Key youth talent spotter departs in Bristol City shake-up despite Wolves and Chelsea transfers

West country club make behind-the-scenes changes as they look to produce the next wave of Bristolian talent
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Bristol City have further restructured their academy as they look to build for the future, with the news confirmed internally at the club yesterday, and affected staff having learnt their fate in the last few weeks.

BristolWorld understands that key figure Ian Rossiter is sadly departing from the club, with the pre-Academy Manager having seen plenty of success over the last few seasons.

It follows on from former head of the academy Gary Probert recently heading to Ipswich Town, and Brian Tinnion being promoted to academy director.

After spending time working with Turkish giants Fenerbahce and top German coach Christoph Daum previously, including doing opposition analysis for Champions League games, Rossiter was promoted in BS3 from a coaching post.

He has been heavily involved in youth recruitment at Bristol City over the past nine years.

As a rough measure of his impact, Rossiter is believed to have recruited more than 50 per cent of the schoolboys that are in the Academy programme at the club today. He played a vital role at grass roots level, having been influential in recruiting plenty of talent over the years.

That includes the last two boys to be sold from the Bristol City academy ranks, before they even played at any kind of senior level: Shaun Wade to Chelsea, and Fraser Harper to Wolves.

Wade joined the Blues last season at 14 after Chelsea spotted the former Mangotsfield Juniors winger, while Harper, who was called up to train with England U15s last year, came through at Longwell Green Juniors, before joining City and later heading to Molineux.

Those youth transfers helped the West Country outfit bring in some significant fees to the club, with Cityhaving announced a recent record pre-tax loss of £38.4m for 2020/21.

Rossiter was a coach at the Bristol City Academy, before his youth recruitment role, and has helped out at the Robins at youth level for more than 20 years in total. And he has worked with many of the current first-team squad.

As U9s coach, he helped Zak Vyner, Ryley Towler, Tommy Conway and others, while also former Liverpool player Herbie Kane. Premier League clubs are believed to have approached Rossiter previously, but he remained loyal to the Robins.

The club are committed to building a successful team based upon talent produced from their academy, and youth recruitment is a fiercely competitive area in football.

The Robins had seven youth products and academy graduates in their side for the recent 3-2 win over Millwall, though other Championship sides have recruited from central Bristol in recent years, with young winger Alvaro Ruiz Rente joining Birmingham City last year and defender Miguel Freckleton joining Sheffield United last month.

Miguel Freckleton (centre) is among youth products from Bristol who Championship clubs have targeted Miguel Freckleton (centre) is among youth products from Bristol who Championship clubs have targeted
Miguel Freckleton (centre) is among youth products from Bristol who Championship clubs have targeted

"If you're a really good footballer in the region, why wouldn't you come here?," City chairman Jon Lansdown told this writer in the summer.

"That's what you're looking at. We've got an incredible facility, a great pathway and it's all about opportunity. You can be a great player but if you don't get the opportunity, it's wasted."

The club have high hopes for a number of their current young players, including academy product Ayman Benarous and young talent Alex Scott.

Meanwhile, former Bristol City fitness coach Rhys Carr, who was at Ashton Gate for six years from 2013-2019 including during Steve Cotterill's successful period in charge at the club, has crossed the divide.

Carr has joined up at Bristol Rovers as a Lead Professional Development Phase Coach, following a spell with Sheffield United.