Former Chelsea and England manager Glenn Hoddle is launching his own academy for youngsters released by English clubs.
At the Glenn Hoddle Academy in southern Spain, teenagers who have been issued with a P45 rather than a lucrative contract will have a chance to rebuild their shattered dreams. Hoddle has been working on the project for 14 months and, although there are still funding issues to be resolved, he is confident the Montecastillo resort will welcome the first intake of cast-offs in April.
He claims that the teenagers, who will come from all over Europe and will mainly be selected via trials, will not need to dip into their own pockets to pay for accommodation and coaching, accentuating the need for financial backing. Further funds would be generated through the payment of development fees when players move back into the game.
"I think this could be a wonderful vehicle for clubs because the one thing clubs hate is having to release lads," Hoddle told the Guardian. "It's a horrible side of football. I think they'll say, 'I'll phone Glenn up'. We have to have a good relationship with the clubs because, eventually, I want to get these players back into football."
Hoddle also has plans to approach some of England's leading players in the hope that they might be willing to sponsor youngsters who have been let go by their clubs.
"What we want to do is say to Frank Lampard or John Terry, for instance, 'There's a lad who has been released from Chelsea, do you want to sponsor him for the year?' It would probably be half a week's wages for them. They could even come over and coach the guy they are sponsoring and, if we do get them back into another club, they've played a part in their redevelopment - and what a story that is."