Stephen Crainey: Great for Fleetwood brand to go global with teams in Dubai and South Africa

Fleetwood Town’s development of young talent can only be boosted by its investment in new clubs in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

By Andy Moore
Friday, 17th December 2021, 8:00 am

Read More

Read More
Andy Pilley outlines strategy for a 'sustainable' Fleetwood Town

That’s the view of interim head coach Stephen Crainey after club chairman Andy Pilley invested in Dubai-based Fleetwood United FC and Western Cape Fleetwood FC, near Cape Town.

Fleetwood United have been accepted into the new UAE Third Division and will link up with established junior academy United FC of Dubai ahead of their season, which kicks off next month.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Fleetwood Town's Brad Halliday in Dubai at the launch of Fleetwood United

Western Cape Fleetwood have won their first four fixtures and lead the way in the South African fourth division.

Both teams supplement the work of the Fleetwood Town International Football Academy, which has players from around the world training daily at Poolfoot Farm.

Crainey said: “It’s great for the club as a global brand and, potentially, we could maybe send lads out there for different experiences and different cultures, as well as helping us to prepare them for the first team. It’s really encouraging for the club.”

Owner Pilley, who has businesses in Dubai and South Africa, hopes the new ventures will benefit all concerned, adding: “We are hoping to develop players all around the world, which we know we can do. We are looking to share coaches, skills, software and all the things which we have access to with our international clubs.

“We are starting at humble levels at first, with the aim of developing both the clubs and the players who play for them.

“Hopefully we can copy the Fleetwood Town model around the world. All of this will help towards my ultimate dream of making Fleetwood Town FC a fully self-sustainable club as it continues to grow.”

It’s a further step in Pilley’s masterplan to develop a steady stream of young talent, give them opportunities and build a viable business with top-class players to sell on (see page 26).

Crainey knows all about Town’s young talent from his previous role as Under-23s boss and the Scot is successfully integrating them into the first-team squad.

As Town head to Morecambe tomorrow in search of a third successive win, Crainey said: “We have a good crop of young players, hence we put a couple in over the last few games and they have taken their chance.

“There are more in Carl Johnston and Cian Hayes, who have done really well, and more players underneath that waiting for the right time for their opportunity.”

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here