Shadow Scholarship | Bobby Hassell Interview

Barnsley FC Academy Manager Bobby Hassell says he is looking forward to working with a bigger pool of young talent thanks to the new Shadow Scholarship scheme.

Playing at a level just below the Academy, the initiative allows the club to keep hold of local talent and late-developers who would have previously been released.

It will also bring in players from other football clubs, giving youngsters aged 16-19 a second chance of a career in football whilst gaining qualifications through the established Reds in the Community education programme.

The youngsters will study for a level one, two or three qualification with the opportunity also being available to earn a degree in community football coaching.

Hassell was keen to emphasise that the Academy will be heavily-involved in the development of the players.

He said: “It’s excellent for the football club, especially for the Academy. It gives us that extra time that you sometimes need for lads who aren’t quite at academy standard. We give them somewhere to go where we can monitor them. We know they are going to [work with] good coaches and a good education programme so I’m really excited about the project.

“It’ll be linked closely. Our coaches will be there monitoring players on a daily basis and a weekly basis. It gives us a chance to get some of the lads out of the college group and stick them in with our 18’s training. And then you never know, come Christmas they might be playing for us in the games programme.”

Key aspects of the link between the Shadow Scholarship and the Academy will be in the use of the same facilities, football philosophy and coaches.

Lead Player Development Coach Mark Tinker will be leading the programme, both on and off the pitch.

And Hassell believes ‘Tinks’, who has 14 years of coaching experience, will install the same high standards currently used in the Academy.

He said: “It’ll be extremely professional. Mark Tinker is part of our Academy staff. I know all about him. He’s a highly-qualified coach and is highly-professional. It’ll be run like a normal academy will. They’ll get the same kind of messages that our Academy coaches are giving and preach on a daily basis.

“Within the Academy we’ve got highly-qualified and experienced coaches. Most of them are ex-professionals, playing 100’s of games. It’s going to be a great experience for the lads coming in, it’s probably more qualified than most projects like this up and down the land.”

For more information on the Shadow Scholarship, please click here: