APART from the result with the last minute goal for Brighton, one of the interesting things of Monday evening for me was the club programme, which I must say is as good as any around the country and makes an excellent read.

For instance, the interview with on loan player Danny Ings was very interesting.

As we all know he is a local lad and he relates how he attended the academy at Saints but how devastated he was when released at ten-years-old. He used words like ‘mentally drained.’ He praised his father for helping him through this, eventually got signed up at Bournemouth and the rest is history.

I must say as well how impressed I was with the fact he has started a charity called the ‘Danny Ings Disability Sports Project’ after seeing a youngster who had cerebral palsy near the corner flag during a game and he gave him his boots when the final whistle went and kissed him on the forehead.

A picture was taken which went viral and since then he has created this charity, so well done to him.

Getting back to his experience at ten-years-old, later in the programme there is good coverage of the Saints academy down at Bath University, which is apparently rated among the top in the world of football.

It lists the players who have come through there, including Jason Dodd, Gareth Bale and many more.

It did say the academy was started just over 20 years ago, but I have to say it was actually over 30 years ago.

I had already launched the Newcastle academy, which in those days was called a youth policy, by hiring three scouts who covered the Scottish borders to Middlesbrough. I hired the gymnasium at Brendan Foster Stadium, put in two ex-pros and the boys turned up two nights a week and in the school holidays came down to us. This produced Alan Shearer among others.

Bristol was a mini version in those days because I had one man who was my scout in the Bristol and Bath area called Rod Ruddick.

Amazingly he is still involved at the club, I believe on a part time basis. In addition to normal scouting he then brought in an ex-player called Ken Wimshurst who had finished playing at Bristol City.

Between them they did a similar thing to the north east with a room at Bath University.

It was Rod who spotted Jason and Gareth.

Speaking to Rod it was nice to hear that Gareth Bale still rings him from the heights of Real Madrid.

Another interesting thing with a bit of a connection was a picture of the 1980 team who had had the biggest win of the season, 5-1 against Brighton.

Looking through the 18 names on the picture I noticed ten of them had cost the club nothing by coming in as youngsters.

It included someone from way before my time, Mike Channon, but the others were more from the local area and the eight who I had paid fees for might be remembered by old supporters as two goalkeepers Genoe and Wells, defenders Golac, Nicholl and Peach, midfield master Alan Ball, with two forwards Phil Boyer and Charlie George.

I can’t remember how much I paid for them but I think added together it was nowhere near what an average player would cost these days.

Happy days and happy memories and well done to the club programme editors.

I do have to question how soon young boys should be signed if Ings can be released at ten obviously having being signed at eight or nine.

In our day you weren’t allowed to sign until 14, and in Scotland it was 16. Even then it was a gamble because so many changes mentally and physically are made before leaving school.

Signing them so young of course means so many more bodies around, so many more staff, which are needed, but the question then is how many of these players make it to the first team?

Then the next problem, or question, is the managers, or as I call the foreign gentlemen coming in, coaches, who only concentrate on the first team, are they bothered about academies when there is money when they arrive in the Premier League to enable them to go out and buy ready-made players.

As we have said so many times most of the teams higher up contain more foreign players than British.

I suppose winning is most important but looking back as a manager seeing a youngster come in at 14 and make the first team eventually, or even international level, gives more satisfaction than most things, but these days not many managers will still be around after that length of time.