Date:Sunday September 6 2009
Crewe Alexandra legend Dario Gradi has appeared in two national press articles today talking about how 'big clubs' come stealing youth talent from lower league academy's.
Talking to both the Sunday Express and the Daily Star, Gradi reveals that he has reported a Premier League club for tapping up one of our unamed 15 year old talents. Speaking to the Sunday Express he said 'We have a situation at Crewe where one of our 15-year-olds has been approached. He is an outstanding player by any standards.'
'He has come in and told us that he wants to leave right now to join a big club. So what sort of compensation are we going to get for all the work that has gone into developing him? Any compensation is insignificant for the effort that gone in. You have to worry financially for the clubs from where the players are stolen from'
'It`s definitely an illegal approach and we have the evidence to support that view. We hope that any punishment is severe'
Gradi has been particually damning of Chelsea since their ban on transfer activity was announced. A team which has seen former Crewe youth team, and first team manger Steve Holland take a role as reserve team manager. Only a few months ago in his previous role at Stoke City he 'stole/tapped up' two of Crewe's decent youth prospects in Ben Marshall and Matty Lund.
"I would hope all the big clubs are now frightened to death. I`m delighted with what has happened with Chelsea. I would hope all the big clubs are frightened to death. There is no excuse for breaking the rules. Paddy Crerand was on TV the other night dismissing all this. 'Oh it goes on`, 'Everybody does it, everybody knows. What`s the problem?` Well I`m sorry but it`s wrong in every way, shape or form.'
'The big clubs like Chelsea can sign up six youngsters at a time costing them say £1million each. What`s £6million to them, especially if one of them goes on to make it? It`s hard to protect your players. All this goes against the morality of the game. It`s the rich robbing the poor.'
Gradi then continued to talk about his experience at the Alex 'We lost a 12-year-old to Everton - he was our best 12-year-old. The lure is the bigger clubs pay big expenses. This kid will be getting several hundred pounds a week in expenses. We pay expenses but nothing like that. It`s more a case of giving out £20 if someone can pick a kid up en route.'
'We know that our best players are approached by everybody. We probably lose two or three a year. We try to keep them by saying it`s best to stay, get in the first team and then we will help them get the club they deserve. It`s also the only way many clubs can stay afloat.'
"I have got to produce a £1million player every year for the club - that`s how much we had to budget for losses. If I had lost young players all the time then there might not now be a Crewe, it`s as serious as that.'
You can read the full articles in the The Sunday Express and The Daily Star by click on the paper names.
As soon as we know more about the reported premiership club and the 15 year old wanting out we will let you know.
Date:Sunday September 6 2009
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