The Cardiff Way

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar July 1, 2015 20:19

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The Cardiff Way

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (May 13th 2011)

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Youth Policy

“From the actual academy I think itʼs probably nearer 13, or 14 players have come through,” Neal Ardley1 told us. “There’s probably about five or six that have been sold on. At the moment the figure that they have brought into the club stands somewhere in the region of £14m in transfer fees, so if you’re looking over the last five years, it’s a nice sort of profit.”

But Ardley wants far more than just making a profit. He recognises that players develop at different rates and that a slow starter can turn into a good player, so patience is vital. “You canʼt pigeon-hole,” he says. “You canʼt say, ʼwell if you are not a stand-out player at this age, they are not going to be.ʼ I think people develop at different ages and thatʼs what youʼve got to take into consideration.”

The Right Way

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Cardiff City has a very strong youth policy. “It would be fair to say the lads at Cardiff have probably got their opportunities earlier because of the club that they’re at,” Englandʼs Under-19 manager Noel Blake told us exclusively last year. “That comes into it. Sometimes where you are based – the club you are at – [opportunities] may come earlier than the other clubs, so Cardiff are a youth development club. Theyʼre producing players, but itʼs not the fact that the academy is producing players. Some make the mistake of putting the tag of academy onto it. They are a football club with a youth department and they were producing players prior to becoming an academy.”

Cardiff allows talented young footballers to play, rather than warming a bench after the academy develops them. The Bluebirdsʼ mix of social responsibilities, a vibrant youth policy and an excellent academy has won the club and its philosophy admirers beyond Britainʼs shores. “Itʼs not only football in their lives,” says FC Midtjyllandʼs Executive Vice President Søren Bach about the boys in Midtjyllandʼs academy. “Itʼs so important for us that they have something after training to do. The Cardiff way, I think, is the right way to do it.”

1 Ardley left Cardiff Cityʼs Academy just over five years after hanging up his boots to become manager of AFC Wimbledon on October 10th 2012.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar July 1, 2015 20:19
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