King’s Lynn Town turn to Rooney’s mentor for the future

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He was responsible for developing the likes of Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley at Premier League giants Everton – now Ray Hall wants to lay the foundations for a new conveyor belt of talent at King’s Lynn Town.

Ambitious King’s Lynn chairman Stephen Cleeve has appointed the former Toffees academy manager in a consultancy role at The Walks.

Hall, 66, managed and directed one of the world’s leading performance programmes of elite young football players at Goodison.

After taking up his new role, Hall set out his blueprint for the Linnets, saying: “I have been asked by the chairman to help to organise and develop certain parts of the football club.

“For me, King’s Lynn Town FC needs to become the focal point of football in this part of Norfolk. At the moment it is a sleeping giant that needs to be woken.

“Lynn has a terrific stadium which belies the club’s position and if we can continue to improve the facilities there’s no reason why the club can’t become a major force.

“I will offer my knowledge and expertise through the experience I’ve gained at Everton for 23 years in charge of a youth development programme and two years as a part-time coach.

“I was fortunate enough to see a youth programme start at Everton, where there were just three or four scouts, a part-time secretary and myself, grow into one of the biggest departments at the football club.”

As well as both Rooney and Barkley, Hall also guided players like Jack Rodwell, Richard Dunne and Victor Anichebe from being academy hopefuls to Goodison heroes.

“I will be looking at the youth programme from the age of under-5s right up to the first team and seeing how that can be brought under one umbrella,” said Hall.

“It’s about having a structure and strategy in place. There needs to be a community programme, recruitment, facilities, a pathway and an education before you can see a player come out at the other end.

“Whether I’m involved here for a year, two years or even longer, what’s put in place needs to be picked up by other staff and moved forward.

“I’d like to think all of the work I did at Everton is being built upon now and this is a new journey for me.

“I want to help grow the club in a positive way and the right way and I’d like to leave a legacy here too.”

After a spell in education, Hall took up a football development officer post with the Football Association before being snapped up by Howard Kendall to join the Blues in 1991.

Within three years he was in charge of the youth set-up and in 1997 he oversaw the creation of an official academy in Netherton.

Linnets chairman Cleeve said: “Ray will develop a blue print for our club, run training courses during school holidays, set up our academy, help with player recruitment and help our existing players achieve their goals.

He started his system at Everton with an annual budget of £40,000 now it runs into many millions. If he can be replicate even part of that success with us it will be a real game changer.

“Ray has only ever worked at the top end of the pyramid but he is genuinely excited about coming out of retirement and joining us at grassroots level.

“He has contacts that are second to none and I know that Setch (Gary Setchell) and Backie (Robbie Back) are looking forward to working with him as he intends to work with all our different squad ages.

“I feel honoured and very grateful that he has agreed to be involved with the club.”

Linnets boss Gary Setchell also welcomed the arrival of Hall, who will work with the club five days a month.

“Our chairman is an eccentric character and he’s pulled off an eccentric signing if you like.

“I’ve already spent some time with Ray, he’s a likeable and very knowledegable character.

“He has got a lot of youth experience and for clubs like ours to grow to you need that.

“His speciality is setting things up behind the scenes. His experience will be valuable and I’m looking forward to working with him.”