Written by Chris Tipton

So the sorry tale of the youngster who thought he would be with the Liverpool Academy by now has finally ended. But it was ended by our own stupidity of (again) illegal approach…..

“Hi this is Liverpool here we’re getting a 12 year old from stoke up to our club, we’ve promised him schooling.

(PL question) “You know that’s not allowed don’t you? If you do this you’ll break the rules…..”

Liverpool peruse the matter and continue. Hence the fine in April & compensation deal with the PL to Stoke City and the boys family. (Obviously a longer story fact wise but you get the gist).

Youth football in particular is something I have a great deal of interest in. I follow most of the in-out of junior/youth players in North Wales/North West. So this story of the Stoke City player (kid) didn’t even make me raise an eyebrow.  Imagine this scenario… A player aged 13, is probably the best kid in the area, no I’d go as far as saying in his county, no sorry he’s one of the best in the country. His dad knows this, so he starts asking scouts. “Is there any chance my boy could come for a look round “the scouts club” (not a trial or a match). This boy then attends every major club in the country & a couple abroad. Now this is where it gets interesting. Clubs would like to sign the boy, but where would the boy like to go?  “I know” says the dad in a joking sort of way. “Who ever pays us the most money, that’s who we’ll sign for. Ha Ha Ha”…..

This is a true story. The dad got £125k & a car, the boy got a signing on fee of £125k guaranteed (17th birthday). This happened over 25 years ago. Yes 25 years ago, so imagine how things have changed (not).

Premier league elite Football clubs have now been given rights in protecting “their” players”. So from the grand old age of 6, players are protected not only by “their clubs” but by the premier league as well. Rules have been stacked in the favour of “The big clubs” say the EFL academy system. Players must still be in the catchment area to attend EFL clubs at the age of 9 to 11 you may travel one hour age 12 to 16 an hour and a half travel to EFL clubs.  (4 categories 1 to 4, that’s a whole new blog ?)

The Premier League elite player plan (what Liverpool are in) with no restrictions on player travel (well nearly no restriction). They have the rights to the best (non elite plan players) & pay EFL clubs compensation (peanuts). This is where Liverpool crossed the line and approached the Stoke player (Premier League elite academy). Again I beg the question. Who at our club reads the rules on transfers?? We’re fined, it seems at every level for illegal approach!

Loads-a-money

I for one have never agreed with the abolition of “School boy forms” being signed at the age of 14. Boys attended Centre of Excellence (EFL rules of travel applied to all clubs) from age 10 to 14 on a yearly renewable contract basis. This was a fair way of getting players into your club. Regardless of which club it was. As a matter of interest only 0.5% of players are taken on at elite level, (level 1 to 4) actually make it into first team football at their clubs, (1 in 200) hence the major fights for the “best” players. That player “from our academy” can then justify the £2.5m spend for that financial year, for the upkeep of the “Elite Player Plan” at our club(s).

Thanks again and let me know what you think of this matter in the comments below!