Port Vale’s Academy continues to pick up plaudits as it is rated among the top 35 academies in the country.
After the trials and tribulations of recent years, the development of the Academy remains one consistent element which can give Vale fans hope for the future. This season alone Vale youth team graduates Ryan Boot, James Gibbons, Nathan Smith, Billy Reeves, Mike Calveley, Dan Turner, Joe Davis and Charlie Raglan have all made first-team appearances.
It’s no easy task to develop quality home grown players, who will achieve a long-lasting career in the game. There are many factors involved in getting youngsters to shape up and many things which can go wrong along the way. However, with such tremendous amounts of money needed in order to invest in football nowadays, taking care of the Academy side of the business is very important, and it can pay off in the future. So it’s pleasing to know that among all the controversy at the club, Port Vale has an academy the fans can be proud of.
Vale’s Academy is now classified in 33rd place, amongst some of the best clubs in the country…
Where is it ranked? The Football League has recently produced some interesting statistical data which showed the Vale academy to be one of the most improved in terms of player productivity, and now putting Vale’s academy in the top third out of all 92 league clubs.
The Port Vale Academy is now classified in 33rd place, among some of the best clubs in the country. Not so long ago, when Port Vale Academy was labelled as a Centre of Excellence, it was ranked 66th out of 92 English league clubs for player productivity but it has steadily risen up the ranks. The analysis measures the impact of all player produced by the academy, including players who were involved with the Academy but are now playing for other teams.
Everyone at the club, including Academy manager Sevvy Aslam, who has been involved with it for many years now, can be rightly proud about the improvement the academy has made. Aslam has certainly witnessed a lot over the years, as there had been plenty of highs and lows during his time at the club.
Money woes were often among the main worries. Struggling to maintain an adequate budget to keep the youth department running has often required a lot of creativity both from the manager and from dedicated members of the staff as well. However, it is clear that all the hard work paid off in boosting Vale’s Academy status. The positive effects can be seen on the pitch with an increased number of talented youngsters going through the system and then challenging for a place in the Vale first team.
Over the years, in addition to boosting the Vale first-team, some former members of the Academy have been able to bring in significant transfer fees. Defender Anthony Gardner is a good example. An academy graduate who earned the club a million pounds when he moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2000, the centre-back could well have made more than his one appearance in the national team had his overall development not been held back by injuries. Interestingly enough, after his active days in football he was able to find another exciting hobby in the form of professional poker. Participating in live events, he achieved some success and scooped a few pounds in money prizes. He even appeared on Poker News last year after winning one of the Dusk Till Dawn series in Nottingham, securing his first live title.
If the club believes in enough number of youngsters, then the chances of another skilful player making a name for himself in the higher divisions should increase significantly.
Port Vale have produced many first team regulars over the years, and with the Academy earning plaudits it could be that more talent will break through in the future.