Academy Manager passes congratulations on title victory
Under the tutelage of under-18 coach Lee Skyrme, the young Grecians finished ahead of the rest of the bunch, narrowly pipping Bristol Rovers on goal-difference.
For Hayward, that is the most telling factor and the league title is a by-product of a successful season of development for the youngsters.
“Lee has done a fantastic job with a talented group of boys this year since arriving last summer,” said Hayward. “I extend my congratulations to Lee and all of the players for their superb efforts, as well as Academy physio Cian O’Doherty for his fantastic work with the lads across the season.
“I always stress that the most important result for Academy age-groups isn’t the league table or the match result – it’s about producing players for the first-team.
“So the real value in Lee’s work this year was on Monday night when a further three players were offered professional contracts, in addition to Matt Jay who had signed a deal back in December.
“Lee has proven himself to be an ideal fit to coach the under-18 group at this club – he has put more of his care and attention into the performance and development of the boys as individuals, and not concerned himself too closely with the match results – and the upshot of that is that this is the first year that we have won the league!
“When you try to develop young players and do things the right way, the results will look after themselves. So to be crowned as champions is a fitting reward for the under-18s and everyone associated.”