Published on February 18, 2013 | by Craig Jensen0
Football scouting joins the YouTube age
Plymouth Argyle’s Guy Branston is embarking on a new career that aims to help young professional footballers cement a successful pathway into the football world.
Following a series of injuries during a 16-year career throughout the Football League, the 34-year-old is fully aware of the possible difficulties that await aspiring footballers.
Having clocked-up more than 400 appearances at 19 clubs, the former Leicester City youth player has created the website: www.allaboutballerz.com, after three years of planning and design.
The website aims to form a platform for players who struggle to showcase their talent on a bigger scale in search of finding a club.
“My main intention is so players can feel like there are other ways of being seen. Getting noticed is half the battle and now there is a site that does this, it gets them noticed,” says Branston.
Discussing his own experience in search of a new club while playing at Kettering Town in 2009, Branston recalls: “It was hard as coaches and managers would ask if I could send a DVD to show what I could do, and you don’t get provided with them by clubs at the lower levels. It’s hard to prove what you can do without the exposure that the top level players get.”
Branston believes the website can have an impact on all levels of football, encouraging scouts from across the football world to use the website as an additional tool. “I want the website to challenge YouTube for football clips, to organically grow and become the first point of call for managers and scouts wanting to view players, that’s my ambition,” said Branston.
Rob Scott, Grimsby Town’s joint manager is impressed with the site saying: “We received an Email from Allaboutballerz.com, when I checked out the website I was very impressed with the variety of players on the website and with the whole service the website provides to me as a manager. It was easy to use and easy for me to contact players. By watching football clips we identified a player who impressed us and the website enabled us to invite him to a trial. I will continue to use All About Ballerz in the future”Despite the rawness of the website, a number of success stories have already come to the fore: Two weeks after uploading a video, Henry Blundell was invited for a trial with Blue Square club Chester City, where the 16-year-old was invited back for a further week.
Similarly, Stephen Maher earned himself a call-up to Grimbsy Town for a three-day trial that was later increased to an extra week in December 2012, having successfully uploaded three clips to the website.
Maher said: “I came across All About Ballerz on Twitter. I had just returned from a long-term injury and was in the process of editing DVDs of my games. When I visited the site I realised it was the best place for me.
“Guy has been unbelievably helpful, once I had uploaded my first video he began showcasing my clips and contacting clubs, managers and agents.
“For just £3 I had my clips sent all across the United Kingdom, something I could not have done myself. If you’ve been injured for a long period, feel you haven’t got that bit of luck in your career or playing schoolboy football I would advise you to start uploading. Guy and his team are passionate about this venture and want to help as many footballers as they can”.
Although the success of the website is evident, Branston encourages feedback in order for the site to evolve: “Feedback is great, it’s something that the site has really benefited from and I am glad of it, we have tweaked the site a few times because of feedback we have received.“
With Branston keen for the size of the website to continue to grow, the former centre back has acquired more than 2000 followers on Twitter with the help from England international Tom Cleverley and Wigan midfielder James McCarthur, who both tweeted promoting the website to their followers which combines to more than 800,000 people.
Apart from the small number of tweets from fellow professionals, Branston has found expanding the website difficult due to the lack of help from the football community.
“I have not received much support if I’m being honest. I have put it to loads of big names and not many have come back with help, and many companies have just tried to sell me advertising space,” claimed Branston.
Looking ahead to life after professional football on the pitch, Branston is dedicated to using his own website in a managerial career in football: “When I retire I’m going to put my heart and soul into becoming a manager, and I would use YouTube or my site to look at players and to research players.”
Footballer managers across the world, regardless of the level, will always be in search of the next up and coming star that bursts onto the scene.
With All About Ballerz a first of its kind, the website’s future in the game has the potential to become an everyday tool for managers in search of new talent.