THE Professional Player to Coach Scheme has allowed Burton Albion Academy to add former footballer Courtney Pitt to their staff.
Having started his career as a youth player at Chelsea, Pitt went on to play professionally for the likes of Portsmouth, Luton, Boston and Cambridge, and now becomes one of the scheme’s first intake of six coaches.
On joining the Brewers, Pitt said: “To have football again in my life is massive for me.
“It’s taken me 10 years to get back into football, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at Burton Albion – it’s a great club, with great people, and has a really good setup.
“I don’t see many black coaches or black managers in the game at the moment, and if we can address that and give more opportunity to black coaches coming through and give them hope, then schemes like this is what it's all about."
Dan Robinson, Academy Manager, says bringing in Pitt is ideal for the club, who like to have a group of staff who can connect with the players.
“We’ve got a really diverse group of players, so it’s about making sure there's people supporting them and around them from all different backgrounds to provide them with that connection,” Robinson said.
“The fact that the Premier League and EFL and the PFA are working so hard to try and diversify the coaching force, I think it's a great step in the right direction because the statistics show there aren't enough coaches from varied backgrounds.
“We’re already really proud to be one of the six clubs representing the scheme at this early stage, and we just hope it does make a difference and that we start to see a change in mindsets in recruitment of staff.”
Ben Robinson MBE DL, said: “we’re pleased to be welcoming Courtney to the club in this new role.
“We’re happy to be one of the six clubs that are part of this new scheme and hope that it can support having more diversity in professional coaching.”
Pitt is now trying to have the same impact on Burton’s youngsters that his coaches had on him at Chelsea.
“I’ve just been trying to get them, especially with the attackers, to have a plan of what they're going to do before they get it, so when they’re having a shot, have a go-to finish,” he says.
“Burton allow me to get involved in that and treat me like a proper member of staff. It’s brilliant, I love it.”