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Dev Squad PR Spin

Pete Couhig recently went out in a blaze of self-appointed glory listing the dev squad and more specifically 3 x success stories as evidence of great success.

  1. Mehmei (money)
  2. Forino (gone on a free)
  3. Al-Hamidi (didn’t play and released)

Underneath the Couhig PR train, it’s basically just Mehmeti as a one off.



  • True - and even with Mehmeti, we did not get market value because of the release clause.

    Anis and Big Chris did play almost 200 games for us between them, so they did help us a lot on the pitch, which is the other half of the coin, I suppose.

  • I suppose hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it really does seem inexplicable that we turned down cash for Forino last summer from QPR when it was clear he wanted to move. The Development Squad only works as a business model if you sell the players on.

  • I think that this is where the Couhigs lack of experience in the world of football really shows through, as @Last_Quarter says the Dev Squad model only works if you sell on when the right opportunities present themselves.

  • The money we got from AAH’s move to Ipswich meant we could strengthen the squad in the last window. Nice try though.

  • Totally agree. However perhaps we did try to offer Forino an extended deal part way through his last year and he turned it down knowing that he wanted to leave this summer.

  • I guess it’s not always just about selling for profit. It’s also about sending a message out to the next Anis’ and Forino’s that Wycombe is the place to come to develop. Our next million pound player might be around the corner and we just don’t know it yet.

  • He's called Richard Kone

  • Good shout, but where is the line of dev squad to first team, considering Kone was playing pretty quickly?

  • The fact he was such a success story elsewhere, after being let go for nothing (with a sell on clause), after having not played, says a lot. Yes, we got a sell on. But we could and should have had first dibs and full rate. More money left on the table. Same as Forino. These are errors in judgement plain and simple.

  • Is it really inexplicable? Or do you have a short memory? At the time we didn’t have any centre halves signed on. Mawson wasn’t about. Tafazolli couldn’t stay fit. We had an ageing JJ and an out of form Grimmer as our only ‘centre halves’ and they are all extremely limited at centre half. We couldn’t have let Forino go at that moment. It was poor squad planning. We’ve been light on centre halves for years. Don’t blame the development squad approach. Blake relatively poor recruitment at centre half. I’m nit-picking.

  • Great money for Anis, good money for AAH. I reckon we’re doing ok.

  • The offer from QPR came in July IIRC. We would have had time to have signed or loaned someone else. We've had to do similar many times before when we've lost talent.

    To be clear though - in no way am I critical of the B Team model and think its been a huge success. I just feel in this one instance it was a very odd decision to not let Forino go.

  • Transfers like Forino’s are always bitter sweet. Bitter as I’m sure we would have lived to keep him or sell him for a ton of cash. But sweet that we took a discarded lad from the football wilderness and made him a really decent player that is coveted by others. And that’s the way of the world. I am sure in the next few weeks we will sign a player that was someone else’s Chris Forino.

  • edited June 15

    There's been a few others haven't there?

    Pattenden has become a squaddie capable of a little run of games.

    Wakeley had a few turnouts.

    Yes they've not been the major success stories but the development model is 2 things- getting getting players who can play for us and also sell on.

    However, it's always slightly blurred what is a development player and what is just a young player who comes in and can feature from day 1.

  • On the basis that two of our largest (might be the largest two) transfer fees we have ever received have come from development players I would put it in the win category for the club.

    I still have hope for a couple of the others that are still in the system. I am always comfortable when Jasper is in the team and Ward looks likes he has something about him.

  • Anyone who be

    This post cannot go unchallenged. Firstly, I don’t recall any ‘self-appointed glory’ in Pete’s farewell message, he isn’t that kind of guy and deserves more respect for giving up time with his family to fulfil his role at Wycombe. Most academies would be delighted to unearth one first team player in 3 years at zero cost, let alone 3 and you have forgotten about Richard Kone, Jasper Pattenden etc. To have also earned a reported fee of £1m+ from the sale of one of those players is a huge bonus. Forino was offered a new contract many months ago but declined the offer, Al Hamadi also chose to leave and the club received a fee for him with a substantial sell on clause. Your reference to the Couhig ‘PR train’ is both inaccurate and disrespectful.

  • Absolutely right. The first priority of a development squad (the clue is in the name) is to unearth and nurture players who go on to play in the first team, thus saving the club money. If any of those players are subsequently sold on to other clubs that is proof that the system is working. Also, as you mentioned, it enhances our reputation as a club where young players can see a direct pathway to first team football. Development squad manager Sam Grace has both earned and saved the club a fortune and deserves the highest praise.

  • Ignore him @glasshalffull - a recent sentiment analysis of @HitAndHope's comments on here revealed they only post on two topics - slagging off Gareth Ainsworth and slagging off the Couhig family. This is just the latest in that trend.

  • Thanks, I didn’t know that so I will happily take your advice and ignore him.

  • Disbanding the old academy/ youth system by The Trust was driven by a lack of funds cost based decision.

    Creating the Couhig development squad concept was primarily predicated on not having the money for an Academy.

    New owners have the funds and so see an Academy as central to the club’s evolution - as do most clubs.

    Funding, or lack of it, was/is at the core of all the above.

  • I think we will see more business acumen based decisions and strategic planning from our new owner and his team than we have become accustomed to over the last decade or so.

    And that is not to denigrate the considerable success in that respect during the Couhig era.

    My impression is that the Brentford approach is front and foremost in the minds of the new regime.

    Front and centre even.

  • That was the last of tonight's session from Half man Half Biscuit there, Dev Squad PR Spin....another cracker from the Birkenhead lads, I'm sure you'll agree.

  • Is Kone actually a development player?

    Yes he will improve and develop. But he was basically on the bench straight after signing.

    So do we just label any player under a certain age coming in as "development"?

    Or do they at least have to had say 6months in the development "squad"?

    Not quite sure how many are in that these days.

  • Oh please, let’s not bring out the violins and buy into the Couhig PR train.

    Pete gave up his family time to spend time on Wycombe?! Come off it. You mean like half the business world who travel between countries for a job?

    It’s a job that most would give their right arm for. I’m not having that at all. It’s totally irrelevant. What is relevant is the results of the dev squad listed as the couhigs major success.

    ONE delivery with Mehmeti. And a lucky post-release on AAH. Couhigs full of bluster and self-promotion, as ever. But not a lot of substance underneath it all.

  • Pete got basically stuck during Covid - I think it was a huge amount of time that he did not see his family at all.

    Not sure about self-promotion, but I know WE got a promotion along the way!

    I think we could pick holes with any owner, but both the Trust and then RC overdelivered in the grand scheme of things. Can you imagine being told 7-8 years ago that missing the L1 playoffs would eventually be seen as an underwhelming season?

  • And Forino who played a large role for us for a number of years. Three hits in three years is excellent. Plus there’s a few others like Skura and Pattenden who may come good too. De Barr had a handful of appearances with some goal contributions too. Not a bad return at all. It’s hardly a PR train. Pete barely took any credit beyond the inception of the concept. Let’s not buy into your dramatisation either.

  • He was training with us for six months before making the bench. Perhaps they assessed him during that time.

  • Pete essentially chose to be stuck during covid, there was a small window of time where he knew flights would stop and he had to choose which country he was going to spend an unknown amount of time in - the states with his family or over here with barely anyone he knew looking after the club.

    @HitAndHope you’re a tedious little bore whose only joy in life seems to come from putting others down. Given how utterly ignorant you are to the facts, I don’t for a minute believe you’re actually a Wycombe fan. Maybe go bore people on the forum of whichever club you actually “support”.

  • We got lucky with AAH? We could of held on to him and tried to force him into a system/level he wasn't ready for and then seen him go for free in the summer. Instead a mutually beneficial deal was struck which rewarded us in for our role in his development. As others have said Forino may not of gone for a fee but has contributed significantly to our first team and is a great example for any prospective candidates for our Dev side

  • That was my perception with Pete, that he was away from his family for all of his spell here.

    But someone I know who is quite close to things suggested that Pete did have his family here for a long spell. Which makes more sense of the whole "visa" thing being given as an issue for why he had to move back. We assumed it was for him, but makes sense it was for his family.

    I'm not 100% on the actual full story, but thought that was an interesting correction to mine and others perceptions.

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