Club makes key Academy appointments at Thorp Arch...
Leeds United are delighted to announce the return of Paul Hart as the club’s new Head of Academy.
Hart, who brings a wealth of experience to the role, will oversee the entire Academy set-up at Thorp Arch as well as taking charge of the in-form Under-21s side. He will be supported in the role by Adam Underwood as Academy Manager.
The former United defender is joined at the Academy by Daral Pugh as Head of Coaching, focusing on the under-9s-16s age groups, John Anderson as Under-18s coach alongside Jason Blunt, and Andy Gray as Under-16s coach.
The club’s Executive Director, Adam Pearson, said: “We are delighted to welcome Paul Hart back to the club.
“Paul was an outstanding leader of the Academy in the past and he has a wealth of experience to develop not only our young players but what is now a talented group of young coaches.
“We have recruited three fine new coaches in John Anderson, Andy Gray and Daral Pugh. They are all good characters who I know well and who will really strengthen what is already a strong coaching team.
“We have some fine talent in the Academy with recruitment expert Terry Potter continuing to unearth talent and we are delighted that Paul is returning to head up what is now a very strong Academy set-up.”
Hart is no stranger to the club having spent five years here as a player before going on to take charge of the Academy during the nineties, leading the youngsters to FA Youth Cup victories in 1993 and 1997.
Hart is credited for his role in developing the likes of Jonathan Woodgate, Paul Robinson, Harry Kewell , Stephen McPhail and Alan Smith among others – all players who went on to become key parts of the club’s famous Champions League team.
He then enjoyed further success with Nottingham Forest’s Academy, aiding the progression of future Premier League players Jermaine Jenas, David Prutton, Andy Reid and Michael Dawson, before going on to take charge of the senior team at the City Ground.
From there, management spells at Barnsley, Rushden and Diamonds, Portsmouth, QPR, Crystal Palace and Swindon Town followed. 2011 saw him become Academy Director at Charlton Athletic, where he spent three years, before taking up his most recent role in a similar position at Notts County in 2014.
Hart is now back in place at Thorp Arch after starting his new role on Friday, and his return completes the summer restructuring of the Academy which continues to go from strength to strength.
On the back of a summer which saw the club hold onto its exciting young talent and secure the futures of many on new contracts, both the U21s and U18s have enjoyed particularly strong starts to the new season.
The U21s made it back-to-back victories after winning at Birmingham earlier this week, while the U18s have won all four of their opening fixtures to sit top of the league after the first month.