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Ricky Duncan on the departure of Ian Hart...

6 May 2021

Southend United Academy Manager Ricky Duncan is sorry to see Head of Academy Coaching Ian Hart depart the club and said he will be looking for a replacement to inject fresh ideas.

Hart has been at the club for seven years and recently confirmed he will leave at the end of the season.

And Duncan believes the Academy is well placed to continue the good work that it already does in producing good coaches and players for the club.

“When Ian joined us we had not long before that put together the Academy Performance Plan,” said Duncan. “It was Luke Hobbs, Dave Johnson and myself at the time and we decided we wanted someone to come in and coach the coaches.

“We needed someone to show the coaches what we as an Academy needed, so they could then coach the players in the philosophy and playing style we wanted throughout the Academy. That’s why we brought Ian in.

“We were one of the first clubs to employ someone in this role and have them dedicated to teaching the coaches, and then 18 months later the Premier League brought in the Head of Coaching role. We believed that was important at the time and it quickly became an established position among Academies up and down the country.

“Over the last seven years Ian’s been with us we’ve slowly progressed the role and he’s been involved in developing and adding to the Performance Plan into what it’s become today.

“Ian’s been good for the Academy and I’m sorry to see him go but I’m also excited because when someone leaves it gives you an opportunity to bring someone else in with new ideas, new impetus and they see things in a different light. I think that’s brilliant for the Academy because we’re looking to build on what we’ve got and we’re already looking for that person.

“We’ve put an advert out today and we want to inject something else into the Academy with fresh ideas so whoever comes in will need that, and we’ll have that person in place within the next couple of weeks.”

And Duncan also added that there’s a big team of staff and coaches at the club that all have important roles to play in bringing players through the age-groups and into the first team.

“I know Ian touched on it a little bit, but we’ve got a lot of staff at the club that have put a lot of time and effort into all our young players.

“I always say that one person can’t take all the credit, I don’t take all the credit. When a boy signs at 9-years-old you’ve got the 9’s, 10’s, 11’s, 12’s, 13’s, 14’s, 15’s and 16’s coaches who have all had a part to play in that player’s development.

“We’ve got a strong Academy and it’s going to keep going. It’s important we get the right person to come in. I’m sad to see Ian go, if we could keep him then we would but he’s made his decision so we’re looking to bring someone in to support what we’ve got and improve it.

“Hopefully they’ll bring new ideas and ultimately we can continue producing the players we produce for Southend United.”

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