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Club news

Roach and Gisborne move into new academy roles

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Joe Roach has become head of player progression, with Sam Gisborne taking over as the Cherries academy manager.

Coming into effect from the beginning of June, Roach will move from his academy manager position while Gisborne jumps up from being the assistant academy manager.

Speaking on the change in roles, AFC Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said: “Our academy has continued to go from strength to strength with Joe at the helm and I know Sam will carry on all the good work.

“You only have to look at the first-team squad to see how successful our academy has been and this is testament to Joe and his team of dedicated staff.

“I would like to thank Joe for his tireless efforts as academy manager and wish him well in his new position as head of player progression.

“Sam has made excellent progress since joining the club in 2015 and I know he will continue this in his new role as academy manager.”

The switch comes over 20 years on from Roach initially joining the club’s staff for his first stint with the Cherries back in 2001.

In ten years of service from ’01, he performed various roles, having spent time as head of youth, manager of the reserve team and under-18s, first-team caretaker manager twice and a period as assistant manager.

Roach then departed in 2011 before being brought back to the football club in 2014 by Eddie Howe to continue his many years of service.

Following the 2016/17 campaign, Roach was presented with the special recognition award during the end of season awards ceremony.

Looking back on the past 21 years, the new head of player progression took pride in the work that has been done in the Cherries academy.

“I have been privileged to lead the academy for nearly 20 years, with the remit in 2001 of developing the then centre of excellence, subsequently now an academy,” he said.

Joe was keen to air his gratitude to several areas of the club which have been supportive during his time as academy manager.

“I have had a clean sheet of paper supported in the vision by many people from the club, board level and management, the fantastic supporters who provided much-needed revenue when needed back when the club was struggling financially and the incredible staff who have served to develop our players and follow their own career goals here or elsewhere.

“I’m proud of the work done by many people over the years, in times of hardship and huge success, we have all pulled together.

“My main goals included many areas, primarily producing an education and football programme to support humble yet determined young men to become footballers or leave with a career in front of them.

“The academy has produced players for every level of football over a number of years, inclusive of international caps at all levels.

“For a small club in a challenging recruitment area, this speaks volumes about the focus and determination to develop ‘better people – better players’.”

Speaking on his new head of player progression role, Joe said: “I have an opportunity in my new role to focus on the older players in the academy.

“Whether they are moving through the age groups, supporting the loan manager when going on loan, training with the first team, but more importantly supporting the player care plan already in place.”

With the switch in roles seeing Sam Gisborne take over as academy manager, that led to a further sense of pride for Roach.

“It is with immense pride that I am able to hand over the academy responsibilities to Sam Gisborne as my replacement.

“He has shown a fantastic work ethic, humility and personal progression that allows me to confidently step into another role.”

Gisborne has been in his assistant academy manager position for over a year since March 2021.

He previously performed the academy operations & facilities manager role, having first joined the Cherries as a work placement student in 2015.

“I am thrilled to be moving up to academy manager,” Gisborne commented.

“The academy is in a really good place, and Joe has consistently pushed me and other staff to keep improving and provide an environment for our young players to flourish.

“We have had some great success this year with academy boys getting a good amount of minutes and helping the first team achieve their goal of promotion to the Premier League.”

He continued: “I can't wait to continue the good work Joe has done in his long and successful career at the club.

“Whilst it may not be easy to follow in his footsteps, I am very confident that with the staff we have now, we can continue to keep moving the AFC Bournemouth academy forward.”

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