Developing On and Off The Pitch

DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 10: Frank Lampard, Manager of Chelsea looks on from the Chelsea bench prior to the Pre-Season Friendly match between Bohemians FC and Chelsea FC at Dalymount Park on July 10, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
April 13, 2020

Frank Lampard’s youth revolution at Stamford Bridge has been one of the talking points of the now temporarily(?) suspended 2019-20 campaign but, as exciting as the on-pitch development has been, it’s just as fascinating looking at his backroom team. Chelsea have been consistently successful in developing coaches for the future just as much as they have players; some might indeed argue that they’ve been even more successful in that regard….

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Whatever happened to…the Academy Class of 2011?

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April 5, 2020

By the time the academy class of 2011 signed their scholarships and began their journeys to professional football, the Cobham revolution was already well underway. Neil Bath and company had been given a remit to build Europe’s best youth development system in 2005, soon after Roman Abramovich’s arrival at Chelsea, while 2008 saw the opening of the new Academy and Community Building on ‘the other side of the road’ at…

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My Favourite (Academy) Match: The 2014 FA Youth Cup Final

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March 31, 2020

With real football on pause, we’re afforded an opportunity to reflect on the past, more so than usual. Let’s look back at one of my favourite all-time academy matches; the 2014 FA Youth Cup Final Second Leg between Chelsea and Fulham. The Background Six years ago, the academy wasn’t quite the trophy-laden winning machine it became throughout the rest of the decade, but it was firmly on that trajectory. A…

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On Armando Broja and Development

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March 24, 2020

Exactly one year before Armando Broja made his Chelsea first-team debut against Everton, he was a second-half substitute for a toiling Under-18 team heading for a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal, who were about to end the academy’s four-year reign as South section champions. Far from showing glimpses of the potential that would see him become one of the club’s twenty-five youngest debutants, he was so far off the radar that…

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The Loan Report: Taking Stock

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March 18, 2020

There was almost no loanee action last week, and there will none for the foreseeable future, as the Coronavirus public health situation continues to develop around the world. With the regular Loan Report therefore on hiatus, it provides us with a useful opportunity to take stock of this season’s army, and consider what lies in store for everyone when football eventually resumes. A Blue Tomorrow? Every loan army group can…

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Academy Debutants – Who’s Next?

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March 16, 2020

When Armando Broja entered the field of play at Stamford Bridge towards the end of Chelsea’s handsome 4-0 win over Everton a fortnight ago, he became the eighth academy debutant of Frank Lampard’s maiden season in charge. The Albania Under-21 international followed in the footsteps of Mason Mount, Reece James, Billy Gilmour, Tino Anjorin, Ian Maatsen, Marc Guehi and Tariq Lamptey in what has been a record-breaking campaign for academy…

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The Loan Report: March 2-8

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March 8, 2020

Matt Miazga leads the way in this week’s Loan Report after he celebrated a recent return to action with a goal; one generally unbecoming of centre back but, as we’ve discovered this season, he’s not like most centre-backs. Headliners His only previous goal this season came in October, when a spectacular stoppage-time volley secured Reading three points at home to Preston. The American international then missed six weeks of the…

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Development Squad: Chelsea 1-0 Everton

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March 2, 2020

Clinton Mola and Tariq Lamptey are gone. Charlie Brown, George McEachran and Marc Guehi have departed on loan. Levi Colwill may be done for the season injured. Faustino Anjorin, Billy Gilmour and Armando Broja are with the first team and Marcel Lavinier is trialling elsewhere. Chelsea’s Development Squad continues to be decimated by most fair standards but, as they beat Everton 1-0 courtesy of a late Luke McCormick penalty, they…

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The Loan Report: February 24 – March 1

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March 1, 2020

The usual protagonists were back at it again this week as the Loan Report moves into March, which means the final stage of the season is pretty much here. Headliners It’s been a pretty good season for Iké Ugbo so far; despite the tumultuous off-field affairs at struggling Roda, he’s been able to kick-start a career that had seen him endure three unsuccessful loan spells in England. He made it…

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FA Youth Cup: Chelsea 1-0 Millwall

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February 27, 2020

Chelsea are back in the FA Youth Cup Semi Finals after a comfortable 1-0 win over Millwall at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening. A second-half strike by Armando Broja, his 20th of the season, was enough to steer the Blues to within one match of another Final, and it was ultimately a more comfortable win than the scoreline really reflected. Enjoying the lion’s share of possession and creating by many…

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