Manchester City's Torpey appointed Brentford Academy Director
Written by Simon Austin — October 20, 2023
STEPHEN TORPEY has left Manchester City after nine-and-a-half years to become Brentford’s Academy Director and will spearhead the Bees’ drive to achieve Category One status.
Torpey worked his last day at City today after nine-and-a-half years and will start with Brentford in January 2024 after serving a period of notice. He joined City from Liverpool in June 2014 as Foundation Phase Co-Ordinator and went on to become Head of Coaching for the U6s to U12s.
Since June 2020 he has been Head of Coaching for the 15s to 21s.
Brentford controversially closed their Category Two Academy in the summer of 2016. However, they reopened at Category Four level last season, running an U18 team, and next year plan to rise to at least Category Three.
The ultimate intention is to go Category One and when the Bees advertised for an Academy Director on TGG in the summer, they said they wanted a ”world-class talent developer to lead the next phase of development from Category Four towards eventual Category One status.”
Brentford have not had an Academy Director since 2016. Since then they have run a Development Squad for 17s to 21s and a B team. Speaking at TGG Live last week, their Director of Football Phil Giles explained some of the background to decisions about the club's Academy.
In doing so, he used an analogy from Dave Reddin's earlier presentation about strategy and 'what it takes to win'.
"We wanted to get promoted and were bottom three for revenues in the Championship," Giles said. "Where do you put your money? Developing eight, nine, 10, 11-year-olds, or do you want to put everything into getting promoted? That was fundamentally why we did it.
"We then had a B team, which has produced players who contributed to our promotion. Nothing fundamentally against Academy football per se, it was about placing chips, which is a great metaphor.
"When we closed the Academy we were able to recruit players from Scandinavia, but Brexit changed that fundamentally. We had a lot more chips in the Premier League to go and place on different things. The Premier League also told us we had to open an Academy, which sealed the deal.
"The decision to close the Academy was largely mine; the B team was my idea. The closing of the Academy is a little less straightforward as I found out to my cost, it upset a lot of people."
Torpey is the latest senior member of staff to exit City's Academy. Academy Director Jason Wilcox left at the end of last season after a decade's service to become Director of Football at Southampton. He was replaced by VFB Stuttgart’s Thomas Krucken.
In December, Northern UK Scouting Manager Paul Midgley was appointed Head of Youth Recruitment at Newcastle United. Head Regional Scout Paul McLaren also joined the Magpies, as Head of UK Scouting (13s to 18s).