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Here's looking at you: Blues' scouting system
A FEW months ago Wanderers chairman Don Woodward admitted that when he arrived at the club the Blues scouts didn’t even know where Marlow FC was.
If that’s true, it’s in the past and manager Gareth Ainsworth has actually been to Oak Tree Road himself in the past year.
However, the boss does admit the club’s antennae for fresh talent in south Bucks is still a work in progress.
Manpower is one stumbling block. Ainsworth and his two coaches do much of the legwork themselves and Blues, like many lower league clubs, don’t have the money for a network of scouts.
He said: “We’re not the richest club in the world so we have to do as much as we can ourselves.
“Myself, Lee [Harrison] and Dobbo [Richard Dobson] do a lot of scouting ourselves for players that could come into the team immediately in case there are emergencies.
“Gone are the days where you have thousands and thousands of scouts checking every player out.
“If we get recommended a name or a team and we can get a night where we can go and watch them or get a dvd, that’s how you do it in the lower leagues.
“Further afield, we have got a couple of people connected with the club who go out locally.
“But if I checked out every player who gets recommended or I got a letter from, I wouldn’t have time to do my normal job.
“Sometimes it’s a little bit of luck finding these players, but we are out there.
“It’s just manpower and getting people whose judgement I can trust. I get recommended some players and go and see them myself and am quite disappointed, or I see somebody else that someone else has missed.
“It’s a real can of worms, but we hope to be getting it better in local areas – and we’re going to have to in the next few years because with the academy going, which was a feed, we’re going to have to start trying to bridge that gap and get the next lot of players through.
“It’s going to be tough, and just because you’ve got an academy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get players coming through.”
They have had successes, and Ainsworth can point to Tommy Fletcher.
He said: “Tommy Fletcher is a prime example of what we’re doing. He’s not made a first team appearance yet but there is definitely potential in him. We got him from Cheshunt, which is step five. It’s way down there.”
For the most part, Blues rely on their contacts in game and “We’ve got plenty of contacts. Obviously we’ve had the QPR boys coming in, and are building up contacts all the time.
“We’ve got contacts at most of the London clubs and if we needed someone emergency-wise we could go and get someone no problem at all.
“And we’ve got a database of all the youth academies in the South East with hundreds of players on there.
“But the non league is a real maze. We are watching people in local lower leagues but I don’t want to give names away or where we’re going because then everyone jumps on it.
“But first things first. We need to do the academies, we need to do the players who could come in straight away if I lost a player.
“If I lost Marvin McCoy I’d have Nick Arnold straight there. He’s a right back from Reading and we brought him in because we knew he could play first team football.
“The lower league players, they won’t come straight into the team.
“There are people out there scouting, but myself, Lee and Dobbo concentrate on the first team.
“If and when we can get to the lower leagues to see the non league games, which we have been, we go out and see those.”
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