Everton legend Yakubu is helping to set up a football academy to save the careers for kids who drop out of the game.
Yakubu is the perfect player to be involved in the project as he grew up in Nigeria having to play barefoot because his parents could not afford to buy him a pair of boots.
But the ex-Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Everton striker, now 38, refused to give up on his dream and went on to score 95 goals in 252 Premier League appearances.
Yakubu will coach alongside the likes of Kit Symons, Adrian Whitbread and others in a residential course in Cyprus from next March to help improve their game and profile to ensure they get another chance in the game.
The Bentley Sports Group has done research which shows just one per cent of youngsters who sign with academies at 12 end up playing professional football and are ready to help them find clubs after being released.
Yakubu said: “I want to push these boys to follow their dreams. They have the ability but they don’t have people around them to talk about hard work and dedication.
“I grew up playing barefoot, I couldn’t afford shoes, my parents couldn’t afford shoes for me to play football and it was my hard work and dedication.
“I worked so hard to achieve where I am today. That’s what I try to pass on to the young ones. I always tell them: ‘Listen, you can do it. If it’s not working – never give up. Always follow your dreams and they will come true.’
“We are looking for players who are ready to work hard, the ones who are ready to show to the clubs that they made the greatest mistake of their lives to let them go.”
Agent are warning that a salary cap in the Championship is the “wrong” path to follow.
EFL bosses are set to bring in an £18m limit but that has been met with opposition from the The Football Forum (TFF), an association of agents whose board includes super agents Mino Raiola, Jorge Mendes and Jonathan Barnett.
The TFF said: “The proposed salary cap rules for the EFL Championship is rushed into implementation without a detailed evidence base, without consultation and without consensus amongst all stakeholders, not least players themselves, on the best course of action to tighten financial regulation.
“We strongly urge the EFL to pause, reflect and commit to a more considered and collaborative way forward to strengthen the financial stability of the English game.”
Television companies are fuming over the backlash over the criticism of fixture scheduling.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been most outspoken but the feeling among the broadcasters is that he is picking on the wrong people here… and should criticise his own directors for signing up to the deal and also a lack of leadership from the Premier League.
It is worth remembering that negotiations for the next TV deal would normally be starting around now, it will probably go out to tender later than usual and relations between broadcasters, clubs and he Premier League must be at an all time low.
TV companies have lost the “exclusivity” of the Premier League. But no club objected at the last round about Saturday lunchtime kick-offs after European games when it was the time to speak up.
Several Premier League clubs will probably be relieved at being in Tier Three as it will be a big loss making exercise to open up for 4,000 or 1,000 fans.
But spare a thought for non-league Kings Lynn as their opponents Bromley will not move next week’s fixture by 24 hours to let fans back in.
Kings Lynn owner Stephen Cleeve wrote on Twitter “Just spoken to Bromley and their Neil Smith has refused to switch the game, which is his right, so sadly we will not be able to have any fans in the stadium for our game next week. Most other clubs have agreed. Sad that Neil has not.”
Research into the use of five substitutes is fascinating – and incredibly revealing.
Football Index has analysed the use of subs from the past five seasons in the Premier League to show Mikel Arteta, Jurgen Klopp and Graham Potter are the most prolific.
Arteta was the only manager to make at least four substitutes in every game, Potter used all five substitutes in 8/9 of games he was allowed last season and Klopp used all five substitutes in 7/9 games while he used three in 95 per cent of games.
Sean Dyche used three subs less than any other manager and never once used four or five subs while Roy Hodgson never made a fifth substitute when he was allowed to last season.
Despite the vast majority of Prem bosses now in favour of five subs, this column has been told the hierarchy of some of those smaller clubs don’t agree with their managers and would still vote against.