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Notts County Academy Forge New Partnership With Abu Dhabi Thistle

20 May 2014

Academy Manager Mick Leonard and Head of Academy Coaching Andy McMillan were delighted to agree an exciting new link with Abu Dhabi Thistle...

Academy Manager Mick Leonard and Head of Academy Coaching Andy McMillan were delighted to agree an exciting new link with Abu Dhabi Thistle this summer and are both hopeful that the relationship will be beneficial to the Magpies.

The pair visited the city in the United Arab Emirates earlier this month to help develop coaches and it's hoped that a number of young players will travel to Nottingham for trials in the club's Academy over the coming years.

Thistle was set up over 11 years ago and boasts over 250 members, making it the biggest youth club in the city. The club was formed by two Scots, Archie Young and Ally Macdonald, hence the Scottish name and colours, and emphasises the UK style of traditional youth clubs here.  

Academy Manager Mick Leonard told the Official Site: "We went over and put on a presentation, did some coaching sessions and it was a valuable exercise for us all. This will help with our networking and our talent identification.

"Supporters will be aware that we have had Fabian Spiess and Kieran Geldenhuys, both who lived in this area of the world, coming to Notts and it shows what kind of talent is out here. 

"I'd love to keep tabs on a few out there because there a plenty of potential out there and some very good prospects.

"It's an important link. People are interested in Notts County Football Club all over the world, because of our tradition and our history and also the links we have with Juventus and the shirt. 

"We are a marketable club and it's important to get our name out there and our brand out there. We had some great coverage out there and we will be looking to get more out there through the years.

"We aren't the biggest club in terms of youth academy, so in the mean time if we can use this way to scout and it isn't a cost to us. 

Meanwhile Andy McMillan was also excited for the future now the relationship has been formed.

Andy added: "It was a fantastic experience to go over there and it will all help with our EPPP work, to forge international links.

"We put sessions on for their kids and also their coaches so they can learn from our methods. We also had a look at three or four players that we think could go straight into our own academy, it would be hard for them to adapt, but they could come over during the school holidays.

"I think the relationship could really aid Notts with our talent ID and we can also send our coaches out there to gain more experience in a different environment. Some of their coaches will also come over to Nottingham to shadow ours and it will be hugely beneficial. 

"The place, state of the art facilities and people are fantastic and it's very well run. It's exciting and it's a no brainer for the club. We spent a week there and we can't wait to go over again. 

"Who knows what this link could bring to a club like Notts, our scouting network has grown and potentially we could have one or two in the academy over the years."

Look out for details on the Youth Team and Academy's pre-season fixtures in the coming weeks. 

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