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Club News


12 March 2016

Club News


12 March 2016

The Bantams have an impressive recent roll call when it comes to developing promising players for the future but the club are now looking into ways they can delve deeper into the young football talent around the local areas.

England internationals Tom Cleverley and Fabian Delph both spent time in City's youth set-up before moving onto Premier League stardom.

Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom and Swansea City striker Oliver McBurnie also came through the ranks in the club's academy.

City's current squad has included Reece Webb-Foster, another striker tipped for a bright future, and Dylan Mottley-Henry who have both come through the ranks.

But the club acknowledge there is still plenty of untapped talent slipping through the net and are trying to do something about it.

On Monday (14 March 2016), the Hendrie Suite at the Coral Windows Stadium will host an event called “Tomorrow’s next big thing today” when the club – including senior coaches and former academy players – will outline their ideas for improving that record.

Chief operating officer James Mason revealed the club have plans to increase the connection with schools and junior sides to give them the chance to have more youth football games covered in the local area.

“The club have identified we need a strong youth development programme,” he said.

“The plan is to provide a capillary network from all the junior clubs from Bradford and the local surrounding areas like Bingley, Keighley and Skipton. 

“It will have a direct link with the Bradford City academy which obviously leads into the professional side.

“We have a technical board meeting every other month to look at the potential structure of how to recruit players.

“We see about 1,000 players a year out of a catchment area of 65,000. We’ve looked at how we could increase that to 5,000-10,000 with the resources we currently have.

“We don’t have hundreds of coaches and scouts driving up and down the M62 to find these players.

“Sometimes there has been an elitist attitude towards scouting within the game where clubs think they know best.

“In those situations, some players might go under the radar. We’re trying to flip that on its head.

“If you are the coach of Bingley Juniors or a teacher at Buttershaw Primary School, and think you have a really talented individual, anyone from five upwards, we want to provide a platform where you’d feel confident enough to bring them forward to Bradford City.

“We want to open the door to local clubs and schools and give them that opportunity.”

There are other ideas to widen the net. City's academy manager Alan Nevison will discuss plans to look at setting up centres for youngsters around the city and working with teams from other sports.

Nevison said: “There are over 120 primary schools in the city and the idea is to set up some challenges we are going to call the Bradford Schools Olympics for years one and two.

“There would be a challenge in each school who would then put forward their three best athletes from each year group.

“We would challenge them again with another round of games and then have a showcase event at Woodhouse Grove. We’d like to set up multi-sport and athletic centres in and around the area.

“If they are very athletic they are likely to have a very good chance in football – the game is speeding up.

“And because they are so young, we could link in with other sports. Perhaps the centres could focus on rugby one week, football the next, then maybe cricket or hockey.

“We want something the people of Bradford could be proud of and maybe get the Bulls on board and Yorkshire cricket.”

City also hope to help revive the Bradford schools representative system. 

Bradford won the national schools title in 2013 with a Webb-Foster hat-trick at Leicester’s King Power Stadium – the first treble scorer in a final since Victor Moses. But they have since run out of funding and the under-15s were the only team left this year.

Nevison said: “We shared information with their coach Clive Truelove and four or five players from the academy played for the team that year. They went on to represent Bradford in a tournament in the Republic of Ireland; it was great for the profile of the city.

“We want to regenerate a representative team by setting up a tournament between north, south, east and west Bradford with all the best players in secondary schools playing against each other.

“We would support that with our coaching network and filter a team through. So between the two ideas we would hope to see over 700 boys and girls.

“We want the local talent to be playing for Bradford City and we’re asking for help and support from the people in identifying it.” for Monday night have been sent out to junior football club coaches, community leaders and school teachers. But places can still be registered at



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