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New staff profile: Rob Watson

1 August 2022

We continue our articles profiling new staff who have arrived at the club this summer by speaking to Rob Watson, who came back to the club as Youth Development Phase Coach following a five-year spell with Barnsley.

Rob, you're a familiar face having been here for so long before. How long was your prior spell?
I was part of the Community Trust and in the academy part-time, before joining the academy full-time. It was around ten years in total. I left five years ago and have spent that period of time at Barnsley, starting as the Foundation Phase Coach and then went on to Lead Youth Development Phase Coach. When I was here previously it was Lead Foundation Phase Coach, and now I've returned as Lead Youth Development Phase Coach, which is the same role I was doing at Barnsley. I'm from Scunthorpe, it's my hometown club and I've always been a fan.

How was your spell at Barnsley?
I had a brilliant five years in a great learning environment with some really good people. I was based at Oakwell, with the training ground on site.

Given your past spell here, you'll be familiar with some of the players who are starting to come through now then?
I am. I signed Cribby (Harvey Cribb) when he was U8, Fozzy (Owen Foster) and Cam Wilson, who have all appeared for the first team in recent times so seeing them out on the pitch now is a huge achievement and I'm really pleased with how they've come through the academy under Tony (Daws, Academy Manager). I was told about Cribby playing for Sydney Park in Grimsby, and we got him to sign on the pitch at the time. Fozzy played for Hull City boys, against us, we really liked him, he got a trial and did really well, signing for the club. I signed Cam's brother Lennon for our U9's and then brought Cam in on trial for our U11s at the same time. It's fantastic to see the gaffer (Keith Hill) give them a chance.

Are there any more who you've been involved with in the past who could make a breakthrough?
Some of the lads who are now U16s would have been U11s when I left. There are boys there who could follow in the footsteps of those currently in the first team set-up.

How has your return been so far?
It's been brilliant and feels like I've not left really. There are familiar faces, as I've obviously worked with Tony before, Phil the physio and other staff. It's good to be home.


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