Reading have, belatedly, replaced the outgoing Lee Herron by appointing Ged Roddy as their new academy manager. It was announced back at the start of January that Herron, who worked at the club for well over a decade, would be joining Arsenal to work alongside Per Mertesacker with The Gunners’ youth set-up.es
Ged Roddy MBE has an impressive CV, having been the Director of Football Development at the Premier League for eight years between 2009 and 2017 (that being his most recent job). He’s even been called the “architect” of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) which came in six years ago.
What kind of personality is he? Luckily, he sums it up himself pretty well on his LinkedIn page.
“I have built a reputation as a dynamic and creative leader who builds effective teams capable of delivering large scale strategies that can drive organisational change.”
“I have managed and coached professionally in football and rugby union. I am a qualified coach and teacher and have experience teaching in schools and lecturing at University.
“I pride myself on being able to build strong teams but I also know how to work successfully within a team. I regard myself as a ‘team player’.
“I was made MBE in the Queen’s new year honours in 2000 for my contribution to sport in the United Kingdom.”
His first major role in sport came in 1992 when he was made Director of Sport at the University of Bath, with him helping to form Team Bath FC, a professional football side partnered with the local university. This seems to be where his football coaching experience comes from, although the official announcement from Reading FC doesn’t specify.
Here’s what the man himself said about joining The Royals:
“It is a great honour to be asked to lead an Academy which has an outstanding and richly deserved reputation for developing young home-grown footballers.
“Throughout my career, I worked very closely with the late Eamonn Dolan and the legacy he created at this club and within its esteemed Academy, remains at the heart of this club’s youth development programme.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of protecting and strengthening that legacy. And these are exciting times at Reading with dynamic leaders at the club and ambitious plans for its future.”
It’s interesting that his comments refer both to Reading’s past and its future - starting with some lovely comments about the late Eamonn Dolan. The former academy man built up a strong reputation at the Madejski Stadium, so it’s always nice to see that his influence extended throughout football, and that Roddy is keen to honour Dolan’s legacy.
The last sentence could very well be a summary of why Roddy wanted to come here in the first place. The team may be in trouble on the pitch, but behind the scenes it’s planning for the long-term, and the academy is naturally a key part of the club’s ambitions.
Now you’ve read that, read this: