'I wouldn't have joined if Portsmouth owners weren't fully committed to Academy' - new youth boss Greg Miller on Tornante's Blues ambition

Greg Miller is adamant Tornante are ‘financially committed’ towards Pompey’s Academy.

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 12:00 pm
Greg Miller is adamant chairman Michael Eisner and Tornante president Andy Redman (right) are backing his Pompey ambition. Picture: Joe Pepler

And the new Academy head revealed he would not have accepted his Fratton Park role if he sensed the Blues owners couldn’t match his own ambitions.

The former Barnsley head of Academy coaching was appointed in April, a move coinciding with an overhaul of the existing youth set-up.

Long-serving former Academy head Mark Kelly has now left the club, while a large number of youngsters were not retained.

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As it stands, none of last season’s second-year scholars were taken on by Pompey.

Now Miller has been challenged with revitalising an Academy production line which has slowed in recent times, despite Tornante’s public pre-takeover pledge to invest and drive its performance.

The 45-year-old told The News: ‘We are very much open for business and hoping to evolve and create a thriving Academy.

‘The club executive have stressed in all discussions I’ve had with them that the Academy and its continuance is very much at the forefront of their minds.

Greg Miller was appointed as Pompey's head of Academy in April

‘It has been short, but I have met with the ownership over a video conference and they were welcoming of me coming into the football club – and asked what my initial perceptions of things were.

‘Obviously Mark Catlin and I have engaged on a regular basis during the working week, in regards of my initial overview, his ideas around how the Academy has operated, and the infrastructure the club can support moving forward.

‘I am very confident and happy that the club is 100-per-cent committed to this Academy.

‘Throughout my recruitment process, I always had comfort that the owners were fully committed, otherwise I wouldn't have accepted this role.

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‘I am ambitious myself, I want this place to be thriving, I want a lot of success stories. Primarily with players through to the first-team, but, secondary, as players leaving your Academy and being very well equipped to go on and succeed in their lives.

‘I wouldn't have signed up for that if I didn’t think it was something that could be achieved and had the right level of executive support.

‘Absolutely I believe everyone is going in the right direction, that everyone shares a common philosophy and alignment.

‘There’s a huge importance of having a thriving Academy – and at Pompey there’s a willingness and the financial commitment to do so.’

Miller spent almost three seasons working in Barnsley’s Academy, while before that was at the Scottish FA for six years as an elite performance youth coach.

Now he’s been handed his first head of Academy role after an interview process which saw boss Danny Cowley heavily involved in the eventful outcome.

Miller added: ‘First and foremost, I would like to achieve a place where players are really well supported, where we have given them a fantastic journey in the Academy and in life.

‘Ultimately, you want a number of players making progress through to Danny and Nicky’s first-team.

‘It’s about establishing themselves and getting the chance to showcase their talent – and the talent we know they have – in front of the Pompey supporters.’

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