Manchester United are set to unveil an innovative initiative aimed at enhancing the support provided to former academy graduates who have departed the club.
United have spent the last 18 months building the ‘Alumni Programme,’ intended to provide formal access to support, assistance and guidance for a network of 227 ex-players who left the club within the past 11 years.
Academy director Nick Cox, entrusted with overseeing a working group over the past eight months, has dedicated his efforts to crafting a sustainable strategy to ensure the project upholds high standards.
The Red Devils are expected to launch the groundbreaking programme in early January, hoping to create an ‘aftercare’ community to help the former academy players interact with each other.
During an interview with the Telegraph, Cox outlined Man Utd’s awareness of the problem and the club’s genuine ambition to help the leavers overcome their issues.
“We see it as our duty to care and support the boys long after they have left us,” he said.
“They make a big commitment as young players to be part of our programme. We think that commitment deserves an ongoing commitment from us.
“We are constantly refining what we do, why we do it and if we could do it better. We felt there was a need to formalise some of that aftercare and support.
“The risk of an informal approach is that you end up connecting with young boys who you know are prominent in your minds and are desperate to come back.
“But you might miss a young person who really needs your support.”
Rejections are hard, especially in the adolescent period.
While it’s clubs’ responsibility to take care of players’ well-being during the duration of their contracts, paying attention to aftercare is equally significant, especially when it comes to young people.
Man United, as one of the world’s most influential football clubs, cannot and will not drop the ball here.
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