Alan McLoughlin has spoken of his pride at the Pompey Academy legacy which continues to thrive.
Jack Whatmough, Conor Chaplin, Ben Close and Brandon Haunstrup can expect to feature in tomorrow’s friendly with Bournemouth.
I had to kick Conor Chaplin up the backside with his dad there and tell him in six weeks he would be out on his earAlan McLoughlin
The fixture also marks the benefit match of the coach who helped bring them through the Fratton system.
McLoughlin was a component of Andy Awford’s revitalised Academy structure which has subsequently provided a prolific pool of talent.
Re-established by Awford from February 2011, the set-up also included Paul Hardyman, John Slater, Ian Buckman and, latterly, Mark Kelly and Mikey Harris.
And the impressive results continue to be seen by the Fratton faithful.
McLoughlin said: ‘When Andy Awford brought me back the Academy was a state.
‘It wasn’t run particularly well, there appeared to be turmoil behind the scenes, the players were ill-disciplined, there was no structure in what they were doing.
‘My job was to make sure the 16s were ready to be scholars, but they were miles away on the back of an Academy which had millions of pounds to spend and wasted it employing people not capable enough to do the job and buying players.
‘Andy came in and shook it to its foundations. The reason why you have the benefit of lots of exciting kids out there is because of that process.
‘When the club was in administration, the powers that be were persuaded to keep the Academy going.
‘Then it was our job to make sure we could deliver and make these better players – I am proud to say we’ve managed to do that
‘Foundations are built at football clubs over time and somebody at some point will put the flag on top of the mountain to say promotion has been achieved,
‘But below that is a process and you need foundations in place, where people are willing to work under two pay cuts, see others lose their jobs and still keep on going.
‘And we loved every minute of trying to build the club back up again.’
Others to have emerged through the set-up in recent times are Adam Webster, Jed Wallace, Alex Bass, Adam May, Calvin Davies, Dan Butler and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.
As for McLoughlin, the Fratton favourite is now under-18s manager at Swindon.
He added: ‘I had to kick Conor Chaplin up the backside with his dad there and tell him in six weeks he would be out on his ear.
‘He was exceptional but not doing what I wanted him to do in terms of releasing the ball at the right time.
‘Jack Whatmough, straight off the bat, was going to be an outstanding player.
‘I am very proud of the lads who have come through and am still in touch with them.’