A top South African sports scientist Prof Ross Tucker coined the term ‘Ghosts in Machine’ for youngsters that are taken in by the youth football system before being thrown out.
Over 1.5 million youths reportedly play organized youth football with the hope that they would be among the 180 that would appear in the Premier League. With a very low success rate of 0.012 percent, such dreams are usually crushed with the victims left to bear the pain.
Few years back Reece Staples was labelled the next star from Notts County. He did his trials at big clubs like Manchester United before moving to Nottingham Forest. The dream barely begun as he was released in the 2008/09season. Like many others, he could not handle what came next. Clair Dunne said her teenage son – at 19 – tried bringing in cocaine into Britain but the swallowed products led to his death at a police station.
While being on the front page of Kicker Magazine is cool or having Marca reporters chase you for comments seems impressive, the story of young boys dreaming of that life does not have a nice ending most times. The pressure is insane. Then there is the story of footballers fed tales of connections by agents. The psychological abuse of being rejected or failing to make the cut can have devastating impact on the young boys.
Dunne addedthat her son was excited at meeting Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown. He hoped and prayed for the day he would get the chance to take them on. Sadly that day never came and would never come. Less than 1 per cent succeed down that path.