#COYS: Archer on developing young players

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 March 2014

Elliot Bailey, James Kaloczi and Matt Bailey with joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds.

Elliot Bailey, James Kaloczi and Matt Bailey with joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds.

Archant

In the second of our regular features with St Albans City chairman Nick Archer, he talks about the developing young players at Clarence Park.

Cunningham Hill Junior School pupils are pictured with, from back left, Matt Taylor, James Kaloczi and Saints' co-owner Lawrence LevyCunningham Hill Junior School pupils are pictured with, from back left, Matt Taylor, James Kaloczi and Saints' co-owner Lawrence Levy

Developing young, local players and seeing them realise their dream of playing professional football would come a close second to winning the league and catapulting St Albans City into the Conference, according to chairman Nick Archer.

Since his appointment in March 2013, Archer, as well as the club’s owners and management, has wanted to see young players from St Albans break into the first team.

It started at the end of the 2012/13 season with St Albans schoolboys Matt Taylor, Elliot Bailey and James Kaloczi making appearances for the first team, and resulted in all of them signing contracts during the summer.

This season the trio has gone from bit-part project players to integral squad members in a team that is pushing for promotion as the season enters its final stretch.

And while Archer admitted the team knocking on the Conference door is the club’s number one aim, seeing the young players making a name for themselves at their local club is just as good.

“We want to play Conference football; that’s where we want to be so winning the league would be the best thing to happen to the club, but seeing the development of young players is a close second,” Archer told the Herts Ad.

“Matt, Elliot and James are all excellent prospects and have been watched by higher clubs.

He added: “We’re part of a chain, we know that. If a young player moves up the chain, we’ll be delighted. We don’t want to hold anyone back if there is a chance for them to progress.”

The club is looking at more than just developing the current crop of youngsters, though. Having seen the success of the trio, the club is now looking to find the next batch of rising starts.

“We’re starting to have discussions about next year: how the U16 side will step up and become the U18 side and, potentially, creating a development squad with the current U18 side as well as, hopefully, finding the diamonds to step up to first team.”

“We’re speaking to clubs in the area with U18 set ups about coming to St Albans City because we want to be the premier club.”

A part of becoming the “premier club” has seen St Albans City players visiting primary schools in the area. Archer said it was important to create visible pathways for young local players to the Calor Southern League team.

“The pathway from youth to the first team is important to us,” explained Archer.

“When Matt, Elliot and James go back to their old school and the kids see that they made it to the first team, it creates a strong link.”


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