Relationship forged with Chelsea’s academy

Last Saturday marked an exciting day for the Chesterfield academy as hundreds of youngsters travelled down with coaching staff to Chelsea’s training complex.

The day gave the academies a chance to forge a special relationship. Chesterfield Under 8s, all the way up to Under 16s, travelled to Cobham Training Centre for an experience that many will never forget.

Not only did the potential future footballers get to meet a Premier League legend, Petr Cech, the also Spireites began on the journey to forming a bond with the current European champions.

The connection is a very important aspect that Chesterfield brought away from Saturday, with many positives for the club and players to note. 

Neil Cluxton, Chesterfield’s academy manager, explained what himself and his fellow coaches took from the day: “It was fantastic to train with a Premier League side, and the European champions as well.

“There have been fresh ideas and new concepts. I’m not saying that our playing styles are the same, but I hope the information they’re receiving is slightly similar because Chesterfield are a club that like to play too.

“It was great to share ideas and expertise. We wanted to use the day to gain more knowledge, so that we can help our own boys with their development.”

Ben Knight, Chelsea’s lead phase coach between the age groups of Under 9s and Under 14s, spoke about the benefits for both clubs in terms of player development. He said: “Inviting Chesterfield down to Cobham meant the players could mix amongst each other, learning off the Chelsea boys. 

“It was a brilliant opportunity. One, from a footballing perspective, and two, from a social development perspective. We wanted to educate the children about what the FA Cup means, the spirit of it, and just how big a tournament it is.

“Obviously, it was great from a football point of view, but holistically, it has been even better.”

Knight went on to explain how the connection between the two clubs can be beneficial in the future. “The good thing about the beautiful game is that there isn’t a lot of difference between levels,” he said.

“What they (coaches) do won’t be extremely different but it’s all about experience. Giving them the opportunity to train at the Cobham Training Centre, we hope it inspires them. We hope they can take something away with them that they’ll take into their own game and learn from.

“We want to create a fun environment where the kids can explore their potential and show the world what they can do.”