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Danny Loader, world champion, ex-Wycombe Wanderers

Congratulations to Danny for being part of the England U-17 World cup winning squad. He played in two matches, scoring two goals. He was a Wycombe youth player until the academy was disbanded in 2012, joining Reading as a 13 year old.



  • That's a nice little story. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Nice, but another for the list of talents we let get away!

  • Great knowledge. I still can't see how the club can continue without a youth set up and these stories just make me sad. I miss seeing the youth players getting a chance to see if they sink or swim in the first team. With such a great talent for spotting talent in Dobbo we really missing out so badly.

  • It makes me sad too. I fully understand the youth team had to go at the time that it did, a necessary casualty to keep the club alive, but whilst I am on one hand delighted to see the likes of Loader and Matty Cash at Forest doing so well, it is quite heartbreaking to think that these players were ours and we lost them for nothing.

    The sooner we are in a position to get some form of youth team up and running the better. The likes of Reading and that awful franchise in North Bucks have wasted little time in swooping in to our catchment areas and any new youth team would probably take a good decade (or more) to start producing any real talent, so all the more reason to get one started as soon as it is financially viable to do so.

  • The sad thing is, with the EPPP, we'd doubtless have lost them for a pittance anyway, having spent money developing them. Another case of the rich getting richer on the back of the small clubs. Less romantic but more practical is scouring the Prem/Championship academies and picking up players considered surplus there but easily good enough for our level.

  • At the time I accepted the narrative that there was no alternative to closing the youth system. As time wore on and the utterances of Mr Woodward became less "reliable", I do find myself wondering.

    Sadly suspect a youth system is one of those things that is much harder to re-establish than it is to carry on. Hard to see any cash strapped business investing in a proposition that is guaranteed to be a cash drain for an extended period and then for which returns are at best uncertain.

  • Except that the club still runs younger age-group squads, so the raw material and infrastructure is, in theory, there from which a youth team might be developed.

  • I think @MindlessDrugHoover is right about the policy and practice of picking up young players like Pierre, Mawson and Gape and developing them. The dream would be to pick up someone as talented as Eze and, inevitably in due course, selling for big bucks. The reverse of the rich getting richer on the back of a small club. But just how philanthropic are QPR?

  • The success of the youth age groups international teams will inevitably raise the question of how they should be nurtured and developed, especially if/when the senior team bombs at the next World Cup. Is the current loan them out system the best that can be done, how do we get them game time to learn, highly likely that the B teams debate will raise its head again soon if a better solution is not found.

  • Get two or three youngsters loaned out to every club in Leagues 1 and 2. Better for them to learn as part of, rather than against, older players. But I suppose the point I’m missing is that the ‘B’ teams would include older players in any case.

  • The EPPP sadly means that the only sensible way for clubs like ours to have young players is the Pierre, Mawson, Gape model. All this while Premier League clubs stockpile and stunt young players, and force us into meaningless games we could do without.

  • Exeter, in many ways perhaps the most similar club to ourselves have gone down the opposite approach and continue to invest significant amounts into their system. They have recently got some very good paybacks as a result - Matt Grimes and Ethan Ampadu the best of them.

    Having dismantled our scheme, not withstanding the minor ongoing involvement that HC refers to, the cost and timescales of re-establishing a serious system seem prohibitive. Whether it was the right decision to dismantle it in the first place needs more information than certainly I have. Whether it was or not, the decision was made.

  • As I recall, the annual cost was in the region of £350,000. Prohibitive at the time and, given the cost and complications of resurrecting it, probably even more so now.
    I believe starting up a more modest level of youth development involving competitive local fixtures for youth and fringe players was mooted last year but I suspect that the sponsorship required was not forthcoming.

  • The risk of doing an Exeter is that you develop 30 or so players over the next 4 years at significant cost, and you don't get a single Ingram or Ibe out of the whole bunch. It's not a lottery, but its a calculated risk.

  • Andrew Howard made quite a deal about announcing a possible return of youth development if I remember correctly and then ignored it when he couldn't persuade a corporate sponsor to step in and fund it.
    I just don't see us as a fully functioning football club without a youth section. Our community ties are weakened by its loss in my mind and the focus and money spent on bringing in players to the first team has to be right more often than running a youth team.
    Given that the club currently has broken turnstiles, a poor sound system, dodgy floodlights and tea bar tills not working I'm sure it's not top of the list to bring back but if I ever had a say it would be top of my list.

  • As a Trust member (?) you do have opportunities to raise the issue and at least
    Instigate discussion. The sound system has apparently been upgraded and there was talk a week or so ago about re-aligning the floodlights (and presumably replacing blown bulbs). Wasn’t aware of broken turnstiles or broken tea bar tills.

  • @micra When I talk about having a say I am referring to actually being in charge and being able to make decisions. Being a member of the Trust is largely irrelevant on the opportunity to raise smaller issues. Anyone can and should do it. I have.

  • @Right_in_the_Middle said:
    micra When I talk about having a say I am referring to actually being in charge and being able to make decisions. Being a member of the Trust is largely irrelevant on the opportunity to raise smaller issues. Anyone can and should do it. I have.


  • Would love to have youth development again but the days of this being a potential cash cow are long gone thanks to the madness of the EPPP. Whilst I'm delighted about the recent England youth success I don't see it as a sign that the future England team are going to be any better than the showers of the last 2 decades. Heard the words of Chris Waddle saying that the success was down to young players being able to play on perfect pitches and therefore develop their passing game. Which is true I guess. It also means that youth development further down the football pyramid is likely to be eroded further in favour of perfect conditions. Only time will tell if in 5 years time only one or two of the U17s are featuring in the Premiership.

  • Exeter shows that isn't true, Andy. There is still money to be made, but inevitably it is not guaranteed.

    While I am sure all would like to have a youth scheme, I really cant see how you could justify funding it for so long from startup now without it producing an income. its a bit like a mine, you can just about justify it while its open, once it shuts the costs of reopening it can rarely be justified.

    Plainly the elite youth at present have a degree of talent. that can only be a good thing. Most of us would love to have a successful national senior team. May I ask how you would go about trying to ensure this group of kids (and others to follow) have a decent chance of delivering their potential and maybe lift an international senior trophy

  • @DevC Pandora's box has been opened I'm afraid. Without limits on the number of youth players a team can recruit, without a quota system for home grown v international players at development level, without proper (enforced) penalties for poaching, without support for the lower football pyramid to reinforce the upper echelons I don't think that these players will go on to be anything more than the best at their youth level. I hope I am proved wrong.
    Dominic Gape was a highly regarded u23 player from one of the top youth academies in the country. He is now a very good 4th division footballer. He is a success story in my eyes compared to some of the total dross we have seen from Premiership youth football. My feeling is that they are kept in youth football too long, they are kidded into believing they are better than they are (see Twitter, Instagram and just about any social media to see that) and the desire to put in the hardwork is largely missing.

  • Ok, but there are arguments on the other side. St Georges Park and the childrens coaching systems have suddenly produced a bunch of 16-21 year olds that are up there with anything the world can produce. We haven't really been there before. Better still those players are not simply competing based on better physicality or organisation, technically they seem just as good as anyone else. We never really had that before. This could be a flash in the pan or it could mean that up to 21 or so, we have now got the system right.

    Problem then seems to be how to help them continue to develop recognising that some , like perhaps Gape will develop at different speeds to others or in some cases slip down the pecking order. Money could well be part of the problem. A good young footballer will be a hero at school, and then if he shows any promise will get a very lucrative contract at an early age. Must be tempting to take the money and the temptations and focus on that rather thsan further developing at football.

    But other problem we have is that in this country 21-25 year olds simply don't play as many competitive minutes as other countries just when they are learning how the mens game is played. That must put them at a disadvantage they cannot recover from. Those that do get minutes often only do so by going to play on loan at a lower league club, experiencing worse coaching and worse facilities while they do. Odd way to develop your elite.

    Not sure I have the answers, but if we seriously want to win something before a shuffle off this coil, we will have to change something I suspect.

  • @DevC Just because a player goes on loan to a lower league club doesn't automatically mean he will be getting worse coaching. Harry Kane went on loan to Orient, Alfie Mawson came to us, Delli Ali became a star at the Franchise, Vardy spent a lot of his career in non league. There are other examples to totally disprove your strange view that young players will experience worse coaching in lower leagues.

    Young players in general benefit from experiencing the real world outside the cosy life of the Premier League.

  • Of course it does Mooney. The best coaches get employed by the best clubs because they can afford to pay the most money. The best clubs can give the best coaches the best facilities - far better than more modest clubs. Of course the coaching is better at top clubs - better coaches, better facilities, more coaches per head, more experts. (There are isolated exceptions of course).

    That doesn't mean of course that it is not beneficial for many to go on loan and play rather than stay at say Tottenham and not play a serious game. The benefits of doing so may well, indeed I would say often do outweigh the inferior coaching they will get at the lower level club. Its a odd system though. The best graduate trainees at Tesco don't get sent to Joes corner shop to learn retailing.

  • As usual Dev you don't think things through properly. There may be a lot of young up and coming coaches employed in the lower divisions who are as good as those coaching in the Premier League. A prime example is Eddie Howe who took Bournemouth from our division to the Premier.

    A young Premier player is not going to be regularly coached by the Head or Assistant coach. He will be coached by one lower down the pecking order. Any youngster sent on loan to us will get daily one on one coaching from Gareth which I feel will be of a better standard than he would get from a youth coach at a higher club.

  • We may have to agree to disagree, Mooney. I guess it doesnt really matter.

    I think the best coaching is at the employers with the best coaches money can buy, the best equipment and the best facilities and many more coaches per head and experts in every field.

    You don't.

    Its a question we will never know the answer to.

  • @DevC some players (and some positions) require a more coaching based development others just need to experience football and different opponents (and maybe team mates). I look at Eze and his first couple of appearances were pretty unremarkable. Then in a short spell he has learnt so much and continues to learn. He has a mentor on the pitch in Bayo and the freedom to make mistakes in front of a crowd that is forgiving and patient. He will return to QPR a far better player than if he had stayed in U23 football for a further 12 months.
    However if the glorious Premiership continues to strangle the lower pyramid by hoovering up players and not giving a decent share from their crass pot of money where will Eze go to develop?
    I do have hope for these England players but at what cost? If we manage to get half through to senior level that will be amazing. So how many players will have been discarded to a non-football career to achieve that? I often look at the Premiership release lists and I can tell you that most U23 players do not get picked up by Championship clubs ore even third division clubs. That says more about English youth development than anything else to me.

  • @DevC said:

    Its a question we will never know the answer to.

    Thank goodness for that.

  • edited October 2017

    Is the point not that, while @DevC is probably right that the standard of coaching and the degree of support available is greater at the higher league clubs, players ultimately learn the most from playing? Without playing, and to the best possible standard against players who will test them and force them to improve, no player will develop even given ideal coaching conditions.

    If lower league clubs like us really wanted to make a stand to improve their lot and their chances of signing young players, they could all refuse to take players on loan from higher league clubs. Even without youth teams being added to the leagues in the way opponents of the Checkatrade fear, clubs like ours are effectively acting as nurseries for whichever young players the higher league clubs wish to cultivate. (I don't actually advocate this, btw. I just offer it as a thought.)

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