League Two outfit Barnet are the latest Club to join LFE’s AASE programme and that move is just one of a series of huge changes at the North London Club.
Having struggled to survive in the bottom division for years, the Bees have taken a great step forward by opening a fabulous new training centre in Edgware.
The state of the art multi-million pound Prince Edward Centre is sure to be the envy of many Clubs across the country.
Barnet’s first year Apprentices have been lucky enough to enjoy the facilities since the late summer and are soon to be joined by the first team at the facility.
Barnet have signed on eleven first year Apprentices as they join the LFE scheme for the first time this season. The Club totally revamped their youth policy this summer ahead of moving to the new facilities, with former first team manager Paul Fairclough heading up Youth Development and bringing in Jeremy Steele from Portsmouth FC as Youth Team Manager.
Fairclough’s Administrative Manager is Alan Jackett, brother of current Millwall boss Kenny. They have Centre of Excellence teams from Under-9’s to 18’s, all based on the two 3G pitches and immaculate grass fields at the 44-acre Prince Edward complex near Canons Park tube station.
This is Barnet’s third season in the Football League Youth Alliance. The previous youth system was based at Southgate College for six years, where the Education Manager was Gavin Willacy… who is Barnet’s new Regional Officer for LFE!
“It’s great to still be working with Barnet, my nearest Club,” says Gavin, who started with LFE in late September. “But it’s very different now. Everything has changed: the lads are new, so are the coaches, the course, the training ground, and the College – the boys go to Stanmore College where Stephanie Chittenden is doing a great job.”
“The facilities at Edgware are stunning. The pitches and changing rooms are fantastic and when the social areas, gym, classrooms and mini-stadium are completed it will be one of the best training grounds in London – if not the country.”
“The new Apprentices have got a fabulous chance to progress there. I’m delighted that six of the boys I taught at Southgate are now pros at Barnet and hope as many of the new group follow them.”
Goalkeepers Phil Carpenter and Will Viner, defender Joe Devera, midfielder Joe Tabiri and strikers Luke Medley (on loan at Woking) and Elliott Charles (on loan at Ebbsfleet) all came through the system with Gavin at Southgate College, playing for Barnet at Under-18’s and Under-19’s before turning pro.
Charles scored in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Underhill in pre-season, the Gunners’ scorers including Russian superstar Andre Arshavin.