Whilst everyone is waiting for transfer new to come through, the club are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that in the future, player trading is a potential source of income.
They have announced a partnership with the Lincoln Minster School in which a cohort of academy players will board at the school and undertake studies as well as play for the club. It’s a bold link up which will make the club an attractive prospect when trying to attract young talent from across the country.
Let’s be honest shall we? The days of clubs signing their local youths up and developing them is long gone. Club’s put as much effort into scouting youngsters as they do senior professionals, evident in the emergence of London-born Jordan Adebayo-Smith. If we’re to stay one step ahead of the game, we need something fresh to offer.
A spot boarding at an exclusive school in the city is one aspect of our offering other clubs simply won’t have. The club’s official statement, for those who haven’t seen it, reads:
“This new partnership sees a new cohort of Academy Scholars boarding at Lincoln Minster School whilst undertaking academic studies, in addition to their LFE course, giving them the best possible options for both their educational and sporting futures.
“The students will utilise the expertise and fantastic facilities on offer at Lincoln Minster School in a top-class, high achieving educational environment alongside their sporting development in collaboration in what is the first of its kind for the Imps and rare amongst clubs, even at a much higher level. Four Scholars will be taking A-Levels in English and Maths as well as one student completing his Irish Leaving Certificate, with the others taking an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), which is the equivalent of half an A level, whilst staying on campus.”
I’ve highlighted a couple of key points. One, this is a new partnership for the club, unprecedented and surely attractive to young player’s parents. Secondly, few other clubs have it as well. Remember, back in the National League Danny always spoke about those marginal gains? This is one that might not pay dividends straight away, but could help with player trading.
There’s that phrase again; player trading. It’s a key element of the club’s business model going into League One and it’s likely to be a point that causes fan’s concerns. I remember growing up in the Railway End, constantly hearing about how we were unambitious because we sold big players. I think the first time I heard it was around Lee Butler, but every time we flogged off one of the crown jewels I heard the same. In this day and age, where wealth is so plentiful above, it’s the only way a gap can be plugged without rich owners.
Jez George, Head of Football at Sincil Bank, reiterates how the marginal gain puts us one step ahead of other clubs.
“We are always searching for ways in which we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors and this is achieved by our partnership with Lincoln Minster School. This partnership now enables us to offer a unique and bespoke education provision for every Scholar, alongside their BTEC National Diploma, to ensure that boys with the appropriate academic profile and capabilities can take A levels.
“Moreover, our Scholars will benefit from the environment created for their students and allow Lincoln City’s Academy to become associated with a top-class establishment, with a fantastic national and international reputation, which is what we want to emulate.”
It sounds like a great link up, the first part of a chain that hopefully will bring us the fresh young talent we can either use to get into the Championship or sell off as soon as possible to fund the push towards the second-tier.
What has to be understood is that developing young footballers is much like any business. You take a product or service, tailor it and mould it to add value and then sell it on at a profit. The difference at Lincoln City is the profit is used to keep the success going on the pitch, whereas in a business it’s doled out to shareholders.
This partnership is great news though, however mercenary I’ve made player development sound.