Southampton Academy Director Hale to leave at end of season
Written by Training Ground Guru — May 3, 2023
SOUTHAMPTON Academy Director Matt Hale is leaving the club at the end of the season after a decade’s service.
Hale informed the club’s new owners, Sport Republic, that he was leaving to seek a new challenge a fortnight ago. Academy staff were subsequently informed of the news via email.
Hale joined the club as Academy Manager in October 2013, having previously headed up their satellite operation at Team Bath for two years.
It was during this time that he had forged a good working relationship with Matt Crocker, whom he eventually replaced as Academy Manager. The duo worked together once again when Crocker returned to Southampton to become their Head of Football Operations in February 2020. By this time Hale’s job title had changed to Academy Director.
Hale came through the youth ranks at Bristol City and gained his first professional contract with the Robins. However, he soon realised his future lay in coaching and while playing non-league with Weymouth he gained his B Licence at the age of just 18.
At the age of 30 he took on a dual role with Team Bath, setting up their apprenticeship scheme while also playing for them. Southampton subsequently asked him to run their satellite youth operation at Team Bath, which is where he came to the attention of Crocker.
Hale will leave Southampton on a high, with their B team having just won Premier League Division 2 and their Under-18s reaching the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup, where they were beaten by eventual winners West Ham. Young homegrown players like Kam Doyle and Tyler Dibling have also become part of the first-team squad.
Writing on LinkedIn, Ged Roddy, the former Head of Youth Development for the Premier League, posted: "Looking forward to seeing what challenge you have chosen next Matt. Someone is about to acquire one of our top youth developers."
Hale is just the latest senior exit from Southampton following their takeover by investment firm Sport Republic in January 2022. Crocker has just departed to become Sporting Director of US Soccer and will be replaced at the end of the season by Manchester City Academy Director Jason Wilcox.
Assistant Academy Director Edd Vahid departed in August last year to become Head of Academy Operations for the Premier League and Head of Senior Recruitment Joe Shields left in January to become Co-Director of Recruitment and Talent at Chelsea.
Lead Data Scientist Alex Kleyn is leaving at the end of the season to join Manchester United and Head of Youth Recruitment Dan Rice will also leave then to become Head of Emerging Talent for Everton.