Podcast: Southampton, Greenhoff, and insight into United youth culture

Robin van Persie celebrates scoring for United

Authors: Doron and Phil

Follow Doron, Phil and BTP on Twitter

Beyond The Pitch and Stretford-End.com have come together once again to record another podcast, the thirteenth in the series. This week we have two guests who have books coming out – former United player, Brian Greenhoff; and Man United youth historian, Tony Park.

To listen to the podcast, click on this link. It is available to listen to or download on iTunes at this link.

Topics covered:

Brian Greenhoff

Brian Greenhoff joins us to talk about the Southampton game. We discuss the dropping of David de Gea and whether it was right following an error against Fulham. We all feel Vidic’s return has been rather sluggish and off the pace – so far his ‘presence’ hasn’t been felt, something we need in central midfield too. Brian names the signings he’d have liked to have seen this summer and waxes lyrical about Scholes but does still preach caution. Are there comparisons between Welbeck and Fletcher in terms of playing out of position early in their United careers? Finally, Brian talks a bit about his book, “GREENHOFF!”, and tells us that it’ll surprise a few people, with stories such as the fact he’s not spoken to his brother, Jimmy, for 20 years.


We still can’t believe he’s our player! His signing remains a shock although less of a surprise is his quality on the pitch – his four goals so far have all shown his various strengths.

Tony Park – @mrmujac

Tony Park joins to give us his historical perspective on the Manchester United Youth and Reserves Academy and taking a long range view of what might be considered one of the brightest spots for the club in the Ferguson era, developing a standard and establishing a clear and pragmatic culture within the club from a very early age. This is a must listen part of the show as Tony gets into the gears of this process, some of the important figures behind the scenes with several real world examples, comparing how English clubs develop their players against the Spanish system which seems to reflect its unique cultural challenges. Tony gives us the look back at how clubs in England have traditionally used non-league clubs to improve their youth players and what the new challenges will be in the future, given the spectre of the NextGen Series and what UEFA might do with a youth Champions League. We also examine the emergence of the continental influence in youth technical training in recent years to measure whether the progress is measurable and whether the unique aspects of English football might force an even further rethink given the nature of top flight game. Also in the crosshairs is how youth prospects are really been challenged like never before as the leap from an Academy to the potential of Premier League and Champions League football is such a long one and if manager longevity issues reduce the opportunities for young players as managers no longer have the length of tenure that they once did. The segment finishes with a quick chat about Tony’s upcoming book, Sons of United.

Draws and players

We finish the show by discussing the Champions League and Capital One Cup draws – the former has been kind again whilst the latter has been tougher than we’d have hoped and maybe youngsters won’t feature in it. We quickly asses Darren Fletcher’s situation and Rooney’s situation at the club.

Once again, to listen to the podcast, click on this link. It is available to listen to or download on iTunes at this link.

To listen to the first twelve podcasts, click here.

Our thanks again to Brian and Tony, you can follow them both on Twitter by clicking on their names. You can find information about Brian’s book here and Tony’s book here.

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