The Chelsea Academy Class Of 2024

July 12, 2024

Sometimes, Chelsea’s class of first-year scholars come into their new full-time jobs a little inexperienced. Take last year’s nine-strong cohort, for example; Kiano Dyer and Ollie Harrison had effectively played a full season of youth team football as Under-16s (Harrison at Newcastle before moving down South) but, of the other seven newcomers to Hassan Sulaiman’s group, only Frankie Runham had really even flirted with a breakthrough, and half of them…


Everything But The Chels

May 30, 2024

Perhaps it was obvious what was going to happen from their very first statement. On May 30th 2022, two years ago today, the consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital completed their takeover of Chelsea Football Club and immediately laid out their plans. Boehly’s welcoming words spoke about being “custodians of (the club)” and a “commitment to developing the youth squad and best talent”, while Behdad Eghbali and José…


Reflections On The 2023-24 Chelsea Academy Season

May 23, 2024

Four minutes after Josh Acheampong’s equaliser in the Under-18 Premier League National Final, Donnelly McNeilly clipped a shot agonisingly wide of the post at the Matthew Harding End. Two minutes after he’d restored parity in the PL2 Playoff Semi Finals, Deivid Washington watched as his effort hit the inside of the post, rolled across the face of goal and away to safety. Chelsea lost both of those matches by fine…


Previewing Chelsea’s 2023-24 FA Youth Cup Challenge

December 8, 2023

In each of the last three seasons we’ve previewed Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup campaign with something of a proclamation that it was about time the Blues brought the famous trophy back to Cobham once again. Five straight triumphs between 2014 and 2018 set a certain level of expectation and history – the club is the second-most successful in the competition’s history behind Manchester United – that has not been met…


Previewing The 2023-24 Chelsea Academy Season

August 9, 2023

The 2022-23 academy campaign at Chelsea was interesting and largely promising, yet there was a sense of business left unfinished, of meat being left on the bone, and of work still to do. Mark Robinson’s Development Squad challenged long and hard for the PL2 title before falling short in the season’s final weeks, while the Under-18s saw a good start fall away to a tough middle before finishing strong under…


The Chelsea Academy Class of 2023

July 10, 2023

Here we go again, then. It hardly seems like yesterday that we were welcoming the sixteen-strong class of 2022 but, after a year in which those players made significant strides in their first season as full-time footballers, it’s time to welcome another cohort of scholars into the academy. The class of 2023 is a little different to most recent intakes in that the number of graduates coming through the Cobham…


The Loan Report: 2022-23 Season Review

June 10, 2023

This summer is reportedly set to be a seminal moment in the grand history of the Chelsea ‘Loan Army’. For a decade or more now, the Blues have been at the forefront of the organised outsourcing of youth development for 18-22 year-old prospects considered too good for academy football but not quite ready for the big-time at Stamford Bridge. Those prospects have occasionally yet consistently been joined by overflow from…


Reflections On The 2022-23 Chelsea Academy Season

May 10, 2023

In the last few editions of these summaries, I’ve made a point of noting how long it’s been since the academy won the FA Youth Cup or dominated in the silverware department. After another campaign without a trophy at Under-18, 19 or 21 levels, it would be easy to do that. With each passing year, though, it becomes less relevant; an inaccurate barometer of where Chelsea find themselves right now….


Chelsea Loan Report: Mid-Season Review

December 29, 2022

The 2022-23 season has been a strange old time at Chelsea Football Club in all departments, with rapid change and general uncertainty underpinning a period of succession planning and building a platform for the future. The loan department, once a huge operation led by Eddie Newton and staffed abundantly, is now somewhat scaled back with Carlo Cudicini in charge, yet the development of some twenty-odd players remains as important now…


Previewing Chelsea’s 2022-23 FA Youth Cup Challenge

December 15, 2022

1,692 days. When Chelsea line up against Bradford City at Kingsmeadow on Saturday to kick off their 2022-23 FA Youth Cup campaign, it will have been 1,692 days since they last had their hands on the most prestigious trophy in English development football. To put that into perspective, if you rewind the exact same length of time before that famous 4-0 win at the Emirates Stadium and a fifth successive…