How did the 2023/24 season look for Albion's academy?

Academy manager Ian Buckman reflects on what has been an extremely positive season inside the club’s academy at Lancing.

By Ian Buckman • 27 May 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Academy manager Ian Buckman.

It has been an exciting year in the academy and a historic time to be part of our football club.

We have enjoyed a positive and progressive season, with our main priority to provide players for the men’s first team. Our contribution continues to grow, particularly this season with the increased demands of European football. Congratulations to all our academy graduates who have featured in such a historic campaign: Lewis Dunk, Solly March, Evan Ferguson, Jack Hinshelwood leading the way and Tom McGill a regular in the first-team set-up.

We have also enjoyed first-team debuts for Mark O’Mahony, Benicio Baker-Boaitey and Joshua Duffus, with Cameron Peupion, Odel Offiah and Jack Hinchy all adding appearances. In a total of 89 (at the time of writing) squad involvements from this season’s under-21 squad, Leigh Kavanagh, Samy Chouchane, Ben Jackson, Luca Barrington and Imari Samuels have also featured.

We also continue to see many positive loan experiences, under the guidance of Gordon Greer, and it is great to see so many of our young players making an impact, such as Jensen Weir, Andrew Moran, Jeremy Sarmiento, Steven Alzate, Carl Rushworth, James Beadle, Ed Turns, Marc Leonard, Imari Samuels, Jack Hinchy and Bailey Smith. Our productivity across the UK and Europe continues to increase.

By Paul Hazlewood
Josh Duffus came on as a late substitute in Athens for his senior debut.

Everyone in the academy is also extremely proud of our U15–U21 players who represented their countries or received call-ups at various ages: Andrew Moran, Cameron Peupion, Carl Rushworth, Casper Nilsson, Ed Turns, Jack Hinshelwood, James Beadle, Mark O’Mahony, Noel Atom, Steven Hall, Killian Cahill, Samy Chouchane, Imari Samuels, Joshua Duffus, Ruairi McConville, Freddie Simmonds, Harry Howell, Liam Doyle, Sebastian Ademola, Adam Brett, Darius Lane and Tyler Silsby.

Our U21 and U18 squads have both enjoyed highlights across the year. The U21s progressed further than before in both the EFL Trophy and Premier League International Cup, and the U18s finished the season with a good run of performances and clean sheets. A big thank you to Shannon Ruth, Inigo Calderon and the multidisciplinary teams across the professional development phase for all their hard work.


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EFL Trophy Highlights: Walsall 2 Albion 3

Our U16 squad has provided a record number of scholars from our pathway, with many contributing to our U18 squad, with Freddie Simmonds and Harry Howell also featuring in our U21 squad, which is a tremendous achievement.

We continue to provide a host of football experiences for our foundation and youth development groups. We aim to provide an elite football programme with a competitive games programme, tournaments and events. This season we have attended a host of Premier League events such as the National Qualifiers, Albert Phelan Cup and the Futsal and Powerplay events. Across all our squads this season, we have sent groups to play Monaco, Nice, Anderlecht, Koln and Bayern Munich, and participated in trips and tournaments in the Algarve, Ypres, Terramo, Berlin and Hong Kong.

We have also enjoyed outstanding educational success with excellent results across our A level, GCSE and BTEC programmes, and in the Premier League Truce Project. We have an unparalleled education department, and in terms of holistic support, more outstanding staff across our performance and wellbeing department, inclusive of safeguarding, wellbeing, psychology and player care. Our operations and administrative teams also do incredible work in facilitating an ever-growing provision at home and abroad.

We strive for a bespoke and diverse environment, at the forefront of development, for success in footballing and non-footballing pathways. There is no compromise on our alignment of elite football, unparalleled education and life-enriching experiences. We take pride in producing talented footballers and exceptional young people.

We also have a responsibility to ensure every young person has an experience that provides a platform for success in life and to create a system for ongoing care. It is important we acknowledge and work closely with the families and carers of the players, and the relationships we build allow us to all support the young people in our programme and beyond. We genuinely hope all the young people in our care have a life-changing experience at Brighton & Hove Albion.

By Paul Hazlewood
Mikey Harris and Owen Fisher have a conversation with women's team captain Vicky Losada.

We are fortunate to have all our technical teams from the men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ pathways on site at Lancing. We enjoy the support of staff across the club and foundation and thank you to everyone that has helped collaborate with us and contributed to the academy programme. We are truly one club and move forward together. We are also proud that Mikey Harris and Owen Fisher, from the academy staff, have been able to contribute significantly to the WSL team this season.

Our thanks to Tony Bloom, the board and the senior staff around the club who give us unwavering support. My thanks particularly go to Paul Barber, Paul Mullen, David Weir, Mike Cave and Rose Read who work so closely with us. We are fortunate to have leadership with such a genuine passion for young people and youth development. Our pathway is testament to this vision.

A final thank you to our academy management teams and our academy staff. Day in and day out they give everything to help us maintain the high standards we have become known for. Long-term player development involves many people over many years. It is our responsibility to continue that legacy, support our players to maximise their potential and hope they help write the next exciting chapter in the club’s history.