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Academy Update

Dan Harris on the 'Business of the Business'

19 December 2018

The Business of the Business…

Academy Manager Dan Harris writes:

Working in Professional Football for almost 20 seasons now has given me the opportunity to see the full spectrum of highs and lows that this industry has to offer. This week in the Academy has certainly been a microcosm of this and highlights again the range of challenges that go with the privilege of working in this game.

It is a real statement of intent from Tiger, Niall and Karl that they have helped us to sign four of our young players to their first professional contracts over recent weeks – Fabio Lopes was the most recent of these to agree his deal and we look forward to continuing to work with him and all our other young players over the coming years.

In contrast, one of the toughest parts of this role is trying to handle the release process for our young men at the end of their time with us with a sense of class and integrity. This week has seen us inform a number of our U16s, who have been a part of our Academy for a long time, that they will not be earning scholarships with us here at the club. Each of these young men has worn our badge with pride over the years and we are committed to signposting them to positive destinations in the next chapter of their journey.

I want to put on record my thanks to every single player and their families for their efforts during their time with us – we wish them all every success for the future.

Ultimately as a club with have to set ruthlessly high standards to enable us to move towards our aim of being a sustainable Championship club and this brings with it difficult decisions – we don’t take this lightly and over the coming years our aim is to ensure that we put a programme in place that gives as many local players as possible the chance to play in our first team.

As our department grows and moves forward we will undoubtedly also lose good staff members from time to time. This week sees our Head of Academy Analysis Dan Cooper moving on to take on a new role at a Category One Academy Club. I would like to thank Dan for his efforts during his 3 and a half years with us and to wish him every success in his new role.

As fans will know, there has been a huge amount of change at the football club over the last twelve months and it is inevitable that things will take time to settle and that there will be twists and turns on the journey – this is all part of the challenge of being involved in an exciting, forward-thinking club!

Make sure you follow the Official Academy Twitter feed @AcademyOUFC to stay up to date with all the Youth Development news here at Oxford United.

Proud History: Bright Future

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