(Thursday 5th May 2005)
Lewis Christon - the only player from the Wanderers Centre of Excellence to be retained for 2005/6. He is chairboys.co.uk tip to make the grade at Wycombe. Wanderers will take on five players into their First Year Youth Team system for the 2005/6 season. Last season Wanderers took on eleven new names. However, with Clubs only allowed a maximum of 18 players on Youth Scholarships at any one time, the five new players brings Wycombe back towards this maximum figure.
Last season five from the eleven were picked from the Wanderers Centre of Excellence which develops players between the ages of nine and fifteen. One of those five, Shane Garricks, subsquently joined QPR. This season just one player of the new intake will have come through a system that costs Wycombe in excess of 100,000 a year to run. Head of Youth at Wanderers, Colin Barnes, commented in the matchday programme, "The level of player that we are looking for is higher than we have managed since I have been at the Club." Barnes, who joined Wanderers at the start of the 2003/4 campaign, added "With myself having spent many Saturday's and Sunday's watching the Premier Academy's Under 16's games, to enable us to know which lads would be available come the end of the season. The contact that Gary (Smith) and myself have within the game are extremely beneficial. We will be judged on our record of how many players proceed from the Youth Team through to the First Team."
Funding of the Youth set-up at Wycombe is partly financed by grants from the FA, Football Foundation, the Premier League, the Government and the PFA. The maximum grant attainable was 138,000 but this is likely to be cut next season after the PFA reduced their input by approximately 17,000 per club. PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor wrote to all Football League Chairman in March explaining the situation. The letter cited reduced television revenue as the main reason for the cuts in Youth funding.
Wycombe Wanderers - 1st Year Scholars/Apprentices 2005/6
Lloyd Boateng Stuart Cattell Lewis Christon
Robert Rice Sam Tucknott Walters Group
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The new faces at Wycombe for 2005/6 are Lloyd Boateng a striker who has been released by the Arsenal Academy; Stuart Cattell a midfielder released from Southampton; Robert Rice a defender released by Fulham; and Sam Tucknott a skillful looking forward who was a trainee with Crystal Palace but who also has connections with Brighton. The only name from the Wanderers Centre of Excellence is defender Lewis Christon who chairboys.co.uk tip to make the grade at Wycombe and possibly beyond. Lewis plays mostly in a central defensive role and made his debut for the Wanderers Youth Team when aged just 14.
Elsewhere in the Youth system at Wycombe, Stephen Gregory and Liam Grier have been confirmed as being retained for the football element of their third and final year Wanderers scholarship. Non-contract player Kieron Gradwell is expected to be released and decisions will also have to be made on first year professionals Rashid Ahmed, Sonny Ball, Russell Martin and Tamba Ngongou, while Matty Fox, the only Third Year scholar, is in a similar situation. All are 19 years old and will not be allowed to play for the Youth Team next season. Russell Martin, looks the most likely to earn a contract having broken into the First Team on a few occasions in 2004/5.

Click here for www.CHAIRBOYS.co.uk Wanderers Youth Team and Centre of Excellence Guide

Click here for Youth Team results and scorers 2004/2005
Related Links
Chairboys on the Net
April 2004
New scholars for 2004/5
Chairboys on the Net
February 2004
Restructuring news for 2004/5
Chairboys on the Net
February 2004
Youth boss leaves
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