Why departure of five Portsmouth Academy staff is being welcomed by youth head Greg Miller

Pompey’s Academy have been hit by five staff departures since the season began.

By Neil Allen
Thursday, 21st October 2021, 4:55 am
Sean O'Driscoll is among five Academy staff departures so far this season. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Sean O'Driscoll is among five Academy staff departures so far this season. Picture: Habibur Rahman

But Greg Miller has pointed to the desire to progress rather than disillusionment being the driving factor behind their Fratton Park exits.

And he's embracing talented staff demonstrating ambition to develop their careers away from the Blues.

The most high-profile departure is head of coaching Sean O’Driscoll, who believes he can no longer meet the level of commitment required.

Elsewhere, Andreas Trimmis, lead Academy physiotherapist, is set to join another football club’s first-team, while part-time psychologist and player welfare officer David Price is leaving to head up a psychological department at the University of Portsmouth on a full-time basis.

Following the decision of Shaun North to replace Kev McCormack as kitman, a new youth development phase coach will start on November 8.

Meanwhile, former Everton and Fulham goalkeeping coach David Hills last month replaced Joe Prodomo in the Academy.

Prodomo had arrived in the summer, yet quit to take up the under-23s goalkeeping role at Bournemouth, with a house in the area.

And Miller, who arrived as Academy head in April, is delighted to see his staff develop and progress.

He told The News: ‘People are absolutely not leaving this Academy because they are disillusioned, disappointed with the support, or the infrastructure.

‘People are moving because the time is right for them, whatever their decision in life is.

‘Nobody has been asked to leave, no-one has been forced out, people are moving for their own reasons. We respect that and thank them for their efforts.

‘Sean O’Driscoll has put in place a lot of these staff and, while we are disappointed to be losing them just now, we are proud that a lot are furthering their careers.

‘It’s like anything in life, some people will seek a new challenge, some might be financially motivated, some might feel it’s career motivated. People will always consider their options.

‘We understand that as an Academy, irrespective of your categorisation, people will look to move on and develop themselves – and we welcome that.

‘I want ambitious people, I want driven people, I want people that want to learn, I want people willing to give fresh ideas to us as Academy staff.

‘You are always disappointed to lose good staff, but equally you are enthused for new staff coming in and what they can bring.’

And he is convinced the ongoing level of spending puts the Blues at the top-end of Category 3 Academies in the Football League.

He added: ‘In the Academy we have a full-time analyst when you need a part-time one, we have a full-time head of education when you need part-time, we have a full-time goalkeeping coach when you need part-time.

‘We are employing more scouts, while we have a number of casual medical staff who aren't just qualified to do evening training. We are putting them through the medical courses which lets them work on match-days.

‘We believe by getting all of these types of framework right then hopefully it helps us support better player safeguarding, better player development, and better player emotional and psychological support.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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