Academy is key to City's way forward

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:06 10 September 2010

Danny Sands, NCISA

My late grand-father Hubert Sands was a director of NCFC between the 1930s and 1950s. Consequently, I have been a supporter of Norwich City Football Club for 45 years and I know it's at times like these we have to give off positive vibes to all the players and management team.

My late grand-father Hubert Sands was a director of NCFC between the 1930s and 1950s. Consequently, I have been a supporter of Norwich City Football Club for 45 years and I know it's at times like these we have to give off positive vibes to all the players and management team.

This is why it's important that us fans stick together and give them all the support they can get.

At the moment it appears that we are in an episode of Dad's Army where some fans are believing “We are doomed” and then you have the Snakepit/Barclay singing as he goes up to pretend to header the crossbar: “Don't panic Mr Gunn, because you have no hair and we don't care, Bryan, Bryan Gunn”.

I share with every Norwich City supporter how very frustrating it is to see the club hasn't learned from last season's struggles. We still haven't replaced players in the most important positions on the pitch. When Roeder was manager he said he'd build a team with everyone in their natural positions.

Anyone could see that we have been crying out for a strong leader in the central defence since McKay and Fleming both left the club. We should have paid the extra £150k for Martin Taylor when we had the opportunity because he was a player desperate to play for us as even his boys all bought Norwich City shirts.

So what do we then do this season? We waste money on loan players such as John Kennedy who had not been playing at Celtic for the last two years because of a serious knee injury and although he was a whole-hearted player he appeared slow and vulnerable which cost us a few precious points at the beginning of the season. We then sign Troy Archibald-Henville for a year's loan without ever seeing him play at Tottenham. Roeder then realises he is not even worth a place in the squad. Even when we had all our centre halfs injured we had to rely on Dury, Omozusi, Clingan and now Grounds who are not centre halfs.

In my opinion Spillane would have given Otsemobor some competition because we have no other professional right defenders at the club. Spillane is having rave reviews lately playing either as a right back or centre half for Luton. We even had Corey Smith playing as a right back in the reserves against Barnet and he has been brought up as a midfielder through the Academy.

We also have been desperate for a striker to replace Dublin. What do the club do but go out and buy loan players such as Hartson, Sibierski, Killen and Cort who were out injured and not playing or scoring at their previous clubs. We did seem to have one quality loan player in Lupoli, who was scoring and the fans took to him. He was then dropped for no apparent reason.

We are having to rely on Cort to stay fit and on Cureton, who is lacking in confidence, and McDonald, who has only been playing part-time football recently to play in our last 12 most important games of the season to score the goals in which Mr Gunn says we have to get a minimum of seven wins.

Every team also needs a goalscoring midfielder who scores you 10 goals a season. We still haven't had one since we sold Francis when we got relegated from the Premiership.

The only way forward is that we must produce our own players as I am sure we must be using a great deal of our budget on our Academy. I have been regularly following the Academy, and over the years we have made substantial money on selling players for huge profits such as Bellamy, Eadie, Fox, Gordon, O`Neil, Sutton, and Green. All we have been doing lately is sending our Academy players out on loan and then they leave on free transfers without making us any money. This cannot go on like this.

The group of Academy players we have at the moment who I have proudly seen get us to the FA Youth Cup quarter finals, should be able to make us some profit in the future if we allow them to develop into our first team. I wish them every success on March 7.

It's only a shame that the game is going to be played on the same day as we are playing against Blackpool, who are one of our relegation rivals, because the Academy deserve to have a large following of supporters.

t A NCISA Forum will be held this Thursday, March 5, at 7pm in The Business, The Jarrold Stand, Carrow Road. On the panel will be Roger Munby and Neil Doncaster. Entry is restricted to members of NCISA. If you are not a member there will be the facility to join before the meeting in order that you may attend. The cost will be £1 until the end of our current membership year (August 31, 2009) or £3 until August 31, 2010.

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