Andy Pilley insists James Hill’s record breaking move to Bournemouth is one which everyone at the club can be proud of.
The 19-year-old joined the Championship leaders on Wednesday in an undisclosed club record fee, beating the previous high when Jamie Vardy joined Leicester City in 2012.
Hill, a product of Town’s thriving academy, made 51 appearances for the first team after working his way through the Under 18 and 23 set-ups at Highbury Stadium.
“It’s a great day for James Hill, for Fleetwood Town and for AFC Bournemouth,” he said.
“We are delighted to have achieved our goal here and that James will be playing at the top of the Championship and hopefully very shortly in the Premier League.
“The conversations have been going on regarding James for a long-time now, it was clear this January window would be the right time to shake his hand and wish him all the best in his future career. The fee is undisclosed and I respect the privacy of Bournemouth and the deal, but I can say it’s a club record fee and one we are pleased about.
“I don’t see this as a blow at all, it’s something we always planned for. We always have pathways and look towards the future and the plan always was for James to leave at this stage.
“The timing was just right for us, he’s been looking like a Rolls Royce for us in League One, Bournemouth are top of the Championship for a reason and we are pleased for him to be joining a fantastic club who will improve him future.”
Hill becomes the second teenager to leave the club in big-money moves in the last 12 months, following 16-year-old Josh Feeney’s move to Premier League side Aston Villa in the summer.
Something which Pilley says is a model which he hopes Fleetwood can replicate in the future.
Explaining: “I think people in football are talking about Fleetwood Town’s young players now, we have a conveyor belt of young talent coming through and so many exciting players we’ve produced in our Academy.
“We are seeing the fruits of the labour of all the staff and of the investment at Poolfoot Farm - we are now reaping the awards of our hard work, this is the business model going forward.
“It’s easy for clubs to say come and join our Academy and make claims about pathways, but we are showing it now in the real world.
“We can sit down with the parents and not only offer wonderful facilities and top coaching, but we can also offer a genuine pathway to first team football and beyond to the Championship and the Premier League.
“We always want sporting success in the first team, of course we do, but we also want to see us develop our own young players and see them establish themselves in the first team.
“We also managed to sell Josh Feeney in the summer for a very decent fee, and he was on the bench for Aston Villa at the age of just 16 in the Premier League only two days ago.
“Josh is captain of England’s Under 16s, James Hill had been called up for England U21s and we had seven players away on international duty in the last break, so I think that shows the progress we are making at the club in developing players.
“That on top of the 12 Academy graduates we’ve seen play for us in the EFL this season - it’s quite remarkable. It’s something which gives me enormous pride.”