Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughMedia formats continue to revolutionise football recruitment - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Media formats continue to revolutionise football recruitment - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Media formats continue to revolutionise football recruitment

Last week, 123 Premier League players joined the many thousands of footballers in the UK, at all levels of the game, seeking a new club for the upcoming season. While the Premier League took the step of releasing a complete list of those top-flight footballers seeking new employment, scouts worldwide will already be hard at work, seeking potential new investments for their clubs. As the summer recruitment drive begins, the methods used by both players and clubs, have broadened in recent years.

It was the late 1950s, a young goalkeeper had found himself around the Reading youth setup. When his mother approached Chelsea Football Club, writing a letter requesting a trial for her son, The Blues duly obliged, leading to the emergence of a club legend. Peter Bonetti went on to make 729 appearances for the club, winning the League Cup, FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in two spells lasting a total of 19 years, as well as seven England caps. Mrs Bonetti was clearly a visionary, as well as a persuasive communicator.

Fast-forward half a century and the methods of recruitment in football have revolutionised considerably. A continual evolution of methods has seen the birth of multi-million-pound academies, but arguably the biggest set of developments has been in the methods of recruitment. Scouts local to clubs are now part of global scouting networks, as clubs seek to find tomorrow’s stars quicker than their rivals, however, the introduction of various media forms, reverses the traditional method, with the players now presenting themselves to the clubs. Television projects, such as Football Icon and Football’s Next Star, saw the TV talent show format applied to football, with victorious young talents earning professional contracts.

In an industry now more competitive than ever before, at all levels of the game, the introduction of social media is allowing those slipping under the scouting radar, to highlight themselves and their talents. Chelsea Ladies manager, Matt Beard, has himself taken steps into the world of football recruitment, with the launch of Beard, whose successes include the Premier League Southern division with Millwall Lionesses and an FA Cup triumph with Charlton Athletic Women respectively, sees the venture as vital to allowing smaller clubs to strengthen and progress, ‘especially in Non-League football clubs just don’t have the resources to go out and scout players. You generally find a lot of player recruitment is when a player at your club recommends a player. With technology these days you could film yourself on your phone, upload the footage to our site and send that footage to clubs in your area.’

While the inclusion of mobile phone footage may not match the heights of global scouting and international television coverage, Beard, a former coach in the men’s game with Tooting and Mitcham United and Kingstonian, feels his move into online recruitment will aid his own development of his side, as a device which will work alongside managers, as they looks to work with their existing teams, as well as strengthen them, ‘As a Manager it is difficult to get out and watch games as you are generally playing at the same time as other clubs. You also don’t have the resources to send someone out to watch players either. With FindaFootballer you can search for players via the site.’

While the publicity from the Premier League will see many top-flight players find future employment, players plying their trade at the lower levels of the game are not afforded such luxuries; however, the creation of new ventures could see increased competition for places across the nation.

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