ged mcnamee

Great achievement for club - GM

by Ashley Houghton

McNamee on first-year as Category One academy.

Sunderland AFC’s academy manager, Ged McNamee, has been pleased with how the Academy of Light’s first-year as a Category One status academy has gone.

McNamee, who is in his ninth year as academy manager at the AoL, oversaw over 18 months of work on the facility to make it one of the best in the country, as ruled by the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

And McNamee has been delighted with the developments at the Cleadon-based complex.

“We’d been doing a lot of work for 18 months, it was a lot of work and a lot of people put a lot of commitment into getting the Category One status,” McNamee said.

“It was rubber stamped this year that we were categorised as a Category One academy which is a great achievement for the club but equally a great achievement for the staff.

“[The indoor barn] that was the big piece of the jigsaw and we’ve been trying for years to secure that – a lot of work went on behind the scenes in relation to getting the planning permission.

“Since it’s been open it has been massively utilised across the club, the first-team use it as well but it’s been fantastic for the academy as a whole.”

McNamee started his time with the club to work predominantly on coaching, though the expanding of the Academy in terms of size and stature has resulted in a busy period for the academy boss.

However, McNamee has been delighted with the developments that have repaid everybody’s hard work.

“It’s been difficult during the first-year; there’s a lot of new legislation, a lot of new procedures that we’ve had to put in place,” he explained.

“The staff numbers have become bigger, which can be headache as you have to keep everyone happy and listen to all the staff to take on board proposals that they’re putting forward.

“From that aspect it’s been difficult for me, from a personal aspect I haven’t coached as much because of it and I joined the club to be a coach.

“Overall, when you look at the likes of Mikael Mandron progressing through to the first-team from the under-18’s – that’s a massive plus for me.”