The Best Players Exeter’s Academy Has Produced
It is well known that Exeter City’s Academy is a gold mine for talent. As the League 2 side can’t afford the wage bill of some of their rivals, they have had to look close to home for their talent. The Exeter Academy is renowned for producing great young prospects. These players are often offered the opportunity to represent the first team and are promoted through the ranks quickly.
It remains to be seen if Exeter can continue turning up the talent they have so far and it appears impossible to hold on to any special players for long, as bigger clubs tend to swoop in and snap them up. In fact, The Grecians have funded most of the developments in the academy through player sales.
There are a whole host of players that have come through the youth set-up and there are still players from the academy pulling on the red and white to this day. The worry of protecting the club’s young assets comes from a loophole in the Elite Player Performance Programme, which allows big clubs to sign young players (too young to be under professional contracts) for a fraction of their value.
But with experience as promising talents in big clubs, their value incredibly increase towards the market during the Mercato and we can see it with the odds of the bookmakers, whether it is in Ireland or worldwide. By the way, betting in Ireland is also a real sport within the sport itself. Indeed, it permits to add more interest in the games while supporting our favourite team! And with some Irish bookmakers as Winamax, Betiton, Betclic or even Unibet, bettors can find interesting odds to place their bets and try to win some money watching football for example.
Olly Watkins has shown wherever he goes he gets goals; City fans will look back fondly on his time in the red and white. A tenacious, hard-working striker with an eye for goal and an obvious love for the club, the fans adored him. As we all know, goals are priceless and it was unsurprising when bigger clubs started watching Watkins. He signed for Brentford for £1.8m and has been in red-hot form for the Bees, who sit firmly in the play-off places in the Championship.
Another fan favourite, Matty Grimes, is Captain of a Swansea side that sit 11th in the Championship, only three points off play-off positions. Signed from the Grecians for a fee of £1.75m, he is a key member of their midfield and has been an ever-present figure all season long. At 24, he is still young and it remains to be seen how high Grimes will climb.
Ampadu is a household name for any City fan. Ethan’s father, Kwame, played over 150 games for Exeter and Ethan followed in his father’s footsteps by pulling on the red and white. Ethan became the youngest player ever to represent the Grecians at the age of 15 and was widely regarded as the biggest talent to come out of the academy in recent years. His transfer to Chelsea was the source of some controversy, as the club only received £1.3m for him, although he was valued way above this price. He has gone on to play for Chelsea and Wales and is currently on loan at RB Leipzig, although he is expected to return to Chelsea.
Like Ampadu, Jay Stansfield followed in the footsteps of his father, Adam, by playing for Exeter. His father is a club legend who tragically passed away from cancer and now has a stand named after his at St James’ Park. Jay was yet another fantastic talent that was snapped up before he had a professional contract. He is currently in the ranks at Fulham and is yet to fully break into the side.
Every City fan dreams of where the club would be if they could just keep hold of some of the talent a little longer, or if they received the appropriate amount of money for the quality of player they are selling. Here’s to hoping promotion is on the horizon and a change in the Elite Player Performance Plan can see Exeter establish themselves as a force in the football leagues.