Search begins for new head of youth with Brady set to depart

Coming off the back of a dramatic victory in extra-time in the FA Youth Cup yesterday, it is likely that the corridors of London Colney will be buzzing with excitement this morning, particularly in the youth department. That feel-good factor will be tempered slightly, however, by the news that Liam Brady will leave his position as head of the club’s youth development by the end of next season.

Brady, himself one of the finest players to come through the club’s original youth set-up in the early 1970’s, has been stationed in that role since before the Academy was re-formed in 1998, and has seen the likes of Ashley Cole, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs progress through the club’s hierarchy in that time.

This season has ben one of immense change for the club’s youth development, with Steve Bould and Neil Banfield being promoted to the first-team coaching staff, new coaches being implemented at both U21 and U18 levels and and the club competing in European competition at youth level for the first time. Along with David Court, who also came through the club’s ranks as a youngster, Brady has overseen Arsenal’s youth development since 1996, with one of his key roles being to decide on which players should be awarded scholarships each summer. The club have won the FA Youth Cup on three occasions during his tenure, but it has not all been plain sailing for the Irishman.

Mistakes have certainly been made in recent years, with the decision to take on 17 scholars in 2010 one that rather backfired whilst, in the past few seasons, many foreign talents have had to be signed to supplement the comparatively small number of home-grown youngsters making their way through the ranks. The signing of Jamie Edge, a player who had little to no technical ability and was subsequently released by West Bromwich Albion after leaving Arsenal, was rather bizarre. The Alban Bunjaku debacle, too, is perhaps best left forgotten.

For all that, though, Brady’s reign has, by and large, been met with success. It is true that only a very select group of players who were registered to the club at the age of 16 have enjoyed sustained spells in the first-team squad, but a glance at the squad lists of clubs in the Premier League and the rest of the Football League will demonstrate just how many players the club have produced over the past 15 years that are capable of playing at a relatively high level.

The next step, of course, will be to have more of those players carving out long-term careers at Arsenal. The club have been at pains to point out their desire for a British core to the first-team squad in recent months, with the likes of Wilshere and Gibbs a key part of that philosophy. The man who replaces Brady will have a massive task on his hands to fulfil that aim, but, at present, there are few clues as to who will replace him in the role. Patrick Vieira is doing a similar job at Manchester City at present, although a return to North London for the Frenchman seems unlikely, but whoever comes in will be fully aware of the scale of the task facing them.



  1. Thank you and goodbye, Don’t forget to take David with you.
    We need home grown who understands what the club is about and has the vision to start over. Someone looking for a new challenge to resurrect a sleeping giant .
    Ose Aibangee (Brentford) or Dermot Drummy(Chelsea) . Since Ose has taken over at Brentford they have come on leaps and bounds,
    As for Dermot, Look at their youth academy. Where we once were and where we would like to be again.
    New man to come in and sweep away all the dead wood friends that are not up to the job.

  2. how many homegrown players did he produced ? tops 2 or 3 if that. Only 2 have played more than 30 league games. hes a failure by any real standards. Charlton Southampton Middlesbro are proper academies

    1. Who have Charlton, Southampton and Middlesbrough produced in the last 10 years better than Ashley Cole and Jack Wilshere?

      1. Also established premier league players such as Steve Sidwell, Leon Britton, Marthew Upson. All well capable of playing in the league but just not for the biggest clubs. I think Brady did a very good job arsenal have produced as many premier league players in the last 15 years as any other club.

  3. What are you guys smoking, Bergkamp is assistant manager at Ajax. What on earth makes you think he’d rather go back into youth development, and not even in an active coaching capacity, than working with senior players like he is now?

    1. And what on earth tells you that he dont want to work as this role? Its a unique job with very different object. He might want to be a manager one day but he might also take this job for a new challenge. Let me tell you this… people can change their mind and people are not always want to do one thing for the rest of their life.

      1. “And what on earth tells you that he dont want to work as this role?”

        My common sense tells me. He’s already worked his way up coaching Ajax youth sides, if he wanted to stick to youth development he could have been doing that now instead of taking up a first team coach position, and now the assistant manager position.

      2. If he would have wanted yes he could. But he wanted to go further yes. But this is not a coaching thing. This is a new thing. Its with youths, yes but its a total different thing than comparing it with coaching a youth team. This is for the clubs future many many years ahead for many generations. You don’t actually know what he wants to do in life. Of course he wants to work as an assistant couch instead of a youth coach. Thats not even comparable. But assistant coach of head of youth coach is two very different things. And this is for a very big club.

        I might want to do both but in the end he has to choose one. He said he would ove to work at Arsenal one day.

  4. Er maybe you have forgotten where Walcott came from oh yes another arsenal youth player.
    Gareth Bale is a better player than Wilshere. Shaw is another player we are looking to buy who will be more stronger and consistent than Gibbs
    Charlton recently produced Shelvey and Jenkinson.(ok hes dodgy but given time should be decent) Nuff said

    1. Please explain. Walcott joined the first team right away. he is not an arsenal youth player. He was brought in and have only been in the first team.

    2. I sincerely hope your comment is just one long piss take. Bale isn’t even better than Walcott, let alone the beast that is Wilshere. He dives more often than he plays a quality ball. Shaw is a baby, don’t talk nonsense. Shelvey? Really, you’re bringing up Jonjo Shelvey to big up an academy? Goodness me, you really are taking the mickey. ‘Nuff said’ indeed.

  5. Very sad to hear that Brady is leaving, anybody know the reasons why Brady is stepping down? Did he want to go, or was he told to go? Big task to replace him…

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