ONE of Micky Adams’ final pronouncements as Sheffield United manager was that by injecting youth into its first-team squad the club could make itself the region’s “go-to” destination for aspiring young footballers.
“People can see that, if they come here and they’re good enough, then they’ll get a chance,” he said.
“The message is, as far as I’m concerned at least, that if you are from Yorkshire and you want to make your way in the game then this is where you should be.”
Adams’ reign is now over but, according to academy director John Pemberton, the message remains the same.Speaking before tonight’s FA Youth Cup final first leg against Manchester United at Bramall Lane, he said: “I can’t go out and spend £500,000 on a young lad. Some of the clubs can but we can’t.
“So that’s why getting to the final and seeing lads get into the first-team is a great thing. Because it shows boys that if they come here and do well then they’ll get a chance.
“We might not be able to buy the best players but I think we can take pride from the fact that we can make players better.”
With United relegated from the Championship this season, several of Pemberton’s charges are set to feature at League One level next term.
“It can be a positive thing,” he said. “When I was at Forest and we went down into League One, the club was in financial dire straits and couldn’t really compete as strongly as it would like on the open market when it came to bringing players in. It was the youngsters who helped save them. They came in, got a chance and flourished.”