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Club News

A season of progress

14 May 2013


Academy manager Dean Ramsdale has reflected positively on his first season with the Owls.

The Chesterfield product joined Wednesday in September 2012 and has seen plenty of progress during the year.

With a number of academy players impressing at Under-21 level and youth products at the club edging towards the fringes of the first team, Ramsdale believes there is plenty to build on in the coming years.

Looking back over the 2012/13 season, he said: “I think this has been a year of progress.

“When I came to the club I stood back and looked at where I thought the academy was and the way that I wanted it to go forward.

“I spent a lot of time talking to the manager and the coaching staff to see which way they wanted the academy to develop and bit by bit we have started putting the jigsaw together.

“I’m pleased with how it’s going but we have a lot to do. What I’ve tried to do is take small steps instead of making massive changes because people can learn and progress with you.”

With the Owls working towards gaining Category 2 status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan, Ramsdale has moved to strengthen the academy during the past year, leaving no stone unturned.

Significant advantages are attached to Category 2, which would see the SWFC academy remain in the elite games programme, whilst also offering increased coaching and education hours and the ability to increase the staffing costs with additional funding from the Premier League.

As part of the process to strengthen the youth set-up at the club, the Owls have added experience to the ranks with Neil Thompson and David Hirst joining the academy.


Ramsdale explained: “Part of my philosophy is to look at the staff that are in place and make sure they are coming from where I want them to.

“Their expertise in certain areas is vital and I’m always looking to further my knowledge and using other people’s experience is a great way of doing it.

“Neil has joined us and he will strengthen the academy. He came in this season as Under-18s coach and he will move to Head of Coaching next year and that role will be invaluable for us as a department.

“We’ve also taken David Hirst on board and he’s joined us in a capacity where he will do position-specific work with predominantly the forwards and he’ll look through all the age groups.”

Ramsdale added: “We’ve now had our EPPP audit.

“When I came into post, the club were working towards Category 2 status and we’ve been working all year towards the four-day audit which took place in April and we are now waiting on the results of that which should be with us in around three or four weeks.

“We want to offer our young players who are coming through the best training and the best education that we can give.

“With Category 2, there is a lot of coaching hours, we have to increase the staffing costs and by employing more people, we are giving the young players a better programme.”

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