The Rangers Youth Development Company has continued its incredible support for the Rangers youth department by presenting Head of Academy Craig Mulholland and youth products Nathan Patterson and Kai Kennedy with a cheque for £450,000.
This latest annual contribution, 12 months after a £400,000 donation, means RYDC has generated around £1.3 million for the Academy in the last four seasons – demonstrating once again their determination to back the Rangers youth programme in any way they can.
Since 2002, RYDC profit has been directed to the Rangers Academy and more than £8.5 million has been provided to date.
On top of the money donated directly to the Academy, RYDC are also pleased to confirm nearly £375,000 was given away to Rangers fans in prize money last season. While their Rangers Pools initiative – which was re-launched in 2018/19 – has generated almost £100,000 exclusively for the upkeep and maintenance of Ibrox Stadium.
RYDC Director of Operations Colin Stewart made the presentation at the Hummel Training Centre and the £450,000 raised is profit from their growing portfolio of products – which includes Rangers Lotto, The Union Jackpot half-time draw, Scratchcards and Stadium Bricks.
He commented: “The Rangers Youth Development Company is absolutely delighted to confirm this £450,000 donation to the Rangers Academy – making it almost £1.3 million provided to the club’s youth programme in just four seasons.
“RYDC is immensely proud to support the Rangers Academy and I know the money we provide makes a positive difference to Craig, his coaching staff and all the youth players at the Hummel Training Centre.
“I was able to witness this first hand when I was kindly invited on the trip for the UEFA Youth League tie against Slovan Bratislava late last year. The coaching team prepare the players for games with meticulous detail and there is undoubtedly a talented crop of youths learning their trade every day at the Academy.
“A number of youth products recently travelled to Dubai with the first team squad for the warm-weather training camp and it was great to see Nathan Patterson and Kai Kennedy making their debuts in Friday’s 2-0 Scottish Cup victory over Stranraer. I have no doubt their development will be enhanced by the experience.
“RYDC also gave away nearly £375,000 in prize money to Rangers fans last year. Supporters are the lifeblood of the football club and we were thrilled to see such an impressive amount going to the fans too.
“We have a terrific working relationship with Craig Mulholland and his Academy staff and I know everyone at the club is grateful for the level of support we are able to provide. Next year we hope to generate even more funds for the Academy and we will continue working around the clock in order to break the half a million pound mark.”
Craig Mulholland added: “When everyone at Rangers works together with the same goal something special can happen and there is a real sense that we are witnessing that at the moment. With the togetherness of the supporters, Colin and his team at RYDC who do a phenomenal job, and all of the dedicated and innovative staff in the Academy we all believe that we are on the cusp of creating a special pathway for young talent at Rangers.
“In the last year we have seen Nathan Patterson, Kai Kennedy, Ross McCrorie, Glenn Middleton, Jordan Houston, Stevie Kelly, Serge Atakayi, Dapo Mebude and Josh McPake all feature in the first team – and we are excited by the prospect of some of these and others adding more appearances and minutes in the coming months.
“Over the last five years we have seen the number of internationals in the Academy increase from 14 to 42, a fabulous increase representing the breadth of talent we now have in the Academy and the quality of player our environment is now producing.
“It’s been such an exciting year also for player challenge with our groups winning the Alkass Cup with teams such as Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and Roma competing, the SPFL Reserve League, the SFA U18 CAS League, the SFA Youth Cup, the U16 SFA League, the U16 SFA CAS Cup and the SuperCup NI.
“We will never prioritise winning at youth level, individual player development always comes first, therefore the real win for us is that our players achieved this success with high numbers of players playing up, being challenged and being stretched in each age group, indeed in recent U18 matches as few as 33% of the players are actually U18 with the rest younger.
“We have seen 13 year olds playing in the 16’s, 15 year olds playing in the Dev Squad and we have continued to travel to play the best teams in Europe to take these young Rangers players firmly out of their comfort zone.
“We have such an exciting time ahead with new coaching and recruitment initiatives, continued investment in the development of our coaches to become world class, further facility development, and much more, and of course for the Development Squad more action in the UEFA Youth League against Atletico Madrid and a Challenge Cup semi-final against Inverness.
“Most importantly we look forward to seeing the growth and the development of these young Rangers players as they push closer to the first team.
“None of this would be possible without the help and support of Colin Stewart, the team at RYDC and of course the supporters. We are extremely grateful for this ongoing magnificent backing and on behalf of all of the players and staff in the Academy I would like to send a very sincere thank you for the ongoing commitment.”
For full details on RYDC products – Rangers Lotto, The Union Jackpot, Scratchcards, Stadium Bricks and Rangers Pools – visit www.rydc.co.uk or call 0141 427 4914.