Hale appointed Derby County Academy Manager
Written by Training Ground Guru — June 13, 2023
FORMER Southampton Academy Manager Matt Hale has joined Derby County.
Hale worked for the Saints for a decade before exiting at the end of the season and was described as “one of the country’s top youth developers” by Ged Roddy, the Premier League’s former Head of Football Development.
At Derby he replaces Darren Wassall, who departed last month after 14 years. At the time, the club explained: “The post of Academy Director is being restructured to the more operational role of Academy Manager in this new phase of the club’s rebuild.”
Hale said: “Derby County’s Academy has an excellent standing, so I’m eager to get down to work. I can’t wait to meet the existing staff and begin building excellent working relationships with everyone, including our young players and their parents.
“From the very first conversation I had with the club it was apparent that our values and vision for the Academy were perfectly aligned, so it was an easy decision to accept this opportunity and there’s so much potential to work with here.
“I am genuinely excited for what the future holds. I am ambitious and driven to build on the foundations that have been put in place by many people in the Academy over recent years.”
Chief Executive Officer Stephen Pearce added: “We’re thrilled to welcome Matt to Derby County as our new Academy Manager. We conducted an exhaustive interview process to ensure we found the right person to lead our Category One Academy and it became very clear that Matt was the outstanding candidate.
“He was passionate from the outset about the prospect of joining the club and what appealed to us immediately was his ability to bring together an Academy to operate as a high achieving and thriving system for youth development. He also knows what is required from a Category One operation.
“Matt’s excellent skillsets and ability to create an environment to aid the development of our players and staff in the Academy really stood out. He has a very good reputation and we’re delighted that he’s joining us.
“As was made clear in a recent statement, there remains an absolute commitment from (owner) David Clowes and the board to maintain Category One status for the Academy. The appointment of Matt as Academy Manager, in a restructured and more operational role, is another important step.”
The Rams placed 39th in TGG’s Academy Productivity Rankings for 2021/22 - the third lowest Category One club (behind Stoke City and Burnley). The rankings place teams according to the number of professionals they produced who played in that season (from Premier League to National League level).