Boreham Wood Football Club have acted swiftly to try and re balance the makeup of their promotion seeking squad..
After finalising two very significant signings last week or so, in ex Ebbsfleet skipper Daryl McMahon and Brentford’s dynamic young midfield player Tyrell Miller Rodney. Manager Ian Allinson has decided to release striker Lewis Toomey for a nominal fee and allow young Arsenal pro Austin Lipman to return to his parent club..
Wood manager Ian Allinson said “firstly I am absolutely delighted to get the two new signings in. Though I’m also disappointed to lose two young squad players, who were not as patient as perhaps they needed to be”..
“I need to keep looking forward though, as i know what’s at stake and I felt I had to strengthen. The boys I’ve brought in will I’m sure have an impact, though we’ll have to be a little patient with them as they bed in. We must find the right system to benefit the way they play and the way we want to play. Having a three week layoff did not really help me with my preparations on Saturday but I’m making no excuses for our defeat and after great training sessions on Monday and Thursday, I honestly can’t wait for this Saturday and the game at Whitehawk”..
Allinson went on “in terms of Lewis Toomey’s release.. Lewis has been unlucky not to start in a few more games but with the form of others dictating, that was not possible and it left him and his family frustrated”.
“In regards to Austin Lipman, It was agreed between the clubs that Austin would return to Arsenal. That has frustrated me, as the player, his agent and his family felt he should be starting each week. Again due to the other striker’s performances, myself and my management team saw things very differently”.
“I did want to keep Austin but I felt he would be an impact player. I also needed him to work harder, to defend from the front a bit more and in my opinion if he listened, it would improve his game and improve his game management. I like to play a pressing game if I can but Austin couldn’t press the ball with the intensity I wanted and I couldn’t justify changing my shape while we were top of the league, which again frustrated him”.
“Austin is a great lad, has great quality but being brought up at a top flight Pro Academy does not necessarily make you mentally tough enough or a better player at our level. When players get to 19 or 20 years old at the top clubs, the clubs normally know their position in terms of a player’s future. If they don’t fancy them, then competitive match time for the player becomes very limited, as other younger players are given the chance to impress”..
“That’s when in my opinion, these environments become very difficult for both the player and the club. It’s a situation that does need to be addressed, as development money is being wasted by the clubs, the FA, the Premier League and the Football League”..
Wood Chairman Danny Hunter said “as you would expect, Arsenal handled themselves impeccably in regards to Austin’s recall. They simply want their players to go to good clubs, they want them be developed, to be looked after and they understand that young players need to be educated on how tough a successful football career really is. With Arsenal it’s never about a loan fee being received, it’s only ever about the player”..
“However with Austin going back, it has caused a problem and has got both myself and the gaffer Ian Allinson talking. We have tried very hard all week to find a suitable replacement for Austin that works within the budget but that has proved very difficult”..
“I believe when non-league clubs like ourselves provide young pro’s with a development opportunity. The pro club does need to remember that, as its they who receive all funding for their players development.. If non-league clubs in general, are providing more and more of the competitive football for these young pro players, then is it correct that we are also made to supplement the players wages as well as improve them??”..
“You would just not believe the astronomical figures we are being quoted to take untried and untested boys at our level and the restrictions in terms of additional fee’s, if they do not start regardless of their performance is laughable”..
“If just some of the development funding that’s given over by the governing bodies to the pro clubs, found its way into non-league. It really would make sense and make a huge, huge difference to the non-league game across the board”..
“Perhaps for the betterment of English football and the future of a young players development change is needed? Perhaps the development structure, especially at the lower echelons of the pro game and the top echelons of non-league football, really does now need to be addressed? Trust me so many young pros and scholars will be released this spring and summer, exactly as they were in the spring and summer of 2014 and every year before that. Clubs like us then have to pick up the pieces in non-league, as the professional games walks away from these players”..
“These lads will have so few options open to them upon their release and it’s unlikely, that a released player will get lucky and find a lower league or full time non-league club ready for next season.. They could get fortunate and find a good non-league club at say Boreham Woods’s level but if they do, they will then need to find a day job. That’s where their problems really start, as both they and their agents will normally see that as failure and the player mentally doesn’t want a day job”..
“The other and more common option, will be a round of many meaningless trials in the summer. I hate these as they often shatter a released player’s already fragile confidence. Their agents and advisors have filled their head with pipe dreams that lead nowhere and when the summer is finally over, it leaves them without a club.. They can if they’ve got any fight left in them, continue to trial but remember they have now had no pre-season training or competitive games. If they choose they can perhaps play in a few development or behind closed door games at various pro clubs, mostly to make up the numbers. The unfit youngster then does himself no justice at all and eventually he simply loses heart and drifts away from the game forever and becomes another casualty”..
“In truth it’s mostly then the non-league clubs, who are taking a gamble on a released young player from a pro club. The players are often technically good enough but a mile away from being effective at our level. Nothing has prepared them for being released, nothing has prepared them for having no club or remotely prepared them for getting a day job. They then cannot cope with the amount of games they must play, the pitches they must play on, the speed of the game or simply the discipline and competitive nature of non-league, so it is a big, big culture shock”.
“The FA and Premier League really do need to look at the money they are spending on development at the top end and ask themselves could they get better value for their money by distributing it out more fairly?”..
“I’d like to know personally what the gross spend actually is on development within the professional game. It must be frightening and in truth it is only the Premier League as a body, who seem to want to even acknowledge clubs like ours involvement at Conference level”..
“Everyone must now I believe, look at how many pro players are actually being loaned across non-league… I believe the non-league game should be recognised as a true breeding ground for young footballer’s development. Non-league is also the go too place for these players to remain in the game if they have been released.. Surely the powers that be must at least consider our role within the game and begin to involve our top non-league executives and chairman in any future discussions, as many of us have years and years of experience?”..
“On a personal note our club has been built on its development success. Our investment has been considerable but it’s a shame that our work is not even recognised by the pro game and there are a lot of clubs like ours. We really are providing a true football platform for lads either on loan or who have been released to play and remain in football and that is now a huge part of our DNA”..
In Lee Angol, Matty Whichelow, Sam Cox and Junior Morias, we are helping the next group of young talented players on their journey, to play at a higher level. They will end up as better players and people for the experience and while with us, they are learning every day the harsh realities of football at our level. They and others like them need to improve, to develop and to listen.. Clubs like ours with a little more help from the governing bodies, can give them the opportunity to get to where they need to be”..
“Anyone like myself who watches development matches will tell you. They are often sterile, they make pretty passing patterns, they create nice polite lads but too many of them can’t press, can’t head, can’t tackle and at 20 years of age you don’t know if they can be given a grilling or even deal with a bit of pressure..
“We’re trying to achieve promotion here on a limited budget but Ian needs the right personalities around him. He needs work rate, loyalty and very importantly a patient bench. He needs impact players, squad players, youngsters who excite, players with experience and players who will roll their sleeves up.. He needs to find all those ingredients and then add the magic ingredient of goals consistently over a 9 month period and that means pressure”..
“To fit all those requirements into the budget I’ve given him is hard.. It’s even harder when young pro players and importantly their agents do not understand, that it’s not always the eleven who start that win titles or get to play offs but it’s the squad. It’s the bench, it’s the staff, and it’s the detail that will determine our ambitions”..
Hunter continued “It doesn’t matter to Ian, whether the team score or concede in the 1st minute or if a sub gets the winner or clears one off the line in the 90th minute. It’s about producing performances and getting a result. I can’t emphasise enough that it’s now a squad game and any gaffer’s squad up and down the country, over the next four months is going to be the key to where they want to be. If they get it right, the squad will secure more than just a result or two, it will secure points that could have been lost and that might make the difference. If that happens and for us it has all season, then the points will add up and the whole squad would of done its job”..
“Austin gave Ian options but unless pro clubs, agents and more importantly the young players mind sets change, then loan deals will become even more fragmented. We now need to insist that all loan players understand they must produce performances in games and apply themselves in training, to give themselves a chance of starting and that should be the managers only pre requisite, whether he plays a player or whether they even feature on the bench”..
“As I’ve said previously if you watch Academy football, it’s not hard to see how young players struggle initially to get to grips with the demands of senior men’s football. Ian spent 16 years as a pro and his track record in management of improving young players and improving a lad on loan is better than most. It’s been made harder though in recent years, as players and agents now think they should be guaranteed starts, as part of their loan deals regardless of ability, attitude, performance or development, it’s madness”..
“Nobody can tell me that the present development structure, is truly working for the clubs or even close to working for English football. Ian Allinson played over 500 football league games at Colchester Utd, Stoke City and Luton Town when they played in the equivalent of today’s premiership. He featured in over a hundred league games during his time with Arsenal and yet he’s ended up lumbered with me and being a Carlsberg rep”..
“While Academies are now full of young coaches who haven’t and never will have the experience of competitive sport at the highest level. The academies are now full of £25 an hour coaches, with no pressure on them, they deal with a bit of elite kid’s football and a bit of admin. They will never experience the highs and lows of somebody like Ian Allinson and in truth the many gaffers throughout non-league. In my opinion too much football knowledge now sits outside of the pro game and it would help the academy and development system if that was addressed”..
“It would be a good idea I believe, if young academy coaches were given work experience and were loaned out to non-league clubs like ours as part of their development. They could work under experienced managers and coaches at Non-League level and see first-hand, the pressures, frustration, and budget constraints people are under. They can observe the hard work and passion that can only be derived from the commitment within grass roots football. They would then perhaps appreciate even more the opportunity they have been given to work at a professional club and see first-hand the quality managers and coaches that reside at non-league level”..
“I believe young coaches would learn more in a few months with us, about being competitive and about the demands we put on the loan players that they send out. It has to enhance a system that would otherwise mean watching development and academy games all season and it would be great for them. They could then take that experience back to their academies and have a better understanding of the pressure of non-league and the level that most of their young players will end up at”..
“They can with us see at first hand, how a match-day operates, observe the kit manager and his duties, appreciate the demands a footballer who works all day and plays part time has to deal with.. Become an important part of the coaching team over a few months, they’ll observe the demands on a Physio department who may only see the players twice a week and of course they’ll be up close and personal studying the demands of a part time manager, where the result in every game truly matters and his job is on the line”..
“Many of the pro club coaches are aged between 21 to 30 years old. They are lovely lads, they are great at spin and even better at PR. They’ve got the required coaching badges and they really do talk a great game. The truth is however if they really were good players themselves, why are they not playing at an age when they should be at the peak of their playing careers?
“How is a young player ever going to improve if the level of his teacher/coach/manager, doesn’t improve? After all the coach is the one overseeing his development but if he has never played the game, then what experience is he passing on? I believe a work experience programme between the pro’s and non-league regarding coach swaps is definitely feasible. It would at least be a start and It could only help our young academy coaches to further their knowledge and that can only help the young players they look after”..
“Here’s a question… Do some pro clubs only go into these development leagues simply because they are funded and because it makes financial sense to do so? I believe some do but most are honest, hardworking clubs really trying hard to improve their youth structure. They all though receive significant funding from either the Premier or Football League towards their Academy costs and if that’s the case, is it really fair that the non-league game that is vital to the football pyramid and loan system is left out entirely??..
“Is it correct, no of course it’s not.. Can you imagine what would happen to pro clubs if every non-league club simply said from next season? That it would not take a single player from any pro club to develop their player. If that were to happen and it could to simply prove the point about the role non-league plays in development. It would certainly shake things up and show everyone just how big a part we play in the overall development and retention of players within English football”..
“It’s clear in recent years, that pro clubs are using their budgets differently. They now want bigger and bigger loan fees from non-league to take on the headache of developing their players. Yet it’s us that give these boys our experience, the game time needed and its us who have to deal with the agents and families who can in truth be a tad demanding”..
“This is the true state of play and when the pro system fails the youngster, non-league is now the unacknowledged graveyard for most of the released young pro and scholars to begin again in this country. Strange as it may seem, it’s actually the young pro coaches, nutritionists, medical staff, administrators who seem to benefit most by the increased development funding as they remain in employment. It’s the budgets within non-league though, who now put the majority of these boys careers back on track after release”..
“Sorry for such a log winded and opinionated article but people do need to start telling these kids the truth. As most have not got a hope in hell of ever making the first team of the parent pro club. The honest truth is that the majority of young players are groomed for the scrap heap at 18, 19 or 20. With no support network other than the PFA available”..
“Some home truths really do need to be told to them and the governing bodies need to wake up and smell the coffee. It’s very sad, that the system does not underpin or prepare a young player on how to remain in the game if they get released. It’s the non-league clubs, chairman, managers, coaches and budgets at our level, who now have the job of picking up a broken but talented boy, getting him playing again and our reward is to get no funding and lumbered with an agent, who thinks he should somehow be recompensed for doing nothing”..
The Wood Chairman concluded “I genuinely believe that a small percentage of the available development funding, should now be made available from the FA, Premier and Football league, to non-league clubs at our level. A criteria for eligibility needs to be clearly defined and set but It’s clear, Pro clubs want their players to get game time and experience at our level but they also want it for ‘free’ and they then want to charge us a loan fee for the privilege”..
“If non-league clubs are helping in the development process that should now be recognised by all the powers that be. With that in mind clubs should pro clubs be allowed to charge us ever increasing loan fees for the privilege?? In a nutshell, I believe that is morally wrong firstly for pro clubs to receive all of the development funding, then secondly use the loan system to place a player at a non-league club, then attempt to charge us ridiculous loan fees”..