While one door has sadly closed on Huddersfield Town’s age-group players, others appear to be opening quickly at other Academy set-ups.
As soon as it was revealed Town had decided to scrap their age-group programme and become a Category 4 Academy instead of Category 2, clubs have been swift to pounce on the available talent.
And Town’s Premier League rivals Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton are among those offering trials, in addition to Yorkshire clubs – especially with the players now effectively becoming free agents.
Former Town player Danny Cadamarteri, too, was quick to put out the message that his current club, Burnley (who are Category 2), are actively trying to recruit from Under 8s to Under 16s.
Town chairman Dean Hoyle revealed it was a heart-wrenching but necessary move to pull the plug on the existing structure, redirecting funds into the elite Under 18s and Under 23s in the hope of more success down the line in producing players for the first team.
Only Phil Billing is in the Premier League squad right now and, since the Academy inception in 1999, only Jon Stead has previously come through to become a top-flight player.
There was much anguish and many tears among the Town youngsters when the news was announced last Friday, along with anger and astonishment from their families and friends.
The club owner, indeed, acknowledged it was a very sad situation and sad day for him personally, and immediately offered any help Town could give to the lads to ease the path to them getting fixed up elsewhere.
He will be delighted that seems to be the case already for a good proportion of the 100 players or so who were left in limbo at the weekend.
The Old Trafford club are reportedly keen to look at Rocco Fragapane, who is on the England Under 16 radar, while United are also trailing Harvey Rowe and Sam Murray, who have attracted attention in Manchester and Merseyside.
Normally a compensation fee would be payable upon a young player moving club, but that’s not the case in these circumstances and it seems clubs are keen to tap into a pool of already-scouted talent.
To prevent some of their best talent being spirited away by the top clubs in recent years, Town have been handing full contracts to 16-year-olds, and two of those remain firmly in the Town and England picture in Jordan Williams (on loan at Bury) and goalkeeper Ryan Schofield, who helped England win the Toulon Tournament in the summer.
Town fully accept some of the players who they’ve now let go may graduate elsewhere to have successful careers and they wish them only the best.
The chairman admits it would have been easier to do nothing at this stage, with all the Premier League money coming into Town, but ultimately believes this is in the best interests of the club long-term and, perhaps, some of the youngsters who are now following their football goals at other clubs.
The rationale is that players who are good enough will find a way through the system, and Town hope to reap the benefits of that – but in the older age groups, with intensive scouting and recruitment both at home and abroad.
For the record, were Town ever to qualify, they would not have an issue with regard to competing in Europe as they still have an Academy, with a manager to be appointed in due course.