It is with great optimism and excitement that we can look to a bright future at County under the new ownership.
Our historic football club has strong foundations that provide a huge opportunity both on and off the pitch. We have a sleeping giant ready to be awoken and will strive to make sure we have an outstanding community club that plays football at the highest sustainable level.
The Academy will play a pivotal role in this upward journey, ensuring we create a long-term sustainable model that provides our first team with homegrown young players at each level. To achieve this, we will focus on key areas including staff, players and environment.
From the achievement of this vision, we also seek to build state of the art facilities where the 1st team and Academy train and play in harmony, and where the opportunities for Academy players are viewed daily by the 1st team staff.
Stockport County FC (SCFC) has an excellent tradition and reputation for nurturing young football players. Between 2002 and 2005, the SCFC school of excellence developed several local talented players who have gone on to have successful careers in the game. Michael Raynes has played over 400 first-team appearances across Championship, League 1, 2, and the national league. Adam Le-Fondre has a career total of 237 goals, including 12 Premier League goals. Tommy Rowe has played over 400 first-team appearances across Championship, League 1, and 2. Greg Tansey 396 first-team appearances across league 1, 2, and the Scottish premier league. As well as nurturing young players from the Academy the club has been very successful discovering players at 17-19 years of age. Players such as former Wales captain Ashley Williams, Hull City defender Festus Aurthur and ex-Cardiff City winger Anthony Pilkington were given opportunities to play in our first team and flourish before moving onto the next level.
The current SCFC Academy was set up back in 2013 and headed by Alan Lord. After the school of excellence closed in 2011, he recognised the need to continue to provide top quality football/educational provision and conserve the club’s reputation for youth development. The core aim remained of developing the next talented young player and providing a pathway to the County first team for those who have what it takes.
7 years later, the academy is well established and ran by newly appointed academy manager Damien Allen. The SCFC Academy delivers a full-time football and education programme for talented young footballers aged 16-19 years who would like to study a full-time sports qualification, including a BTEC Level 2 or 3 in Sport (equivalent to 3 A-levels). Young players train every day and represent SCFC in the National Youth Alliance U19 Academy division, H division, ECFA leagues, SCFC development league, and the JPL. Both football and education are delivered out of Stockport County FC new academy training site at Stockport Sports Village. Our players have access to 2 x 11 a side 3g pitches, 1 x 11 a side grass pitch, 2 x 7 a side 3g pitches, classrooms, state of the art gym, and social areas. The BTEC qualification allows the students to work towards a possible career in sport or go on to university to study degrees in sport science, physiotherapy, sport and business, teacher education, and sports coaching. There are further opportunities to go to University and play football in America through our network of American sports recruitment companies. The football aspect of the course is delivered by an expert coaching team who develop and improve all players both on technical aspects and tactical awareness through the structured training and fixture programme.
The success continues, at the end of the 2019/20 season 6 young players from the academy were awarded a first-year professional contract and moved into our first-team squad. They have gone on to feature in the first team squad this season and have successful loan spells at various first teams.