Assistant Academy Manager/Head of Academy Operations Charlie Musselwhite gives an insight into the Salop academy's recent restructure.
Under the leadership of Academy Director David Longwell, Shrewsbury Town's academy has undergone a restructure to ensure continual possession and Salop stars of the future are consistently coming through the program.
With David Longwell overseeing the academy whilst plying his trade with the senior Shrews side as Town's First-Team Coach, Head of Coaching Rob Williams will now have added responsibility whilst Charlie Musselwhite will now take on an additional role as Assistant Academy Manager alongside his work as Town's academy Head of Operations.
Now 18 months into David Longwell's tenure working with Town's youth system, Charlie Musselwhite gave an insight into the changes the fans, players, parents, and stakeholders can expect from the team based at the Shrewsbury Sports Village.
"Over the past 18 months, things have been very different for a lot of people for various reasons," said Charlie. "In the middle of last season, David Longwell went up to join the first-team set-up and other staff had to fill in gaps. At the start of this season, it became more official that he would be based there permanently. David is now our Academy Director but also a First-Team Coach. That's fantastic for the pathway and the restructure that we've gone with. That means I have gone into being the Assistant Academy Manager/Head of Academy Operations. The day-to-day running of the academy will be done by me whilst David oversees everything that's ongoing.
"Rob Williams is taking a more hands-on approach with added responsibilities alongside his role as Head of Coaching. Our Head of Recruitment Gary Wharton has come in on a full-time basis; he's also got some added responsibilities. Alongside all of that, we've had a number of new staff come in. We've had quite a large staff turnaround for a number of reasons and we see it as a positive. There's definitely excitement around the academy at the moment and there's a lot of fresh faces buying into the things we want to achieve. Myself, David and Rob have been very specific in the way we've outlined our plans and responsibilities for our new members of staff.
"Kyle Kirby has come in with the under-18's and we've had other members of staff come in with our younger age categories. That's anywhere between our Youth Development Phase or the Foundation Development Phase. We've had new staff come in on a full-time as well as on a part-time basis. It's still very early days but we hope these changes will be very positive. In the time that David has been here, there's definitely been a massive increase in productivity and an increase in the standard of the things we do day-to-day and yearly. That refers to things we do on the grass and the things we do behind the scenes. We've had new additions in different multidisciplinary departments."
"It has been very exciting for me. When I was doing my Foundation Phase role, I was also able to do more administrative work. More than I was doing previously for David and previous academy managers before him. I had an inkling into some of the things I would be doing but it's definitely been very positive for me."
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