Portsmouth youth chief praises Michael Eisner after budget increase for Blues Academy

Greg Miller revealed Pompey’s Academy has been handed a ‘slight’ increase in its budget this season.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 5:50 pm
Greg Miller has praised chairman Michael Eisner and Tornante's continued funding of Pompey's Academy. Picture: Joe Pepler

And he is adamant owners Tornante are continuing to provide the crucial financial assistance for the Blues’ production line to flourish.

Chairman Michael Eisner has been criticised by some supporters over the funding levels of the Academy set-up.

Ahead of their August 2017 takeover, Tornante had pledged pledged to invest in the Category 3 system – one of their few promises.

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Yet the once prolific Academy has slowed in recent times, while the category status has still to be upgraded.

But head of Academy Miller, who was appointed in April 2021, has defended the level of investment by the owners.

He told The News: ‘The Academy budget has had a slight increase this season, which has been fantastic.

‘It has enabled us to be a bit more creative in putting in place some of the things.

‘Like anything, you have capital expenditure. For instance, we’re looking to fund some dug-outs at Roko and have started that process.

‘We’ve also been away from the Collingwood site for the best part of 20 months and are going to put a bit of investment into the goals up there. We’ve had ground maintenance up there, with staff deployed for extra hours to help get that site ready,

‘We’ve been able to bring in a full-time analyst, we are bringing in the casual scouts which weren’t in place during the last 20 months, we’ve had to buy some IT equipment, cameras, tripods and a MacBook.

‘So there has been that level of investment from the board and I have been absolutely enthused by the provisions they have given us to try to progress this Academy.

‘From the point of my first interview with them, the directors were up front with me. They felt we need to keep evolving and sometimes, to evolve, it can’t only be financial with money thrown at it. Maybe there have to be different working practices employed.

‘However, whenever we’ve needed additional financial monies to help us make the small incremental steps that we want in certain areas, they have absolutely been supportive.’

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Yet on the pitch, the under-18s head the Youth Alliance League South-West Division after seven matches.

Meanwhile, midfielder Harry Jewitt-White is a Wales under-18 international and remains an exciting Blues prospect.

And Miller believes Pompey’s spend on the Academy is among the highest for a Category 3 set-up.

He added: ‘Our spending is at the top-end of Category 3 Academies in the Football League.

‘I am not aware of what other Category 3s are and aren't spending on the penny, but when you are speaking to clubs, heads of coaches and Academy managers, you get a sense of the positions they have full-time and part-time.

‘Even in the most simplistic way, if you just look at that one area, we’ve got a lot of full-time staff which these other Category 3s don’t have.

‘So right away you are already spending more.

‘Then we are giving under-18s players food after matches, we are giving the opposition food, we are giving opposition under-16s food.

‘Why? That’s because we believe it’s the right thing to do and that’s part of what we are about as a football club. It’s treating people with respect and treating them properly if they have, maybe, travelled several hours to come and play us.

‘All these things cost money. We are giving our under-18s breakfast and lunch every single day, when I know for a fact other clubs aren't in the position to do that.

‘There are fantastic resources made available to us for the categorization that we are.’

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