Jim Cassell, one of the stalwarts of Manchester City Football Club left the coaching setup the club confirmed today. The Manchester City Academy was long among the top developmental programs in England and today’s announcement though expected closes the chapter on a successful run.
The players developed by Cassell in his time at Manchester City are an impressive read. Shaun Wright Phillips, Dickson Ethuhu Joey Barton, Tyrone Mears, Stephen Ireland, Nedum Onuoha, Willo Flood, Vlad Weiss, Daniel Sturridge and Micah Richards among others were developed by Cassell.
Cassell’s knowledge of the northwest and keen eye for talent made him an incomparable force at the club. Having worked with Oldham under Blues legend Joe Royle, when the club was at its lowest ebb in century in the late 90s, Royle called upon his old friend to revive the fortunes of the club.
The long-term planning that Royale and Cassell put in place paid off as the Blues achieved a quick double promotion with young home-grown players eventually forming much of the backbone for the squad.
I met Cassell at the largest soccer coaching convention here in the United States in 2012. He was inspiring to speak with and spread the gospel of football and player development to the coaches that were attending as he regularly did across the globe. His clinic was among the best relieved events of the convention and he was asked back for the 2013 event.
The greatest achievement of Cassell’s Manchester City career was the victory at the 2008 FA Youth Cup after a couple of near misses in previous seasons. While the core of that team has not been integrated in the Blues setup in this era of big money transfers many of the players involved have gone on to respectable careers elsewhere.
In addition to the aforementioned Vladimir Weiss was joined on the pitch that fateful evening by the likes of Kieran Trippier who has moved on to Burnley, Dedryck Boyota who made several first team appearances for the Blues between 2009 and 2011, and Abdi Ibrahim who became the first East African player to appear in a Premier League game in 2010.
Cassell’s next career move will be eagerly anticipated by fans and coaches across the globe.