With Alan Pardew's men capping a remarkable season with a push for Champions League football, Goal.com imagines how the Sports Direct Academy might review its latest recruits
SPORTS DIRECT ACADEMY
League: Currently 5th
FA Cup: 4th Round
League Cup: 4th Round
It is with great pleasure that we contact you after an academic year that has exceeded all expectations held by students and staff alike.
Great concerns were raised at the beginning of the summer term over the decision of Headmaster Pardew to allow senior pupils Joey Barton & Kevin Nolan to depart the school, while the renaming of our institution to the Sports Direct Academy by Chancellor Mr Ashley provoked a similarly negative response amongst trustees.
However, Mr Ashley’s financial austerity and planning has led our school to become self-sufficient, while the continuation of recruitment officer Mr Graham Carr’s superb work has seen us compete with the elite of the national league tables.
Upon your request, we have provided the following reports on the new additions to the academy and their performances throughout the 2011-12 season.
Demba arrived at the academy on a free scholarship after showcasing his potential during a six-month spell at the University of East London.
Particularly impressive were the strong grades he received at a struggling institution, and while other schools such as the Stoke College of Pottery expressed concerns over his attendance due to fitness issues, Headmaster Pardew believed his ability outweighed any concerns over truancy.
Initially Demba struggled to adapt, with his participation in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan leading to a dip in test scores, but soon he began to display his aptitude for the curriculum and excelled particularly in finishing school in the first term.
We have also been impressed with his ability to welcome other pupils, with Demba sacrificing his preferred seat in class to allow fellow Senegalese striker Papiss time to settle in to his new surroundings.
Although such selflessness has actually been detrimental to his marks in finishing, this has been counterbalanced by an increased presence in the classroom to provide assistance to other pupils, and his bilingual tongue means he has worked well as a translator for Papiss.While Demba has expressed his desire to one day attend the Paris Institute of Commerce, Headmaster Pardew remains hopeful of retaining his services next year.
While mid-year transfers between institutions have often proved detrimental to both pupils and schools in recent times, Headmaster Pardew and our board members were confident that Papiss’ arrival from Freiburg Elementary in January was a wise move having performed detailed background checks on his academic record.
We were particularly glad that Papiss opted to study at our academy over the Stadium of Light Polytechnic, who had also expressed an interest in opening up a place on their course for him.
His placement at the 'No.9' desk – a seat which comes with much history and expectation from our trustees – may have put Papiss under unnecessary pressure to perform immediately, yet he has produced 13 top scores in the same number of examinations at the academy so far.
It is not just his consistency in finishing school that has impressed but also his differing approach to each task in the classroom, with the creative brilliance he demonstrated against the Stamford Bridge Senior School recognised in academic journals across the world.
Papiss has also shown an enjoyment of extra-curricular activities, often taking time to visit local residents and provide help in the community.
While the assistance of Demba helped him to settle in quickly to the academy, we believe that it is now time for Papiss to replicate this gesture and help his countryman through a difficult time in finishing class.
That said, we can have no complaints over any aspect of his academic performance this term, and are eagerly looking forward to the next.Grade: A+
We were surprised by the ease in which Yohan was convinced to join the academy in the summer after he played a prominent role in Lille Comprehensive’s rise to the top of the French national league tables.
He has formed a strong understanding with fellow pupil Cheikh Tiote, with the pairs’ combined results in passing theory and practical tackling heavily contributing to the academy’s overall success this year.
Headmaster Pardew and assistant head Mr Carver have noticed Yohan’s tendency to be moody and reactionary in class – often prompting unnecessary trips to the nurse’s office for exaggerated ailments.
However, he has produced key answers in group tests against the likes of the Old Trafford Academy of Excellence and Wigan Athletic Early Learning Centre to keep our institution on course to compete in continental inter-school competition next year.Grade: A
Davide showed much promise in his formative years at the Giuseppe Meazza Centre for Distinction - leading then Head of Italian Schools, Marcello Lippi, to liken him to distinguished alumni Paolo Maldini.
While Davide himself would admit he has struggled to fulfil such comparisons, Mr Carr was confident he would benefit from a place in our academy.
Initially he was reluctant to contribute to the class, but under the careful guidance of Headmaster Pardew, Davide started to adjust to our teaching methods and the format of examinations in England.
At times he can be dismissive of his defensive core studies, often showing too much interest in the tasks of other students, which has led to time spent outside the classroom.
Overall we are satisfied with Davide’s development this academic year, particularly as he is amongst the youngest of our students, but he will need to progress further if he is not to lose out to any new pupils who join the school in the summer break.Grade: C+
|GABRIEL OBERTAN & SYLVAIN MARVEAUX
Despite receiving disappointing grades throughout his studies at the Old Trafford Academy of Excellence, Headmaster Pardew was confident Gabriel could realise his potential under our stewardship. Unfortunately he has continued to display a similar inaptitude for following instructions, often sitting in other classmates’ seats throughout exams and failing to complete his own crossing tasks, resulting in Gabriel taking a less prominent role in class lately.
Much like Demba, Sylvain arrived at the academy with a worrying fitness record that had seen his application to the Royal College of Anfield rejected. It seems those concerns have rung true, with Sylvain spending long spells of time at home due to illness, and as a result he has contributed very little throughout the academic year. Having made only rare appearances in lessons, we feel it is only fair that his place in the academy comes under review at the end of this term.Grades: C (Gabriel) & D (Sylvain)
Follow Andrew Kennedy on