The statistics are damning. The Premier League and Football League say that approximately 65% of scholars that sign with clubs at 18 years old are ultimately released.

Just as worrying are the numbers compiled by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), showing that more than 50% of players who earn full-time contracts aged 18 will not be playing professionally by 21.

This dire fact prompted Gordon Taylor, the Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers Association, to state: "If it was a university of football, with our success rates we would have been closed down by now because it's just not good enough.”

In 1992, when the Premier League began, 71% of players were English. Today that figure is just above 30% and declining...

Howard Wilkinson, the former Technical Director of the Football Association, introduced the academy system in 1998 with the aim of producing an environment where the best young players in the country could thrive. However, speaking in 2008, a decade after his vision had come to being, he was already starting to predict the problems that would face future England managers.

At Richardson Sport we don’t just focus on the sporting achievements of our clients, we take a more holistic approach to their well-being. This is particularly evident with the academy players that we work with. With these players, we construct relationships that last long after their time with us has ended.

Sometimes, despite the best efforts of the players and our staff, clubs decide not to award players a scholarship or professional contract. This can be a devastating time for the young men and women and their families as they try and navigate a path through the disappointment. It is not uncommon for players to experience varying levels of depression and other problems at this point. Very often parents ask our mentors to assist their children through this period.

Our duty of care to these players does not end when their football dreams do. We take the time to explore both football and non-football options that are available to them.

At Richardson Sport we strive to be the best coaches, mentors and support network that our valued clients could wish for.

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