Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Brady’s impending departure caps eventful week for Arsenal’s youngsters

There are some weeks when relatively little of note occurs with regards to Arsenal’s crop of youngsters and their development. Then there are others where so much occurs that it is difficult to know what topic to focus on. The past seven days certainly fall into the category of the latter, with the U21s struggling, the U18s progressing in the Youth Cup and Liam Brady announcing that he will leave his position as the club’s head of youth development before the end of next season.

Brady, who has overseen the Academy’s development since 1996, has experienced successes and failures during his long tenure, with the club winning three FA Youth Cup’s under his stewardship and bringing through Ashley Cole, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, but, in recent years, criticism has been levelled at the Irishman for signing too many foreign talents and not developing enough English players capable of playing in the Arsenal first-team.

Brady will certainly be a difficult figure to replace, however, given his extensive knowledge of the club, and several high-profile figures have already been linked with succeeding him, most notably Dennis Bergkamp, who is currently spending time back in his homeland with Ajax. Brady has stated that he will assist in the search for his successor, with a firm decision likely to be made before the end of the season.

His departure didn’t manage to take any of the shine off of Tuesday’s night’s dramatic victory over Fulham in the FA Youth Cup, however. Arsenal took the lead early on through Anthony Jeffrey in a match that finally went ahead after being re-arranged four times due to poor weather, but Muamer Tankovic levelled for the visitors to send the tie into extra-time. Fulham seemed most likely to snatch a winner, but that honour fell to Arsenal substitute Austin Lipman who scored an impressive goal in the 108th minute to set up a home tie against either Port Vale or Everton in the next round.

A day earlier, the U21s struggled against a determined West Ham outfit, eventually losing 2-0 to goals from Wellington Paulista and Matthias Fanimo. Amongst the Arsenal line-up was midfielder Chuks Aneke, who has since returned to Crewe Alexandra on loan for the remainder of the season. The 19 year old has been in impressive form for the Railwaymen this season, and will return to Arsenal in the summer hopeful of impressing in pre-season.

For two other loanees, however, things have not exactly gone to plan. Benik Afobe trained with the first-team squad this morning after seeing his frustrating spell with Bolton Wanderers cut short. The striker scored just three times for the Championship side and struggled to command a regular starting place at the Reebok Stadium. Samuel Galindo, meanwhile, had an even more frustrating time at Lugo, for whom he made just six appearances since joining in August. He is likely to be sent back to Spain shortly.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Brady leaves in 2014
Wengers contract runs till 2014
Not hard to work out who become director of the youth academy
Wonder if bergamot will be ready to take over by then


Bergkamp as a manager is a fairly bad idea, he’d be absent from any european fixtures east of germany due to his phobia for flying-besides, besides he has no experience as a manager so it’s more likely for Bergkamp to take the youth role and bring in a new manager at that point (Remi Garde, Laudrup, Klopp(Bit wishful))


Cookie- it’s 2013, not 2014


Why does everyone keep going on about bergkamps fear of flying. He could easily take the train through Europe. Ir doesn’t take that long, I’ve travelled that way a lot myself. The reason he couldn’t do it as a player was because he couldn’t play 90 mins after that journey. This time all he would have to do is sit on the bench.


I’m still convinced that after Wenger leaves, either Koeman or De Boer will come in, and Bergkamp will be appointed assistant manager. I feel he has a lot more to give to Arsenal by being closer to the senior team. Also, the only managers that can work under financial constraints and still produce top results, and bring through academy players, are Dutch. We’ll wait and see, but I feel like Bergkamp would be wasted as head youth coach.

damien joyce

My inkling for some time has been Frank de Boer followed by DB10 as first team coach, Cristian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld. keeping Steve Bould as Asst or perhaps the unthinkable, bringing back Tony Adams(doubtful),
I actually wouldn’t be overly surprised to see this come about in summer, I don’t know how circumstances could arise since AW still has 18mths left on his huge contract, I wouldn’t be shocked if he finally accepted Real Madrid’s overtures, one last challenge perhaps.

LANS calendar

He’ll be lucky to get a chance at Real tbh after recent years. Though they’ve made more questionable signings (Juande Ramos?)

Mike Dexter

going to Madrid now is much more a realistic chance than, say 2-3 years ago. the economy’s rubbish, Mou doesn’t have the dressing room together and the club needs to rebuild ground up to have a shot at consistently keeping Barca within touching distance while still challenging in Europe. considering the egos in the Real management and the team, Wenger seems the best choice out there for them


Would love to see Dennis back at Arsenal, no matter what role it is.

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Perfectly Normal Gooner

I think it’s necessary for the HOYD to be an Arsenal legend. Thierry Henry might be an option, Bergkamp is an obvious one, Bobby Pires has been coaching youth players or something recently and my final suggestion is George Graham… Thoughts?


I think it’s necessary for the Head of Youth Development to be the best person available, and if he just so happens to be an ex-Arsenal player then it’s a bonus.

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Mike Dexter

didn’t Bergkamp already say he would consider coming back here a realistic option but a little later down the road because he’d just gotten involved with the current structure at Ajax and wanted to see the work there through?
considering that Brady still has 18 months to work things out, i’d think DB10 takes another year or two at least before even considering making the jump here, if at all. a senior head, someone already involved within, in the short term makes much better sense.


There’s nothing wrong with bringing in foreign players over British ones as long as they’re good. If you look around the Premiership and Championship there seems to be an unholy number of footballers who’ve been though our academy or U18s. Yes, not every one of them is a Wilshere, but the standard is still pretty high. Clubs like Southampton or Crystal Palace may give us Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo, Zaha and Moses. But Moses plays for Nigeria and Zaha was born in the Ivory Coast. It’s 90% luck and 10% judgement. before you get to the skill of bringing them on. Right… Read more »


Anyone else singing ‘Fanimo’ to the tune of the monorail song from the simpsons?


Just me then…

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