Academy Director Owen leaving Stoke as overhaul continues
Written by Training Ground Guru — July 12, 2023
ACADEMY DIRECTOR Gareth Owen is leaving Stoke City after more than a decade as the club continue an overhaul of their youth operation.
Owen, 40, joined the Potters in 2012 as a Foundation Phase coach and was promoted to Academy Director in May 2019. He will leave the club in late September “to seek a new challenge within the game,” the club said.
The Academy has undergone an overhaul since the arrival of Ricky Martin as Technical Director in November 2022. The following staff have departed:
- Jimmy Hunter (Head of Coaching)
- Kevin Russell (Under-21s Lead)
- Richard Walker (U18s Lead)
- Danny Pugh (Player Development Coach)
Dave Hibbert has been promoted from U21s Assistant to U18s Lead, with Stoke legend Ryan Shawcross as his assistant. Alex Morris has arrived from Crewe, where he was Assistant Manager, to become U21s Lead.
Owen said: “I would like to sincerely thank all the players, staff, parents and fans for supporting the Academy during my tenure and for making my time at the Club so enjoyable.
“I have been immensely proud of the achievements of all players that have represented the Club, and in particular to have played a part in the development of the likes of Nathan Collins, Will Forrester, Tommy Simkin, Emre Tezgel and Nathan Lowe amongst others. I hope to see plenty of similar success stories during the coming years.
“There have been many experiences across the age groups down the years that will live long in my memory; from the U12s taking Real Madrid to penalties, to memorable U15s and U18s victories over Manchester United last season.
“After 10 years at Stoke, I am seeking a new challenge in the game, but will do everything possible between now and the end of September to help the Club prepare for the future.”
Technical Director Martin added: “After around a decade here at Stoke, Gareth has expressed a desire to seek a new adventure within the game. He will do so with our sincere thanks and – by continuing in his role for the next few months – Gareth can ensure that services to our young players are not disrupted during the period of transition.
“The process to identify his successor will now commence and we are confident of attracting an outstanding candidate to the Club in this exciting and hugely important role.”
Owen was a product of the Potters’ youth system and enjoyed a 288-game playing career with Stoke, Oldham, Stockport and Port Vale. Stoke placed 52nd in TGG's Academy Productivity Rankings for 2021/22, up from 63rd in 2020/21.