Falkirk will look to bring back their youth academy after news of fresh investment – but co-bosses David McCracken and Lee Miller are well aware it will take time.
The Bairns are preparing for their first game of the competitive season against Kilmarnock on Tuesday night. Whether this one goes ahead remains to be seen after Killie’s entire first-team squad was put into self-isolation for two weeks on Friday.
It’s an exciting time for Falkirk with news of new investors at the club. Orlando City founder Phil Rawlins and former Deloitte & Touche consultant Carrie Rawlins will take on a 26% shareholding stake in the Scottish League One club and also take positions on the board.
Whilst not finalised just yet, this investment could lead to a return for the Falkirk academy that was scrapped whilst the club were in the Championship.
McCracken says it’s a great period for the club but has urged caution: “It is an exciting time. There’s been talk of investment for a number of months now and myself and Lee have been in on some of it. The fact is that it’s not completely there yet but it is exciting.
“They are aligned with what Gary Deans (Falkirk chairman), the board and myself and Lee want to do with the club, taking it back to where it belongs. It’s encouraging.
“We want to bring back the academy. We have seen a number of players come through as youths and progress their careers further. It’s a benefit to the club when they get sold on so we want to bring that back. But that won’t happen this year probably, our main focus is the league.
“Some of that stuff will go on in the background. You can’t just pull that together in a year or so. But it’s something we want to bring back to the club.”
It’s something fellow co-boss Miller is taking encouragement from too. Miller says he would be delighted to get the youth academy back in place at the Falkirk stadium as he opened up on the club’s League Cup testing regime.
“We are going to have to test before this game,” said Miller ahead of the Killie clash. “We have spoke to the board and have got all that in place. You need to plan for worst-case scenario and we have enough there for us to do that.
“It’s common sense. We give players protocol and information and advice to make sure they are doing the right things away from the club. You can’t be babysitters for 24 hours as away from the club they need to look after themselves.
“It’s good to hear the enthusiasm from Carrie and Phil. We were on a Zoom call with them the other day and their enthusiasm for what Falkirk should look like was great. We’ve been speaking about that since we came in.
“But it will be a long process. The fact that it’s being spoken about so early on is good from our point of view. We are in a better place and everyone’s pulling in the one direction. Long-term we want to be in the Premiership and we have everything in place in terms of infrastructure.”