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23rd July 2017

Off the pitch changes have been very apparent as well, with virtually all links with the previous management regime gone from Hurworth.

Sadly two faces that have been regular for a very long time, Dave Parnaby and Ron Bone, have retired and they will be very difficult to replace. I am sure though that the current good practice on managing and recruiting will be continued, because if it isn't broken there is no need to fix it.

One departure wasn't through age and it came as a shock to hear that Paul Jenkins had left the club. He has been instrumental in guiding youngsters through the teams and has excelled in recent years managing the clubs very successful Under 23 side.

Post Karanka he stepped up to first team duties and with the new regime perhaps it was expected that he would move back into his former role. The tributes flowed on social media, Stuart Downing, David Wheater, Ben Gibson, Dael Fry and Harry Chapman amongst many who voiced their appreciation and thanks for what Jenkins had done to assist their development.

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Within days of him leaving Boro it was announced that he was going to be Craig Harrison's number two at Hartlepool. Coincidence or not, but a great move for him and all concerned at Victoria Park. I am sure that he was instrumental in getting Junior Mondial a trial at Victoria Park after he was somewhat surprisingly released by Boro at the end of last season after earning rave reviews a season or so ago.

The role of looking after the clubs young players though remains in very capable hands with Craig Liddle now having Jonathan Woodgate as a coach for the Under 18s. Recently other clubs have announced former very high profile players such as Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker in similar positions. It will be invaluable for youngsters to see that their careers are being assisted by club legends that have had such tremendous careers themselves.

The Boro academy has enjoyed an excellent reputation in providing players not only for the club but also for careers in the game elsewhere.

In my early days of refereeing intermediate football I was fortunate to witness the development of many young players who later achieved so much in the game.

The most obvious one was Paul Gascoigne whose precocious talent was there for all to see as a 16-year-old. As a defender though I never saw better than Woody. At Leeds United he showed the promise that saw him rise to play in The Premier League and at Real Madrid.

Sadly his career was hampered by injury, denying him many caps for his country.

If he can help produce footballers of his calibre then the Boro's production line will not cease to produce. With transfer fees going off the scale it surely going to be vital that clubs produce even more players and Boro are in the right hands to ensure that continues.

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