How Chelsea became the best academy in the world

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One of Roman Abramovich’s dream since taking over Chelsea in 2003, was to build one of the best academies in the world.

After so many years, the Blues can now be proud of the work that has been done in the Chelsea academy.

Just last season, a club-record eight homegrown players made their professional debuts for the first team, and we saw academy stars like Tammy Abraham, Reece James, Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour make their way into the team, as well as Fikayo Tomori.

Chelsea’s youth team has been doing great in Europe the past decade and reached four UEFA Youth League finals between 2015 and 2019, winning two of them. They also won seven FA Youth Cups and last season’s Premier League 2.

Chelsea’s head of youth development Neil Bath as well as youth coach Sam Page have revealed their delight at Chelsea’s success at under-age level, and how the youngsters are making their way into the first team.

“When we restructured the whole academy,” Bath said in an interview with Goal, “we spoke about becoming the best academy in world football and we were miles away from it at the time.

“What we wanted to do was break that down. Therefore, we started to set ourselves some targets and say, ‘Okay, how do we get the best eight, nine and 10 year olds in London and the South East? How do we get the best coaches?

“If we have the best talent and the best coaches, then we are going to be great. If we win trophies along the way, then great, but ultimately, it is about getting players into Frank’s team. And, in terms of debuts and appearances, this is probably the best season we’ve ever had.

“The young kids are now seeing what can be achieved, while we also have good, genuine, honest people around creating a family environment at the club.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.