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13 July 2007 : First Friendly Result
The Yeovil Town U18 side defeated Gillingham Town's First Team 1-2 last night at Hardings Lane. The match was watched by a crowd of 157. We have no further details at present.


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13 July 2007 : Club Moving On Youth Policy
The club's Football Development Officer Maurice Hopkins has been speaking to the Western Gazette about plans for the coming season, and beyond. Grumbles have rumbled on for years about whether Yeovil Town was more aspirational talk than action when it came to its youth policy. Now things seem to be on the move :

During 2007-08 we are going to have two centres - one in Yeovil and one in Taunton - which will be like centres of excellence. We will have squads from Under-Nines up to Under-Fifteens. The Under-Fifteens will get a good two year run before they join the U18 team and we will take it from there.

As far as the forthcoming season is concerned we are going to start off by building strong foundations. We will start off slowly and gradually build into the programme. We will be following the same programme as a centre of excellence but we will not have one of those at first.

The chairman has dipped his toe into the water on the youth system front, but we need to be sure that it is the right way to be going. So we are not going to be boom and bust. We are trying to make sure that the infrastructure and networking of people we have got is big enough to push forward. At the moment we are want to do the walking before we do the running but we do want this to grow. It is going to be big anyway but we want to make sure it gets bigger and stronger as time goes by.


Hopkins was bullish about the future and the seriousness of the club's commitment :

It is history for the club because it is the first time they have had a proper set-up below Under-Sixteen level. I do not think we can yet use 'Centre of Excellence' or 'Academy' to describe us but they are only words. In my eyes it will be as big as either of those anyway.

We have got about 230 kids within the system. We have probably tried about 800-1,000 people since April. We have been selective and it is not a case of 'anyone can come along'. We have held trials or people have been scouted for the system. We hope we will be able to produce players for the Reserves, First Team and U18s.

It is great for the kids in the area. I have been involved with Schools District and County football for a long time. In the past everybody has come into our county and taken away players. It is now our turn to start pushing those clubs out of the Yeovil area and the county. We will start looking after our own and push them up through the Yeovil ranks rather than Southampton's, Plymouth Argyle's and Bristol City's.

We will be playing Swansea City and Plymouth and will be touring Liverpool - Everton and Tranmere - next month as well as playing Wigan Athletic. It is too easy to look back and say 'What if we had had this sooner?'. We have just got to look forward and that is my philosophy. I have got good friends at Ivel Barbarians RFC. Chris Heal
[Head Coach] and I talk a lot about youth in the area and about how it should be progressed. I hope that is what we are going to be doing now at Yeovil Town.

Sounds promising, but everyone, especially those putting in the funding, has to be patient. A youth policy comes to fruition some ways down the road, and the results are long term not immediate.


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13 July 2007 : Yeovil Town vs Portsmouth Match Preview
Premiership side Portsmouth arrive at Huish Park tomorrow, having gone on a spending spree in the last few days. Manager Harry Redknapp has spent an estimated 20million on midfielder Sulley Muntari and his new strike pairing of David Nugent and John Utaka this summer. There has even been the recruitment of a certain Martin Cranie for an undisclosed fee from Southampton. That has been added to by free agent defenders Sylvain Distin and Hermann Hreidarsson, plus on loan midfielder Arnold Mvuemba as Pompey look to improve on last year's ninth-placed finish.

Redknapp believes that the spending spree is the result of more money being available to the 'lesser' Premiership sides that will result in a more competitive season. Speaking to their official site he explained:

"I'm delighted with the players we've been able to bring in - we've had great support from the owner. You only have to look around the place to see how ambitious he is. The Premier League this year will be the toughest so far. There is a lot more money being put into all of the clubs. Everybody is looking to push on and get stronger - including us. We've brought in people early this summer and they're going to make us even stronger this year."

Portsmouth follow up their match at Huish Park with trips to Havant and Waterlooville and Eastleigh in mid-week before heading out to Hong Kong to compete in the Barclays Premier League Asia Trophy. With the first team squad at a training camp in Devon, it seems likely that Redknapp will blood the majority of his players throughout the 90 minutes, albeit with Pompey tending to in the past swap round the majority of their large squad over the half time period.

Kick-off for the match is at 3.00pm and tickets are available from the Huish Park Ticket Office right up until kick-off, priced: adults 10.00, senior/students 5.00, juniors 1.00.


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13 July 2007 : Glovers Still On The Look-Out For Signings
Yeovil Town assistant boss Steve Thompson has this week stated that the signing of midfielder Marc Bircham is unlikely to be the last, as the Glovers continue to try and build their squad up to last season's levels. Whilst boss Russell Slade is likely to leave room for emergency signings and loan deals, Thommo has pointed out to the Western Morning News that with the departures of three central midfielders and the arrival of two that they are a man down in that area and are also looking thin on the wings:

"We are always on the look-out for more players and we are still one short on what we had last year in the middle of the park. We had four last year with (Anthony) Barry, (Paul) Terry, (Jean-Paul) Kalala and (Chris) Cohen, and we only have three at the moment, so I would think there is a good chance of us getting another midfielder in before the season starts. We have a list of players that we are interested in, and a wide player might also come up because the wide players we have (Ishmael Welsh and Jerahl Hughes) are very young, so we might look for a bit more experience and for someone to go in straight away."

That said, Thommo admitted he was impressed with what he had seen of Bircham so far, and expects him to slot into the 'holding' midfielder role fulfilled by Paul Terry or Jean-Paul Kalala last season:

"It's a good signing for us, he is experienced and has done very well for Millwall and QPR. He is a similar type of player to Paul Terry and JP (Kalala) and he is very atheltic as well, so we hope he will give us more variety in midfield. He was attracting interest from a number of other League clubs as well, he has had two promotions from League One, and we needed another midfielder as we lost three with Chris Cohen, Paul Terry and JP. It is certainly a position that we needed to strengthen and we have got someone who has spent the last four years in the Championship, so that is the kind of pedigree that he has. I'm sure the fans will warm to him, he is a loud and extravagant character, although he doesn't have the coloured hair that distinguished him! He might feel he has gone past that stage now, but, if he does, then I'm sure that will go down well with the fans."

The squad's week in Suffolk at RAF Honington ends today, but Thommo's view in midweek was that things were going to plan. Perhaps many had assumed that it was Thommo's RAF contacts that had organised the week away, but the former RAF fitness instructor admitted this was something that his boss had done in the past with Grimsby Town:

"It's going very well so far. The lads are being taken well out of their comfort zone and it shows the purpose of bonding the team together, because you want to be able to rely on people on a Saturday on the pitch and you want to be able to rely on people up here when you are doing these practice drills and exercises. Russell knows the bloke here very well and did it with Grimsby, and they have done a fantastic job organising it all."

Midfielder Anthony Barry seems to have fared the worst during the week. Earlier in the week we reported that he had to run a lap of the RAF camp after failing miserably in an exercise that involved taking out forces vehicles on a coned off obstacle course. Now it appears he managed to get his bearing wrong when on another exercise, so badly that they had to send someone out to rescue him:

"Bazz somehow went flying for about two minutes because he was supposed to come to a bush and he went straight past it and ended up running half a mile! We had to send a Land Rover out to recover him."

Ooops! Sounds rather as though Ant will be glad to be back in his own bed tonight when the team arrive back on Somerset soil.


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13 July 2007 : Forest Fee Will Be 'Spread' Throughout Club
Yeovil Town Chairman John Fry has said that manager Russell Slade will not see the full proceeds of the seven figure fee the club received from Nottingham Forest for the sale of midfielders Arron Davies and Chris Cohen. Fry has told this week's Western Gazette that the money will be "spread" throughout the club to protect it from over-spending on the football side, citing Leeds United as an example of a bad way to run a football club.

Fry also added that the club were under pressure to sell both players because of the way their value would diminish over the course of the coming season if they didn't sign extended deals:

"We will spread it the right way because we do not want to end up like a Leeds United. It is very difficult and complex and fans do not always understand the running of a football club. A player is classified as a tangible asset. Assets are normally buildings and things of that nature but in the case of football it is footballers. They are an asset to the development of the club and you have got to make the best of the asset. The trouble is a player can be out of contract quite easily. He may not want to move and then if he is out of contract at the end of the season he is worth nothing. A 1M or 3M asset can evaporate to be worth very little or nothing so you have to be shrewd and clever and run with your head rather than your heart."

Fry also appeared to point the finger of blame at one or both of the agents involved in the deal, suggesting that they had played a part in the exit of both players. Cohen and Davies are managed by different agents and so it would be difficult to imagine one agent being able to influence the actions of another, but Fry felt that the situation had been taken out of his hands:

"If football was how normal business was conducted there would be total anarchy. Clubs are not helped by the ambitions of agents. They are there to look after players and, therefore, there is a continuous tussle with regard to where a player goes and who decides. There are cases that the selling club have things that are being taken out of their hands but you cannot argue because you have to look after your own club. Ideally we would have liked them not to have gone to one of our rivals but it did not work out that way."

The Gazette also have provided what they believe to be a breakdown of the deal that was brokered with Nottingham Forest, even if the official line from the club is that the fee will remain undisclosed.

The claim is that the total package was for Yeovil Town to receive 1.2 million pounds for the pair, with a sum of one million pounds allocated against the transfer of Arron Davies but just 200K set against the transfer of Chris Cohen. Both players had sell-on fees negotiated with their former clubs, Southampton and West Ham United at the time of their transfers to Yeovil. The Gazette quote those as being 10 percent for Arron, whilst the sell-on percentage for Chris was 50 percent.

Both sell-ons will be calculated against the profit made by Yeovil Town - something that makes calculating the exact money that will enter Yeovil Town's bank account to be a tricky task, given that both players arrived at Huish Park without a fee being made public.

Mr Fry refused to comment on the Gazette's assertion of how much the two players cost Forest, saying that although unofficial figures were being stated in various quarters that the actual amounts would remain confidential:

"It is an undisclosed fee. It is a matter of confidentiality between the two clubs."


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