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http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/football.cfm?id=1393782004

AC Milan looks to Paisley for new talent

THEY have won the World Cup three times. We came close to making the second round a quarter of a century ago.

But the chasm in achievement between Italian and Scottish football has not stopped Italian League giants AC Milan looking for evidence of the beautiful game in Paisley.

While most Scots bemoan the current state of the game - not least its shallow talent pool - AC Milan are planning to set up a football academy in Paisley which will spot potential stars of the future to whisk off to northern Italy.

The club are currently second in the Italian League and riding high in the European Champions League, at the top of a group which includes Barcelona and Scottish champions Celtic.

The Rossoneri, so named after their famous red and black striped shirts, will fly to Glasgow tomorrow on a double mission. A win against Celtic will ensure that they come top of their group. But while the players limber up, executives will conclude a deal setting up their own football school in Scotland.

Milan representatives have been in negotiations with the University of Paisley over a tie-up that will see the Italians base a handful of their own world-class coaches at the university’s engineering and science campus at Thornliepark, near Glasgow.

From there they will run Milan Junior Camp, which will provide the opportunity for Scottish children aged between five and 18 to receive world-class training and - ultimately - the chance to play for the club.

Pupils will be monitored on everything from football skills to how many hours they spend asleep.

By siting their academy in Paisley, AC Milan hope to snap up the next Archie Gemmill before he is signed by local team St Mirren or by the Old Firm.

The idea is the brainchild of 22-year-old Scottish college graduate Matthew Pearson, who has become AC Milan’s representative in Scotland.

Pearson contacted Milan two years ago with the idea of bringing a touch of the team’s San Siro stadium to Glasgow in the form of a training academy.

A Paisley University insider said: "Contracts have been exchanged and the Thornliepark sports facility is the one Milan want. Things are not 100% finalised so we wouldn’t want to go into too much detail, but the prospect is exciting for us."

AC Milan midfielder Rino Gattuso, who spent 18 months in Glasgow with Rangers, insisted Scottish youngsters had qualities Italians envied.

He said: "Playing in Scotland builds your character. I remember my first game in Scotland as being very hard and physical. But football all over the world is like that now. Everyone has to run for 90 minutes and give 100%. Young Scottish players have vital attributes."

Former Scotland boss Craig Brown last night said that the Italians were making a shrewd move.

He said: "They already have camps across Europe and it was natural for them to move into Scotland. They are not stupid and they are taking a longer-term view."

He denied the Italians would be searching in vain for future Scottish football giants. "Scottish youth football is actually very healthy. During the 1990s we made it twice to the top four of the European Under-21 Championships and won the youth competition. It’s not all doom and gloom."

He said AC Milan would find it cheaper to groom their own talent at the camp rather than splash out huge transfer fees for top European players, such as striker Andrei Shevchenko, who cost the club £18m when he signed from Dynamo Kiev in 1999.

Michael Matheson, the SNP’s sport and culture spokesman, said: "This is a welcome development. Who knows? We may have Scottish players in Serie A in years to come while playing for Scotland on international duty."

But John Watson, the secretary of the Scottish Schools Football Association, is unconvinced. "To me this sounds like nothing more than a public relations exercise," he said.

"All the Scottish clubs have got their own youth football schemes and all the kids with talent are being snapped up. I don’t think they’re going to discover anyone new.

"The problem with Scottish football is not that we have got worse but that other countries have got better. The great footballing nations are countries of 50 million to 60 million people. We have only five million."

In the 1978 World Cup, Paisley-born Gemmill scored what was probably the greatest-ever goal by a Scotland player, after out-dribbling most of the Dutch team.

Some of Scotland’s most famous players have turned out for Italian clubs. They include Denis Law, who played for Torino; Joe Jordan, who was with AC Milan; and Graham Souness, who played for Sampdoria.


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Good news for the future development of Scottish players not only for those who are lucky enough to be involved but hopefully the professionalism that a club like Milan will have towards youth development can rub off on other clubs too...
 

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:star: :proud: :star:

Hope the move will be productive for Scotland :star: aswell as for us. :hopefull:
The eventual player coming out from Paisley :star: would bring some welcomed Highlander Spirit :star: among The Devilhood :devil:

Great :star:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It would be great to see some Scots play for a club like Milan....currently we have no-one playing at such a level abroad, which is reflective of how bad we are as footballing nation just now :(

Apart from Fletcher at Man Utd the last one was Paul Lambert @ Borussia Dortmund when they won the European Cup a few years ago...


Although Rino Gattuso is an honoury Scot for half of Glasgow ;)
 

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Teddy Bear said:
It would be great to see some Scots play for a club like Milan....currently we have no-one playing at such a level abroad, which is reflective of how bad we are as footballing nation just now :(

Apart from Fletcher at Man Utd the last one was Paul Lambert @ Borussia Dortmund when they won the European Cup a few years ago...


Although Rino Gattuso is an honoury Scot for half of Glasgow ;)
As written in the article: Scotland has a population of only 5 MLN.
Anyway, the Academy still has to open. We shall just have to wait and see :hopefull:

P.S. Ringhio always speaks well about his stay in Scotland :cool:
 

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Milan are welcome to try and uncover young Scottish talent. It would be of obvious benefit to our young players to experience a different, and more sophisticated, football culture. It would annoy me, though, if Milan started uncovering talent that had been missed by Rangers (or Celtic for that matter). It would just prove yet again that neither club is doing enough to find the talent that is out there.
 

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I can understand that it would eventually annoy you. I must be said that finding new talents is always difficult. Should we manage to achieve that much, Scotland would benefit. :)
 

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Off topic: Don't you think it's time for a Bristish Premier League?
 

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Diavolo said:
Off topic: Don't you think it's time for a British Premier League?
Can of worms ? :D

Short answer: Yes, long overdue.
 

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mincecfc said:
Can of worms ? :D

Short answer: Yes, long overdue.
Obviously that would also imply a national Great Britain team ;)
 

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<car> SCCCRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!</car>

Erm, no thanks ! Status Quo then please.
 

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No British league please- I like the Scottish status. I'd be happy for the league cup to be dumped for a British Cup but I'd rather the leagues stayed the same.

The Milan training camp would be great for out game if it went ahead and I'd hope maybe more to follow. I can't see why they would want to come to Scotland though unless they realise that there is great talent there before players start to get carried away with woman and drink. Maybe bringing in their own lifestyle philosophy, like Bonhof in the under 21s, it could would out well for Milan and Scotland in the future.
 

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I'm surprised at your response Chivo. Aren't you up for playing the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd et al every other week rather than Motherwell and Livingston 4 times per season (at least)? Sure, it'd take a few years for us to catch up to them (assuming we went straight to the Prem), but don't forget, Celtic and Rangers are the biggest clubs in the UK, Man Utd excluded. We'd be able to attract incredible talent and expand our stadia by tens of thousands, and still be full every week. One of us would win it within 10 years, if not both.
 

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chivoexpiatorio said:
No British league please- I like the Scottish status. I'd be happy for the league cup to be dumped for a British Cup but I'd rather the leagues stayed the same.

The Milan training camp would be great for out game if it went ahead and I'd hope maybe more to follow. I can't see why they would want to come to Scotland though unless they realise that there is great talent there before players start to get carried away with woman and drink. Maybe bringing in their own lifestyle philosophy, like Bonhof in the under 21s, it could would out well for Milan and Scotland in the future.
On the Scottish status I have my own opinion, but I'll keep it to myself ;)

Milan will allow only one glass of red wine a day ;) On a serious note, a player "developed" in Paisley would become a Latin Devil Highlander :devil:

P.S. 5 similar camps, will open in South America in the near future (within June 2005).

Entro giugno 2005 verranno aperte 5 scuole calcio Milan in Sud America, partendo dal Messico, Costa Rica, Guatemala e Colombia.
 

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Diavolo said:
On the Scottish status I have my own opinion, but I'll keep it to myself ;)
Fair enough- make that Scottish League status and all the honours, records, etc. that go with playing in the Scottish league.
 

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mincecfc said:
I'm surprised at your response Chivo. Aren't you up for playing the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd et al every other week rather than Motherwell and Livingston 4 times per season (at least)? Sure, it'd take a few years for us to catch up to them (assuming we went straight to the Prem), but don't forget, Celtic and Rangers are the biggest clubs in the UK, Man Utd excluded. We'd be able to attract incredible talent and expand our stadia by tens of thousands, and still be full every week. One of us would win it within 10 years, if not both.
Can I add that Adriano Galliani just said the same things today on TV before travelling to Scotland.

P.S. I insist :stuckup: That would mean one Great Britain NT also.
 

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chivoexpiatorio said:
Fair enough- make that Scottish League status and all the honours, records, etc. that go with playing in the Scottish league.
Absolutely.
 

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Yeah, a British League would go hand in hand with a British NT. I'd be for the British League, but against the GB NT. I hate playing the same team 4 times a season, but the SPL should be looking at ways of improving the current set-up.
 

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Angle_eyes said:
Yeah, a British League would go hand in hand with a British NT. I'd be for the British League, but against the GB NT.
Fair to say that it's either the lot or nothing. I know that you will say that tradition and cultural differences are high. But as an example: Sicilians and Milanese are just, if indeed not even more "different" than English and Scots. or a guy from Bolzano (most people speak German) and a Napoletan, are certainly more "different" than a Irish and a Welsh. Just an opinion :)
 

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It doesn't have to be the lot or nothing. Some Welsh clubs play in the English league system, yet Wales is a separate NT (even though it is officially part of England, unlike Scotland). Then there is also the example of Liechtenstein (I'm not comparing Scotland's NT to Liechtenstein, don't worry, just an example:)) - their clubs play in the Liech. Cup (cupwinner goes to UEFA Cup) but in the Swiss league and there is a separate NT. So if lowly Liechtenstein can do this, why not the Brit teams? In any case the English leagues could absorb the Welsh without a name change. Keep separate national cups (and 1 UEFA Cup place per cup), but merge the league cups and the leagues. No need to touch NTs at all.
 

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Andrija PFC said:
Then there is also the example of Liechtenstein (I'm not comparing Scotland's NT to Liechtenstein, don't worry, just an example:))
You really should be more careful what you write though. For all you know there may be someone from Liechtenstein reading this and they could take offence at being compared to a national pub team. :)

BTW, I wrote "someone from Liechtenstein" as I don't know what the proper term is- if someone could enlighten me I'd be happy top learn something new.

I agree with what you are saying but to be honest the Scottish League(s) have a great history and I wouldn't like to see than broken up. Nor I'm sure would the English Leagues. If anything is to change I'd just like to see the structure of the Scottish Leagues changed to a better format but would be against a British League.
 
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