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Young players joining professional clubs

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:45 pm
by bluedragon
I am hoping that someone can help me confirm, correct and/or improve my understanding of how young Scottish players became professional footballers on leaving school in the late 1950’s/1960’s.


My understanding is that Scottish youngsters could not become an apprentice at an English club. If this is correct I can only imagine it was due to an agreement between the football authorities either side of the border.

English football clubs introduced the football apprenticeship scheme on 1 July 1960. Clubs would sign school leavers at age 15 on three-year apprenticeships. Fast developers might sign professional forms at the first opportunity (age 17) but the others would see out the term with the hope of being offered a professional contract at the end.

This is supported by the number of Scots who joined English clubs from school but as amateurs. There is evidence in various autobiographies that they were put on the payroll of a company, perhaps owned by a director, trained full-time with the club but were registered as amateur players. When they reached 17 they signed as a professional.

Does this sound right?


Can anyone tell me when S-Forms were introduced? I am thinking it was in the late 1960’s but I am not confident that is correct. I know the purpose was to allow Scottish clubs to sign schoolboys and to give them first opportunity to sign them when they reached school-leaving age. Could someone explain it in a little more detail please.

Thank you.

Re: Young players joining professional clubs

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:00 am
by Gordon Baird
S-Forms were introduced in 1967 at the request of Scottish clubs but came in the wake of one of them provoking a storm of controversy by signing a 13 year-old, which rendered him ineligible for a possible schoolboy cap. It was mainly intended to counter the problem of talented youngsters heading to England by attaching them to a Scottish club before they left school. I'm pretty sure that they still had to wait until they were 17 before signing n professional terms.

Under International Board rules it wasn't permissible for English clubs to approach a boy, directly or indirectly, who was attending a recognised school in Scotland, let alone sign him, but this never stopped the English scouts and the S-Forms didn't either. They still flocked to the Scottish Schools Under-15 trial matches to snatch the best of the talent.

It did, however, mean that Scottish clubs could now officially register boys over the age of 13 for coaching purposes without ruining their chance of a schoolboy cap.

Re: Young players joining professional clubs

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:41 pm
by bluedragon
Thanks Gordon, That is very helpful.