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Southend United's youth stars meet Roots Hall fans
SOUTHEND United’s young players were paraded before-kick off and half-time of Saturday’s match against Morecambe at Roots Hall.
The club’s academy players, aged between eight and 16, were all on show.
And Blues’ chief executive Steve Kavanagh, who revealed the club spend more than £250,000 a year on their academy, has confirmed that the “youth day” will now be repeated next season.
“The youth day will become an annual event where we will celebrate the excellent work Ricky Duncan and his staff do,” said Kavanagh.
“The players were paraded around the pitch and hopefully some of them will be out there playing for the first team one day.
“We’ve already seen Daniel Bentley and Jack Payne playing this season while others are also heavily involved in Phil’s first team squad.
“As fans I’m sure that’s very satisfying but there are huge costs involved in running the youth academy.
“More than £250,000 is invested in the youth department each year to help it continue to thrive and develop young talent.
“We will during the course of the season be trying to raise the profile of the youth team and the youth day was a very good start.”
Blues first team boss Phil Brown was also delighted to see so many of the club’s young players at the game.
And he admitted that it also made him proud to be the Shrimpers’ manager.
“It was a proud day for me to be manager with the youth day going on,” said Brown.
“Unfortunately the result and performance ruined that and it was a real shame because this should have been a real celebration for Southend.
“We paraded all the kids from the age of eight right up to 16 and then had Daniel Bentley playing and Jack Payne coming on.
“Cauley Woodrow also showed what’s possible as he’s 18 and with a Premier League club so it should have been all about what was good about Southend but, because we lost, it was a bad day in the end.”