There are few clubs as fascinating as Barcelona FC. Not only do they play the best football on the planet but they've been incredibly successful with it. Yet the real admiration for them does not stem from that but from the make up of their team that regularly includes some seven or eight players who have been with the club since childhood.
Barcelona's success in this respect is often attributed to a good youth system but, whilst fundamentally true, that is a simplistic way of looking at it. Barcelona have managed to do what they have becuase they developed a philosophy and weaved it into every aspect of how their football club is run: scouting, training, recruiting of players, everything is driven by a common vision.
The idea for this blog - the framework around which it will be built - comes from the desire to really understand what drives such a succesful development programme. The definition of success in itself is difficult to pin down: for a club it involves getting players through to the first team, for another it is a question of getting kids off the street. Each one does things differently to get to where they want to be and, for us, each approach is important.
Analysing as many of these approaches as possible - in as many countries as possible - shall be a major focus of this blog. Yet it won't be the only one. We are equally intrigued by the psychological aspect of youth football, how players they are scouted and coached, what is done in other sports that could be adopted by football and even the occasional look at particular players who are excelling. Eventually, the aim is to include interviews with key figures in youth football.
Those looking for match results or coaching tips will have to look elsewhere: that isn't what we are after. Frankly, they don't interest us and, in any case, we don't have the expertise to write about them. Instead we want to deliver a melting pot of ideas about developing players in the belief that ultimately this can lead to an identification of certain principles that are common ingredients for sucess.