WORTHING Football Club’s under-18s finished their Ryman League programme last week, and, frankly, as manager, I end my season with mixed feelings.
It has been a learning curve, right from day one, with both positives and negatives to take from the whole experience.
In the league, the defence was the tightest in the division, conceding the least number of goals. But the draws column also tells a story with six, with the majority of those, if not all, being games that we should have won.
However, despite mine and my management team’s obvious disappointment, from the club perspective, the youth set-up is not without its successes.
Right back Bradley Lewis, aged 16, made his first-team debut against Faversham, and was given man-of-the-match in the Non League Paper the following day.
He later played in a Brighton Charity Cup tie against Peacehaven where, for a large part of the game, both Rebels full-backs were 16, with Harvey Sparks playing at left-back.
Both lads are a credit to themselves and an example to young footballers everywhere. Released by the Albion in the final cull before scholarships were given out, they’ve just got their heads down and worked hard, and many at the club believe that they will play again at a higher level.
In total, Bradley, Harvey, Joss Knowles, Josh Clack, Jack Williamson, Jamie Christie, Josh Newman, Ellis McWilton and Jack Fagan have all turned out for the first team in the course of the season. And David O’Callaghan has also featured in the first-team squad.
My original remit when Chris White offered me the post was to develop youngsters who would then go on and play at first-team level – 10 so far, with a number of others already knocking on the door.
However, as I see it, the way forward now is for Worthing FC to have a link-up with a County League club, Worthing United, being the obvious choice.
With, due to financial constraints, no reserve team at Woodside, the gulf between youth team and Ryman League football is still too big. Developing players through an on-going loan system/dual signing is the natural way forward.
Hopefully, this summer will see such an arrangment put in place.
Show me a man who says he has no flaws and I’ll show you a liar, but clearly there’s flawed and there’s “flawed”.
John Terry’s “car crash” football career had another twist in the Nou Camp on Tuesday night, which will now see him always remembered for all the wrong reasons when they talk about one of the greatest night’s in Chelsea’s history.
Perry Mason couldn’t get him off this one, and, frankly, just where his long-term future lies with the Blues after this and other upcoming events away from the pitch, must be seriously questioned.
In the media frenzy that followed, comparisons were made to David Beckham’s sending-off against Argentina in 1998 and Wayne Rooney’s dismissal in the World Cup quarter-final of 2006, but can a comparison be made?
Both those players were young lads at the time, Terry, in some people’s eyes, should still be the England captain.
His excuse to the media at half-time was almost laughable, clarified at full-time with a full and sheepish apology.
But, the bottom line is clearly he’s running out of chances at Chelsea and, sooner or later, the owners will have to do the right thing, not only for Chelsea, but perhaps for the good of the game.