After over 6 years in the role, SCFC can announce that Ian Milligan will be retiring from the Academy Chair position. Ian will continue to lead the Academy until a new Chair is in place and will support the operation through to the new academic intake this September. Alongside a new Academy Chair, a slightly expanded Academy Board team will be established to reflect the workload and SCFC ambitions within it's player pathway development.
Ian commented: ''It's been a tough decision to step down and prompted only by the return of a health issue. While under control, it has required me to reassess my commitments.
I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Academy and wider club and we have benefited enormously from the long term support of Smurfit Kappa (thanks to Lynne Case, Gary Farquhar and Helen Venables) and Tameside College (thanks to Jackie Moores). In recent years, Simon Haworth, Phil Jackson and Dave Pover have done a great coaching and physio job with the students, supported by Andrew Betts and Andy Hobson.
Most heartening to me has been the progression of many local lads making their way in life, whether that be into higher and further education, work or apprenticeships. However much these lads improve their football, our greater priority is helping them make the transition into adult life. Some students would make it anyway but some face some big challenges and need the extra support we give.
Beyond the Academy, we have established U21s and U18s teams which can help create a player pathway from Stalybridge Celtic Juniors and the wider Tameside and beyond area. Started by Craig South, taken on by Matt Ross and now under the highly capable and committed Garry and Jill Jones, we have our best opportunity to really push the development of local talent and the Academy Chair role (and wider Academy Board) will encompass these teams to ensure a 'joined up' approach.
It's business as usual while we recruit my replacement and I look forward to supporting the new appointees in the run up to September's new student intake. Agreeing to my best mate Rob Gorski's invitation to get involved all those years ago was one of my better decisions. Finally, I'd like to thank everyone in and around Celtic who welcomed me into the club (especially given my Alty roots!) and have always helped me out along the way be it with the Academy, main club or Rugby.
Chairman Rob Gorski added â€śI am deeply upset that Ian is leaving; but only because of the reason behind it. Ian is not only a best friend, but he has been CEO of the main Club, Chairman of the Academy, has helped develop hundreds of young lads and also brought in a significant amount of sponsorship over his time at Celtic. However, his health is far more important and on behalf of everyone at the club, we all wish him wellâ€ť.