Rangers F.C. Under-20s and Academy

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Rangers Academy
Rangers FC.svg
Full name Rangers Football Club Academy
Nickname(s) Rangers Swifts
Ground Murray Park
Ground Capacity Unofficial (All-standing)
Website Club home page

In addition to the first-team, Rangers Football Club also operate a football Academy which contains a number of football teams culminating in an under-20 side, which plays in the SPFL Development League and the Scottish Challenge Cup.

Historically, the club's second side was known as the Rangers Swifts. In the 2006–07 season the under-20s won their league and the Scottish Youth Cup, ending rivals Celtic's run of six consecutive league titles and defeating them 5–0 in the final of the Youth Cup at Hampden Park.

History[edit]

Beginnings of reserve football[edit]

Inter war years[edit]

Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, all competitive football in Scotland was suspended. During this time there was special wartime football in the form of regional league competitions with Rangers playing in the Southern League. The regionalisation also saw Scottish reserve football postponed as the war effort put a major strain on the resources and playing staff of clubs with many of them serving in the Armed forces and some seeing active service abroad. The reserve side were crowned champions of their league in 1939 before seeing the following season abandoned.

1975 league reconstruction[edit]

With the end of hostilities in 1946, Rangers returned to play competitive football again with the reserve side featuring in the Scottish Reserve League. This was to continue unchanged for almost three decades until the first of many reconstructions were made to football in Scotland.

SPL breakaway[edit]

The formation of the Scottish Premier League in 1998, resulted in a significant change in youth team football in Scotland. The SPL began a league for members clubs youth players aged under-18. This was alongside the Reserve league, which had been revamped into a league primarily for under-21 players. Rangers would go on to win the under-18 league three times, first in 2001–02 then in 2006–07 and most recently in 2007–08.

Reconstructing the youth department[edit]

The opening of Murray Park in 2001 was the one of the first stages in the clubs move to develop a football academy. Although the nomenclature was not present at that time, Rangers did begin to focus upon youth development and under the then first-team manager Dick Advocaat the club appointed its first Head of Youth Development, Jan Derks, in March 2000. Derks new role was strategic and operational and saw him lay the foundations for the clubs academy as well as helping the transition of the youth set-up to Murray Park. Prior to this, the club had employed a youth development officer, with their focus being solely scouting and coaching.[1] Derks remained in position for three years despite former player Tommy McLean being recruited as his presumptive successor in May 2001[2] and Rangers eventually appointed former Aberdeen scout George Adams to succeed Derks in February 2003.[3]

As the scope of the youth department grew, so did its costs, so on 20 April 2004, Rangers announced the creation of a new company which would oversee the development of the club's youth players.[4] The company, named Rangers Youth Development Limited, was entirely self-funding but completely owned by the club. It attracted four investors from outside Rangers who have invested £1 million, with the club also putting up an initial £2.5 million.[4] It led to Rangers F.C. being in the unfamiliar position of buying its own youth players from Rangers Youth Development Ltd.[4] The company will own the young players and the club will need to bid for them although it will have first option on all the players. If both sides cannot reach an agreement on a transfer fee then a FIFA transfer model will be used.[4] Any profit made by the company will be divided between investors with the majority being invested to fund more youth players.[5] The main reason for the formation of the company was to offset the running costs of Murray Park.[4] However, many of the Rangers fans were opposed to the formation of the new company.[6] The activities of Rangers Youth Development Ltd were largely unnoticed and the company was dissolved after submitting its final set of accounts in June 2010.

The elite development era[edit]

In September 2005, as part of a restructuring of the club management, Adams left his role as director of youth football.[7] The moves also saw future Academy heads take over responsibility for youth administration.[7]

Academy structure[edit]

Section Age range Head of section
Children's[8] 8 – 12 years Jim McNee
Intermediate[8] 13 – 15 years Alan Boyd
Senior[8] 16 – 17 years Billy Kirkwood
Development[8] 18 years plus Graeme Murty

The Academy is responsible for providing players for the Rangers first-team and is divided into four areas. The Children's section operates training groups only but from intermediate level there are age-grouped teams.[9] Between under-11 and under-12 level, the teams play in a seven-a-side football competition, although the latter side transitions to 11-a-side after Christmas.[9] Thereafter, the under-12s and under-13s play on a modified pitch which is slightly smaller with reduced sized goals than regulation play[9] but from under-14 level onward all Academy teams play on normal pitches. All players from under-8 to under-15 are schoolboys, however, from Senior level many sign contracts to become professional youth players.[9] The U11 to U17 age groups play in the SFA Club Academy Scotland programme at ‘Elite’ level.

Academy partnerships[edit]

Rangers operate a North American Academy, which began in 2014,[10] and as of May 2015 included thirteen partner clubs across the United States and Canada.[11]

The academy has a partnership with Coerver Coaching who deliver Coerver method skills coaching to the Children's section on a weekly basis.[12] On 18 December 2015, Rangers announced a coaching and development partnership with Scottish Lowland League club Gala Fairydean Rovers which effectivelty saw the Galashiels side act as a feeder to Rangers.[13] In June 2016, Rangers announced a partnership with East Dunbartonshire council which saw 24 of the clubs youth players aged 11 to 15 attend Boclair Academy which allowed them to combine their academic and football studies.[14]

Competition record[edit]

Rangers were members of the Scottish Premier Reserve League from its foundation in the 1998–99 season until 2012. As the Scottish Premier League was considering disbanding its Scottish Premier Reserve League for the 2009–10 season,[15] Rangers announced it was withdrawing its reserve team in order to play friendly games instead.[16] After Rangers demotion to the Scottish Third Division in 2012,[17] the club entered a reserve team into the Scottish Football League Reserve League[18] and the side went on to win the competition.[19] The league ended after the formation of the SPFL, with a development league for under-20's teams taking its place and the clubs reserve side was disbanded.

A youth league was founded for under-18s in 1998 as an alternative to the Scottish Premier Reserve League which originally was for under-21s. The former competition was widened to include under-19s in 2003. Rangers were removed from the under-19 league after the clubs demotion to the Scottish Third Division[17] in 2012, with youth players featuring in the 2012-13 SFL Reserve league instead. The formation of the Scottish Professional Football League in the 2013–14 season, saw the formation of an under-20s league with the number of teams increased to 16[20] and teams were allowed to field two over-age outfield players and an overage goalkeeper.[21] The league was renamed the SPFL Development League in 2014, with the number of teams increased to 17.[22]

Rangers youth sides play in a number of cup competitions including the Glasgow Cup and Scottish Youth Cup. From 2015 onwards it is also possible for the Academy to participate in the UEFA Youth League by the Under-17 side winning the previous season's league at that age group; however this has not yet been achieved.

In June 2016, it was announced by the SPFL that the Challenge Cup would be expanded to include teams from the Welsh Premier League, Northern Irish Premiership and an Under-20s side from each Scottish Premiership club.[23] In the 2016-17 edition, Rangers U20 won their opening tie against Stirling University F.C. of the Lowland League but lost in the next round to Stenhousemuir of the third level.

League participation[edit]

Players[edit]

  • In addition to below, Rangers F.C. Academy also operates five other youth sides from under-11 to under-15 levels.
  • Please note that squad numbers listed relate only to first team numbers. In under 20 matches the team wear 1-11 and 12-21 (21 worn in place of 13) on the bench.

Under-20s squad[edit]

As of 27 January 2017[24]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
27 Scotland DF David Bates
37 Scotland DF Lewis White
38 England FW Jordan Gibson
39 Scotland DF Ross Lyon
41 Scotland GK Robby McCrorie
42 Scotland MF Max Ashmore
43 Scotland DF Jack Adamson
44 Scotland FW Andy Dallas
45 Finland FW Serge Atakayi
No. Position Player
50 Scotland FW Grant Nelson
52 Scotland MF Liam Burt
53 Scotland DF Kyle Bradley
54 Scotland DF Aidan Wilson
55 Scotland MF Jamie Barjonas
58 Scotland DF Jack Thomson
61 Malta DF Myles Beerman
England MF Ursene Mouanda
Spain FW Amin Bouzaig

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
36 Scotland FW Josh Jeffries (on loan at Stirling Albion)
40 Scotland DF Ross McCrorie (on loan at Dumbarton)
51 Scotland DF Jason Krones (on loan at Gala Fairydean Rovers)
No. Position Player
56 Scotland FW Sam Jamieson (on loan at Stirling University)
57 Scotland GK Kieran Wright (on loan at Gala Fairydean Rovers)

Under-17s squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
59 Scotland FW Zak Rudden
62 Scotland DF Rhys Breen
63 Scotland DF Scott Gray
64 Scotland DF Jordan Houston
65 Scotland MF Carlo Pignatiello
66 Scotland DF Lewis Mayo
67 Scotland MF Stephen Kelly
68 Scotland MF Cameron Palmer
69 Scotland MF Matifadza Zata
70 Scotland FW Matthew Shiels
71 Scotland GK Lewis Muir
72 Scotland GK Brian Kinnear
73 Scotland DF Daniel Finlayson
Scotland GK Nicky Hogarth
Scotland DF Michael Hewitt
No. Position Player
Scotland MF Kieran Balfour
Scotland MF Billy Gilmour
Scotland FW Dapo Mebude
Scotland FW Niyah Joseph
Scotland FW Owen McGinty
Scotland MF Kieran McKechnie
Scotland Ben Williamson
Scotland Ross Young
Scotland Lewis McGrattan
Scotland Zac Butterworth
Scotland Jamie Walker
Scotland Nathan Patterson
Scotland Joshua McPake
Scotland Jack May
Scotland Aiden Gibb

Manager history[edit]

Name From To Tenure Notes
Scotland John Hagart November 1983 7 April 1986 2 years, 5 months As reserve coach
Scotland Don Mackay 16 April 1986 3 February 1987[25] 293 days As reserve coach
Scotland Peter McCloy 3 February 1987 1 March 1987 26 days As reserve coach
Northern Ireland Jimmy Nichol 1 March 1987 30 June 1989 2 years, 121 days As reserve coach
Scotland Davie Dodds and Scotland John McGregor June 1989 October 1991 2 years, 4 months As joint reserve coaches
Scotland John McGregor October 1991 1 March 2003[26] 12 years As reserve coach
Scotland John Brown 1 March 2003[26] 27 June 2006[27] 3 years, 118 days As reserve coach
Scotland Ian Durrant 27 June 2006[27] 30 June 2008 2 years, 3 days As reserve coach
Scotland Tommy Wilson 30 June 2008 14 March 2013[28] 4 years, 257 days As reserve coach
Scotland Billy Kirkwood 14 March 2013 2 July 2013 110 days Interim, senior Academy manager
Scotland Gordon Durie 2 July 2013[29] 23 December 2014[30] 1 year, 174 days As under-20s coach
Scotland Ian Durrant 23 December 2014[30] 9 June 2016[31] 1 year, 169 days As under-20s coach
Scotland Graeme Murty 22 August 2016[32] 213 days As Head Development squad coach

Staff[edit]

As of 26 December 2016[33]

Honours[edit]

League[edit]

  • Scottish Reserve League: (22)
    • 1898, 1899, 1907, 1924, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1935, 1939, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1975
  • Premier Reserve League: (11)
    • 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1996, 1998
  • Scottish Premier Reserve League:
    • 2001
  • Scottish Football League Reserve League:
  • SFL Youth League:[35]
    • 1996
  • SPL U-19/SPFL Development League: (3)

Cup[edit]

Academy legacy[edit]

Financial return[edit]

With the opening of Murray Park, Rangers training facility for its youth and first teams, it was hoped that this would spell a new chapter in player development for the club.[36] However, expectations of an instant success were not accurate and with reported running costs of the facility equalling £1.5m,[36] many commentators asked if the investment in the training ground and youth department was worthwhile.[37]

The combined transfer fees for all Academy graduates is, to date, approximately £17.1m. This includes fees from Alan Hutton, which the single largest fee received in the clubs history for any player.[38] Some of the other transfers that have commanded fees were in the form of compensation. The list below includes players who have been schooled at the clubs Academy and have commanded a transfer upon there departure.

First-team graduates transfer fees received
# Name and nationality Date of transfer New club Initial fee Add ons Total fee
1 Scotland Steven MacLean July 7, 2004(2004-07-07) Sheffield Wednesday England £0.125m[39] Red XN £0.125m
2 Tunisia Hamed Namouchi August 31, 2006(2006-08-31) FC Lorient France £0.5m[40] Red XN £0.5m
3 Scotland Alan Hutton January 30, 2008(2008-01-30) Tottenham Hotspur England £9m[38] Red XN £9m
4 South Africa Dean Furman June 1, 2009(2009-06-01) Oldham Athletic England £0.05m[41] Red XN £0.05m
5 Scotland Charlie Adam August 4, 2009(2009-08-04) Blackpool England £0.5m[42] Green tickY[43] £1.35m
6 Scotland Danny Wilson July 21, 2010(2010-07-21) Liverpool England £2m[44] Green tickY[45] £4.7m
7 Scotland Dylan McGeouch May 15, 2011(2011-05-15) Celtic Scotland £0.1m[46] Red XN £0.1m
8 Norway Thomas Kind Bendiksen January 1, 2012(2012-01-01) Tromsø IL Norway £0.25m[47] Red XN £0.25m
9 Scotland Charlie Telfer May 31, 2014(2014-05-31) Dundee United Scotland £0.204m[48] Red XN £0.204m
10 Scotland Lewis Macleod January 1, 2015(2015-01-01) Brentford England £0.85m[49] Red XN £0.85m

List of Academy graduates[edit]

Below is a list of players who made a first-team appearance for Rangers, whilst a youth team player at the club. This includes both players that have come through the clubs Academy set-up and also young professional players signed for the Academy who then go on to play in the first-team. The list includes all youth team graduates from the opening of Murray Park to the present day.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]