Stuart Duncan Reveals Youth Academy Plans

Stuart Duncan - Greenock Morton Supporters' Trust's representative on the club's board of directors - has released plans for a Greenock Morton Youth Academy.

The plan was unveiled by Russell Steele in Wednesday's Greenock Telegraph. In the article Steele reveals that the Greenock Morton Youth Academy Ltd will be run independently of the club as a charitable organisation and that this has been given the green light by the club. The set up will continue as is for next season and the plan is to have the academy up and running by the start of the 2010/11 season. The set up will start at SFA initiative league criteria with the aim of reaching the gold standard for youth football - performance league status - as soon as possible.

On the decision to run the academy seperately from the club Duncan said: "The academy will be run independently of the club but obviously with very close links. The benefit of having a charitable organisation is that we will be able to make grant applications.

"We will also seek sponsorship and carry out fundraising, as the number of youth teams we run will obviously depend on the funding available."

I think Stuart deserves tremendous credit for taking the initiative and making something like this happen. However, I'm still unsure about the club. It seems to me that they have granted Stuart permission to use the club's name for the academy but not much else. The academy will be run independently, as a charitbale organisation, which suggests to me that the club aren't that interested in financing or running the set up but I'm sure they will be happy to take any young players that are produced. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the future should an exciting prospect break into the Morton first team and earn a transfer fee to a bigger club; will the Youth Academy take a percentage of the tranfer fee as part of a written agreement, will the club make the decision of how much money to put back in or will they simply keep any monies made from transfers.

However, that's all for the future - I'm just delighted that there are ambitious plans in place to overhaul an important aspect of the football club that has been ignored for too long. Something that current defender and Under-19s manager Allan McManus acknowledged in yesterday's Tele': “It has to be done as at the moment we are dealing with the basics. For the size of the area Greenock covers, there are far too many kids slipping through the net. Obviously they are going to go elsewhere if there is nothing for them at their local club so to introduce this is an absolute no-brainer. But it is essential they think about the facilities as well. The under-19s play their home games at the Battery Park which is affected by the wind, but some of the parks we play on, well you wouldn’t walk your dog on them. We are trying to teach the kids to pass and move the ball then we turn up and see the state of the pitch for the match.”

Hopefully the Greenock Morton Youth Academy will address McManus's concerns and give all Morton fans a youth set-up we can be proud of.

You can read the article by clicking on the images below.

Greenock Telegraph - Ton Unveil Youth Academy Plans (22.04.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - Facilities Hold The Key For Ton (23.04.2009)

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