Wednesday, July 24, 2024

David Court axed in youth system shake-up

Long-standing member of the youth set-up, David Court, has become a casualty of the new boss Andries Jonker as the Dutchman looks to make his mark in his new role.

The 69 year old has been Assistant Head of Youth Development to Liam Brady since 1996, and although the Irishman is set for an ambassadorial role at the club, it seems Court’s time at Arsenal has come to an end after many years of service.

A popular figure at the club, he played 175 first team games for the Gunners between 1962 and 1972 before returning to the club after retirement to work alongside Brady.

Court is not the first to be jettisoned by Jonker, who has been given free reign to remodel the youth system at the club. Terry Burton has become the technical director at West Brom having been overlooked for the position filled by the former Bayern Munich assistant-manager, and it seems likely that further changes to the coaching staff will be made over the coming months.

Arsenal are also believed to have finalised a deal to add American fitness coach Shad Forsythe to the first team set-up. He’s currently working with the German national team, but is set to move to London following the World Cup.

Whether that’s to work alongside incumbent Tony Colbert, or to replace him, is unknown at this point.

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Nowadays shakeup everywhere. All we hope is that these shakeups will put our darling club on success path.


Agreed. We had plenty of promising youngsters (or supposedly promising youngsters) in the academy over the last few years but many of them ended up leaving the club for lower tier clubs.

If we have to revamp the whole academy setup, then I hope Jonker is the right man for the job.

Ramsey's spirit

perhaps this is progress, though i have sympathy for those who have put The Arsenal at the heart of their lives, i can’t help but note the disparity in quality of the finished product of some other youth teams compared to our own, ultimately we wont know for a few years, wish Court well, and Jonker success. Lets see how Gedion turns out.


Sympathy for the sacked old guard, of course, but frankly the sackings haven’t come a moment too soon and I even hope there may be one or two more. Our academy was once among the best in the world, but in the last few years has been allowed to sink to rock bottom, with the under-18s only winning a couple of games all season and the under-21s, despite the immense talent in that team, being relegated to division 2 along with dross like Blackburn and Stoke. The warning signs were obvious a while back, but nothing was done to arrest… Read more »


So much for my good mood in the morning. Should have known our summers are cursed. The Guardian thinks we’re offering Newcastle Joel Campbell so as to get Debuchy even cheaper, which, if true, is unspeakably shit. Fuck, fuck, fuck. How must he feel, the poor lad, after his terrific season with Olympiakos and even better World Cup to be handed over to Pardew? He should say he won’t go and demand to be sold to someone more worthy. Even Olympiakos would be loads better than Pardew. God I hope this isn’t true.

Third Plebeian

I wish people would relax about Campbell. He had two good games at the World Cup, and suddenly people are upset that me might not play for us.

Campbell is ok. He’s got a decent future, probably. But let’s not get our panties in knots because an unproven young striker may or may not play as backup.


And I wish people would stop unconditionally believing every single word in newspapers.


How many Premier League clubs have a better youth system than us? Southampton, and possibly Manure, but after that? Maybe our youth system has been in decline for a while, but also clubs are putting much more emphasis on it now. Wenger was a sort of pioneer in England, but nowadays pretty much all clubs have improved their youth systems and scouting networks.


Er, Chelsea’s is now one of the best in Europe. Won the league, won the cup, I think, too, did better than us in the Uefa youth league and in last season’s NextGen. Have you never watched their kids? Abramovich has poured a fortune into the academy; he cares about it, it’s part of his romantic dream of making Chelsea into Barca. He even watches several academy games each season. No, not many of its products are ever likely to make it into the first team, but that’s because the academy romance is in conflict with Abramovich’s other romance, i.e.… Read more »


Er, the success of youth teams is measured by how many professional footballers in top leagues they produce, not by winning youth competitions no one cares about. By that standard, Southampton have the best youth system in England. After that it’s debatable. And your point about Chelsea kinda reinforces my point that most clubs have vastly improved their youth systems. So your point is…?


Not sure about nobody caring about kids’ competitions. I remember the year when we won the FA Youth Cup attendance at the Emirates was higher than at Spurs’s home Premiership game the same week. Yes, the academy is a minority interest but it’s a fairly sizeable minority. I know plenty of fans who watch all the under-21 games they can, as well as NextGen and the Uefa Youth Cup and who are pretty knowledgeable about what’s going on at other clubs’ academies – among the best currently being Benifica’s and Sporting’s. There are fan websites specifically devoted to the academies,… Read more »


Ok, so people do have an interest in youth football. That still doesn’t change the fact that the whole point of a youth system is to develop footballers, not to win youth competitions. And your last paragraph pretty much repeats what I said in my first comment: “nowadays pretty much all clubs have improved their youth systems and scouting networks.” I really can’t see why you think you’re disagreeing with me, when in fact what you’ve said has reinforced my points.


I hope Jonker brings with him the new Ajax philosophy of developing youth players. It seems very promising and I think they will develop a lot of world class players in the years to come, you guys should give it a quick google if you haven’t heard about it! Bergkamp ( god ) also touches on it in his book.

Policeman's Bangers 'N' Mash

Bonkers Jonkers smashed some Conkers.


I’ll allow it

Kevin Weaver

69 seems to be a bit old to be working in youth development. Food that Jonker is developing his own team. I’m sure David Court wasn’t surprised to have been moved out, most senior managers, especially in Football want their own people around them.


Oh common Blogs, he meant the “FOOD” is “GOOD”.

Bonker Jonker

Blogs, you’re common. You have no right to be here. This is for us elite.

149 Just Done It

Sad for the old guard, but I think the number of youth players that have made it to the first team speaks for itself. I for one am glad to see that as a club we are working from the grass roots up. Can only be a positive for the future of this great club we all love.

Arsene's Zip

They fucking AXED him?? That’s harsh. Was it a battleaxe?

Zorro in the box

In this country, technically, they Lynxed him…

Too obscure? It’s too warm for a coat…

Toure Motors

whose the new arsenal fitness coach that’s a sec machine to all the chicks?
SHAD…. Damn right!

Runcorn Gooner

Shame About Shads surname.Is he an American relation to the Strictly Come Dancing ex compere?


They say this cat Shad is a bad mother… (Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin about Shad (Then we can dig it)


Bringing someone in with huge expertise and a belief system can be dangerous (or can it, *the invincibles*)?

Sam gooner

Can anyone tell me the players developed at Jonker’s previous youth management ventures ?


No. As far as I know this is the first of his youth-development ventures – up to now he’s had first-team manager and assistant-manager jobs.


Ronaldo, Messi, ibrahimovic but to name a few.
Google told me


A new Fitness Coach !!!

If he can prevent the annual February March implosion, he could be the signing of the season. Or the signing of the decade for that matter.


Same here, well chuffed with this.

Marlboro Red

He’s 69


The US had a lot of energy at the World Cup, I’m not sure how much of this can be put down to American fitness coach Shad Forsythe though.

Hopefully all of it… if we get him. The first of many impressive World Cup individuals…



You should read that paragraph again. Hopefully all of it.


Hopefully the new fitness coach can help our players have a good game, good game.
Also with him, I wonder if our injuries will be lower or higher?

I’m gonna stop now cos I firmly believe in quitting while you’re behind.


@priceyface….considering he’s working with the German national team, I’d say none of it can be put down to him 😉


I think some of you are massively overplaying results at youth level. Youth football is there for players to learn about mistakes. E.g. the GK’s. If a GK is weak on claiming crosses, he will be told to go out and try and claim every single cross (even if there’s no hope of getting it) so he knows when and when not to come for them. The same principle should apply to outfield players too. Having said that, the decline of late has been fairly obvious, but you could also say our reliance on youth over the last few years… Read more »


I agree that development is more important than scorelines, but learning to win is also part of development. Tactics, teamwork, determination, keeping your nerve when you’re losing – these are all things kids need to learn by the time they’re 20-ish, and which our academy clearly hasn’t been very good at instilling. I watched the tie v. Barca. We were good, we had the quality to beat them, but the kids seemed to lose their discipline and self-belief when the going got tough. A missed penalty, keeper sent off – it was almost like watching the first team! An emphasis… Read more »


A shake up is a good thing – some new ideas and different training methods, can’t be a bad thing.

Can we have some signings as well please – no kids though, just established world class players.



Somewhat sensationalist tabloid-esque language in this article. Rather than him being “axed” and a “casualty of the new boss”, perhaps at the age of 70 (which is his correct age) and after nearly 30 years of service to the club – 18 years as Assistant Academy Director on the back of 11 years as an Arsenal player – now might have seemed like a good time to step down from the role, following Liam Brady’s decision to do the same thing and with a new man coming in. And it ought to also be said that Brady/Court Academy era has… Read more »

Lethbridge Gooner

Everyone at Arsenal Football Club would like to wish David….

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