Important Academy Update 5 | COVID-19 Virus

18th Apr 2020

Sent on behalf of Academy Manager, Kristjaan Speakman:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Following our most recent correspondence on Friday 3rd April I write to confirm our short-term plan for the Academy programme. Having completed the final part of the coaching mesocycle online with all age groups, we have now finished the Week 40 player development reviews and these will be available to view on PMA from next week. With the intention of resuming the programme in late May or early June we are going to move the traditional close season period to commence from this Monday, the 20th April.

With the future so ambiguous at this time we may well recommence with an online based programme prior to a formal training programme commencing. It is also important to note that a return to training will look different across the age groups from U9-U23. This will very much depend on the Government guidelines and once this picture becomes more clear we can hopefully put some plans in place. Earlier this week we operated our first online parents forum which was fantastically attended and it was great to see so many familiar faces. The opportunity to interact with everyone on some key pieces of information and take questions on the issues that matter to families at this time was well received and we will be holding another session once we know a little more around the second week of May.

As mentioned in the previous communication, education is extremely high on our agenda and we want to ensure we support the players throughout this uncertain period. Education sessions for Scholarship players will continue as per the current timetable and all Scholars are advised to continue to engage in these sessions. We will also continue to run our drop-in education sessions on Zoom for Schoolboy players and Mark Sinclair will remain your point of contact should you wish to discuss this.

Following our reviews at Week 40 we traditionally enter the period where we reflect on our players progress and formulate decisions on the retention of U9-U14 players who’s registrations conclude on 30th June. The safety and wellbeing of our players is of paramount importance during this unusual period and we feel it’s inappropriate to undertake this process in the current climate. This matter is being reviewed by the PL and EFL and we are hopeful that a sensible solution is found in the interests of the players. This will most likely result in moving this process to later in the year at a more appropriate time when the players have had a chance to recommence training and games.

We understand this matter may create anxiety for players and families - in the event no changes are made and the retention notification remains the third Saturday in May (as normal), then our current position will be to proceed and re-register all players for the 20/21 season. Based on this scenario, once the programme resumes we will seek to liaise with parents of players who’s progress may be of some concern. Due to the current situation, it is important to note that retention letters for players may be delivered electronically which has been authorised by the EFL for any registration matters between now and 31st May.

From 20th April until further notice, we will be operating with a skeleton staffing structure to manage the programme during the break. The only staff that will be contactable by players and parents are detailed below and this includes the types of queries that can be directed to each member of staff.

Coaching & Analysis queries

Kristjaan Speakman (

Stuart English (

Education, Player Care & Safeguarding queries Mark Sinclair (
Sports Science & Medical queries Adam Roche (
Any other queries Tim Smith (


On all the matters mentioned above we will retain constant communication with families over this period.

Kind regards,


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