Granted, Terry Burton is probably not the biggest fan of Arsenal these days. Having been looked over for the job of academy manager last season in favor of ex-Wolfsburg assisstant manager Andries Jonker, Burton left the Gunners in a huff to become West Bromwich Albion's technical director. Still, the fact that an ex-Arsenal man is singing Chelsea's praises, while a rather common thing lately thanks to Cesc Fàbregas, is still a thing of beauty. Especially when it concerns youth development, one of Arsenal's holy grails.
"I still think they've made a big mistake. I think if it wasn't me, there's good people out there that they could have put in."
"It's a massive job. There's a lot of work to be done there. Arsenal, with respect, have fallen behind. They just weren't working hard enough, like Chelsea. They've got the best pathway, because they've got Arsène Wenger, who gives young players a chance, better than any other club. But the processes, and things that had just been missing over a period of years, Chelsea had steamed ahead in their recruitment and all aspects of it really. That gap can close. But it's too soon to tell. The guy there ... you'll have a better idea in five years."
-Terry Burton; source: Guardian
Burton's personal derision of the new Arsenal man aside, the fact that a person "in the business" of recruiting (young) talent judges Chelsea's process in all aspects of youth development as superior sure sounds like proper recognition for everything that we've been working towards as an incubator of youth football talent. Props to Neil Bath, Michael Emenalo, and everybody else involved!