Saints build links with Valencia
St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick has been on a scouting mission of his own as he jetted off to cast an eye over Spanish giants, Valencia.
The Saints supremo was invited by the Paisley club’s partners, inspiresport, and their head of sales for Scotland, Jed McCabe to make the trip over to their exclusive club Valencia CF in Spain last weekend.
Fitzpatrick joined McCabe to see how the La Liga side go about their business from academy level all the way through to the first team.
Despite the obvious difference between the levels the two sides operate at, there were also a number of parallels between the two clubs.
Both have a rich history of bringing through youth players into their first teams, with Valencia CF currently with seven players in their side that have made their way through their world class youth academy. This is the same academy that Spain and Manchester City midfielder, David Silva came through.
The pair were given the opportunity to watch several academy games, including Valencia CF vs Villarreal at both under-14 and under-18 level.
And there was also time to rub shoulders with same stars, with Fitzpatrick introduced to Valencia left- back, Toni Lato who has come through the club’s academy and was recently voted in the world’s best team for his age. The pair enjoyed a lengthy discussion on the 20-year-old’s path into the Spanish side’s first team at the Mestalla.
Valencia CF legend Miguel Ángel Angulo, who is chief scout for the first team, also took time out to talk with Fitzpatrick – sharing the club’s philosophy and how they go about scouting the best players in Spain. And there was even time to bump into chiefs from American academy, Next Gen.
Due to the link between St Mirren and inspiresport, the idea is for St Mirren Academy and youth teams to go over to Valencia CF and test themselves against their peers at the same age group. There is also a hope that both clubs will build strong relations going forward.
Fitzpatrick was then invited in behind the scenes of the first team training area and the Mestalla Stadium, before he finished off his tour by attending Valencia CF vs FC Barcelona – which ended 1-1.
Jed McCabe told Express Sport : “With myself being from Paisley, it filled me with pride to join Tony on this trip to Valencia and introduce him and St Mirren to some of the best coaches from some of the world’s best clubs.”
Big match Tony finished the weekend by watching Valencia take on Barcelona