The end of the Premier Academy League season this week saw two young Chelsea boys wear the blue shirt for the final time, as Ben Sampayo and Bobby Devyne were confirmed to be departing at the end of their contracts this summer.
They will almost surely joined by Anton Rodgers, who hasn’t appeared for the club since the start of March. The trio all signed two-year youth scholarship deals in the summer of 2009 and academy staff have made the decision to bid them farewell rather than offer an extension or professional terms.
Speaking after today’s defeat to Charlton, Dermot Drummy noted that Sampayo and Devyne would leave, and whilst Rodgers wasn’t named, his absence from all reserve and youth line-ups over the last two months, plus his trials and the lack of an announcement of new terms means his departure is almost certain.
For the other two, it means their careers at the Blues have come full circle. They both joined at Under-13 level after attending the same trial day and impressing with their performances.
Sampayo has captained the youth team for the best part of the last two years, making 56 appearances along with four reserve outings. He has, at one point or another, occupied all four positions along the defensive line and this season in particular has led with the experience and knowledge he’s gained whilst at the club in a team which has usually been laden with schoolboys.
Devyne, meanwhile, took his game to another level this season in all areas, especially impressing with his work ethic and team mentality, whilst finishing tied with Todd Kane as the Under-18 team’s leading scorer, finding the back of the net eight times.
That was a marked increase from his total of five last term, and altogether he turned out 54 times for the youth team, adding four reserve team appearances to his belt.
Rodgers arrived at the club in 2004 when his father Brendan joined from Reading. He was part of a group of Royals players who made the same trip including brothers Jack and George Saville and Tom Lyskov.
His first season as a scholar was hit by injury and international absence, and as a result he never truly got going in a blue shirt. Nevertheless, he scored three goals in his role as something of a set piece expert, and found the net once this term.
The Republic of Ireland youth midfielder played 34 times in Drummy’s youth team but never made the step up to the reserves.
Sampayo and Rodgers have both turned out for Brighton’s reserve team in recent weeks in the hope of earning a deal at the League One Champions, and have reportedly caught Gus Poyet’s eye.
The Uruguayan is in regular contact with Chelsea and is delighted with the progress former reserve captain Liam Bridcutt has made this season, forcing his way into the team to become an integral part of their march to the title.
Sampayo has also spent some time with Brentford, whilst Devyne has yet to delve into the world of trials as he’s been heavily involved with the Youth Cup team, whilst also being a regular amongst Steve Holland’s late season reserve squads.
Everyone at TheChels wishes the trio the best for the future and all the luck in finding the right home for them as they take the next steps in their careers.
It’s important to remember that being released now is far from the end of the road, with numerous former Blues having had superb seasons in the football league, all the way up to Jermaine Beckford at Everton, who was cast aside by Chelsea at the same age as this season’s released.
The future is blue, even if it’s not in blue.