Portsmouth will have pick of Ireland's best kids, insists Home Farm chief

Home Farm say Portsmouth have pulled off a massive coup after formalising their link-up last week.

Home Farm say Portsmouth have pulled off a massive coup after formalising their link-up last week.

Brokered by a multi-tasking Paul Hart, the arrangement will see the Blues funding coaching and development programmes at Home Farm.

In return, the club will have the exclusive pickings of their brightest talent, bringing them over to Fratton Park.

And Home Farm director of football, Liam Brien, told The News: "We have a crop of extremely talented youngsters at Home Farm, we are a club renowned for bringing them through and it's a reputation we are very proud of.

"They come here at the age of five and stay until 18, playing competitively from under-eight and onwards.

"The problem is we do not have a senior football team, so at the age of 18 they have to leave us and go elsewhere.

"Even before then, most of the best players go across the channel, to England and Scotland, to play full-time.

"It's still a part-time game over here.

"The senior game here is very expensive to run, we don't have the crowds, while the standard is the same as the conference in England.

"At one point we tried to go full-time but felt it was detrimental so went back to concentrating on producing the boys.

"That is what we're best at and we had a link-up with Leeds at one stage – the likes of Kelly, Ian Harte, Stephen McPhail and Alan Maybury all went there. Unfortunately, with their financial problems in recent years, everything went a bit pear shaped, while another agreement with Everton also came into the end. We've had no link-up with anyone in the past couple of years.

"During that time, Owen Garvan (Ipswich), Shane Supple (Ipswich), Chris McCann (Burnley) and Darren O'Dea (Celtic) came through at the same time.

"With no agreement in place, they went to clubs all over the place.

"Now we are affiliated with Portsmouth, an agreement which is good for both of us, and I expect us to be supplying first-team players for many years to come."

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