The benefits of scouting and the academy

Thanks to reader R. Sommerfeld for forwarding on the following link to the story that the club have signed up to a deal with Scout 7 - a Birmingham based international player database. This will allow the club to access the secure ProScout7 system to input and archive all individual player reports.

From what I can gather the system appears to work as a sort of agreement where clubs who are signed up will post match and player information onto a central system as a way of enhancing and simplifying the scouting network, allowing them access to individual and match data from thousands of players and tournaments around the world - sounding not unlike a real-life version of Championship Manager.

Stuart Pearce was quoted as saying:

"The system has a large amount of information on
football throughout the world, covering both domestic and international
football, including all the major confederation and friendly tournaments at
senior and youth levels. As well as having access to this information, our staff
can put all of their work into the same system, which means that all the
information is available in one place and can be accessed anywhere by us on the
internet, at the training ground, at home or if we are on a trip abroad. With
this information we can use the system proactively and as a good objective point
of reference for a player."

The issue of scouting is something I have posted on a few times previously - whilst praising the superb work the Academy is doing in developing and promoting local talent which we are now beginning to reap the rewards of, I have been critical that we are perhaps operating on to narrow a playing field in not having a European or even world wide scouting network to try and pick up some of the players that the likes of Arsenal are having.

Obviously this will take time to develop and to promote/establish the name of City around the football word, but by signing up to this system it is a good step in this direction as one of the main 'selling points' of this system appears to be in the data held on youth players.

Probably in the wake of the England game this week which featured two City players for the first time in some years, the BBC ran an article today that focused on the work that Jim Casell and the Academy have been doing - at a time when academies and centres of excellence are very much in the spotlight in terms of their relevance.

Cassell pays much credit to the stability of the Academy set-up in terms of the structure and praises former Chairman David Bernstein in backing his business plan that he propsed when the club dropped into Division 2. Almost ten years on from the time the rewards are beginning to bear fruit - not just with the number of academy players in the first team and reserves, but also the success of the youth teams who are doing well in their respective leagues.

One thing that Cassell didn't expect is to actually make money from the academy set up - and whilst most of the 'profit' has come from the sale of Shaun Wright-Phillips, money has also come in from players such as Willo Flood, Lee Croft and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Unless one of the mystery takeovers actually turns into a reality it is unrealistic that we are going to be in the market to be able to bid for players in the £10 million plus price range that is needed to make a go for the top six (or even higher) but, perhaps we are sitting on a once in a generation crop of players coming through that can form the backbone and nucleus of a side that can generate some success over the next decade.

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