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Rebuilding the Belief Conference

Chris Green Media
Event organized by Chris Green Media

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Six speakers

Two discussion panels

Debate on THE burning topic in English football

An all-day conference exploring the positive and proactive ways in which English football can put the best interests of children first in football from grass roots to professional academies.


The English football academy system is broken.

It hasn’t protected children. It causes mental health problems. Fewer home grown players reach pro club first teams than ever and a chasm has opened up between rich and poor clubs.

England’s elite clubs now trawl for ever younger talent without tangible evidence of success and often with scant regard to the welfare, safety and psychological and social impact on children and families.

Less than one per cent of players who join pro academies ‘make it’ and many of those who fall by the wayside carry a feeling of failure with them – a process which now starts from the age of five-years-old upwards.

We know the problems. What about the solutions?

It is time for a fresh and positive approach that puts the best interests of the child first not last.

This conference will:

Explore alternatives

Put the voice of the child first

Find ways to make junior and academy football better

Rebuilding the Belief is also the title of Chris Green’s forthcoming sequel to Every Boy’s Dream (A&C Black 2009), an award-winning book on this subject.


Paul Cooper – National Children’s Football Alliance, Give Us Back Our Game and Free v Free annual campaign

Phil Johnson – Sports and exercise psychologist, former team psychologist at AS Monaco

Tim Kirk – Under 13s coach at Borussia Dortmund and founder of Bath and Wiltshire Boys, part of the Bath & Wiltshire School Sport Trust, a charity which offers sporting opportunities for young people

Robert Stephenson – Founder and CEO of multi-award-winning youth social enterprise programme, Blastbeat, and currently trialling a new project, FootBeat, which aims to provide a life skills programme for academy players

Jameel Hadi MBE – Social work lecturer at Salford University and founder of Participation Through Sport (2003 to 2013)

Chris Green - host and author of Every Boy's Dream - England's Football Future on the Line (A&C Black, 2009) - nominated for 2010 British Sports Book of the Year and managing partner of Chris Green Media


- Sports academics and teachers

- Sports media

- Junior coaches and clubs

- Anyone who cares about the voice of the child in sport