached to Clubs a chance but those older youngsters released from Clubs would also have a chance. Don't forget, Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips were both released by clubs before being picked up by our Club.
Of course there is more to this than picking up a potential talented player. Such an event would raise the Club's profile locally, nationally and perhaps internationally. Such an event would also benefit Manchester and the community at large.
And of course like most things involved with football there is a commercial aspect. Major sponsors would be attracted to such an event, meaning that our Club would be able to run such an event at no cost (it may even make a profit, which could be donated to charity or given to the Academy).
In short, and without going into too much detail, this would appear to be a "win win" situation for all concerned. We hope that our Club gives our idea serious consideration.
To finish we must take you back to the City of Amsterdam and tell a story of a ten year old boy who took part in Ajax's "Talent Week" in 1993. He was good enough to be picked for a further trial which he passed and then he joined the Ajax academy.
Seven years later he made his debut for Ajax and became a first team regular a season later. For three seasons running he was voted Ajax's most promising youngster. On 6 October 2001 he made his debut for Holland and played in Euro 2004.
In 2005 Ajax sold him for €7.5m to Hamburg where he is now the Captain of their team and recently he has been linked to a "big money" move to Bayern Munich this summer. He was 24 last month and has already played for Holland over 40 times. His name is Rafael Van Der Vaart.
Could there be a "Rafael" in the UK waiting to be signed?