One done, one to go for Norwich City Academy boss Ricky Martin
- Credit: Matthew Usher
It may have been a few years later than he had planned, but Academy boss Ricky Martin was not about to let anything dampen Norwich City's remarkable FA Youth Cup triumph.
The Canaries won the most glittering prize in English youth football on Monday night – repeating their 1983 success and raising hopes of some home grown talent breaking into City's first team over the coming years.
And that is the stuff of any academy boss's dreams, right across the country.
'I joined in 2001 as assistant academy manager and in 2004 I was appointed academy manager, and from that day I can remember doing an interview with the EDP stating I would win the Youth Cup within five years,' said Martin.
'I didn't quite achieve that, but I have ultimately achieved that and that was one of my dreams.
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'I've got another ambition of producing a player that is potentially worth millions of pounds for our football club, so one is achieved and the second one is on it's way and a work in progress.
'But from my point of view, Monday night was when everything came to plan. We didn't just turn up and think, 'Wow, we're in the final – what are we going to do?' We'd been preparing for it since 2004.
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'We had been looking at groups coming through the system and I got reminded about a conversation I had 18 months ago where I said we had a really talented group coming into the building that if they did well and kicked on, they could be really strong and have several professional players – and also maybe do well in the Youth Cup.
'It's great that it has come true and even when they came in the building at 16 years old, you had a feeling there was a talented group here and that comes from a lot of hard work.'
With youth football in England currently undergoing an overhaul driven by the Football Association, category one status already means City are a leading club in the change – and their FA Youth Cup success will only add to that momentum and reputation.
'The players will now need to take advantage of what they've done, but also as academy manager I need to take advantage,' added Martin.
'Our profile is out there. Every academy in the country knows Norwich City have won the FA Youth Cup, every grassroots club will have that information filter down to them, so it's really important.
'We were already on the map because we are one of only up to 20 academies with category one status and we are already doing ourselves proud by getting that. It's now up to us to fulfil that potential.'