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Academy of Plight?

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Academy of Plight?

Post  Hieronymus on 2017-10-17, 10:56 pm

This is a really sad read. Cannot verify any of this but Roker Report's contributors are generally quite fair. It does seem symptomatic of everything that has gone wrong with our club over last few years. And it shows the results of a cost cutting business model that takes no account of the duty of care a club has to its youngsters. Might also answer the question about why Tom Beadling is not getting a chance? This has actually made me feel more depressed than anything that has happened with the first team this season Crying or Very sad 


The Academy of Plight: Inside Sunderland’s self-serving, development-stunting youth system


It may have produced two Jordans worth tens of millions of pounds, but is the Academy of Light really fit for purpose? Sources lift the lid on growing concerns in the football world at how Sunderland is stunting the careers of its youth products.


by  James Henchard Oct 17, 2017, 4:23pm BST 
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Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
 
Last week, The Independent ran a glowing feature on Sunderland’s Academy of Light. The editorial piece claimed the Wearside training centre was “helping drive England to the 2018 World Cup” and that its careful development of Pickford and Henderson has meant Sunderland are at the forefront of producing young players for the national team.
But what happens to those not named Jordan, and those who are unlikely to attract fees in the tens of millions to feed the Premier League machine? Is the Sunderland academy really fit for purpose in developing those who will turn out at the Stadium of Light or go on to forge careers elsewhere in the Football League?
Roker Report has learnt of a growing unease from figures in the game about the way in which the club manages the pathways of its younger players and how Sunderland operate the loan system.
Through discussions with various figures and observers close to the club, we felt it’s time to shine a fresh lamp on the Academy of Light.
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The Academy of Light 

Sources talk of loan moves being blocked for players ready to develop beyond the tepid Under-23 set-up; a self-serving culture which rewards staff for getting results in Premier League 2 above allowing youngsters the chance to flourish at Football League clubs, and individuals risking the wrath of the Sunderland hierarchy by taking their career development into their own hands.

Penny pinching over a few hundred quid?

At present, Sunderland only have one academy graduate out on loan.
Michael Ledger is currently impressing down at Hartlepool United after a successful spell at Norwegian outfit Viking Stavanger last season - but he very nearly didn’t make the trip down the A19 because of the Black Cats perceived budget-slashing pettiness.
After pushing for the move to Viking, the 20-year-old was hailed as one of the best defenders operating in the Eliteserien, despite coaches at the Academy of Light being adamant Ledger wasn’t ‘ready’ for football in Norway, at a level which is widely reputed to be comparable with English League Two.
Indeed, Viking were keen to keep hold of the 20-year-old as the Scandinavian season runs through the English summer, but Ledger was summoned back to England to play for Sunderland’s struggling Under-23s before angling for another opportunity out on loan.
And then things got messy again as Hartlepool stepped in to express an interest in the Consett-born defender.
With Sunderland insisting ‘Pools should pay Ledger until the 30th June 2018, the National League club declared they simply couldn’t afford that with their own season only running for 42 weeks, concluding at the end of April, and it seems Hartlepool set themselves to reluctantly pull the plug on the deal.
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Michael Ledger playing for Sunderland in pre season Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images 

Desperate to kick-start his senior career, sources suggest Ledger was prepared to forgo a few weeks wages to engineer that move to Hartlepool, such was the young defender’s eagerness to add National League football to his CV.
His persistence has paid off, with the player making his debut for Craig Harrison’s side in a game against Maidstone United in August. But Ledger had been earmarked to play in ‘Pools two previous games over the bank holiday weekend, but was prevented from doing so due to a ‘paperwork issue’ at Sunderland’s end.
Paperwork or pettiness? It’s not for us to conclude perhaps but the experience certainly had those who follow Hartlepool scratching their heads.

Banished for angling to gain football league experience

The Ledger saga is no new thing either and sources point to this oddly restrictive culture as being one which has increasingly infested the varied reigns of Sunderland managers in recent years.
Observant attenders at Eppleton this season may have noticed the absence of certain former regulars for the Sunderland Under-23 side.
Left-back Tommy Robson has yet to make a competitive appearance after spending part of last term on loan in the League of Ireland with Limerick, and right-back Josh Robson has been missing on numerous occasions. 19-year-old Dan Wright, an England international schoolboy, hasn’t been seen in action for months. Curious omissions surely.
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Tommy Robson playing for Limerick last season Image: Sporting Limerick 

We have learnt of certain individuals within the Sunderland squad who have found themselves with two, very strict options - to train alone, or turn out with the Under-18s, effectively banished for refusing miserly pay-offs to leave the club in the summer.
Despite having contract terms to run, the sums offered to move these lads on equated to a couple of months wages at best in some cases, and the deals on the table were worse for others.
Moving on for a little cash proved to be too big a risk to accept for these young lads without an alternative club lined up - those who haven’t even been getting games at Sunderland so they could prove themselves to future employers; simply told they wouldn’t be picked and left to one side.
Yet those snubs come on the back of Sunderland chiefs continually blocking loan offers for the young lads in the system.
Tommy Robson in particular has been left in no-mans-land for some time. Loan bids were received for the young full-back last summer and dismissed as quickly as they arrived.
When an offer from League One side Peterborough United came in, Robson was prevented from leaving because David Moyes had no cover at left-back for Patrick van Aanholt.
But once the Scot had brought Javier Manquillo in on loan - a player who had turned out with some success on the left hand side of defence for Olympique Marseille - an offer from Barnsley seemed just the ticket for the then-21 year old Robson.
Again the proposed move, this time to Oakwell, was blocked by Sunderland. The reason? Because Barnsley had failed to inform the Black Cats they had accepted an offer for defender Alfie Mawson from Swansea – a player Moyes had been eyeing up.
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Sunderland allegedly fell out with Barnsley over a planned swoop for Alfie Mawson 

Petty or protective? You decide, but Paul Heckingbottom’s side may well be still firmly off the Black Cats Christmas card list.

And the rest, and the future?

With the Sunderland U23 side joint-bottom of Premier League 2 there’s little immediate prospect of any more youngsters being freed up to gain EFL or National League experience this season.
Observers have been pinpointing forward Andrew Nelson as one who would benefit greatly from a loan spell away from the club, but Academy chiefs continue to reject offers.
Moves to Scottish sides have been blocked, as have opportunities at lower league clubs in the north of England, and it took intervention from a well-known figure in the Sunderland footballing community just to engineer Nelson a short stint at Hartlepool last season.

A lack of planning and no insight into how business decisions affect young lads

One thing is clear throughout all of our discussions with people close to the business end at the Academy of Light - there are no particular plans for any of these young footballers as they approach an age at which they could forge a career in the game, either at Sunderland or beyond.
And there’s more than just a whiff of something else - that whilst there are good people working with these lads within the academy, corporate Sunderland AFC is either oblivious or unaware of the impact that business decisions and the current cold, hard-nosed financial-driven fervour may have on the lives of the young people within its system.
Any notion that the club has a ‘duty of care’ to maximise the career and life chances of these young people appears to have been forgotten as the zealots who inhabit the offices and corridors of SAFC pursue an ever-frantic quest for austerity.
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The Stadium of Light Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images 

A lot of the lads now of an age to think about graduating from the Academy of Light have been in the system since they were 8-years-old. Desperate to perform for their home-town club, many are watching with dismay as fans who previously flocked to the Stadium of Light abandon the city’s team after having their fill of senior players who make little effort to hide their derision of Sunderland AFC other than picking up a pay cheque.
With pressure on coaches mounting to turn out decent Premier League 2 results, that situation is not likely to change. There are suggestions that U23 boss Elliot Dickman is often unaware of the treatment dished out to youngsters from backroom, corporate SAFC, but one man continually earns praise from everyone we’ve spoken to – Kevin Ball.
The club legend and stalwart has often been the sole figure identified in our discussions for his genuine interest in the career development of youngsters within the Academy of Light. As one observer told us – “Kevin Ball wouldn’t care if the U23s were beaten 5-0 every week if it meant the lads were out there getting experience”.



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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  paddocklad on 2017-10-17, 11:44 pm

It really is sad reading and just goes to show what short is doing to the club
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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  talcnturnip on 2017-10-18, 5:54 am

The AOL has been a massive white elephant from the off lads possibly cost us a place in Europe again though Short can only take part of the blame here.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Nostalgic on 2017-10-18, 6:14 am

Out of curiosity I had a look at the league and our results.  All have been relatively close games and we are joint bottom with ManU. We have drawn with Chelsea away and beaten Spurs so the team is not in a bad state.

I am filing this in the "let's have a another dig at the club" heading, especially about the penny-pinching.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  cretanmakem on 2017-10-18, 7:30 am

I rarely comment on SAFC now , mainly due to lack of 'seeing' or 'listening' to the match on a weekend . My knowledge of our present crop of senior players is lacking , my 'insider' knowledge is zero , I have no idea what Short , Bain , Grayson etc etc actually think of our club and what their objectives and goals are for SAFC . We all speculate from trying to be positive at any aspect to being downright derisory about every aspect of our obviously failing club . 
I lived in Cleadon when the academy was being built , I was excited , it was to be a breeding ground for young players to progress into our first team , young lads to be adored by their home city , 48,000 passionate nutters loving you , cannot be a bad way to earn a crust . 
This article causes concerns , not because it is 'true' 'factual' 'reality' , I don't know , but it causes upset because it comes as not a surprise , for me unrest , disillusionment , frustration in our young guns careers is no surprise in these troubled times . Yes this may be mud raking , it maybe someone has issues with the club , we all know there is massive abject failure within SAFC ( not insider info just obvious for all the bullshit shoved in our faces from those within the club ) . 
The academy is the one obvious place for SAFC to get it right . Austerity moves mean we will not in the near future spend BIG on experienced players and therefore surely even a very foolish self centred petty spiteful person can see the benefit of nurturing our boys , getting them experience , loan moves to the likes of Hartlepool , Darlo et al should be a natural route for our lads .
A very sad day if this constraint of trade for young boys is even partially true , shame on you SAFC for allowing this travesty to happen . These boys have only one life , one chance to 'make it' ,,,, please do not ruin their lives or ours by not giving them their chance ( if of course this article has any truth in it , I sadly think it has more than the smell of reality ) .

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  paddocklad on 2017-10-18, 8:25 am

I can't understand why you would not let players go out on loan to gain experience to see if they are good enough for first team action that's the only way you will find out if they compete at a higher level, it happened to both Jordan's ,and as already said in the long run it would produce the teams of tomorrow without the need to spend big on transfers, I also thought if players were going out on loan that the loaning club paid a fee and part or full players wages ?
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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-18, 8:28 am

For what it's worth I was told some weeks ago that many of the kids at the academy want out, not for the reasons given but simply for very poor coaching.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Hieronymus on 2017-10-18, 11:31 am

Nostalgic wrote:Out of curiosity I had a look at the league and our results.  All have been relatively close games and we are joint bottom with ManU. We have drawn with Chelsea away and beaten Spurs so the team is not in a bad state.

I am filing this in the "let's have a another dig at the club" heading, especially about the penny-pinching.
BIB -  but that is the what the article is saying. Talk about there are none so blind as those that will not see!

A number of youngsters in the U23 squad are ready for first team football in lower league teams, to aid their professional development. But SAFC are not allowing them to go on loan, keeping them here as the hierarchy want a 'successul' under 23 team.

The penny-pinching is a reality, given the cost cutting regime at the club, with 170 backroom and clerical jobs lost in last 6 months. This might even explain the 'missing paperwork' that cost Michael Ledger a chance to play two games in August for Hartlepool.

None of this helps the lads' careers in the short or long term, and does not help us get a first team player either, which is supposedly the point of having an academy in the first place.

As the article clearly points out "Kevin Ball wouldn’t care if the U23s were beaten 5-0 every week if it meant the lads were out there getting experience."

But perhaps he is just "having another dig at the club" too?
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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-10-18, 1:30 pm

i just hope Short manages to sell the club to somebody good soon.

All through the club, 1st team, reserves AoL youth and the Women's team are suffering a blight.... help somebody!


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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  vinkel on 2017-10-18, 2:19 pm

To put it bluntly, we are well and truly in the shite,  light at the end of the tunnel. It's a feckin  long tunnel.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Silvers on 2017-10-18, 2:47 pm

yep.. lots of tunnel vision around...

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-18, 6:31 pm

The answer is so simple I cant believe it has not been done..


DITCH THE PINK SEATS

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2017-10-18, 7:10 pm

Hieronymus wrote:
Nostalgic wrote:Out of curiosity I had a look at the league and our results.  All have been relatively close games and we are joint bottom with ManU. We have drawn with Chelsea away and beaten Spurs so the team is not in a bad state.

I am filing this in the "let's have a another dig at the club" heading, especially about the penny-pinching.
BIB -  but that is the what the article is saying. Talk about there are none so blind as those that will not see!

A number of youngsters in the U23 squad are ready for first team football in lower league teams, to aid their professional development. But SAFC are not allowing them to go on loan, keeping them here as the hierarchy want a 'successul' under 23 team.

The penny-pinching is a reality, given the cost cutting regime at the club, with 170 backroom and clerical jobs lost in last 6 months. This might even explain the 'missing paperwork' that cost Michael Ledger a chance to play two games in August for Hartlepool.

None of this helps the lads' careers in the short or long term, and does not help us get a first team player either, which is supposedly the point of having an academy in the first place.

As the article clearly points out "Kevin Ball wouldn’t care if the U23s were beaten 5-0 every week if it meant the lads were out there getting experience."

But perhaps he is just "having another dig at the club" too?

Hi H, Do you recall a certain PM 6 weeks back -  Wink

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-10-18, 7:44 pm

cyprussyd wrote:The answer is so simple I cant believe it has not been done..


DITCH THE PINK SEATS

Sorry the Bain/Short austerity programme means we are stuck with the fading seats (similar to the team then)

We could wear our 3rd kit for the home games...it will not cost anything and may break the cycle
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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Nostalgic on 2017-10-18, 8:00 pm

Hieronymus wrote:
Nostalgic wrote:Out of curiosity I had a look at the league and our results.  All have been relatively close games and we are joint bottom with ManU. We have drawn with Chelsea away and beaten Spurs so the team is not in a bad state.

I am filing this in the "let's have a another dig at the club" heading, especially about the penny-pinching.
BIB -  but that is the what the article is saying. Talk about there are none so blind as those that will not see!

A number of youngsters in the U23 squad are ready for first team football in lower league teams, to aid their professional development. But SAFC are not allowing them to go on loan, keeping them here as the hierarchy want a 'successul' under 23 team.

The penny-pinching is a reality, given the cost cutting regime at the club, with 170 backroom and clerical jobs lost in last 6 months. This might even explain the 'missing paperwork' that cost Michael Ledger a chance to play two games in August for Hartlepool.

None of this helps the lads' careers in the short or long term, and does not help us get a first team player either, which is supposedly the point of having an academy in the first place.

As the article clearly points out "Kevin Ball wouldn’t care if the U23s were beaten 5-0 every week if it meant the lads were out there getting experience."

But perhaps he is just "having another dig at the club" too?
On the other hand it is also about two or three players who are experienced enough to make the first team or squad in emergencies and I note they were not quoted in any way in the article.  I acknowledge that there may be some insider information in the article but where would the players like to be?  Heading for the first team or down a league or two..  If we were penny-pinching we would farm the whole lot out to avoid paying them and not pay them at all.

The only thing I can think of is that the club want the receiving club to pay more of the wages which by definition falls into the penny-pinching area but since the article was about the Academy of Plight it was about player treatment overall.

People who look hard enough will always find something to complain about.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2017-10-18, 11:22 pm

Nostalgic wrote:
Hieronymus wrote:
Nostalgic wrote:Out of curiosity I had a look at the league and our results.  All have been relatively close games and we are joint bottom with ManU. We have drawn with Chelsea away and beaten Spurs so the team is not in a bad state.

I am filing this in the "let's have a another dig at the club" heading, especially about the penny-pinching.
BIB -  but that is the what the article is saying. Talk about there are none so blind as those that will not see!

A number of youngsters in the U23 squad are ready for first team football in lower league teams, to aid their professional development. But SAFC are not allowing them to go on loan, keeping them here as the hierarchy want a 'successul' under 23 team.

The penny-pinching is a reality, given the cost cutting regime at the club, with 170 backroom and clerical jobs lost in last 6 months. This might even explain the 'missing paperwork' that cost Michael Ledger a chance to play two games in August for Hartlepool.

None of this helps the lads' careers in the short or long term, and does not help us get a first team player either, which is supposedly the point of having an academy in the first place.

As the article clearly points out "Kevin Ball wouldn’t care if the U23s were beaten 5-0 every week if it meant the lads were out there getting experience."

But perhaps he is just "having another dig at the club" too?
On the other hand it is also about two or three players who are experienced enough to make the first team or squad in emergencies and I note they were not quoted in any way in the article.  I acknowledge that there may be some insider information in the article but where would the players like to be?  Heading for the first team or down a league or two..  If we were penny-pinching we would farm the whole lot out to avoid paying them and not pay them at all.

The only thing I can think of is that the club want the receiving club to pay more of the wages which by definition falls into the penny-pinching area but since the article was about the Academy of Plight it was about player treatment overall.

People who look hard enough will always find something to complain about.

Defend the club all you want & shoot down those who speak out but a number knew "This Story" had been brewing for some time. However due to the VERY real reality of losing your job should you do so it's not surfaced until now with names being subsequently withheld for obvious reasons. Call it a conspiracy if you like but many know otherwise.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Nostalgic on 2017-10-19, 4:08 am

I certainly do not see this as a conspiracy nor was I aware that it has allegedly been going on for months.  It is just tiresome to see provocative article headings implying that everything is falling apart for them rather than a wider picture of the changes that are taking part through the relegation.

I am no ignorer of bad news but the portrayed treatment of junior players who are at a relevant time of their development is a bit of a stretch to imply that the Academy is falling part and junior players being badly treat.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-19, 6:57 am

Nostalgic wrote:I certainly do not see this as a conspiracy nor was I aware that it has allegedly been going on for months.  It is just tiresome to see provocative article headings implying that everything is falling apart for them rather than a wider picture of the changes that are taking part through the relegation.

I am no ignorer of bad news but the portrayed treatment of junior players who are at a relevant time of their development is a bit of a stretch to imply that the Academy is falling part and junior players being badly treat.
Iam with you Noz and I'm also pleased that people post these stories on here for debate.

I have no doubt that there is truth in the story and I'm not doubting it or those who comment.

Our club is in a mess from top to bottom but it gets me down so I do my best these days to look for good news because I honestly feel the cloud of bad news, and we have plenty, does not help.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2017-10-19, 8:45 am

cyprussyd wrote:
Nostalgic wrote:I certainly do not see this as a conspiracy nor was I aware that it has allegedly been going on for months.  It is just tiresome to see provocative article headings implying that everything is falling apart for them rather than a wider picture of the changes that are taking part through the relegation.

I am no ignorer of bad news but the portrayed treatment of junior players who are at a relevant time of their development is a bit of a stretch to imply that the Academy is falling part and junior players being badly treat.
Iam with you Noz and I'm also pleased that people post these stories on here for debate.

I have no doubt that there is truth in the story and I'm not doubting it or those who comment.

Our club is in a mess from top to bottom but it gets me down so I do my best these days to look for good news because I honestly feel the cloud of bad news, and we have plenty, does not help.

I think you'll find your not alone in wishing only the very best for SAFC & it is for that very reason many issues are thankfully keep in house and quite rightly so. However when the actions of some lead directly to the hindrance of others achieving their potential questions should be asked of those in charge. 
On a personal note I'm right up there, maybe not quite as high as you in only wanting to look for positives that I find myself biting my tongue at times so as not to be the one building a fire or stoking the flames should the signals floated past.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-19, 9:57 am

Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Nostalgic wrote:I certainly do not see this as a conspiracy nor was I aware that it has allegedly been going on for months.  It is just tiresome to see provocative article headings implying that everything is falling apart for them rather than a wider picture of the changes that are taking part through the relegation.

I am no ignorer of bad news but the portrayed treatment of junior players who are at a relevant time of their development is a bit of a stretch to imply that the Academy is falling part and junior players being badly treat.
Iam with you Noz and I'm also pleased that people post these stories on here for debate.

I have no doubt that there is truth in the story and I'm not doubting it or those who comment.

Our club is in a mess from top to bottom but it gets me down so I do my best these days to look for good news because I honestly feel the cloud of bad news, and we have plenty, does not help.

I think you'll find your not alone in wishing only the very best for SAFC & it is for that very reason many issues are thankfully keep in house and quite rightly so. However when the actions of some lead directly to the hindrance of others achieving their potential questions should be asked of those in charge. 
On a personal note I'm right up there, maybe not quite as high as you in only wanting to look for positives that I find myself biting my tongue at times so as not to be the one building a fire or stoking the flames should the signals floated past.
I have no problem with any posts pointing out the problems but these questions that need to be asked, who can we ask and who will listen.
I know, you know every bugger knows we are in a mess from top to bottom. We need a new owner but more importantly a owner who understands football or is willing to employ people who understand.
Until that happens we can do no more than try and support, yes this forum is here to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly but to many seem uninterested in any good and you can find the good.

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  Silvers on 2017-10-19, 11:12 am

Well the SUNDERLAND FOUNDATION has to be regarded as a success..
So much 'good' being done there.  - Wonderful..

Alas, on the football field there is no feel good factor.

That will only come through good results.
No green shoots yet, not a win at home for nearly a year.

But it CAN'T go on like this. Something HAS to change and I'm certain that it will.
We know that Short will not invest in the team; he appears to want us 'mean and lean' ready for auction.

I only hope that we are taken over before the end of January.
With only a modest investment I am sure the team would thrive.
Any new owners would surely know that an investment in the team is an absolute must.

But without it, it is going to be touch and go whether we stay up.
Having to win every other game from now (because of the atrocious start) is a very tall order. The gap in the league table is starting to appear.

But it can be done if we get a reasonably quick intervention.. from somewhere.

I wonder if Quinny has any ideas ?  Sad

Unfortunately, I see his broadband business has gone under. Pity.
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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-19, 5:07 pm

Dem pesky morals – ethics and football academies; the true bankruptcy at Sunderland AFC?


In light of recent allegations about Academy of Light players, let’s explore the moral minefield that is Sunderland AFC.


by [size=13][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]  Oct 19, 2017, 1:16pm BST
[/size]



[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][size=13]@SAFCFoL on Twitter
We're here today to talk about loyalty.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in which Sunderland AFC's commitment to the development and support of it's youth products have been called into question, I think we should all take a moment to consider the moral ramifications of such supposed negligence.
The idea of “Academia” no longer conjures ideals of education or progress so much as it does privilege and class-division – but this should not be the case. At it's very core it's supposed to represent a safe place of learning, somewhere to develop mental faculties in a scholarly environment. Alongside other Grecian-inspired systems that all but created sport as we perceive it – the gymnasiums in which athletes train, the stadia in which the spectacle is witnessed, etc – the Academy is a fundamental building block in the institution of Football.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
The journey of a child taking his or her first steps towards self-accomplishment and the endeavour evident in their journey from young, raw-talented prospect to first-team professional football player should be something we can look upon with joy and respect.

It should be a safe path to tread because of the experience and compassion of all those that trod that path before them, because their forebears should desire their success and well-being above all else. At Sunderland, Kevin Ball is that man, by all accounts.
(Side-note: Is there anything this guy can't do? We should have a whip-round and fund his purchase of the club to guarantee that the next time all of our money is thrown down the toilet it's by a person that actually deserves to make that choice, not some group of incapable interlopers.)
Yes, believe it or not the lifeblood and soul of a football club's academy are people unlike Martin Bain, people who don't look at a crowd of individuals and see simple digits and pound signs. These are the people that should hold sway over the development of young talent, not football-phobic money-men (if you can believe such a creature exists at Sunderland AFC, a place where you can't buy a smile).
A club the size of Sunderland AFC, regardless of their success in any financial sense, should strive to match that endeavour given by young academy products and their families. It should bend over backwards to reward the commitment and the naked optimism of those that allow all of their hopes and dreams to be carried away on aspiration and put the sweat and tears in to boot.
These people are reaching for the stars and it seems that rather than build them a ladder to help them on their way, Sunderland AFC would rather be petty and weigh them down.
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In a world of cold, hard statistics, what is right and what is wrong are two very different sides to the same coin. On the one hand: a football club is a corporate entity, regardless of any sentiment implied, encouraged or cultivated by the supporters of that club. It is a profit-making business and the very existence of it depends, technically, not on the number of people that love and respect it, but the money that is transferred in and out of its respective bank accounts.
On the other: a football club cannot exist without support. Not only are those afore-mentioned bank accounts affected by ticket sales, catering, licensing and advertising - all of which are the pivotal revenue generators for any professional football club - but without fans to use those services the club will fail. But this isn't as simple as buying tickets for shit football while you eat shit food. The support of the fan-base spans generations and is dependent on so much more than merely results on the pitch. A sense of community, a sense of righteousness – both of these things are not merely desirable but necessary.

We've argued the case before: if clubs like ours tried harder to unite themselves to our own core beliefs, if they made efforts to be relatable instead of being seen to be relatable, we might find them to be far more worthy of our love and our support as a result.
So how do we balance what is right with what is profitable? Well, the truth is you can't. There will always be a gross imbalance in the revenue generation undertaken by professional football clubs, no matter how much you or I might question the morality of those making the decisions. This is because no one likes handing over their money for nothing, and when years of mismanagement and awful decision-making leads you to the inevitable relegation and humiliation we've recently suffered, you'll do anything to keep your head above water.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Sadly, this seems to be including but not limited to selling out the dreams of the young men and women that have depended on you and served you, many since they were in primary school.
The stupid thing here is that it is possible to fulfill the duty of care owed to these young men and women whilst still acting like a professional business rather than a Sunday-league pub team. You see there is another rarely-used revenue generator in this game of life/football we call Sunderland AFC – it's called the Academy. It's a big machine with a lot of moving parts, but the gist of it works thusly: find talent. Nurture talent. Use/sell talent.
Literally dozens of established organisations exist within Sunderland AFC's catchment area of players; organisations that are willing and able to take potentially talented young individuals under their tutelage and support and nurture their development.

Some are well-funded, some have no funding at all. Having recently spoken to just a few of them I can assure you that if we got them all in a room and asked for their feelings on the goings-on at the AoL their response would be damning, and rightly so.
Many of these people actually entertain human emotions when dealing with children and families that sacrifice their time, effort and money to follow the path laid down for them by greedy little men with nothing but money on the mind. There are plenty of educators – footballing and otherwise - that feel compassion and obligation to their students.
These people are good people, and if more of them worked in that huge money-vacuum we give our devotions to every other week there would be no need for my own personal outrage.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]The Academy of Light SAFC.com
I'm not going to sit here and explain to you why I believe Sunderland AFC are one of the greatest and best-supported club's in the world, chances are you're only reading this because you believe that too, but I can happily tell you that the expectancy of this fan base and the deservedness of the people that follow the club is second-to-none.
I truly believe we deserve not only participation in the elite echelons of National football, but recognition as one of the largest club's in English football.
But whether you believe that or not: with that expectation must come obligation.
And so with the suspicion that there has been some dereliction of duty to these young individuals, I have to wonder: how, as fans, do we react to these alleged failures of our club in the matter of the surely irrevocable moral obligation we can all concur that they hold; how do we react to the news that the young men and women that come through the doors of the Academy of Light are handled about as delicately as a Scotsman wading through your finances?
How should we react to the dismissal of the sacrifices and commitment they make and the well-documented hardships they suffer?
I'll be honest – it's getting to the point now where tales of wankership and arseholery are a dime a dozen coming out the Sunderland AFC facilities. Should we expect any less by this point? Probably not.
But imagine for a second that there's a vessel in front of you. For every lie, cheat and account of moral ambiguity that spills from the great corporate entity that our club has become, the vessel fills up that little bit more. When the vessel is full there won't be an outpouring of rage or some cataclysmic toppling of the regime, there will be no systematic elimination of every single person/problem that occupy the offices of this entity (as there should be), no. What pours forth from that vessel after years and years of betrayal and ineptitude will be something far worse than outrage or anger, something that we've been glimpsing for a few months now.
Silence. The enemy of joy. The antithesis of support. The cold and real absence of sound that can only be found in an empty stadium, abandoned and crumbling to dust.
All that remain on the terraces now are the hardy souls that can't believe it can be this bad and the rowdy ones that want to drink and party to forget it. As more horrible little facts and figures are thrown from the office of the CEO to land in the vessel in front of us, the silence grows louder and fiercer. Anger turns inward and festers, and only the light of community and human spirit can combat it. Two things that are curiously absent in our hour of need.
I tell you now: if no light shines from that stadium or academy, one day soon we may glance up and realise that the silence has become thunderous, and that my friends will be the end of Sunderland AFC.
“Stadium of Light” indeed.[/size]

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-10-19, 5:22 pm

As I said the 1st team, "The reserves", the youth and women's teams have a blight on them worse that the Tories austerity programme.

Until and unless a better owner comes I  we are stuffed 

Let's hope for a w8n against the Bees to lift the club
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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-10-19, 5:34 pm

sunderpitt wrote:As I said the 1st team, "The reserves", the youth and women's teams have a blight on them worse that the Tories austerity programme.

Until and unless a better owner comes I  we are stuffed 

Let's hope for a w8n against the Bees to lift the club
We could win 10-0 and many will say,"Yes but".

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Re: Academy of Plight?

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-10-19, 5:40 pm

As I said the 1st team, "The reserves", the youth and women's teams have a blight on them worse that the Tories austerity programme.

Until and unless a better owner comes I  we are stuffed 

Let's hope for a win against the Bees to lift the club
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Re: Academy of Plight?

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