Hartlepool United seeking to emulate Brentford's successful academy set-up as they reveal club restructure
Hartlepool United have confirmed that they will be restructuring their academy set-up - with chief executive Mark Maguire aiming to emulate Brentford's successful model.
After lengthy internal discussions, Pools confirmed that they will be restructuring their academy provision from next season - which will see the current academy system for players aged 9-16 axed.
In its place will come a number of regional development centres who will have their own fixture programme, commencing in January 2020.
The club's plans will not affect their current 16-18 YTS programme, which will continue to operate as normal next season.
And the club are also investigating extra provisions for players aged 18-21 in a bid to ensure that they produce as many successful first-teamers as possible.
Hartlepool United no longer have a reserve side as they followed the growing trend of operating without a second string, but Maguire has hinted that the club will seek to operate a similar model to that of Championship side Brentford - who set-up a 'B' team aimed at handing developing players further opportunities.
"The consequence of relegation to the National League was that funding was reduced by half for this season, and will be reduced to nothing for the 2019/20 season, leaving a shortfall of a quarter of a million pounds in our budget," explained Maguire, in a statement on Hartlepool United's official website.
“Furthermore, as it stands we will be unable to protect our investment in 9 to 16 year olds, as there is no contract which covers those age groups outside of the EFL system.
“We see development of young, local players as fundamental to the future of the Football Club but must make sure that we focus our time and resource on the areas which give us the best chance of a return to the EFL, which after all, would allow us to immediately benefit from the funding and contracts available to the younger age groups.
“We have studied examples of Youth Development across the country and will seek to mirror the structure at clubs such as Brentford, who have had significant success focussing on the development of players in the older age groups.
“We will not be abandoning the 9s to 16s – who have been a big part of the Club - and regular sessions will still be available for those age groups ahead of the launch of the Development Centres in January. However, we do not underestimate the impact this will have on some of the young players and parents, as well as staff at the Club.
“We have to make tough decisions and we have to do what we can to rebuild the Club. There has been a clamour for information regarding our plans for the Academy and frustration that we have been unable to provide regular updates, but the reality is that we have had to take the proper amount of time and do our due diligence in making what is a huge decision for the future of Hartlepool United.
“We still believe that a central part of the future of this Club will be to see the continued development of players such as Luke James, Josh Hawkes and Kenton Richardson, who have emerged through our own structure to represent the Club so well. We hope that by focussing our efforts in this way we are giving ourselves the best chance of an earlier return to the Football League.
“I would like to thank all of the full-time and part-time staff, whose continued hard work and passion has allowed the Academy to operate at such a high standard for a very long time.”
Pools also confirmed that they will engage in dialogue with the National League over a new contract which will protect club's investments in young players.
Luca Murphy's departure from the Super 6 Stadium came without a guaranteed financial benefit - although the club are pushing for compensation - and they are keen to ensure National League clubs cannot be stripped of their prize assets in future.