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Old 28th December 2007, 11:06   #1
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Default Youth's a stuff that will endure

Youth's a stuff that will endure
Posted by Patrick Nathanson
Telegraph 27 Dec 2007

Football chairmen around Europe are getting nervous. For the suited and booted (and Mike Ashley), the onset of January must be about as welcome as Christmas for a turkey.

The transfer window is about to be jimmied open as managers clamour for more 'readies' to save a season ("But what happened to that £40 million I gave you four months ago?" comes the startled retort).

Alas, fear not, there is no need for ruffled feathers in the executive boxes.

Why not just follow the example of Osasuna and bring players up through the youth team, just like in the good ol' days.

According to a study by the Italian football federation, the Spanish side, currently enjoying the comfort of mid-table security in La Liga, have more youth-team products in their squad than any other side in Europe's top five leagues (Italy, Spain, England, France and Germany - see below for the table of results).

Once upon a time, a club's development hinged upon the success of the youth side, with younger players reared to replace the old hands sent out to graze. A genuine bond between players and club was forged, while a strong sense of the club ethos was instilled into players who grew up together polishing the boots of their idols.

Those days appear doomed. As the role of academies becomes increasingly marginalized and short-term solutions are required to fix long-term problems, maybe chairmen should look at the model that clubs like Osasuna provide, rather than reaching for the cheque book in fits of blind panic.


1) Osasuna (Spa) 14

2) Nantes (Fra) 1
Real Sociedad (Spa)
Hertha Berlin (Ger)
Nancy (Fra)

6) Empoli (Ita) 1
Rennes (Fra)

8) Aston Villa (Eng) 1
Sevilla (Spa)
Eintracht F. (Ger)
Middlesbrough (Eng)
Toulouse (Fra)

13) Auxerre (Fra) 10
Espanyol (Spa)
Valencia (Spa)
Monaco (Fra)

17) Bayern M. (Ger) 9
Lille (Fra)
Borussia M. (Ger)
Man City (Eng)
Man Utd (Eng)
Newcastle (Eng)

24) Real M (Spa) 8
Roma (Ita)
Lyon (Fra)
AC Milan (Ita)
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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