Arsenal in talks with Brady about possible future role


NEWS:Arsenal say they are in talks with Liam Brady about a future role after it was announced that the 56-year-old Dubliner will leave his current post as head of youth development at the club by the end of next season.

“Liam has a deep understanding of what it takes to discover and develop a talented youngster into someone who can perform at the highest level,” said chief executive Ivan Gazidis in a statement yesterday. “He has made a massive contribution to Arsenal Football Club. It will be difficult to find a worthy successor but we will be looking for someone who can build on what Liam and his team have created.”

Years of service

The club notes his departure will come after 25 years of service although it will be a little more than that if he does see his job out to the May 2014 deadline that has been reported.

His actual association with the club, however, dates all the way back to 1971 when he moved to London to sign up as a schoolboy. Two years later, in February 1973, he signed professional forms and eight months after that he made his first team debut, coming on in a game against Birmingham City.

Over the years that followed he went on to become a fixture in midfield and a firm favourite of the fans, with many rating him as one of the club’s greatest ever talents.

Towards the end of his time there as a player, he featured in three consecutive FA Cup finals, although they won only one – in 1979 – when the Dubliner played a key part in securing the win.

He was the PFA’s Player of the Year that season, the first ever from outside Britain.

Brady enjoyed greater success in Italy, where he won two Serie A titles with Juventus, and had subsequent spells with Sampdoria, Inter and Ascoli, before finishing his playing days back in England with West Ham.

Moved into management

He moved into management with Celtic and then Brighton and was about to take back on the latter role after having helped to bring in a consortium that saved the club from bankruptcy when Arsenal offered him the opportunity to oversee their academy.

“I got the offer to be head of youth development at Arsenal and it was too good to refuse,” he says. “I had a family to think about and it was a dream job for me.”

In the years that followed he is widely held to have had a profound influence on the club’s highly-successful policy of bringing young players through to the first team and over the past decade or so just short of half of all those who have made senior Arsenal debuts have spent some time at the academy.

The club’s youth teams enjoyed some success along the way, including winning three FA Youth Cups and other titles during his almost 17 years at the helm but, he observed a couple of years back: “Our job is to develop players for the first team.

“If we can’t develop them for the first team or if they are not good enough to play for it then we want to make sure that they good careers in the game. Winning a reserve league means nothing at all. We’d rather produce a player than win a league.”

Major role

In their statement yesterday Arsenal credited him with a major role in the development of players like Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, but even those who didn’t make the grade in north London appear to have appreciated his influence, with Fabrice Muamba, the now retired midfielder who played 200 games for Birmingham and Bolton after spending five years at Arsenal, including three at the academy, tweeting yesterday:

“Just seen the news about Liam Brady leaving @Arsenal, all I can say Thank you Liam for everything, forever grateful.”

Brady's bunch: The facts

1956: Born, Dublin.

1971: Joins Arsenal as a schoolboy

1973: Signs for the club as a professional and makes senior debut

1974: Makes senior international debut versus the Soviet Union at Dalymount Park

1979: Wins FA Cup and is named as PFA Player of the Year

1980: Leaves to join Juventus where he wins two Serie A titles and works under Giovanni Trapattoni

1990: After stints with Sampdoria, Inter, Ascoli and, finally, West Ham he retires, aged 34

1991: Starts two-year stint as manager of Celtic

1993: Starts two-year stint as manager of Brighton and Hove Albion

1996: Accepts offer to become head of Youth Development at Arsenal

2008: Becomes part-time assistant to Giovanni Trapattoni after the Italian’s appointment as Republic of Ireland manager

2010: Leaves Ireland role when initial contract runs out in order to concentrate on Arsenal job

2013: Signals intention to depart Arsenal job by May 2014

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