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INTERVIEW: Dempster excited to start new role with the Sky Blues

13 February 2020

The Sky Blues were pleased to announce the arrival of John Dempster to the Academy last week, as he takes over as the new Lead Professional Development Phase Coach.

John joins City having recently departed League Two side Mansfield Town, where he had spent the majority of his career as a player, as well as a coach and manager more recently.

Following his departure in December 2019, Dempster’s availability enabled him to join the famous Sky Blues Academy and he is relishing the opportunity.

He said: “It’s been a brilliant couple of days getting to know people and meeting new people.

“I had a good Christmas and New Year with the family, and I feel refreshed and reinvigorated and ready to go.

“I think I can bring quite a lot of good value to the under-18 programme here and when the opportunity was given to me by Dan Bolas, the Academy Manager, I couldn’t wait to get started.

“It feels like it’s a fresh start for everybody and the start of a new era. I think Coventry City should be proud of their achievements in the last few years in terms of producing young footballers, they’ve got a great record.

“The old Academy Manager Richard Stevens did a great job and moved on to West Brom, but now Dan has taken over and now there is a new Head of Coaching coming in, so hopefully we can bring some new ideas and build on the good work that’s already taken place here.”

Dempster watched on as the under-18s recorded an impressive 4-3 win over Ipswich Town at the start of February, as he looked over the group that he will be working with moving forward.

The 36-year-old was impressed with what he saw and as he begins his journey at Coventry City, he is looking to implement some long-term plans to move the Academy forward.

“I was at the game on Saturday against a strong Ipswich side and I was very impressed, in what were difficult conditions with the wind but both sides were very good, and they got the ball down and they played.

“Both teams were quite young for under-18s sides, we had a couple of under-16s players playing and they handled it very well so I’m really looking forward to getting started and training with the group and hopefully improving and developing the players.

“I think it’s important to plan long term but over the next few days it’s more short term for me, looking at the players and getting to know them, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses and their character.

“Certainly, there’s a long-term plan that overrides that with scholarships being given out. I think the majority of recruitment has been done already so I’ll be working with whatever groups given to me, I won’t be playing a large role in the recruitment because I think there’s only one or two slots available now.”

It might be early days for Dempster with the Sky Blues but the welcome he has received since joining the club is one that has made it easier for him to settle in.

“The staff here are really friendly and just being in the office and seeing the different age groups coming in and everybody knowing each other’s names whether they’re an under 10 or an under 18 I think is very good.

“There’s a real good feel around the place. It feels like all the staff are pulling in the same direction and it’s important that that’s the case because as Academy members of staff you’ve got a duty of care to these players to not only develop them as footballers but develop them as people because that’s our responsibility.”

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