Not many clubs are able to boast a relationship with the European champions, Chelsea.
When the Chesterfield FC academy travelled to Cobham Training Centre for a day of football drills and training with Chelsea’s academy, it marked the start of what will hopefully be a fruitful relationship between the two clubs.
Justin Tellus, Chesterfield academy’s head of recruitment & development, talked about the connection building between the two clubs, and how the training day helped move towards that aim. He said: “The day was definitely a team effort. We’ve got a great team here at the academy with Neil Cluxton, Kevin Fogg and Nigel Smith.
“There are a lot of elements that went together to make this work. Going to the European champions is a one-off occasion, really. But we hope it isn’t just a one-time thing – we want to have regular contact with the club.
“There seems to be intent on Chelsea’s side to work with us, which is brilliant to see. We can learn so much from the coaches, the players, the set-up, how they operate, and take that into our own academy.
“This link between the clubs can have a big impact on our player development moving forward, and our coaching too, especially for a club of our size.
“The relationship will be brilliant for our players. To play alongside league players is a great chance as it can show them the demands in terms of physicality and technicality. Ball manipulation and how to be comfortable in possession is important to us, too.”
Spireites chief executive John Croot also touched on how important the day was for the club and expressed his excitement over plans for a future connection with a Premier League club. He said: “It was a great opportunity to just go and see how an internationally respected academy and junior system works.
“The coaches and the players have benefitted greatly. It’s a learning curve for everyone involved.
“Chelsea have given the whole of Chesterfield Football Club an opportunity. There were over 200 youngsters there – what an experience for them.
Petr Cech was in attendance during the day, overlooking the activities as Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor.
Croot spoke about Cech’s presence and the opportunity for the younger players, in terms of player development especially.
“It is vital to start so young,” he said. “It helps them get into good habits, pick up different skills, and learn to take advice from the qualified coaches around them. This is a good foundation for anything the kids decide to do in football, or the sporting arena as a whole.
“Also, what a role model Cech is. I saw the young goalkeepers go and have a photo with him. He won the FA Cup five times and was an established Premier League goalkeeper. With a legend like that, in an environment like that, the experience will stick with them for life.
“I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Chelsea for the opportunity, for the players and the coaches. Everyone has been buzzing since the day and that’s all down to Chelsea. They looked after us so well.”