Andy takes over at Platt Lane
- Fri 21 Aug 2009, 5:46PM
- Posted byChris Bailey
Andy Welsh has today been unveiled as the club’s new Academy manager.
As he moves into the hot seat at Platt Lane so predecessor Jim Cassell heads for international duty in charge of an exciting and ground-breaking project heading up a team changed with exporting the club’s renowned and revered youth culture across the planet.
Both men are thrilled with the fresh challenges facing them and Welsh knows that he has a hard act to follow.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I have a lot to live up to at a club that is clearly going places,” declared Welsh who ran the Leeds Academy that produced Scott Carson, Aaron Lennon and James Milner and who was appointed to a coaching role at City by Cassell.
“The first thing I would like to do is pay tribute to the extraordinary work done by Jim – who appointed me back in 2008 - and his coaches during the past decade or so.
“They built an Academy that is the envy of most of football from virtually nothing and the fact that so many players have come through the system and played for City’s first team at Premier League level is a wonderful tribute to their skill and professionalism.
“There are extremely big boots to fill here at Platt Lane and I am thankful that Jim will still be on hand so that I can tap into his expertise. There is a fantastic base from which to build and I am excited by the challenge that lies ahead.”
Cassell’s new mission is scheduled for lift off at the end of this year and he is already planning his team.
“The Platt Lane set up is in the best possible hands and for me it is great to be in on the ground floor of such an exciting project, we have the proverbial blank sheet of paper,” enthused the man who has shepherded 27 youngsters into the Premier League and lifted the FA Youth Cup since arriving at City from Oldham.
“I am thrilled to be part of such a ground-breaking venture. We have been having conversations for the past year about doing something new. If we didn’t add to what we do and come up with something new there was a fear that people in the Academy might alienate themselves away from new initiatives in the club.
“We want to be part of the successful evolvement of this club and the best way to do that is being at the forefront of the creation of new plans.”
Welsh was quick to point out that he was not in the business of fixing what isn’t broken and assured Blues fans that the Academy is right at the top of the club’s and the owner’s priorities.
“In my meetings with the chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and CEO Garry Cook the emphasis has always been on how vitally important it is that as a club we continue to produce our own players and keep improving the development programme that is in place,” he said.
“Our aims have not changed and that is to produce players for Mark Hughes’ first team. It was hugely satisfying for us to see Stevie Ireland, Micah Richards and Shaun Wright-Phillips were all in the side at Blackburn
“Everything has been put in place to enable us to continue our progress. We have had a fabulous upgrade that will benefit the lads greatly in terms of facilities at Platt Lane.
The site, the pitches and the communal areas have all been vastly improved this summer and a wonderful environment in which to work. It all chimes perfectly with what has been done at Carrington and at the main stadium.
We know the bar has been raised in term of the first team and the quality available to us but we are determined to maintain opportunities to progress for the boys that we bring in. We want to continue the great balance that we already have at senior level between players that have been bought and those we have produced ourselves.”