The young Cod Army finished in a mid-table positionFleetwood Town’s youth team manager Nathan Rooney has reflected on his first season in charge of the young Cod Army in an interview with the Club’s official website.
Rooney was appointed at the helm of the youngsters last July, and oversaw a positive change of fortunes for the U18s, who concluded the campaign in mid-table within the standings of the North West Youth Alliance.
Speaking about his inaugural term in the position, Rooney said: “The first six months of the year were very positive and the outcome of the season has been two boys moving up to the next group. There is always going to be ups and downs, but it’s how you manage that.
“It’s about the players at the end of the day, but I’ve got to say that we have reached the standards I started off with at the start of the season. We’ve hit a few different targets along the way as well, so it’s been very good.
“The main thing that I have enjoyed about the role is being part of the Club who are catching up with the first-team level.
“We have set new programmes, put a professional standard in and have and recruited people with experience at this level which has helped in building a new philosophy around the academy structure of the Club.
“At Christmas time we were sat second in the league, everyone was excited but realistically I knew where we were and what levels needed to be hit. In the end we have finished in a respectful position from where the lads finished
In March, Town announced their intention to further develop their youth academy system to coincide with the official opening of the new £8m training ground at Poolfoot Farm in Thornton.
Under the governance of the Elite Player Performance Programme, the Fylde Coast side currently operate at a category four academy, and aim to achieve category three status by next season.
And Rooney is excited at the potential future plans, as he added: “Having worked in an academy, the main emphasis of what an academy is to produce your own. It is to build a community where the players come in and they become
“We are a Club who want to integrate these boys into a full-time set up, so we had to sacrifice those points and the league for the most important thing, which is the player development.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing it develop, but it won’t be an overnight job, it will be a three, four or five year model, but the Club will see massive benefits to it in the long run.
Rooney also reserved praise for FTFC’s Academy Director Stuart Murdoch, who he has built up an excellent working relationship with ever since joining the Club.
He concluded: “It has been a breath of fresh air to work with Stuart. He has massive amounts of realism, I call him head of reality at the club, he likes to throw a few bombs in but he only does it for the good of the staff and the
“Me and Stuart have got on like a house on fire, so much so I’ve started calling him dad at the end of the season, and I look forward to many years working with Stuart Murdoch.”