What does that mean?
Over the last 5 years or more there has been increasing calls for giving youth a chance, each manager in turn has stated that is there raison d'être only for them to fall back into old habits.
The new regime this time seems to be putting their money where their mouth is and has went through a strong recruitment drive for the academy. Which is only sensible since it costs a lot of money and we are only one of a handful of clubs to have a grade one status, which is more amazing considering us languishing in league One.
So back to the case in hand why a statement of intent? A couple of reasons spring to mind with the first being last season where a couple of cameos by young players were quickly replaced by almost total exclusion of the youngsters come the business end of the season. Did LJ only claim to give youth a chance because that is what the powers at be wanted to hear? a pattern followed by Ross and Parkinson. Or was it just a case of panic when getting within touching distance of promotion?
So, a simple one "Motivation" the lads came off the pitch last night against York and I think some had good games showing potential however reading the comments from LJ if I was them, I would have fallen through the floor!
"its obvious we need 6 recruits if not 6 then I would take 4 quality ones instead" great!! Half the team last night are shit! Which half, is it me?
Then its of course the fan perspective, we are short of players, who are we going to sign, why are the club doing nothing, where are the players, what is happening? We need 6 players? God we are in a mess!
If the manager is truly onboard with giving youth a chance, then a statement of intent can be like a new signing! It can show the presence of a plan, development, growth and encouragement. Without giving details away it can alleviate some of the fans fear on key positions and where the club is going.
All that it takes is a carefully worded statement from the manager a "statement of intent" whilst not being the exact words it would basically say something like.
We have a great academy with some exciting talent emerging through the ranks we have some young players X,Y,Z who we hope to build the team around this season commanding greater playing time and defining the shape and direction of the team going forward.
A statement like this not only motivates the players mentioned but reinforces the belief of those younger kids in the academy that there is a pathway for them.
It also sends a signal to the fans that we have a proper plan and that key positions we may have been worried about are actually covered, and we are not just going to sign a last minute journeyman or mercenary with a promise they are the next Messi or Ronaldo.
What do I currently see from LJ?
None of the young lads no matter how well they will perform will get a chance, they will be replaced as soon as we get more signings, anyone is for sale at the right price, Embo is a good player but may be sold to Blackpool if they up their offer! Neil etc you are doing great but once Pritchard and Onien are fit and we sign Galbraith its sayonara boys!
So as the manager says "worst case scenario it maybe 3 weeks into the season before we finalise our signings" at which point how many of our young players do you currently see in that squad?
We may end up with
Burge , defence new signing, new signing, Flanagan, new signing, Midfield Evans, Onien, Attack McGeady Pritchard, Gooch. Striker Stewart