Brighton & Hove Albion professional development phase coach, Vic Bragg, expressed his pride after receiving the prestigious Eamonn Dolan Award for his exceptional contribution to academy development.
Named after the late Reading academy manager, Bragg was recognised for his impressive coaching career at last month’s Premier League Academy Awards, and received plaudits from the likes of John Morling, Lewis Dunk, Simon Rusk, Shannon Ruth, Solly March and Liam Rosenior.
He said, “To receive an award like this is a real honour, particularly as it’s in memory of Eamonn Dolan, who was a lovely guy and a really good coach.
“This year, I won it alongside John McDermott of Tottenham Hotspur, but really I was accepting it on behalf of all the other coaches I’ve worked with over the years.
“There were quite a few tributes on the night from Simon Rusk, Shannon Ruth, Liam Rosenior, Lewis Dunk and Solly March. It was very well done and it was brilliant the way everything was put together.”
Bragg has seen plenty of changes in more than 20 years working for the club, and is delighted to see the club progress in such a positive way, largely thanks to chairman Tony Bloom.
“There used to be just the three of us working in the academy because we weren’t so well-off then. Now there are so many more coaches, and it’s developed so much in terms of the facilities and the sport science side of things.
“It’s a massive change, and we’re fortunate that we’ve got a chairman who recognises the importance of having the best training facilities.
“We have a fantastic set-up now, and a lot of that is down to the money he’s invested.”
The long-standing coach also spoke about his current role at the club, and the satisfaction in seeing the younger players develop both on and off the pitch.
“I am a professional development coach now, so I’m working with the under-18s to the under-23s. I work within that phase and help out where needed.
“I’ve gone part-time because I’m getting on a bit, but I also help to look after the players out on loan. I liaise with David Weir [pathway development manager] to go and watch those players, and see how they’re progressing.
“Overall, I still enjoy it and it’s great to see the lads develop, not only as players but as human beings too. They’re smashing kids and it’s great to work with them.”