BFC academy: We are judged on players we produce

Richie Kyle
Richie Kyle
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Youth team boss Richie Kyle says Blackpool’s academy has smashed its pre-season targets.

Judged on how many players they produce each season, it’s been an incredible 12 months for the academy, with four breaking through to the senior set-up.

After last year’s league title success, the youth team has had a tough league campaign, not that it bothers Kyle.

He said: “Last year we got a lot of attention because we won the league, which was great.

“But ultimately I always say it’s not about results in our game, as much as it’s good to do well. It’s about how many players we produce.

“We are judged on what players we produce for the first team.

“Some clubs don’t bother with the league tables at all. That doesn’t matter at youth team level.

“At the start of each season, we set a target of players to progress and this year it was two, so to get four into the match-day squad has been amazing.

“It’s a great achievement for everyone involved in the academy. We now have to try to continue this year after year.

“It’s also about longevity. We don’t just want our players to go in for a couple of games. We want them to go on to become top players for the future of this club.”

“It’s been really pleasing to get players through to the first team. That’s our job.

“The point of all the hard work we put in is to get players through our system and into Blackpool’s team.”

While Pool’s first team have endured one of the worst seasons in the club’s history, for the academy it’s been a dream.

Four players have broken into the senior side, with Dom Telford, Henry Cameron and Mark Waddington all becoming regulars in the team.

More recently, Bright Samuel has also featured after a promise made by manager Lee Clark during his first week at the club.

Kyle explained: “Lee 
Clark has been great for us so far.

“When he first arrived, he told us about his record of blooding young players and he’s stuck to his word.

“He takes a real interest in our players and is always asking about the next one coming through. He is happy to take our best players and let them train with the first team, sho he can have a look at them.

“Not many managers these days are brave enough to give young players a chance.

“It’s acted as a real inspiration for our younger players, showing them what can be achieved.

“While things aren’t going great for the senior side at the moment, it’s a great time at the academy.

“Hopefully it can continue.”