Date: 30th June 2008 at 2:47pm
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Our U18’s kick off the 2008-09 season with a trip to Sheffield United on August 23.

Do you see what I did there, Sheff United, Blades – sharp…..

Last season our U18’s were phenomenal and won the FA Premier Academy League title, putting FA Youth Cup winners Manchester City in their place in the play off Final.

Under Academy staff leadership, they lost only 5 matches in all competitions, so the future is unreservedly Claret and Blue again.

Speaking on the official site, Academy Director and Youth Demi-God Bryan Jones has implied the new class have a lot to live up to, but that he’s got his eye on the league again already.

‘The Under-16 had a very good year – although they’re all friendly competitions and results-wise we don’t take a lot of notice.

‘There are a lot of players coming through there who will only strengthen the Under-18s next season. So there is a possibility to equal or even better what has been a very, very good season.

‘Result-wise it was probably one of the best seasons we’ve had. In the Premier Academy League we won our section, which is not easy. There are always difficult sides in there. So just to win that was an achievement for the players.

‘But then to go on and beat Arsenal in the Play-Off semi-final, who I thought were a very good side, and then the Youth Cup winners Manchester City in the Final was beyond belief really.

‘We reached the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup and I suppose we’re now disappointed that we didn’t actually go on and win it.

‘But I think it proved that certainly as a unit we were one of the top youth sides again and I took nothing but pleasure from it.’