Dolan: 'Academy is a success'...but Gooding's unconvincedBy Nick Ive
June 13, 2008
Eamonn Dolan insists Reading’s Academy is on the brink of producing results, but former Royals player and manager Micky Gooding believes the Royals youth set-up has been a flop.
The Royals first set up their Academy in 1997 and the club spend in excess of £1million a year in the hope of producing some of the best young talent around.
In the past the likes of Darius Henderson, Jamie Ashdown, and Nathan Tyson all featured in the first team, while at present hopefuls such as Alex Pearce, James Henry and Hal Robson Kanu are all on the fringe of Steve Coppell’s squad.
However, as yet there has not been a single player who has emerged from the Academy to become a regular.
But highly-rated Academy manager Dolan believes that could all change in the near future.
“I have no doubt we are starting to see some really good signs,” said the former Exeter City manager.
“The Academy is a long-term project. Last year we had another solid season where we had some decent results. We played 30 competitive games against some very good sides and that shows how many good players we have got.
“Alex Pearce has played at Championship-level, James Henry played for England Under-19s, Hal Robson Kanu went to Southend, Jem Karacan went to Millwall.
Dolan insisted: “This club is a success story. The Academy is not going to produce over night. I am optimistic about the future of Reading Football Club and the Academy.”
Royals chairman John Madejski has continually backed the Academy, hoping that it will eventually pay for itself by producing its own talent instead of having to splash out on sizeable transfer fees.
And Dolan admitted: “We need to produce value for money. Last year we sold Simon Cox to Swindon. People can look at that how they will, but that is a return on investment. Scott Rendell was sold to Peterborough and then to Cambridge and we received money.
“Nathan Tyson, Darius Henderson and Jamie Ashdown were all sold so that is a return on investment.”
Gooding: Academy has been a flop
In contrast to Dolan, Mick Gooding believes Reading’s Academy has been a flop so far.
Gooding, who made 314 appearances for Reading between 1989 and 1997, and was also joint manager, says the club should now have players in the first team on a regular basis.
“The Academy has been going for years and years now, so it should have produced players for the first team now,” said Gooding.
“It hasn’t and that’s not good enough. I’m sure the chairman will be wondering how long he needs to keep investing before it does produce first-team players.
“You would have thought they might even have struck lucky in that time and someone would have come along, but there hasn’t been anyone.
“There have been some good coaches there like Brendan Rodgers, Steve and John who all went on to do well – but sadly none of the players have and that’s not right.”
Please see today's Reading Evening Post for Nick Ive's full interviews with both Eamonn Dolan and Mick Gooding.