How Chelsea’s Scouting Network Has Changed!

Posted: July 27, 2011 by chelseachadder in Andres Villas-Boas, Chelsea, Random, Scout Report, Tales of the Chadder

The schools are out for summer now which for many parents means are trying to find things to keep their children entertained for 6 weeks. I’m not a parent myself but I can imagine it is a lot harder to manage than you think. Well, unless you don’t mind your children staying in and playing computer games non-stop.

When I was 14 (many years ago) my parents faced a similar situation. What could they arrange for me to do during the summer weeks? To be fair it wasn’t that hard. They gave me a football and said why don’t you go and play with your friends. I spent most of the summer playing football for hours on end. A game of headers and volleys for hours on end was the only entertainment I really needed. If you haven’t played this game you are really missing out!

Anyway, one day I returned from playing football when my dad said he had a surprise for me. What could it be? He showed me a bit of paper. It was a registration form for a week long soccer school at Battersea Park, run by Chelsea Football Club. I think it was from 9am to 3pm each day. Brilliant!

Now, I live about 60 miles away from London so it would mean getting up really early to get there in time. No problem. The only challenge was convincing my mum that I was grown up enough to travel on the train each day on my own. The compromise was that I would always sit in the carriage where the ticket collector was based in case something happened.

Anyway, I ended up going to the soccer school and had so much fun. What I found a bit strange was the number of other Chelsea fans that were there. I suppose it’s fairly common if you live near Chelsea, but I didn’t. I lived near Brighton and so most children (circa 1995) obviously supported Man Utd!

Each day we did all kinds of drills in the morning and then played a big tournament in after lunch. I was surprised by the standard of the players, but not in a good way. To me, they seemed as if they had never played the game before or were missing a football brain.

My favourite moment was playing in defence. The opposition had a shot which my goalkeeper saved with his legs. The ball went straight up in the air. I headed it clear and chased after it. I managed to head it again before it touched the ground, and then again and then again. Before I knew it I was up the other end close to goal. I took one look at the goalkeeper and then volleyed it passed him. What a goal! Perhaps the best goal I have ever scored!

Friday afternoon came quicker than I could believe. My dad had turned up near the end as he worked in London at the time. I’m glad he did, especially considering what happened. Each age group had to sit in lines as the end of week presentation was about to begin. I was in the oldest group and so had to wait until the end.

Finally it got round to be my group’s turn. I was looking around me to see who I thought was likely to win the Player of the Week trophy. Before I knew it, Laurence Batty (former Fulham and Woking goalkeeper) announced that I was the winner. I was so pleased. I walked up in my Chelsea shirt with Wise 11 on the back. This was the best trophy I had ever won. In fact, it’s still my favourite.

A few months later I went to another Chelsea Soccer School at Battersea Park. This time I had a different coach, but the outcome was still the same. I was given the Player of the Week trophy. What did this mean? Was I better than I realised? What should I do next? The answer to that question is below.

Just like Peter Bonetti, I wrote to Chelsea asking if I could have a trial. The head of Youth Development at the time was Bernie Dixson. In fact, I wrote to all the London and South Eastern clubs. The only team to write back to me was…Chelsea. It was a letter from Bernie Dixson himself. He asked if I could send him a list of my fixtures and he would arrange for a scout to come and watch me. Wow! I was so excited. This could be my big chance. I could be playing alongside the likes of Frank Sinclair, Gavin Peacock and, of course, Dennis Wise.

Sadly, this is where the story ends. I sent my fixture list to Bernie, only for him to reply saying that their scouting network did not stretch as far as Brighton and so wouldn’t be able to send a scout down. Oh how things have changed! As you know, Chelsea’s scouting network now spans the whole world looking for the best talent there is to offer. I’m glad this is the case. I love Chelsea and want to see them bringing through the next superstars, or at least my heroes!

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If you liked this story then follow me on Twitter: @ChelseaChadder

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Comments
  1. Brilliant story although with a disappointing ending. Would have loved to see that goal!

  2. @Feezabicrown says:

    What a story!who knows,you might still be playing for chelsea!.nice story.

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