This has been a difficult year for so many people in so many ways. For Marvin Williams, Ricky Wellard and everyone else involved in the running of our football academy 2020 has provided two really big challenges.
The first came in finding ways to complete the academic tuition of our students without being able to deliver a traditional classroom environment because of the Covid restrictions. With a lot of hard work, innovation, flexibility and the use of online technologies that challenge was met head on and successfully negotiated.
We then had to work hard throughout the summer with a full pre-season programme whilst seeking the right partner to take the academy forward. Marvin and his team worked tirelessly behind the scenes in order to do this, in constant communication with the Board, culminating in the exciting recent announcement in respect of our collaboration with John Ruskin College. This is a very exciting partnership with partners who share our ethos and desire to provide an excellent education for young people in the surrounding community.
So, with all this having gone before, it was fantastic on Monday night to see the team beat Camberley Town in the FA Youth Cup and earn a trip to take on Liverpool in the next round. What a fantastic experience that will be for the boys, to compete against some of the best young players in Europe, but also what a great reward for Marvin and his team for all of their efforts.
In a relatively short time our Academy has developed a well-deserved and growing reputation for both the nurturing environment it provides but also the quality of its coaching and football development. These are qualities which we are sure will hold us in good stead during the years ahead. Congratulations to all involved for a successful year.