Marcus Nash: Accies Academy – Assembly Line of Success
From James McCarthy to Lewis Smith, Hamilton clearly has worked out how to produce grassroots talent.
Before working at Accies I knew of the never-ending list of talent that has come through the ranks here, but now I’ve seen it first hand how successfully the system is run.
Taking you back to this time last year, the u19s are just about to place their name in the history books of this football club and take part in the UEFA Youth League. Hamilton has never played European football and the group of lads that got there went their whole season undefeated to earn the opportunity, Remarkable eh?
It was even more remarkable that they managed to knock out Swiss-giants FC Basel at home in front of just short of 3000 fans at a packed New Douglas Park. The noise levels and passion that night is unexplainable, Let’s just say if the stadium had a roof it may have been blown off with the roar of the crowds that famous evening in Hamilton.
So how does Accies continue to produce the likes of Brophy’s, Ferguson’s, Mimnaugh’s & Cunningham’s as well as qualifying for UEFA competitions?
Well, gritty-realism and treating these players with respect is probably my biggest observation of the process. Ego’s don’t exist here, everyone is treated equally from the u10s to captain Darian Mackinnon.
Academy Director George Cairns is the man at the wheel and I asked him the secret, he said: “The secret is we work together, we’re a community-based football club that doesn’t have millions of pounds to spend on players.”
“The extent of our success is having the right team of staff around you that buy into the philosophy. We have around 40 staff & 100 players and every single person has an important role to play.”
“The club doesn’t work if the guys that own the club don’t push and drive the success of our youth system, we’re very fortunate our owners and directors do, and that’s pivotal here.”
“We have players out on loan all over Scotland, we’ve got George Stanger representing New Zealand, Lewis Smith, Jamie Hamilton & Andrew Winter representing Scotland. These are massive boosts to the success we have already got here.”
“So to answer your question, the secret really is hard work from everyone.”
So who will be Hamilton’s next star? Who will be the next big thing? Well, you can decide for yourself because In my opinion the place is run like an assembly line, It never stops and it constantly produces.