City u14s have set up a mouthwatering clash with Barcelona after winning the Premier League u14s tournament in Greenwich.
Darren Bowman’s side defeated West Ham 3-1 in the final after seeing off Southampton, Chelsea and Wolves in the group stages.
It was a hugely impressive showing from City's starlets as they racked up 11 goals in five games on their way to the title.
The tournament was played over two two-day events with 10 sides in each competition and City’s reward for winning is a place in a four-team event at Barcelona's Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training complex at the end of March.
City went unbeaten throughout the process after they qualified for last weekend’s National tournament by avoiding defeat against Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Southampton in October’s Regional qualifying tournament.
Head of Academy Mark Allen led the tributes to the players, coaches and Academy staff.
“It’s always nice to win tournaments but the manner that we won it in is most pleasing,” Allen said.
“We played some really good football and there was excellent behaviour on and off the pitch and I think that we proved we are a real force among the British clubs.
“I’m so pleased for all the staff connected with the Academy who have worked tirelessly to make sure that this development programme is the best it can possibly be.”
...Mark Allen - Head of Academy...
This squad are all enrolled in City’s pioneering St Bedes programme which gives all players access to a full-time education and a full five-day training programme.
Darren Bowman has coached this side for the past two years and revealed his belief that this latest success proves that opting for this progressive system is paying dividends.
“It’s nice for them to get some success and I think we’re seeing the benefits of the full-time St Bede’s programme,” Bowman declared.
“Obviously development is important but at some stage we do have to develop a winning culture and the players have to get used to the pressure and the environment that brings.
“Barcelona are the benchmark in European football, so I’m really looking forward to going over there and gauging where we’re at against them.”
...Darren Bowman - City u14s Manager...
Managing Director of City Football Academy Brian Marwood also admitted how delighted he was with the tournament triumph.
"This is a great achievement for everyone connected with the Academy,” Marwood said.
“As you are all aware we have worked hard recently to build on the proud history that the academy has attained over the years.
The u14 team are part of the recommendation of getting greater control earlier in the boys’ development path of football, education & lifestyle.
...Brian Marwood, City Football Academy Managing Director...
"This success is a by-product of that and one which shows we are on the right path."
City u14s travel to Barcelona at the end of March to take on the Catalan giants – we’ll let you know how they get on then and also bring you highlights of the Premier League tournament here on mcfc.co.uk as soon as we have them.
Regional Qualifiying Tournament – October 2012
City 2-0 Middlesbrough
City 1-1 Sunderland
City 0-0 Newcastle United
City 2-0 Blackburn Rovers
National Premier League Tournament – January 2013
City 2-1 Chelsea
City 1-0 Bolton
City 2-1 Southampton
City 3-1 Wolves
City 3-1 West Ham