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We Are Slowly Rebuilding Our Academy After Administration Says Dundee Youth Supremo

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Source: The Evening Telegraph

Dundee’s head of youth development Gerry Creaney is doing things his own way at Dens — but admits it would be nice to get similar success to city rivals United.

The youth set-up at the club has been slowly rebuilding after the disaster of administration over a decade ago and Gerry is aiming to move the club’s academy forward thanks to the groundwork already done in his first six months at Dens Park. Many clubs see the rivals down the road at Tannadice as a model to imitate — but, for Creaney, it’s more important to keep your own identity as a club.

Gerry said: “I don’t think you can emulate what anybody else does. The success United have had would be nice, undoubtedly, but I’m not looking to mimic any other club. I see this as a standalone venture — with the backing of the board and the manager — that produces players of a certain ilk and certain way of playing the game that the manager is obviously responsible for.

“It’s the quality of footballer we want to produce which will, hopefully, differentiate Dundee Academy from the rest. We want players who are well-rounded. I’m always looking for something a bit different. Ultimately we want first-team players but, once they leave me at 17, that choice is up to Eddie Johnson and Mr Hartley.â€

Gerry’s basic role is to develop the youngsters at the club to the age of 17 before — if they are good enough — they move on to Eddie Johnson’s U/20 development squad and, from there, have a shot at the first-team.

Funding for youth development at a provincial club like Dundee can be difficult to attain and the money raised through Dee Promotions is always welcome to the youth set-up. However, this year, club directors Steve Martin and Ian Crighton have come up with an adventurous fundraising project.

Along with a band of loyal Dark Blues fans, they are currently climbing the highest peak in North Africa — Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, 13,671 feet above sea level.  This ambitious trek has seen the group, which is led by Jock McInnes, raise almost £20,000 to go straight to youth development at the club and Gerry is more than happy to see his colleagues and the fans come together to support the club and move things in the right direction.

He added: “Even £20 is a help for youth development, never mind £20,000. At Dundee, we’re acutely aware of what’s happened in the past to the club and we have a solid foundation now. We want to build around the foundation the board and the manager have put in place.

“This will allow me to, hopefully, 
expand and increase participation, ultimately, in first-team football for the youth academy. It looks like we’re getting places and, slowly but surely, it’s about building a reputation of the club. The manager has done a fantastic job at first-team level and that will filter down through to the youngsters.

“We want to grow but we can’t grow instantaneously. We will continue to take our time to get where eventually we want to be. We want to be the best we can be, pure and simple.â€

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Mr creaney talks a good game but it will prove harder to deliver ! The basis for a good academy is ( apart from the kids) is to have good quality coaches who are prepared to embrace the coaching skills required to produce players who can perform in today's modern game . Gone are the days of running kids round a field till they drop them playing a game of five 's after that ! Believe me I have witnessed some of our youth teams doing that week after week out at Dawson park ! Not that Dundee don't have some good youth coaches ! But they lost some of their best ones when the new academy manager was appointed. So given our locality can't see how they can be replaced easily ! Hope I am wrong but I feel we won't reach performance level for this season because of the number of coaches that we are short of .

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I don't know much about the youth set up so please tell me if I'm havering.. But 'your' description @@Lindsayjc of the best ones might not match the gaffers or Creaney's pal that’s also why I recon he has said that it will be a Slow rebuilding process. Hartley and the club have identified what type of players they want to create for future squads and started signing them up so find it hard to believe that they would disregard a handful of the best youth coaches we already have in place for no other reason than change..? It just sounds to me as though they weren't deemed the type of coaches the club want going forwards that’s all, by most accounts it would suggest since the shake up our youth looks to been doing quite well through the ages.

Feedback from supporters and relatives who go to watch seem to suggest so 'if you’re one of them' then it’s a little worrying but honestly the 1st real negative soundings I've heard barring the Manhattan works classes being cancelled or re-jigged. We even have a few youngsters from the development squad pushing into the first team set up this season coming so again it cannot be in that bad shape. I agree running around Dawson all night then fives afterwards doesn't look or sound like we are creating talent but on the other hand this type of work would be needed for say 'strength and conditioning'.. It's kinda hard to judge what they should be doing with children unless your a coach I guess.

Given that the gaffers been around a few different teams youth set-ups in his time 'one being the tics’ I'm willing to trust his judgment when it comes to what 'the setting up' of our youth system should be like from now on. Hopefully like you given another few years rebuilding us he can help us get the elite coaching certificates needed which grant us better funding which 'I'm lead to believe' is the case and we will then hopefully see the floodgates of talented youth pour into the clubs teams. I doubt that the BOD who has indicated this as a 'key' area for improvement along with coaches who are taking us forwards from 'what was the set-up' would be the cause of our demise or stagnation in the near future..

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Still no sign of us signing any new vibrant young coaches to improve the youth set up we must have some of the oldest youth coaches in the league Alec Caldwell Steve Murray and Gerry creaney ! Their coaching badges must have been done years ago as their methods ar definitely old school ! We need new young coaches who are prepared to embrace the modern coaching ethos of skills over athleticism !

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Do we have a structured scouting system yet or do we just take players from the best performing Dundee Sunday Boys leagues? 

I posted on another thread that transparency is needed from the club as this is a major major issue for the club moving forward. 

Hopefully the club can deliver in this area but at the moment, I feel a bit despondent as to how we are progressing. 

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I do wonder about this ...

The youngest is dying to "play for Dundee"... (I'm sure we all had the same dream) but he is currently training with Dundee West.)

How *does* a youngster go abut pursuing such a dream?

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I do wonder about this ...

The youngest is dying to "play for Dundee"... (I'm sure we all had the same dream) but he is currently training with Dundee West.)

How *does* a youngster go abut pursuing such a dream?

Carry on training with Dundee West.  They are more than a decent club.  If he is good enough, he will get picked to play for Dundee West and if he is then good enough he is sure to get scouted by one of the senior clubs.  Lots of boys are picked up age 7, 8 or 9 these days.  The majority however get punted within a fairly short time.

edit to add that Box Soccer has a good name for giving young lads basic and advanced skills

Edited by Attilio

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I've often wondered if a youth academy is worth it.

Weighing up the cost of signing players compared to the very few who break through from the youths and the wages paid out to the youth squad over the years. Seems to me that unless the club come up with a future star, it's a costly business.

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I do wonder about this ...

The youngest is dying to "play for Dundee"... (I'm sure we all had the same dream) but he is currently training with Dundee West.)

How *does* a youngster go abut pursuing such a dream?

Being involved with Fairmuir BC, I can say that Dundee West are definitely doing things the right way and are a good club for him to be playing with. 

In my experience 'senior' clubs come and take players from the best performing teams. How do his team do week to week? Whether they believe that each player they take can be developed or they just do it for their guaranteed funding from SFA is a different issue. 

The only way to achieve such a dream is to be totally committed to developing his ability, both with Dundee West and away from training and matches. 

It is a big decision whether or not to go to DFC or any other senior clubs when they come calling but he will have to weigh that up when the time comes. 

In the meantime, keep training hard and practising and all the best! (Except against Fairmuir of course  ;) )

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