Monthly Archives: March 2014

Fraud Watch

Bogus Doctor

10 December 2013 Last updated at 16:08 Share this pageEmailPrint
Newham College students ‘never sat courses they passed’
By Marc Ashdown and Ed Davey
BBC News, London

Questions Raised After Eyeopening Video Revealed

A Shreveport police officer has been fired after an incident in which a female prisoner taken into custody on suspicion of DWI wound up lying on a floor at the police station in a pool of blood. Much of what happened was recorded on a videotape – but there is a gap of undetermined length. During that time, the woman wound up injured. She said she was beaten up; the officer said she fell. The woman, Angie Garbarino of Shreveport, was argumentative when she was brought to the DWI unit’s office last November. The videotape shows she did not want to listen to Officer Wiley Willis as he read her rights. She was insistent on making a phone call and said so repeatedly. At one point, Garbarino – who during the episode mentioned the names of attorneys and a police officer she wanted to contact — tried to leave the room but was stopped by the officer and then handcuffed, the videotape shows. The situation escalated and the videotape shows the officer push the woman against the wall; she fell to the floor crying and telling him not to touch her. She later tried to leave again. What happened next was outside the view of the camera but the woman can be heard screaming before she is placed back in a chair. Seconds later, the tape is turned off. It is not known what happened while the tape was off, but when it was turned back on Garbarino was lying on the floor on her side in a pool of blood. Willis turns her on her back and tells her, “Lay down; don’t move, “the videotape shows. “I can’t believe you just did what you just did. I really can’t,” she said. The officer left the room. Another officer came in shortly after that to look at Garbarino and then left. At some point, a Fire Department ambulance crew was called. They took her to the hospital. Garbarino’s lawyer, Ron Miciotto, said she suffered a broken nose, a severe cut on her forehead, two broken teeth and bruises on her arms and shoulder. Pictures taken of her later show two severely bruised eyes, as well as other bruises. Willis was fired earlier this month for what officials said was his handling of the incident. No criminal charges were filed accusing him of injuring the woman. Willis said she slipped and fell and hit her head. Individuals familiar with the case said Garbarino does not remember what happened, although she can be heard on the videotape saying she was beaten. The videotape is off at the time in question. “The whole situation could have been avoided if the officer had followed procedure,” Miciotto said, referring to when an uncooperative person should be taken to jail. “It was something that needed to be handled internally,” Police Chief Henry Whitehorn said of the decision not to file charges against the officer. “There was not enough (evidence) to pursue criminal charges.” Willis’ attorney, Eron Brainard, said Willis did not beat the woman. Her injuries, he said, happened when she fell while trying to leave the room again. “Although very unfortunate, her injuries were caused by her own erratic behavior – her failure to comply with lawful, reasonable and standard instruction for arrested persons,” Brainard said. Garbarino faces trial on charges of DWI and hit and run driving. She will fight them in court, Miciotto said.

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Football Trials


Only the very best will be chosen for a one off prestigious opportunity to be part of the Newham College & West Ham United Community Sports Trust Learning Academy:

• A chance to study a range of vocational and academic courses at Newham College
• Sport Leadership and coaching qualifications
• Gain FA Level 1 Badge
• Excellent progression routes from Entry Level to University
• Work experience in the community
• Opportunities for employment


• Be enrolled on a full time Newham College Course
• You will also need to have 95% attendance on your chosen course

Date: Tuesday 28th January Time: 12pm-2pm
Trial date – Saturday 5th April, Time:12pm-2pm
Trials and the Year 11 tournament will be taking place at our Beckton site:
West Ham United CST
Albatross Close
E6 5NX.
You must register for trials, so book now!
Register or Call 020 8257 4446

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Massage London

Essentials For Health
Venue: Avonmouth House, London, SE1 6NX
£15 for 90 minutes
0845 1080088 or 01628 476100
Essentials for Health has ceased to trade and is no longer providing massage courses.
Anatomy and Physiology Courses are now provided here
For further assistance please contact Antony Batty and Co, Swan House, 9 Queens Rd, Brentwood, Essex CM14 4HE tel; 01277 230347, Gill Tree

Kensington & Chelsea College
Adult Education College
Wornington Road
W10 5QQ
Telephone 020 7573 5306

Barnet Southgate
The Spa Training, Graseby House, EN5 2HE
0208 275 5050
Full, £15, Indian Head £8, BNS, £8

CNWL Salon,
First floor, Arena House, North End Road, Wembley HA9 0UU (opposite Wembley Park tube station).
Level 3 Massage Students,
Swedish £12 60 minutes
Swedish, £18, 90 minutes w/G5
Aroma,, £15, 60 minutes,

The City College of Acupuncture
University House
55 East Road
London N1 6A
020 7253 1133
London College of Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (LCTA)
90 Kingsway
North Finchley
N12 0EX
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8446 3332 (not working at present)
69 Ballards Lane, Finchley Central N3 1XT, 020 8371 9793

BCOM Osteopathic Clinic
6 Netherhall Gardens
London NW3 5RR
020 7435 7830

The BSO Clinic
98-118 Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 0BQ
Clinic Appointments: 020 7089 5360

contact us:
clinic: 0208 983 7133
Mayfield House
202b Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9LJ
Train: Bethnal Green Rail Station

London College of Beauty Therapy
47 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7JP
Salon opening hours:
Monday-Friday: 9am-8pm
Saturday: 9.30am-4.30pm
020 7208 1302
75 minutes Full Body is £28 or £31
60 minutes Full Body is £25

The London school of beauty and make up
0207 776 9767
Long Lane, EC1A 9PL
£33, 90 mins, Hot stone
£28 90 mins, Aroma Back Massage
£14, 45 ins, Indian Head Massage,

The North London School of Sports Massage
The Old Fire Station
LYST, Unit 12 & 5
Town Hall Approach Road
N15 4RX
Student Clinic is £20 for an Hour

The London School of Thai Massage
5-7 Albermarle Road
Telephone: +44 (0)7944 211429

Paula Lloyd, Bromley, Kent
Tel: 020 8460 1213
96 Martins Road Shortlands Bromley Kent
Student Massage Hour, £30
Reflexology, £20

West Thames College
London Road, Isleworth TW7 4HS
0208 326 2040 or 2201

South Thames College
Wandsworth High Street, London SW18 2PP
Venues: Merton, Tooting, Wandsworth

Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College W14 9BL,
0207 565 1265
Five Campuses: Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hammersmith and Southall,

The London School of Biodynamic Psychotherapy (LSBP)
Bickerton House
25-27 Bickerton Road
N19 5JT
0207 263 4290 or 07582 030 755 email us at

Holloway Neighbourhood Group
Stress Project Therapy Centre
2 Shelburne Road
London N7 6DL
Tel: 020 7700 3938
020 7700 3938

Centre For Cranio Sacra Therapy
CSST, Low Cost Clinic,
9 St. George’s Mews, Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8XE
Chalk Farm, NW1 8XE
0207 586 0148

London Craniosacral Therapy Clinic Low-Cost Treatment
Every Monday 9.00am – 6.00pm
Healthy Living Centre
282 St Paul’s Road, Islington, London N1 2LH
020-7704 6900
£25 or 5 @ £95
020-7704 6900

Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust
78 York Street
London W1H 1DP
Tel/Fax: 07000-785778

City and Islington Colege, Oasis Hair and Beauty Salon,
28-42 Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park N4 2DG, 02077047278
The Marlborough Building, 383 Holloway Road, N7 0RN
£12, 60 mins, Swedish Massage,
£12, 60 mins?, Aroma Massage
October to Match special of 4 @ £35
£8, 60 mins, Indian Head Massage

London College of Massage, 0207 404 7405
95 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8TX
Student Clinic, Graduate Clinic and Specialist

The Park Clinic
7 Boulevard Drive, Beaufort Park, London, NW9 5HF.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8411 4411

London School of Health and Beauty
12 Grange Road, London SE1 3BE
0203 397 3113

London School of Massage
10 Bonnersfield Lane
Middx. HA1 2JR
Tel: 020 8930 2814

University of London Union building (ULU building),
opposite Waterstone bookshop,
Malet Street (there is no number on the building), London WC1E 7HY
0207 1007903

London School of Sports Massage and Remedial Massage
28 Station Parade
Willesden Green
London NW2 4NX
Main Office hours: 10am-2pm, Monday – Friday
Tel: +44 (0)20 8452 8855 – 0208 452 8855 T

University of Kent, 1 hour, £25, concession £15
Sports Therapy Clinic, Gilligan, Meday, ME7 1HF
01634 333079

the Mittelmaier clinic
107 Fleet Street
Telephone: 020 7099 9401

Barking and Dagenham College, Rush Green Campus
Dagenham Road, Romford, Essex, RM7 0XU
020 3667 0118
0208 090 3020 ext 7118

London Metropolitan
Science Centre, 29 Hornsey Road, Holloway, N7 7DD
London Clinic of Classical Osteopathy
Science Centre
London Metropolitan University
29 Hornsey Road
London N7 7DD
07715 593799

T’ien Training Salon,
LESOCO, Lewisham Way, Blackspears Road, SE4 1UT
02083202901 / 02086920353

The London School of Beauty & Make-up (LSBU)
18-19 Long Lane London EC1A 9PL (Barbican)
Salon Booking Line: 020 7776 9767
Swedish Body Hour, £25
G5 30 minutes, £15
Aroma, 90 minutes, £28

Lambeth College, Therapy Salon and Spa,
Clapham Centre, 45 Clapham Common South Side, London, UK SW4 9BL
Phone:020 7501 5000 or 5201

London Health and Beauty Institute, (LHBI)
Covent Garden, WC2H 9PA
0207 096 1321 or 5011

Newham, *Avant Garde?
Avant Garde Salon
Ground Floor, Newham College of Further Education
High Street South
East Ham , E6 6ER

London Beauty Academy,
East London Beauty Academy
153-159 Bow Business Centre, Bow Rd, Bow, London, E3 2SE
02089812558 or 02031187008
Beginning of May, they may need models for massage
£20 for 1 hour deep tissue, 1 hour hot stone £15, 75 min Aroma is £25

The Beauty Academy, 5-15 Cromer Street, London, WC1H 8LS (Kings Cross)
Tel: 0207 118 7008
The Beauty Academy
Talbot Yard, 85/87 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1NH, (London Bridge) Tel: 0207 118 7008

London Beauty School,
155 Curtain Road, London
Models: no sign of open clinic

Knowsley College,
Liverpool, Merseyside, Hoyton, Level 2 Sports Massage Therapy Session,
0151 481 4605
L36 6BP

further reading and links

New River Athletics Club, 0788 584 9775
Lee Valley, 0208 529 5745, Enfield and Haringey, N9 0AR
Tuesday and Thursday, 18:00 to 21:30, £2/£3

Stone Bench

Gwiz. Check out this short “story”

Eden's Blog

She’s not beautiful. In fact, she’s ordinary. But there’s something in her that James found so enticing. Maybe perhaps its her laughter or maybe the way her eyes twinkle whenever she sees him. Whatever that is, she’s breathtaking for him. James didn’t really expect to be enamored by her. Heck, he didn’t even expect to meet her. Maybe it is fate conspiring but no matter what it is, they had stumbled into each other’s path.

The first time James was introduced to her, she was sitting all alone in the stone bench. She was staring silently around her. She barely even acknowledged him when he said hello. She just glanced at him and looked away. James felt a sudden deep attraction to this tiny blonde haired girl. She looks so young for her twenty-one years of age. He suddenly felt old for his twenty nine years of age. He sat…

View original post 1,334 more words

Footballing Failures

Fallen Star

Moment 1:20 May, 2004 France played Brasil and Ronaldinho impressed
Moment 2: on 58’, picking up the ball forty yards from goal, flooring Andrea Pirlo with a shuffle and whipping in a magnificent reverse,
Moment 3: a stunning bicycle kick against Villareal on 25 November, 2006 and an ingenious ‘under the wall’ free-kick against Werder Bremen on 7 December, 2006)
Moment 4: Ronaldinho had a poor European campaign and was, previously, easily marked by Khalid Boulahrouz in Chelsea’s 1-0 Group A victory on 18 October, 2006); and lost out to Internacional in the Club World Cup final on 17 December.

Niggling muscle injuries, poor form and the first XI emergence of Messi saw Ronaldinho restricted to thirty-eight appearances (twelve goals and nine assists) for Barcelona in 2007/2008. The season had a poignant feel, despite Ronaldinho’s poor attitude, and this was evident in the 19 September match against Lyon. Following a subdued display, Ronaldinho was substituted – just like he had been against Osasuna in his 200th appearance (by no means a joyous standing ovation in a 0-0 draw) for Barcelona on 16 September – and replaced by Andrés Iniesta. It was Iniesta who set up Messi for the crucial second goal – in an eventual 3-0 win for Barcelona – and the camera quickly panned to Ronaldinho, who – for one of the first times in his career – had a blank expression, as he applauded the Argentine’s 82’ goal. Still, yet again, it was not a serious wake-up call for the Brazilian and Ronaldinho’s poor application in training irked Rijkaard to such an extent that in the 15 December match against Valencia at the Mestella, Ronaldinho – whose cameo appearances were becoming commonplace – was snubbed by Rijkaard when Messi came off injured and instead, the then eighteen year old, Giovani dos Santos was brought on […] The ultimate word, though, would go to Barcelona’s new manager, Josep Guardiola, at his unveiling on 17 June, 2008:

“If I felt that he [Ronaldinho] wanted to be the player he was again, he would be here. But the situation has deteriorated and the solution is to build a strong dressing-room.” This quote also rang true for Deco and Eto’o but in pre-season – which the Cameroonian took part in due to a lack of intense interest from other clubs, because of wage demands, in his signature – Eto’o’s pressing, work-rate, attitude and goals proved his worth.
Leonardo’s departure in the summer of 2010 and Kaká’s move (in theory, Ronaldinho should have relished being the main man) to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, though, saw Ronaldinho lose faith in the Milan project and Massimiliano Allegri did not tolerate his laissez-faire attitude

On 19 June, 2011. During a 0-0 derby against Botafogo, Ronaldinho was ‘needlessly’ hauled off on 88’ by Luxemburgo for the sole purpose of giving Ronaldinho the brutal booing wake-up call that had evaded him in Europe. It led to a remarkable transformation. In the immediate aftermath, Ronaldinho looked motivated, re-energised and the needless and excessive feints and flicks that he had so often showcased to please crowds over the years were dropped. The Brazilian, almost inadvertently, became an all-round player due to his lack of pace and Luxemburgo realised this. Instead of relying on Ronaldinho for his once trademark bursts of magic, Luxemburgo re-converted Ronaldinho to a second striker. After all, rather than banishing him to a deep-lying regista or ‘quarter back’ role, which would accentuate El Gaucho’s often underrated creativity and lofted passes, Luxemburgo knew that Ronaldinho made his name at Grêmio, all those years ago, for scoring as much as anything else. This timeless attribute is one thing that is yet to desert Ronaldinho and he netted an impressive fourteen goals and seven assists in thirty-one games in the 2011 Brasileirão, including an inspired hat-trick in the 5-4 defeat of league favourites Santos on 27 July after Santos had gone 3-0 up in just 30 minutes.

Even the relaxed Santana grew exasperated and punished Ronaldinho for a sloppy mistake in the 3-3 draw against Internacional on 26 May by substituting and subjecting him to yet another hostile reception at the Engenhão. This was Ronaldinho’s last game for Flamengo,

From this, in ultimately assessing football’s elite pantheon, Ronaldinho’s career will be looked back on as a mere footnote, with just three thoroughly consistent seasons (2003-2006), and the man, himself, will be viewed as the architect of his own downfall: the fallen star.

“Ronaldinho had opponents who magnified his peak even more – he was up against Zidane, Figo. He also earned me many titles. “Messi has much more help at Barcelona. If I had to chose between Ronaldinho at that time or Messi now, I’d chose Gaúcho.” Belletti

What Could Have Been: Denílson


It’s not difficult to argue that it’s the backbone of football. The greatest managers in the world swear by it. “Consistency wins things, there’s no question about that.” Not my words, but those of Sir Alex Ferguson. If Fergie isn’t your cup of tea, then how about Arsene Wenger? He claims that “every game is difficult and as soon as you drop your level a little bit, you are in danger“. If you prefer your footballing philosophy to come from those on the continent, then feel free you take your pick from Guus Hiddink (“I think that’s what we need, we need consistency“), Josep Guardiola (“Ensuring concentration and consistency in my team is not only my job; it is my responsibility“) or Carlo Ancelotti (“We were top of the league for eight months because we played with consistency”).

You can trawl through Google’s archives and find the biggest names in football either praising their team’s consistency, or lamenting the lack thereof. Either way, these managers have taken charge of some of the most talented footballers of all time, so one thing is clear: for all the talent in the world a player may have, consistency is equally as important. Case in point? Let’s take a 61 times capped Brazilian World Cup winner who was once the most expensive player in the world. And we still know nothing about him.

Okay, so it doesn’t take a genius to realise the importance of consistency. Take a look at Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma for a quick-fix example. Both players of (arguably) equal talent, their careers went in opposite directions since they secured their big money transfers from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United and Barcelona respectively. Speaking of big money transfers, that brings us nicely back to our subject at hand. Denílson de Oliveira Araújo joined Real Betis from Sao Paulo in August 1998 for an inflation-adjusted €34.5 million, becoming the world’s most expensive player at the time.

Before I make the following point, let me categorically deny that I doubt Denílson’s ability. Anybody who had the pleasure of seeing him play on one of his good days knows that he had the chance to go down as one of the greatest of all time. I would not include him in this series if I questioned his talent. But it can be argued that Betis were perhaps counting their chickens before they had hatched, having seen the success of Romario, Bebeto and Ronaldo in La Liga who had previously been heralded for their performances in Brazil.

A record of more than a goal every two games for Sao Paulo, followed by some stellar performances for Brazil in the Copa America, had seen Denílson heralded as destined for great things, but it never quite worked out for him at Betis. Indeed, his debut in the green and white shirt would sum up his eventual seven years at the club. A 0-0 draw with newly-promoted Alaves failed to capture the Verdiblancos faithful’s imagination.

Betis failed to make any improvement upon their previous season, dropping three places to 11th and out of the European qualification spots. Things got catastrophic in Denílson’s second season, with Betis finishing in 18th place and finding themselves relegated to the Segunda Division. Denílson moved to Flamengo on loan the following year, partly in an effort by Betis to reduce their wage bill, and partly because of Denílson’s demand for top tier football before the 2002 World Cup. However, after only 11 appearances, Betis recalled their record signing due to the Brazilian club’s inability to keep up with agreed payments.

Over the next 5 seasons, Betis reclaimed their La Liga status, and consistently won European qualification, culminating in a 4th place finish in Denílson’s final season at the club. However, Denílson himself was no longer a first team regular. He had also helped himself to a World Cup winners medal in 2002, having made a handful of substitute appearances for Brazil in Japan/Korea.

In the summer of 2005, Denílson moved to French club Bordeaux. His arrival coincided with the club’s meteoric rise up the table, climbing from a 15th place finish in 2004/2005 to a runners-up spot to Lyon the following year. Denílson’s form was typically inconsistent during his time in France, and rumours of excessive wage demands saw the Brazilian leave for Saudi Arabian club Al-Nasr the following summer. He became the ultimate journeyman after his Betis career, playing for 9 clubs in 5 year. These ranged from obviously obscure paydays in the form of FC Dallas and Xi Măng Hải Phòng (where he became the highest paid player in Vietnamese history, only to leave the club after one game), to homeland returns such as Itumbiara and Palmeiras.

Most recently, Denílson was seen plying his trade for Greek side Kavala, but was released in April having only been with the club for 3 months despite signing a 2 year contract. Probably the most unbelievable aspect of Denílson’s story is the fact that he is still only 32 years old – the same age as Thierry Henry and Raúl, and younger than the likes of Michael Ballack, Francesco Totti and Mark Van Bommel who are all still playing at the highest level.

Denílson’s story is one of caution, or rather a lack of caution, displayed by both Real Betis and the man himself. Betis bought into the hype of “the next big [Brazilian] thing”, which further allowed Denílson to do the exact same thing. He may have had the same technique, close control and dribbling skills as some of the all time greats, but Denílson lacked the mentality, determination and consistency to be truly ranked alongside his heroes. While stories of the fame and success of his compatriots Ronaldo and Romario will forever capture the imagination of young fanatics worldwide, Denílson will unfortunately remain a permanent fixture in “Where Are They Now?” sections across the internet.


Sao Paola (Brasil) 1994-1998
Real Betis (Spain) 1998-00
Flamengo (Brasil) 2000-01 (alongside Edmundo, Romario)
Bordeux (France) 2005-07
Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia)
Palmeiras (Brasil) 2008 (trial with Bolton, Jan 2009)
Itambiara (Brasil)
FC Dallas (America’s United States)
Vicem [Xi Mang] Hải Phòng (Vietnam, V-League)
Kavala (Greece) 2010 – released without playing a match
April 2010, he retired, after debut of 1994, Oliveira Araújo, Born 24.08.77
He is now working as a sports network on Brazilian TV for Rede Bandeirantes, for whom he is a sports commentator.

…it is ultimately fitting that Denilson took his final curtain call long before his legend had begun. But this was no tragedy, no epic tale of regret and remorse. This tale is one of celebration and joy, for what is football if it is not a spectacle, to be enjoyed by one and all. Just think of Denilson for a moment and do not ponder what might have been. Instead, ask yourself just one thing. Were you not entertained?

Further reading on Rivaldo, cf
On Second Thoughts: Rivaldo
He is in danger of being remembered as a cheat and a mardy bum, but Brazil’s bandy-legged genius was the most unstoppable footballer since Maradona
Rob Smyth,, Thursday 19 June 2008 14.06 BST
… when we discuss soccer’s AM (After Maradona) greats, Zinedine Zidane invariably comes out on top, with Rivaldo well back among the pack. While it would be dubious to argue that Rivaldo was a better technician than Zidane, it is arguable that, if you took everyone playing at the absolute peak of their game, Rivaldo was the best and most unstoppable footballer since Maradona.
Top 3 Footballers: Pele, Maradona, Zidane
Zidane Voted Best Ever European Player

“anger, fury, hatred, resentment, bitter discontent … [it was] his motivator, his fuel, his driving force”.

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Clubs leave lost youth behind as academies fail English talent

The Gaël Kakuta affair has highlighted the flaws of a system which ruins careers but produces few results

Players at the Liverpool academy listen to their coaches but very few talents go on to represent the first team of the top clubs. Photograph: Christopher Thomond

In the aftershock of Chelsea’s sanction for signing Gaël Kakuta when the teenager was contracted to play for Lens, the most vital issue highlighted by the scandal is only slowly dawning. It is not whether Fifa should really have classed Kakuta’s agreement with Lens as a contract, or whether Chelsea’s lawyers will successfully nitpick the detail to claim a reduction of the two transfer window ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

No, the real challenge is to understand why one of England’s top football clubs, which like 40 others has spent millions of pounds developing an academy, and can sign up huge numbers of boys from a very young age, has failed to bring a local player through since 28-year-old John Terry, and scours other countries’ clubs for teenage talent.

It is 12 years since Howard Wilkinson’s FA document, Charter for Quality, overhauled youth development, removing good, young players from representative school and youth club football and establishing academies, thereby granting extraordinary power to the professional clubs. Wilkinson’s view was that professional football clubs had expertise in coaching which schoolteachers and volunteer amateur coaches did not – although the clubs then mostly recruited schoolteachers to run their academies.

Clubs’ academies – there are now 41 in the Premier and Football Leagues – were accorded the right to register 40 boys each year from as young as eight until 12. After that, youngsters are progressively shedded until, at the age of 16, 20 or so are selected as full-time “scholars”.

This, according to a new book, Every Boy’s Dream by Chris Green, which skilfully analyses the successes and deficiencies of the academy system, constitutes “recruitment of children on a massive scale”. It also institutionalises mass rejection of young people as too few of those who come through are actually given opportunities to play in clubs’ first teams.

Green, while acknowledging the investment and improvements made in the system, laments this futile recruitment of infants, finding that youth development experts themselves admit it is too young. He chronicles the disappointment, educational underachievement, even trauma, suffered by some boys who give much of their childhoods to academies only to suffer inevitable rejection at tender ages. The Premier League’s general secretary, Mike Foster, is quoted as accepting that although efforts are made – not always successfully – to break bad news sensitively, his league and its clubs do not bother to find out what happens to the youngsters who are released.

Some 10,000 boys are currently performing in top clubs’ academies and centres of excellence, and uncalculated thousands more in development squads and “shadow” development squads, run because youth directors have to be sure no child is being missed. Green gives due credit to the system’s merits: the clubs have invested abundantly and continue to spend an estimated £66m a year on staff and mostly excellent facilities. Some of the coaching is expert, many of the staff are highly professional and dedicated.

Huw Jennings, who resigned as the Premier League’s head of youth development this year to run Fulham’s academy, argues this has borne fruit: “The skill levels, ball mastery, balance and flexibility of our young players is better than ever,” he claims.

Yet while parents give family life over to ferrying boys to training three nights a week and matches on Sundays against other professional clubs’ academies many hours’ travel away, the reality is that just 1% of the trainees will ultimately play football for a living.

Even the few who survive the annual cuts and make it to a “scholarship” at 16 are likely to fall away. Research tracking academy boys is itself difficult to find but it is accepted that only a minority of boys awarded “scholarships” remain in the professional game at 21. Of those who win the golden ticket of a proper, professional contract at 18, the vast majority, Green found, are also not playing professionally at 21.

This summer, Jennings made his farewell speech to the clubs’ owners and chief executives, imploring them to give academy youngsters more opportunities. In Europe, he says, players make first-team debuts at 21-22; here they are thrown into Carling Cup games or substitute appearances at an average of 18 years and four months, and judged critically on those performances. “Players are not afforded the chance to mature,” he argues. “Reform is desperately needed for the 18-21 age group.”

There is, startlingly, broad agreement among those who actually coach that clubs should not be signing boys as young as eight because their potential cannot be reliably assessed, and too much pressure and expectation is loaded on them at pre-teen ages. Children, most youth coaches accept, should be playing all sports recreationally, with the best coaching available, to develop all-round skills. Yet because football clubs need to stock academies beginning at Under-nine level, they are scouting children at six and even younger. Green cites the desperate instance, famed in youth football circles, of a four-year-old, scampering about in a Premier League club’s development squad with a nappy clearly visible under his shorts.

Brian Jones, head of Aston Villa’s academy, is scathing. “Aston Villa spend a fortune looking at boys from six years old onwards,” he complains. “With the best will in the world I wouldn’t know if a six, seven or eight year old is going to play in the Premier League in 10 or 12 years’ time. It’s ludicrous.”

Dave Parnaby, another former schoolteacher who heads Middlesbrough’s successful academy, agrees, arguing that registration to an academy should not start until boys are 12 and at secondary school. “No one disagrees,” Parnaby asserts. “I have written to the FA and Premier League but what is being done?”

The answer, is inertia. On this most fundamental of the sport’s responsibilities, there is a vacuum of leadership and a familiar, dismal turf war between the FA, Premier and Football Leagues. Trevor Brooking, the FA’s director of football development, seethes with frustration that the FA is not permitted to monitor the quality of academies, and there is no central body, staffed with actual football experts like himself, to reform and run the system. The leagues argue they do not want the FA overseeing their clubs’ work and that Brooking should concentrate on rolling out coaching courses tailored specifically to different ages. He argues this has been done, but the FA’s Professional Game Board has failed to invest in recruiting more than a pitiful, single national coach for each of the 5-11, 12-16 and 16-plus age groups.

Jennings laments the absence of strong, national leadership. “It is football governance at its worst,” he says. “We desperately need unity of purpose but youth development is in a state of limbo.”

This, then, is the state we are in. Professional clubs, rich as oligarchs, trawling for boys their own coaches know are too young, giving scant opportunities to the few who come through, while waving their wallets to likelier lads in other countries. It is a system crying out for reform, from top to bottom.

Every Boy’s Dream, by Chris Green, is published by A & C Black, priced £9.99

further reading
Former footballer McKenzie stops Varbanov in two rounds to extend unbeaten record

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Football academies: kicking and screaming

Football academies were developed by the leading clubs so that they could identify and nurture talented players from as young as eight. The 9,000 boys in their ranks are desperate to succeed, but only a handful will make it to the top.

Les Ferdinand and John Terry

By Sally Williams4:43PM GMT 04 Mar 2009CommentsComment
Last April, Danny, 16, received devastating news. After six years at a London football academy he was told he was no longer wanted. For those years his parents had driven three times a week from their home in south London to the training ground (plus matches on Sundays) in pursuit of Danny’s dream to play left wing for a London Premier League side in 2013.
Danny is obsessed with football. He has a framed photograph of Steven Gerrard on his bedroom wall, could do a Cruyff Turn at the age of eight, has the balance of a gazelle and can do so many keepy-uppies even he loses count. Being scouted for that academy was the best day of his life. He worked fantastically hard. He loved the training, camaraderie and free drinks – ‘loads of Lucozade, Yazoo. You could take as many as you wanted!’ He loved feeling special. ‘Saying who you play for at school makes you twice the man you are.’ Football is his life.
But now his fantasy future is over. ‘You feel like your head has been cut off,’ he says. ‘He was so quiet,’ his dad says. ‘Just destroyed. It was awful.’ And now he has his GCSEs coming up and the last thing he wants to do is study. ‘You’re thinking, I want to be a footballer, I don’t even need this stuff – and your mum is saying, “You’ve got to work.” And you think work is just a back-up because your real aim is to be a footballer.’
Danny has not turned his back on the dream. He still plays for a local club and for his school. He still works phenomenally hard training in his back garden. He still hopes he will be spotted. The trouble is, scouts like potential: six-, seven-, eight-, nine-year-olds. But should a scout turn up tomorrow, next week, whenever, Danny is ready. ‘I feel I’m still standing out,’ he says, ‘I’m killing these guys!’
Danny is not unique, of course. Any elite sport or rarefied field with few slots at the top is underpinned by an invisible stratum of talented also-rans. They are very, very good and work very, very hard. They deserve to be rewarded, but they won’t be, because they are not quite good enough. But the big difference with football is volume. All the Premiership and leading Cham­­pionship clubs have academies. The rest have schools of excellence. In all, there are some 9,000 boys attending these intensely competitive places. More than 90 per cent of those who join a Premier­ship academy will fail to make it into the first team. Most won’t even become professional footballers.

diaby Terry

‘You’re talking about a lot of kids chasing very, very few options,’ points out Jim White, journalist, broadcaster and the author of You’ll Win Nothing with Kids: Fathers, Sons and Football. ‘One of the problems with the academy system is that its ethos, basically, is to throw enough **** against the wall and hope that some of it sticks. They take in 30 or 40 kids at eight, knowing full well that the chances of any of them becoming footballers is pretty unlikely. The trouble is, those kids who come in at eight think they already are footballers.’
A friend’s eight-year-old was scouted for Chelsea, and he went from being top of the class to the skiver in the back. ‘Why aren’t you trying any more?’ his mother asked. ‘I’m a footballer and I’m going to be rich,’ he replied. Needless to say, he was ‘released’ a year later. At eight he still had time to recover. At 15 he might have sunk into a depression for the rest of his life. ‘The shedding of people at 16 has always been football’s hidden secret,’ White says. ‘The brutality of axing kids hasn’t been improved by the academy system in any way. In fact, it’s probably made it worse.’
Saturday November 29: the Grade II Myddleton House sits in about 21.5 acres of land in Bulls Cross, Enfield, north London. To many visitors it is a beautiful Royal Horticultural Society recommended garden with award-winning Bearded Iris. But for the Tottenham Hotspur Academy, it is a great place for youth matches. The club leases the private sports field to the west of Myddleton House, and at 9am the car-park is packed with vehicles. Little boys in kit and coats are pouring out of cars. Parents are trailing behind with buggies, picnic bags, cameras, grand­parents, aunts and uncles. The 1960s sports pavilion behind Myddleton House is brightly lit with large picture windows at one end showing the sports fields and the trees frosted white. Everywhere you look, boys are dumping bags, taking off coats, being reminded to take out chewing gum and do up their laces. Across its 16 pitches, wannabe Ronaldos and Beckhams are doing quick-fire sprints, dashing, darting, all fired up by a competitive relish. ‘It’s like a puppy farm,’ squeals one of the mums. ‘We describe it as the factory,’ corrects Richard Allen, the chief scout for the Tottenham academy.
Today is particularly significant because it is trials day. Every eight weeks Tottenham runs academy trials for the whizzes spotted by its 40 British scouts. (These scan for talent at youth matches from Sunday league to school knockabouts. ‘If you’re good, we’ll find you,’ they promise.) In all, 67 boys aged eight to 15 are up for a place with Spurs and they know it is a life-changing opportunity. The difference between being a very, very good footballer and a star, as Malcolm Gladwell points out in Outliers: The Story of Success, is practice. ‘In fact,’ he writes, ‘researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.’
The key advantage to being in an academy is you get to play as much football as possible (a minimum of three hours’ training a week at age eight; five hours for 12-16 years olds – time spent passing, moving, finishing, over and over again, so the skill becomes ingrained in the muscles). Experts say this is the right sort of training, and the wrong sort can lead to ‘damaged goods’: players who are injury-prone (such as Tottenham’s captain, Ledley King: ‘over-trained and not properly managed as a boy,’ Allen says). Plus, in an academy, you don’t communicate about anything but football and watch lots of live matches (free tickets are a perk). So, a trial is a big deal. ‘I have to hold the trialists’ induction evenings at [Tottenham’s ground] White Hart Lane,’ Allen says, ‘because I know all 67 boys will bring the whole extended family. It is the biggest thing that has ever happened to them. They think, this is it! Off we go!’

Tottenham also has development centres: waiting-rooms, basically, for those who have been earmarked as talented but are too young or not ready to be signed up for the academy. Tottenham has 10 development centres coaching a total of about 600 boys. Last year the club signed 20 under-nines.
So what are you looking for, I ask Allen, who says he has ‘the eye’ – the ability to spot potential. (His 24-year footballing career straddles the extremes of running the Crown and Manor, a boys’ club in the East End, and looking after visiting elite international teams.) Technical skill, he says. ‘It’s about trying to beat someone and get the ball past them, not pass it past them, we can all do that. Good movers, very smooth in the way they run. Plus they have to be willowy and athletic-looking. You don’t get many stocky players.’ But what about Maradona? Gazza? Rooney? There are always exceptions, he says. ‘Scouting is not an exact science.’ Particularly with the wild card of puberty.
We watch the match. Number 5 looks great, but Number 3 is even better – floaty, graceful, his legs stretching and powering with mesmerising athleticism. ‘He’s a nicer shape,’ Allen enthuses. ‘More slimline rather than heavy in his legs [like Number 5]. He is quick and agile and that is important in the modern game.’ This may be why Number 3 has been scouted not only by Tottenham, but also by Charlton, Chelsea and Arsenal. And he is still only seven. But then young talent is like nectar, enough to get seasoned football addicts wide awake and licking their lips.
I look at Number 5, cheated of his dream by heavy legs. Summer-borns are similarly outcast. Far more Premiership footballers are born in October and November than in June and July. ‘They are bigger and make more of an impact on the pitch,’ White says, ‘then, of course, they get selected, better coached and leave the other guys behind.’ What else do you need? Parents with cars and the kinds of jobs where they can drive to training twice a week for 5pm. ‘When I went to Manchester United Academy what struck me was the car-park full of smart cars,’ White says. ‘The academy is in the middle of nowhere. There is no way you can get there unless you’ve got a car. No way you can get there three or four times a week unless your parents take you. What that is doing is middle-classing the game. The whole system precludes kids from the rougher end of town, because how the hell do you get there?’ Take Theo Walcott, the England starlet, who came through the academy system at Southampton. His father served in the RAF, his mother is a midwife; his grand­father was an RAF Warrant Officer and one of the first black Conservative councillors in Britain.
Later, Allen gives me the results: 10 of the 67 boys were signed.
Football academies were set up in 1998, following a landmark report, Charter for Quality, by Howard Wilkinson, 65, then the Football Association’s technical director, and now chairman of the League Managers’ Association. Before academies, most clubs had ‘centres of excellence’ for talented young players. But the pinnacle of football education was Lilleshall Hall in Shropshire, a footballing boarding school for England’s elite 18 players, selected in trials at age 14. (Jermain Defoe, Michael Owen, Joe Cole, Scott Parker and Wes Brown are all Lilleshall graduates.) ‘The Lilleshall model was very efficient,’ Wilkinson recalls, ‘apart from the huge difficulty and inequity of selecting 18 players at such a young age from the whole of England.’ The aim of academies, he says, ‘was to establish a similar model to Lilleshall, but to do it locally and therefore the process of selecting would be fairer because you would have a large pool.’ The other advantage was control. ‘In the old centres of excellence the school, the city, the county, the district all had first call on the boys in terms of games played and practice times. Some boys played upwards of 100 games a season. In academies it is the club that has first call.’
At academies, boys are signed from age eight to 16. Signing seals mutual commitment: the boys agree to good behaviour and morals and to turn up to training; the club agrees to provide elite coaches, tournaments, physiotherapists. Boys are initially being offered yearly contracts (‘retain’ and ‘release’ are words that quickly enter boys’ vocabulary) extending to two-yearly at age 12. At 16 boys become full-time ‘scholars’, often moving near the club to lodge with landladies. They are paid £100 a week as an apprentice, and education becomes the responsibility of the academy. (Every Thursday, Tottenham converts its hospitality room at White Hart Lane into a classroom for ‘education day.’) At 17 they sign a ‘professional’ contract, which means they can start earning money. Just how much is down to the club. I was told the average is £15-30,000; more if you’re a Jacob Mellis (Chelsea), or Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).

The FA rule is that 8-11s have to live within 60 minutes’ travelling time of the training ground; 12-16-year- olds within 90 minutes. This gives Tottenham a catchment area that runs from Bedford and Buckinghamshire through north and south London around to Essex, and a pool of 15-20 million people. South­ampton academy, on the other hand, is less lucky. Half its radius is the English Channel.
Now, of course, academies are under attack. People argue boys are brought in too young; that clubs do too little for the schools and amateur clubs from which boys are taken, and that, ultimately, the pressure on boys and families simply isn’t worth it because there are too few places at the end of it all, and those that do make it aren’t good enough anyway.
But then, football has changed. Fifty years ago the game was community-based; the players and those who paid to watch them came from the same areas and the same social backgrounds. The directors were local dignitaries and businessmen. Even top-class players would play for the same local club for their entire career. But this was before football became a global industry. Now clubs are owned by billionaires who have little connection to the country let alone the local area. After a game, spectators travel by Tube, train or car; players by Lear jet or limo. And players shift between clubs so often that John Terry’s eight years with Chelsea is seen as undying loyalty. What’s more, because of the massive money coming into the game, Premier League clubs are able to recruit from all over the world. On the first weekend of the first Premier League season in 1992, 76 per cent of the starting XIs were English. Today that figure has dropped to 37 per cent.
‘Opportunities [at the top level] are very tight,’ agrees John McDermott, the academy head at Tottenham. ‘Boys have to realise the path is not what it was 10 years ago.’ You once had to be among the best players in Britain, now you have to be among the best in the world to make it here. Three of the 23 scholars at Tottenham are European (a Swede, an Italian and a Belgian).
At age 16 the 90-minute rule goes out of the window and clubs start to bring in boys and their families from all over the world. ‘It must be hugely frustrating for kids at English clubs to be told they’re not good enough at 16 because of the number of overseas youngsters filling academies,’ commented Trevor Brooking, the Football Association’s director of football development, in a recent attack on youth football. ‘When we set up the academy system, I don’t think anyone envisaged it would be filled with anything other than Brits.’
McDermott, a former FA national coach, takes a Darwinist line. ‘My belief is that talent will get you through. Cream will rise to the top.’ But not necessarily the very top. ‘If God has given you the ability to play in the second division and you achieve that, then that is a success. (Jim White told me that non-league football, which used to be filled with butchers, bakers and lorry drivers, is now full of kids who have gone through the academy system, but haven’t quite made it.) Plus, McDermott urges, give academies a chance. They’re only 10 years old. It’s only now and over the next year or two that you will see the real worth of the system, and he has several players who are ‘very interesting’.
He is keen for me to meet one of them, Ryan Mason, 17, a Tottenham scholar who is tipped to be a potent force. I find this hard to believe because the figure who emerges is unequivocally unathletic: pale, nervous, gangly, shuffling into the meeting room at the academy HQ at Spurs Lodge, Chigwell, with none of that high-testosterone swagger of pro footballers. ‘Physically he is very underdeveloped,’ admits Allen, who remembers him being so scrawny at 12 that he couldn’t even kick the ball across the pitch. But this doesn’t matter – everyone agrees he is brilliant and scores loads of goals and in fact recently played with the first team in the Uefa Cup game against Dinamo Zagreb.

Everyone is looking to Mason as evidence that the academy system works. He joined Tottenham’s academy soon after it launched in 1998, when he was seven. His father, a BT engineer, got him playing aged six for a Sunday league team near his home in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Mason says he’s thrilled to be here. It’s fun, but also very hard. ‘I’ve seen around 100 boys released,’ he says. One was a good friend. ‘We’d been close for about six years, our families too. My dad would drive us [to training] on a Monday and his dad would do Wednesday, and then he got released.’ He shrugs. ‘But that’s football isn’t it? Technically he was fine, but mentally he wasn’t there. He would go out with his mates,’ he explains in a tone that says, ‘Need I say more?’
So what has Mason got that the others haven’t? Mono vision, says McDermott, who believes talent alone will take you to the age of 16, no further. ‘He’s incredibly dedicated, verging on obsessed.’ When Mason’s not playing football, he’s thinking about it or watching it and spent last night analysing the Arsenal game on Sky – he has a TV in his bedroom. Everything in his life is football and he never loses focus. He may be 17 and have left home – he lodges with a landlady – but he looks at me as if I’m deranged when I ask if he ever goes to clubs or gigs. ‘Nah! Nothing like that! I don’t do anything [that’s not related to football]. I’m pretty boring to be honest.’ So, what will he do with his four GCSEs should it not work out? ‘I’ve not thought about that,’ he replies. ‘I’d rather not.’
Martin Tolworth knows what happened to his son, Robert, 24, after he was ‘dumped’ from Crystal Palace Academy, aged 16, after six years with the club. ‘He went from being as high as a kite to devastation,’ he says. ‘One Saturday he was told he’d been picked for a scholarship, that after six years of waiting he’d got to the first rung of the ladder, a young apprentice. But then a new manager went in and the following Saturday, he said, “No, we’re not going to pick you.”?’ Robert’s mother, normally a placid woman, was very upset. ‘How can you treat boys like that,’ she raged. ‘Cut their ties and just get rid of them. He’s just like a piece of meat hanging in the butchers.’ Robert got angry, put on weight, drifted out of football and is now a carpenter in Spain. The problem with football, his dad says, is that it’s not about absolutes. ‘In swimming or athletics you’re picked on times. If you don’t make the time, you’re not in the swim team. But football is about the whims of managers. It’s a game of opinions.’
Glenn Hoddle, ex-footballer, former England coach and manager, agrees. ‘There are no rights or wrongs in football,’ he says, ‘One man’s opinion doesn’t mean it’s another’s.’ And to prove his point, last year Hoddle launched the Glenn Hoddle Academy, a live-in academy in southern Spain, to offer a route back into professional football for those discarded by the system. ‘As a manager of Swindon and Chelsea back in the early 1990s, I had that horrible job of shattering dreams by telling young kids at 18 they weren’t going to be signed on [to a professional contract]. I even had to do that to my cousin, who came on trial for three months at Swindon. But 18 is far too young to make a judgement. I always wondered what would happen to these boys if they’d been given that extra bit of time, and unfortunately the system doesn’t allow it.’

Last summer 60 players turned up to trials for the academy’s 24 places. More than 200 players are now registered on the website. ‘We have to work on them mentally as much as on techniques,’ Hoddle says. ‘They’re often very low. Some have been harshly dealt with. Some have been out of the academy for six or seven months because of injury and haven’t caught up and had a chance to show their true talent.’ But motivation is not a problem. ‘Someone is giving them a second chance,’ he says. ‘We’re changing their lives and that is as important as winning medals.’
November 13, 2007, and Watford academy under-14s are working out, sprinting the length of the pitch, tracking back and marking. It is 11 on a Thursday morning and the boys should be at school. But they are at school. In September 2007, Watford moved its 11-16-year-olds to Harefield Academy, a secondary school in Uxbridge, west London, arguing that for the club to come to the boys made more sense than the other way around. The boys are picked up from their homes in the morning by special academy buses, coaches come to the school for sessions, special homework clubs are laid on after school, and then the boys are ferried home again for 7.30. This way the boys get to play more football, they say. They also get an education, which is important, said one coach, because ‘they’re more comfortable speaking in front of cameras’.
‘The academy product is flawed,’ says Mark Warburton, assistant academy manager and the architect of the new model, based on one at Ajax in Holland. ‘It involves hours and hours of driving, hours of standing outside watching the boys with the rain lashing down, getting home at half nine or 10, eating meals in the car, being behind on homework, and always being generally tired, because that is what it takes to be a pro footballer – it’s always been that way. But it’s not that way in Holland, or France. So if it works there and we’re buying their players, doesn’t that tell you that we’ve got to change the way we do things?’
It has certainly changed the life of Oli Sprague, 15, and his family. Oli, who lives in Ruislip, was scouted for Queens Park Rangers at age eight, then Chelsea, and now Watford. This means that Oli and his dad, Clinton, 44, a director of an accident management company, have a thorough knowledge of the M40 and M25. This was a problem for his wife, Susan, and his two other children, Jordan, 10, and Bliss, six. ‘Really that amount of travelling started to kill our lives,’ Clinton says. ‘It put a lot of strain on the family.’ But now Watford takes care of it all. ‘I’ve got a home life again!’ Plus, Oli is less tired, he says, ‘and incredibly happy playing football.’
This is a relief, because Oli hit a bad patch, aged nine, soon after he was bought by Chelsea for an alleged £25,000. The surprise is that it isn’t just pro footballers who are bought and sold. Children are too. It is ‘compensation’, I was told, for the money invested in training and so on. Neither the boys nor their families apparently get any of the money – indeed, many might wish it was the 1950s again when Mrs Edwards at least got a washing machine out of Manchester United for her son, the legendary Duncan Edwards. But still, £25,000 is a lot of money. ‘Theo Walcott cost £3 million at 16 when Arsenal bought him from Southampton,’ White points out; ‘£25,000 for a nine-year-old is good value if he turns out to be the next Theo Walcott.’
But Oli’s dad sees it differently. ‘It puts way too much pressure on the kids. For it not to put pressure on, you’ve got to be a Ronaldo or a Rooney, someone who is so excellent it’s not going to make a difference.’ When Oli reported for duty at Cobham, Chelsea’s training ground in Surrey, he says he felt scrutinised. ‘It was hard,’ he remembers. ‘They thought you were the star player and you could run rings around everyone, but it wasn’t as easy as that. I wasn’t amazingly better than anyone else.’ He also sprained his ankle soon after the season started. Oli’s dad says
he became a lot quieter, a lot more tired. Then Oli fell awkwardly during a match and damaged his knee. He was released after two years. ‘They thought I was a bit injury-prone.’ But he picked himself up, carried on and within a month or two was spotted by Watford – clubs operate as a network, and will often have trials for boys released from other clubs. ‘You scored a blinder, didn’t you?’ recalls Oli’s dad. ‘Within a few weeks he was signed up.’
So do academies treat boys like commodities? Some said yes.

I was told that one regime was so ‘brutish’ that the parents felt too scared to tell the coach their son had glandular fever. ‘We didn’t want him to look weak,’ his father says. ‘The ethos was you had to be tough at all costs. If you’re injured or poorly, you’re out.’ The eventual confession was greeted with a chilly silence. The boy quit soon after. I was told of favouritism (more free tickets to matches); of coaches screaming like sergeant-majors; of a pack mentality that turns on the losers. I was told they should be Ofsted-inspected; that the bosses are a shambles who need lessons in management because ‘they’re not dealing with a conveyor belt in a factory, but human beings – and young ones at that’. I was told of the pressure to impress all the time; and how the coaches reinforce that by standing there with clipboards, shouting, ‘There are lots of boys who want your place.’
But each academy is different. Take Manchester City’s, which is hugely successful – former academy boys Micah Richards, Joey Barton and Shaun Wright Phillips are now worth £40 million; 10 other boys are millionaires; sixty per cent of graduates make a living out of the game. ‘We’re by far the tops,’ says Jim Cassell, 61, the academy manager, who puts this down partly to ‘care, time, knowledge, understanding and patience with young players’. Cassell, a former bookkeeper and local government officer, looks like a schoolteacher, acts as a guru and sounds like a dad. This has been especially valuable to Kieran Trippier, 18, captain of Man City’s youth team, who joined the academy aged nine.
‘Kieran lives near me and I quite enjoy giving him a lift home after the game,’ Cassell says. ‘We have a chat and it’s usually pretty boring because I keep on reminding him of all the things he got to do. He’s probably glad when he gets out of the car.’ Trippier nods, smirking.
There is another problem, Cassell says. ‘There is so much pressure at the top, managers want instant results. They don’t have time to work on the players and grow them.’ Plus, managers change every year. ‘This doesn’t give the boys the stability they need. They’ve come from an environment where I’ve been their only manager for the last 10 years. This means boys have to adjust and not many people like change.’ Jim White predicts that opportunities for home-grown talent at Man City will be reduced now it has a new billionnaire owner, Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, who heads the group linked to the Abu Dhabi royal family. ‘They bought Man City as a vehicle to promote Abu Dhabi. They’re not going to do that successfully if Man City’s got a bunch of unknown locals playing for them rather than world-known superstars.’ Last September Man City signed the Brazilian Robinho from Real Madrid, for £32.5 million.
Back at the Tottenham academy, John McDermott talks me through options for boys who are ‘released’: lower league club; university (both here and in the States) to study something like sports science; club abroad; other apprenticeships; one Spurs reject recently went into the City. He says it’s never easy: boys cry, parents cry. One father expressed his heartbreak by pinning Allen against the wall with his hands around his neck. But, ‘Tottenham will look great on their cv,’ he says. ‘They’re super-fit, disciplined, have travelled the world playing football, had a go at achieving their dream.’ But their chances of reaching it were minuscule in the first place, I say. ‘The boys are told that, the parents are told that,’ he stresses, ‘but you’re also trying not to burst their dreams.’ That’s the thing about football academies, he says. ‘We’re focused on success, not failure.’

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‘Apartheid culture’ existed at Met police station, Muslim officer tells tribunal

Vikram Dodd
The Guardian, Wednesday 25 February 2009

Scotland Yard’s claims to have put its racist past behind it suffered a blow yesterday when it was alleged that senior officers allowed a “culture of apartheid” at a police station where white officers threatened black colleagues and refused to ride in the same van. The allegations will be heard at an employment tribunal tomorrow and will embarrass the force, whose head, Sir Paul Stephenson, yesterday said the Metropolitan police was no longer institutionally racist. He was speaking at a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the Macpherson report into the bungled Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.

The allegations of discrimination and victimisation to be heard at a tribunal this week – which the Met will deny – centre on Belgravia police station in central London. A Muslim police community support officer (PCSO), Asad Saeed, claims white officers framed him by alleging he had abused and threatened to assault a drunk vagrant in a McDonald’s burger restaurant in central London.

The officer was ordered to be dismissed, but later reinstated on appeal. Both of the internal police discipline hearings heard allegations of racism that Scotland Yard thought belonged to the canteen culture of two decades ago. One senior white officer privately believed one of Saeed’s accusers was a racist, according to Saeed’s claims. The officer, a superintendent, wrote that the racism allegations were disturbing and that “it appeared the lessons of Lawrence were in need of relearning”, Saeed’s lawyers will claim at the tribunal.

According to Saeed’s grounds of claim, lodged with the court, white and ethnic minority community support officers at the station lived separate lives. Referring to one alleged incident, the ground of his claim says: “The claimant reported that on 23 February 2007 a [white] PCSO had ordered a black PCSO to get out of his patrol van and into ‘the black van’ where the claimant and another black PCSO were already sat. After the ejection of [the black] PCSO the van comprised only white PCSOs. The claimant reported that there was an ‘apartheid’ culture amongst the PCSOs at Belgravia and that when the [white] PCSO was driving the patrol van he refused to pick up the claimant during his shifts.”

In his claim Saeed says CCTV evidence from the incident that led to his dismissal was withheld from him by police bosses. He says it also shows one of his white colleagues, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, was not in the restaurant. Saeed, a former publican, was accused by the white officers weeks after joining the Met as a PCSO. He had hoped to become a fully fledged police officer. In its defence filed to the employment tribunal the Met says the two white PCSOs had claimed Saeed had threatened them. They say the officer did not make any allegation of racism until after he had been placed under investigation. The Met’s defence says that at the hearing that led to Saeed’s dismissal the panel was concerned about the “demeanour” of one of his accusers.

It accepts other officers, apart from Saeed, made accusations that a white officer was “racist” including one black woman officer who “raised a concern that people were not confident that racism would not be tolerated”. The Met’s document goes on to say: “The board was concerned by this evidence, but considered it was not germane to the allegations against the claimant.” In a statement Scotland Yard said: “This is an isolated case and not representative of day-to-day reality in the Met. Diversity amongst PCSOs is good, 1 in every 3 PCSOs are from a black and minority ethnic background (BME) and last year (07/08) 52% of BME police officer recruits were previously PCSOs. This suggests working in the Met is a positive experience for most.”

Alfred John, chair of the Metropolitan branch of the Black Police Association, said: “It displays all the hallmarks of a very familiar and disturbing picture.” Saeed’s MP, George Galloway, said: “It is quite clear there was a culture of overt racism in the station which was tolerated, if not encouraged, by senior management. “Asad was wrongly dismissed from the police service.”

Yard’s view

Scotland Yard’s commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, declared for the first time yesterday that his force was no longer institutionally racist.

“I have to say that, in all honesty, I no longer believe that label to be either appropriate or useful,” he said. “I have set out the evidence that demonstrates we have moved from collective failure to a collective determination to ensure that our service does not discriminate and that we truly reflect the diversity of London in our ranks … What matters to the people of London is that we continue to change.”

Alfred John, chairman of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, said: “Saying there are pockets of institutional racism is like saying there are pockets of cancer. The results are still the same … As a black or minority officer, we are more likely to be disciplined or asked to resign.”

further reading
Stephen Lawrence family subjected to surveillance
West Yorkshire Police accused of racism
One of Britain’s biggest police forces has been dragged into a racism row over allegations that its ethnic minority officers were humiliated and harassed.
By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent 9:00PM BST 23 May 2009
West Yorkshire Police has launched an inquiry into its disciplinary procedures after a series of accusations from the leaders of local branches of the Police Federation and the Black Police Association.
Terrorism experts warned last night that the infighting could damage the force’s vital role in combating Islamist extremism.
The claims of racism, set out in a dossier leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, could impact on West Yorkshire’s ability to recruit black and Asian officers, thus affecting its ability to track and infiltrate al-Qaeda-linked terror cells.
Top British Muslim police officer agrees deal over racism row (11-25 21:59)
Britain’s most senior Muslim police officer has reached an out-of-court settlement with London’s Metropolitan Police after accusing it of racial discrimination, the police force said.
Tarique Ghaffur was suspended as assistant commissioner in September after launching legal proceedings against his boss, outgoing Metropolitan Police commissioner Ian Blair, whom he accused of discrimination over a long period.
Under the deal agreed with Blair and his deputy Richard Bryan, Ghaffur will retire, receive compensation and have part of his legal costs paid, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The domestic Press Association news agency reported that the compensation amounted to £300,000 (HK$3.5 million) – a figure that a police spokesman declined to confirm.

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Dirty money, the student and the professor

When Leah Peters was offered a prestigious research job at London’s Imperial College she was the talk of the tightly-knit Tyneside community where she had grown up.

A brilliant student from a modest background, she had studied hard to get a first-class chemistry degree at York University, working as a waitress and bingo caller to pay her way.

When she won a place to do a PhD at Imperial College, one of the country’s top research centres, she and her family assumed she was destined for a glittering career. But within two years, her dreams were in tatters because of her head of department, Professor Donald Davies. Instead of the fatherly support she might have expected, she found herself the object of his sexual interest when a boozy party ended up with them on a bed in a hotel room in Paddington.

The issue at stake is that he took advantage of her sexually and that was, by any interpretation, a breach of the trust placed in him by those in his charge. Leah claims he pursued her, and the professor later admitted in a secretly taped conversation that he was attracted to her. When the pressure grew too much and she complained to college authorities alleging he had sexually harrassed her, she became locked in a bitter, protracted and unequal dispute with the college and her professor.

At first, the college was supportive. A statement from a personnel officer to Leah that is being considered in the inquiry says: ‘I’ve made it clear [to Professor Davies] that it is a big issue – it was up to him to take appropriate steps to look after your welfare and he accepts he erred.’

But later college authorities tried to get her to drop her allegations. And although Davies admitted a sexual encounter had taken place and that he was fond of Leah, he denied claims of sexual harrassment. Yet Leah refused to give up. She pursued her complaint to an employment tribunal, which rejected her claims. In her quest for what she regards as justice she turned down an offer of £40,000 to keep quiet.

Davies maintains Leah is a fantasist whose inability to get on with others in her department and fear of failure caused her to go to desperate lengths to find someone to blame. But to Leah, her case is an example of what happens when a working-class woman, of mixed race, comes up against one of the last bastions of power and privilege.

Now 28, Leah is back in her parents’ tiny flat in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, her career in ruins, her relationship with her boyfriend over, her fractured self-confidence shored up by anti-depressants.

Meanwhile, Professor Davies, who at 61 is old enough to be her father, thrives at Imperial College. She says: ‘I’m angry with myself – how could I have let this happen? I’ve accepted that I’m not going to get my PhD, that he’s not going to answer for his actions but I’m going to try to make sure he’s recognised for the person he is so that he can’t do this again and so that the college thinks twice about protecting people like him.’

When Leah joined Imperial College, in 1996, Davies was far removed from her social circle. He was a world-renowned scholar, who became a millionaire after the company he co-founded developed an AIDS drug. He enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with his wife and four children in a Buckinghamshire mansion, staying at five-star London hotels and socialising at the Athenaeum Club. His connections and influence were vital to secure university funding and as important as the day-to-day running of the clinical pharmacology department. He met Leah at a college party in 1997. She had drunk a lot of wine and was upset after an argument with a colleague. Leah says: ‘He came over to me – apparently his secretary had sent him to check that I was all right. I was a bit of a mess. He said he was going back to his hotel and he would get his taxi to take me on to my flat in Streatham.’

According to Davies, they began kissing in the taxi and she was a willing partner in the drunken fumblings when they were finally alone in the hotel room. Yet Leah insists Davies took advantage of her position as a student, kissed her, tried to remove her dress, and performed a sex act on her.
She says: ‘I didn’t have any money, so he gave me the money to get a cab home.’ Leah blamed herself for being drunk, forcing herself to go to work the next day. Her colleagues noticed Davies was taking an unusually close interest in her. Leah says: ‘He started taking us all out for drinks,
but gave me all this attention, making my situation in the department unbearable.’

According to Davies, this was the least he, as department head, could be expected to do for someone who was obviously having problems. Why, he asks, did Leah meet him for drinks and allow herself to be alone with him on other occasions if she was so hostile? Why was it, as Davies apparently believes, that she was happy to reciprocate? Eventually, the stress was unbearable and in March 1999 Leah told her mother, Priscilla, an auxilliary nurse. They consulted her union, Unison, and Leah made a complaint to a university personnel officer, backing up her allegations with tape recordings.

According to minutes of meetings between Leah and personnel officers, Davies denied anything of a sexual nature had taken place in the hotel incident . But when challenged, he admitted he had behaved inappropriately and regrets it. However, he denied he pursued her later. According to the minutes, the personnel officer told Leah: ‘There will be no more attention from him – he can’t afford anything else to happen. It has had an impact. I’ve seen a change in him. It also has an impact for other girls who come after you – any whiff of anything else and he’d be out.’ However, when Leah told the university she wished to make a formal complaint and take the case to an industrial tribunal, she learned the power of the academic establishment.
After assessing her evidence, rector Lord Oxburgh decided to convene an internal disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct.

Davies denied Leah’s claims. He hired top barrister James Watson, who had the hearing postponed. It has been adjourned several times, and has still not reached a final conclusion. After the first adjournment Davies’s QC offered Leah a settlement. In return for £40,000 – £20,000 from the college and £20,000 from Davies – the internal inquiry would stop and Leah would be required to retract her allegations. She would have a year to finish her PhD and receive references stating she had made a complaint against an employer, and withdrawn it. Davies would be given a final written warning but would continue as a professor and department head. They would continue to work alongside one another for the good of staff morale. Surely, here was at least a partial victory, but Leah rejected it on a point of principle. She says: ‘To me it was dirty money – £40,000 to say I had lied.’ To Unison, however, her decision was unreasonable and they withdrew their support.

Leah, not eligible for legal aid and unable to afford a lawyer, represented herself at the tribunal two months later. Faced with barristers representing the college and Davies and ill from the stress, Leah lost her case for sex discrimination. It was probably an impossible task.
She says: ‘The barristers intimidated me. When I cross-examined Professor Davies he refused to give certain answers, answering questions with questions and making jokes. It was a nightmare.’

The college inquiry rumbles on, but for Leah time has run out. Her contract with the college has run out and she has been barred access to her study material or facilities necessary to finish her PhD, ten per cent away from completion. She is unemployed, her nine-year relationship has been destroyed by the stress, and she is a virtual recluse. Ten years after a glittering start to her career, she hopes she will soon be well enough to look for work probably as a shop assistant.

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Ethnic minority lawyers discriminated against, report finds

Vikram Dodd
The Guardian, Thursday 14 August 2008

The body that regulates solicitors has been discriminating against ethnic minority lawyers and subjecting them to potentially ruinous investigations, an independent report has concluded.

The report, obtained by the Guardian, finds the Solicitors Regulation Authority pays “lip service” to equality, and is plagued by a leadership that lacks “competence” on diversity issues.

Alex Wiens

It finds black and minority ethnic lawyers are “stereotyped” with SRA staff assuming guilt before they start investigating complaints against them. It says the organisation is open to the charge of being institutionally racist and was more likely to investigate ethnic minority lawyers than white ones.

It says: “The organisation has deficiencies which impact adversely on [ethnic minority] solicitors.”

The report was written by Lord Ouseley, the former head of the Commission for Racial Equailty. He headed an independent review, jointly commissioned by the SRA, into why black and Asian solicitors were more likely to be targeted by the organisation, which is the regulatory arm of the Law Society.

It follows years of complaints from black and Asian solicitors that the SRA treats them unfairly.

The report, to be released today, is highly critical of the organisation’s leadership and says: “The SRA at present lacks the drive and the equality and diversity competence within its managerial and leadership spheres to make the changes happen.”

It says the failings have “potential discriminatory effects” and says despite promises of reform, the SRA can be labelled as racist: “Potentially this still leaves the SRA open to the charge of institutional racism, as its policies, procedures, practices and actions, however unintended, can be seen to have disproportionate detrimental and discriminatory outcomes for BME [black and minority ethnic] solicitors.”

It continues: “Not to be under-estimated is the level of prejudice and bias which exists among personnel in this and other similar organisations.”

The report says this is the case with a minority of staff and adds some ethnic minority lawyers are judged to be guilty through racist stereotyping before an investigation is started.

The SRA, which was created in 2006, handles complaints against solicitors and can investigate them for a variety of matters.

Peter Herbert, chair of the Society of Black Lawyers and a member of the working party that produced the report, said: “Black and minority solicitors faced racism. This is as serious for the legal profession as the Lawrence inquiry was for racism in the Metropolitan police.”

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