BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Grant Basey has promised to plough all his energy into his new role as Charlton Athletic first-team development coach.
The 30-year-old came through the club’s academy, playing 55 matches, but had to retire due to injury in 2017.
He became kitman last season but had been coaching some of Charlton’s younger age groups for the past five years.
Basey obtained his UEFA A license coaching badge two years ago. He was on the same course as Addicks assistant manager Johnnie Jackson.
The former defender jumped straight into the job on Tuesday night as he went to watch full-back Brendan Wiredu, who is on loan at Colchester United.
“This role has been brewing for a while,” said Basey. “I’ve been in talks for a significant amount of time.
“The kitman role was great for me, it meant I had a great experience last season with the team getting promoted. But coaching has always been in the back of my mind and what I wanted to do, hence why I did my badges. I’ve done them all, bar my pro licence.
“I had been doing stuff on a match day which people had probably seen – I take the back four and do the passing drills with Jacko. I’ve been involved since Lee [Bowyer] took over.
“In life you need a break, an opportunity. Fortunately the manager has given me that. He has seen something in me. The conversations we’ve had over a period of time, he trusts me and wants me to be part of his team.
“I’m grateful and realise what a chance I have been given. It’s one I’m going to grasp because ultimately this is my club. I’ve been involved here since the age of seven. I signed as a nine-year-old and went on to play for the first team.
“It’s an unbelievable honour for me. One thing I can guarantee is that the work ethic I put into this role will be through the roof. I want to support the gaffer and Jacko.
“I hope the fans see it is another Charlton person in the environment, that only bodes well because they know 100 per cent we have the club’s best interests at heart. It’s our club as well.”
The development coaching role is meant to help young players transfer more smoothly to the senior set up.
It was different back when Basey made the jump.
“There was one big group of pros and within that you would create a reserve team,” he said.
“That was the best model – in terms of how development should be. As a 17-year-old or 18-year-old scholar you were playing with and against players who would play on Saturday.
“We were a Premier League club, so I was lucky to be surrounded by them. If they didn’t play at the weekend then I’d get to play with them on a Monday night – Jon Fortune, Christian Dailly, Andy Reid, Jerome Thomas, Lloyd Sam and Marcus Bent – all players who were established.
“I was in awe of them, but it was invaluable because I was sharing a pitch with them and they were helping me.
“They don’t do it like that now. It is an extension of U18 football because they are playing against people they have just played against for the last couple of years – they’ve all moved up within their own team.
“If I had any power in the football world then I’d be pushing for a reserve team model. Then you play against senior players regularly.”
Basey has spoken before about his ultimate ambition being to manage Charlton.
His new role will help him in terms of applying to do the UEFA Pro License, the highest qualification in coaching.
“To get the pro license you need to be in a position of importance,” he said. “If I wanted to apply from what I’ve been doing the last few years, coaching U11s and U12s, you wouldn’t get near it.
“Now I will be in a better position to apply for it. That is something I definitely want to do in the future.”
But right now his focus is on helping the younger Addicks players making their mark.
“The big challenge is that if you’re in that reserve or U23 team you might get called over to play with the first team and then get called back [to development level],” said Basey.
“For every young player who is technically a pro, so in that 23s, they are desperate to be over with that first team.
“That’s being honest, I mean no disrespect to the 23s. You want to be around that first-team environment, whether that is training or playing, every day. It’s managing those boys so that if they do go over there and go back they have to deal with it in the right way.
“They can’t just be thinking about frustration and going through the motions when they are there. They need to prove they should be there.
“I can give the boys the knowledge I’ve gained over the years and guide them in a way that means they stay that side, rather than flicking back and forth.”