SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper has said the club’s newly-unveiled link-up with Lydiard Park Academy can only bode well for the future of the Robins.
Cooper was in attendance at the west Swindon school this evening as academy director Jeremy Newton and Lydiard Park vice principal Christian Dobbs officially opened the facility, in which Town are understood to have invested around £15,000.
It means the entire youth development set-up – approximately 130 children – will relocate to the school for its training sessions three days a week, while all competitive fixtures will take place on recently renovated playing fields and the 3G surface.
Cooper told Link Sport that the massive undertaking, 18 months in the making, will allow the club to produce more and more top quality young players.
“Jeremy Newton has put a lot of work into finding the right facility we can call our own and work with the school. We’ve got the day release programme, where our boys work at the school and train, which means we get more contact time with them which is important. It’s an exciting venture for us,” he said.
“I came and did some inductions last week with the boys and their parents and stated to them that there is a realistic chance of them coming all the way through. I used Louis as an example. He started right at the bottom of the club and he’s gone all the way through to get himself a brilliant move. He is proof that it can happen.
“We’re seeing more and more players coming into our squad and being involved with our squad on a daily basis. I think it’s important we get that message across and this facility will only help that.
“It’s a lot of work that goes in. There is no coincidence why our academy is producing so many good players. There’s a lot of hard work and philosophy of how we think it’s right to take this club forward and produce good young players.”
Coaches from the under 16 section right the way down to the under sevens will teach their young players the same style of player that Cooper has instilled in his senior squad – an obvious tactic in the eyes of the Robins boss.
“You see some clubs where the under 15s are playing in a totally different way to the first team. That’s their prerogative but I don’t understand it because within a year someone from that team, when he gets to 16 or 17, could be playing in your first team,” he said.
“We coach exactly the same way all the way through – from the very bottom to the top – in a system of how we want to play. It’s so important we start right at the bottom.”