03:49PM, Wednesday 06 June 2018
Maidenhead United chairman Peter Griffin says it’s great for players like Sam Barratt and Harry Pritchard to progress to League sides, because it sends out the right message to all of the Magpies’ aspiring players.
For many seasons now the Magpies have been seen as a club that develops and nurtures talent that helps its best young players move on to bigger and better things.
Last season Dave Tarpey was sold to League 2 Barnet (now National League) for a club record fee, while Barratt’s move to Southend United, and Pritchard’s to Blackpool shows the Magpies won’t stand in the way of young players’ professional ambitions.
“Of course they’ll be missed,” Griffin told BBC Berkshire this week.
“They’ve been big players for us, but that’s part and parcel of the club we are. And it’s great to see players progressing.
“It sends out the right message to all our aspiring players in the youth teams, coming through the ranks, or those we’re looking to attract here that if you play well you’ll get your chance. That’s about seven or eight players in the last five or six seasons that we’ve sold, or have moved on to higher level clubs from us.”
While Maidenhead won’t like to think of themselves as a stepping stone for young players, they can use this perception of the club to their advantage. Just this week Ayo Obileye, a 23-year-old centre half signed after playing for Eastleigh last season. He said he’s hoping to prove himself by playing games at Maidenhead, but wants to play in the ‘highest possible league he can’.
Jake Goodman looks likely to follow Barratt, Pritchard and Sean Marks out of the club this summer, but Griffin isn’t expecting many more departures.
“I don’t want to tempt fate, but I think that’s pretty much it,” he said. “The vast majority of last season’s squad are under contract for this year. We’ve got some very good prospects coming through also, and we were concerned we might lose them, but pretty much everyone we wanted to be here will be with us for next season. I know that the Sam and Harry deals have only been announced in the last week or so, but we’ve known for some time and adjusted around that.
“Dev’s already made a couple of signings and he’s got another three or four that we’ll work through in the next few weeks, but we’ve got things lined up.”
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