Blackpool youth team boss: Releasing players doesn't get any easier

Academy boss John Murphy has opened up on the awkward conversations Blackpool had to have in shattering the dreams of some of the club’s young talent.

By Matt Scrafton
Saturday, 18th June 2022, 6:00 am

While a handful of the youth team have been given professional contracts with the club this season, the vast majority will be let go and have been told they have no future at Bloomfield Road.

Players including Cameron Antwi, Ryan Grant, Johnny Johnston, Matthew Liptrott, Charlie Monks and Sky Sinclair – the son of former Seasider and England international, Trevor – were released by the club at the end of the campaign.

While it’s part and parcel of football, it’s a process that never gets any easier according to Blackpool’s former striker Murphy.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Cameron Antwi was one of the Blackpool players released at the end of last season

Read More

Read More
When Blackpool will find out their Carabao Cup first round opponents

“I personally don’t have the conversations, it’s something (academy director) Ciaran Donnelly did,” he told The Gazette.

“But we’ve all been in situations like this where we’ve been told bad news, whether it’s a job interview or something like that. It’s so difficult and it never gets any easier.

“The numbers, percentage-wise, of players getting through, even to pros, never mind first-team stuff, is so low.”

Murphy was speaking after Blackpool’s Under-19s capped off a successful season with some silverware.

They lifted the Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup following a win over Rochdale.

The young Seasiders also finished third in their league and reached the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup, when they were narrowly beaten by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

“Ciaran told the players they deserved to win their trophy and he’s right because they’re a good group,” Murphy added.

“They’ve conducted themselves the right way away from the pitch with the way they’ve behaved through the year, so they deserved that.

“It just helps there’s some good footballers in there as well.

“Take Johnny Johnston for example. He had been released before the cup final, so I wasn’t expecting him to come in.

“He came into training on Monday so we asked – sentiment-wise – if he wanted to be a part of the squad because we felt it would be fair and a nice little send-off for him.”