Vital Football

Latest Colchester United News

Why You Won't Remember Mitchell Nelson

Why You Won't Remember Mitchell Nelson

Unless you watched reserve or youth football, Mitchell Nelson is not a name you`ll readily associate with Colchester United. He`s a centre-back. Or was. So what happened next?

Have you ever wondered what happens to any young gun who just didn`t make the grade? Vital Colchester intertwines the story of ex-youth teamer, Mitchell Nelson and comments from Youth Development coach, Joe Dunne, to give you an answer.

Last night Colchester United`s Youth Development coach, Joe Dunne, told Dream 100 radio station that only "the top two or three percent" of young players ever make the jump from youth to fist-team football. Thousands are released at the end of each season. This year the recession has hit hard and 92 Football League clubs have taken in just 600 new trainees between them.

Dunne said: "It can be quite ruthless. It`s all about getting them into that first-team. There`s a bit of a misconception - we at youth level don`t actually sign the players. We can only get them to the manager`s door and then the choice is down to him, at the time, whoever that may be. Every manager is different and we don`t actually technically sign them."

This is what ex-U`s youth defender, Mitchell Nelson, speaking in the latest Four Four Two Magazine, July edition, discovered to his cost when he was released from the U`s books last season. Before that, he had impressively gained a YTS opportunity just twenty minutes into his Colchester trial. "I had nothing to lose," he says. Now, he`s been limited playing Sunday League football since he was freed by the Essex side.

Although United told him he had been progressing well, the magazine relates that arrival of new manager, Paul Lambert spelt the end of his stay.

Nelson also attended Lewisham College Football Academy alongside his U`s training, fulfilling the promise made by the F.A. affiliated Football League Education foundation to help promising players get a good education alongside football.

"It`s a difficult time for a lot of youngsters coming through; there`s been a lot of publicity over the last few months in regard to the standard of youth football in comparison to Europe and many other places in the world. From England`s point of view, I think we`ve come out with slightly unfair coverage," Joe Dunne said last night on the situation at Colchester, which is mirrored across world football right now.

"Colchester is vibrant for young players. The Colchester and District School Boys` League runs a very, very good league with many good local teams and there are many potentially good players out there," he added.

Mitchell told Four Four Two he has gained good qualifications throughout his stay and that release has not perturbed him from trying to fashion a career in the game. "But I want to stay in football. I`m not gonna stop at this. No way."

But what does Dunne make of the quality of footballing education today, for those like Mitchell, who is currently being courted only by non-league clubs?

"The scholarship is two years now. It used to be three which was a lot more beneficial. Within that, boys do an education programme which gives them the equivalent of two A-levels. They also get a level-two coaching badge, so there`s an educational base. It may allow some to even go to University - we`ve just released one lad who has gone to Arizonan - but primarily you want to see them go on and earn a football career.

"There`s so many released at the end of every year, it`s in the thousands, and we`re competing against that. Non-league now is a fantastic standard for young players to maybe step back out and step back in again. A great example of how that works for recruitment is Peterborough."

So, there is hope for Nelson, if he chances on a non-league contract with designs on impressing the next astute scout like Darren Ferguson, son of Sir Alex. Ferrgi junior signed for example prolific striker, Aaron Mclean, in 2007. He was a player who once had tryouts with the U`s and returned to score against them in the last F.A. Cup game at Colchester`s old ground, Layer Road.

Dunne resumes the narrative: "Along the way, sometimes other players come along who are better than them and at youth development level we want to get the best players through. Sometimes a player can be with us for so long that he may have a better chance of breaking into the first team. That`s what we went and what we need."

This is where Nelson figures - caught in a no-man`s land between beings so close to getting a pro contract and then suddenly and spectacularly having nowhere to play.

His recent appearance at Football League trials in Brentford, which is covered in Four Four Two, sadly doesn`t go well enough for him to clinch another contract.

This story is not unusual; Four Four Two revels that ninety-five percent of all trainees are let go before they reach 21. It`s just like Dunne said - ruthless. Only the best survive.

The F.A. have just awarded central contracts to around 20 of England`s women players, part of the drive by them to given the county`s most popular female sport into a higher professional standard.


What do you think?

Let us know with a comment below, or comment on this article in the forum. Not yet a member? Don't panic, click on the banner below to join in.





We want to know YOUR thoughts...


VITAL COLCHESTER; YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE!


VITAL COLCHESTER IS 100% UNOFFICIAL - FOR THE FANS, BY THE FANS!


Follow us on Twitter








For the very latest League One odds

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Matt_Us
Date:Friday July 17 2009
Time: 4:44PM

Login to post a comment

Best of International Vital

Best of Vital Network

Recent Colchester United Articles

51 Clubs Receive EFL Family Excellence Award - 2016/17

The Football League have recognised a record 51 clubs in the 2016/17 Family Excellence Awards.

Potential League Two Make Up 2017/18 (28/4/17)

With a few games remaining in the 2016/17 campaign, some promotions and relegations in the football pyramid are already known.

More Reliable Than A League 2 Octopus? (24/4/17)

Time for the new special computer that crunches the numbers to determine the final League Two positions for 2016/17.

League Two 2016/17 Golden Boot Battle (21/4/17)

With all playing 43 League Two games in the 2016/17 season, this year could still see a few players break the 20 goal mark.

Vital Colchester Social Media

Archived Vital Colchester Articles

Vital Colchester articles from

Have Your Say

Suggest an article
Suggest a poll
As featured on NewsNow:Colchester United newsColchester United
News 24/7

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Colchester
Write For Vital Colchester
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

Colchester v Rochdale
Suggested By:
Colchester win59%
Rochdale win33%
Draw8%

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
P Doncaster 44 25 10 9 85 33
P Plymouth 44 25 8 11 83 24
P Portsmouth 44 24 9 11 81 33
4 Luton 44 18 17 9 71 22
5 Exeter 44 20 8 16 68 18
6 Blackpool 44 17 16 11 67 22
7 Stevenage 44 20 6 18 66 7
8 Mansfield 44 17 14 13 65 5
9 Wycombe 44 18 11 15 65 4
10 Carlisle 44 16 17 11 65 -1
11 Cambridge 44 18 9 17 63 7
12 Colchester 44 17 12 15 63 6
13 Accrington 44 16 14 14 62 3
14 Grimsby 44 17 10 17 61 -2
15 Barnet 44 13 15 16 54 -6
16 Notts County 44 15 8 21 53 -22
17 Crewe 44 13 13 18 52 -11
18 Morecambe 44 14 9 21 51 -18
19 Crawley 44 13 11 20 50 -16
20 Yeovil 44 11 16 17 49 -13
21 Cheltenham 44 11 14 19 47 -16
22 Newport 44 11 12 21 45 -22
23 Hartlepool 44 10 13 21 43 -21
R Leyton Orient 44 10 6 28 36 -36
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Write for Vital Football

Recent Colchester United Results (view all)

Colchester United Fixtures (view all)

Apr 29 2017 3:00PM : Leyton Orient (a)
Sky Bet League Two
May 6 2017 5:30PM : Yeovil Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two

Breaking League News

The Vital Football Members League