- Celtic News
- News Archive
- League Table
- Scottish Premier Division News
Academies are not working - Lennon
Published : 23 Apr 2010 16:14:00
eil Lennon has blasted Henry McLeish's report on Scottish football, saying academies don't work and facilities are not the be all and end all. In the first part of his review of the game in Scotland, commissioned by the Scottish Football Association, the former First Minister of Scotland set out proposals for the way forward at Hampden this morning. Among a list of recommendations in the detailed document was a call for more than £400million investment on facilities and the creation of '20 Schools of Football'. Celtic's interim boss took time out from preparing for the Scottish Premier League clash with Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday to shoot down much of the report. "The academies are not working," Lennon said. "We haven't produced a regular first-team player since (Aiden) McGeady, probably, although we have a good crop of players coming through. "I'd like to go back to the system when I was growing up. "There were no academies in those days and Scotland, England and Ireland were still producing top-quality players. "My argument is someone like Wayne Rooney. Would he have needed an academy to come though in the game? "Would Steven Gerrard or McGeady? I'm not so sure. "Some people think academies are the way forward and a lot of them work on the blueprint from Clairefontaine in France "But I've been on courses where I've argued about it and studies have come back to say academies aren't working. They are not as successful as people thought they were going to be. "So maybe I'm right and everyone else is wrong, I don't know. It's just an opinion. "Maybe that's something that needs to be addressed and the money maybe put somewhere else." The former Celtic captain added: "We have produced some very talented players throughout the years - McGeady and (Shaun) Maloney, (Darren) O'Dea, (Stephen) McManus and (Paul) Caddis - but we are always looking for more. "I think that somewhere down the line, between 15 and 19, something gets lost and it needs to be looked at. "That might upset a lot of people working in academies but that's my opinion." Lennon, warming to the subject of young players, continued: "When I was growing up I played for boys' clubs, the school and I played on Saturdays and Sundays. "I just played football and that's how you learned the game and once you got to 15 and 16 you were moulded by professional coaches at clubs. "I was a YTS and cleaned the boots - I served an apprenticeship. "There was a hunger there, you got £28.50 per week and the following year you got £35. "So you weren't in it for the money. You didn't have an agent. You were there to progress and I think players 20 years ago were a lot more hungry than they are now. "The players might get too much too soon but there is so much competition from the bigger clubs. "The young ones get hoovered up pretty quickly, get taken into academies and then get lost in the system. "They get brought in at eight and nine years of age which, for me, is far too young an age to be coached. "And by the time they are 15 they are deemed not good enough. They are heartbroken and where do they go from there? "Call me old-fashioned but that's my opinion." On the subject of facilities for football in Scotland, which McLeish described as woefully inadequate, Lennon retorted: "Facilities? So what? "I trained with Henrik Larsson at Barrowfield for 10 years and all we had was a couple of pitches. "Kids in Africa play in ploughed fields. Kids in Brazil play on sand. "Having facilities is great and it's probably important to the future but they are not the be all and end all. "Kids' talent is the be all and end all and it should be nurtured. "All I ever hear is that the facilities aren't good enough here. "Well, make them good enough. "If the kids can't play on the streets then give them somewhere they can play on and make more of them. "I have thought about it. Do we need to spend hundreds of millions on it? I don't know. "If there is no money in the game then maybe we have to go back to basics. Rip it up and start again."