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Ayre Signs at Hibs


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Thought this would be of interest, seems Ipswich have lost out on this Canadian! Contrary to the article, I neither Mowbray nor Venus was at Town when Yallop was there, although there is no doubt they will know each other.


From The Scotsman.

THE arrival of 17-year-old Keegan Ayre at Easter Road has caused plenty of ripples across the pond in Vancouver, but it is the impression made in Edinburgh by the player that will cause the greatest stir.

The midfielder, a Canadian Under-20 internationalist, signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Hibs on Thursday in an attempt to move his burgeoning career on to the next level after making his name with his native club, British Columbia.

Alec McLaughlin, Ayre's agent, is currently basking in delectation at securing a place for his player at what he sees as one of the most reputable clubs in the country for developing youthful footballing talent.

Despite his tender years, Ayre is likely to appear more for Hibs' reserve side than the youth team, such is his advanced technical ability, but McLaughlin expects his client's accomplishments to excel well beyond that.

"I'll be surprised if Keegan is not in the first team by this time next year," said McLaughlin. "He's very highly rated in Canada and plays in the middle of midfield. He's a Paul Hartley type who is very creative. He used to be a striker but when I first came across him two years ago his technique stood out so we moved him back into midfield and it worked.

"From our conversations with Hibs, the plans seems to be to get him into the reserves as soon as possible.

"He is on a professional contract, not a youth contract, and Hibs regard him very highly. Within two training sessions they had decided to sign him and then it was just a matter of us getting together with Mr Petrie to sign the contract.

"I've been an agent for ten years now and Keegan is certainly the best young player I've had the fortune to come across. In my opinion he could develop into the best player ever produced by Canada."

And the best bit, for Hibs anyway, is that Ayre has been procured from the relative obscurity of the Canadian league for absolutely nothing as a result of the game's amateur status in his homeland.

If McLaughlin's early proclamations act as evidence for assuming his potential, then it seems that Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus, pictured, below, have secured themselves yet another considerable coup at no cost to their club. This is an area in which they are increasingly excelling.

"Mark Venus has been very impressed by Keegan, and Hibs to me seem like a very good club and they have everything in place to help a young player progress," continued McLaughlin.

"In Canada they have a different mentality. They don't have the professional environment that we have so that means Hibs won't be asked for a fee. We would be very disappointed if British Columbia tried to pull a stroke like that and I don't think they will.

"There is such a buzz about Keegan back in Canada, the whole of Vancouver is talking about this. He has already had a personal recommendation from Frank Yallop, the full national team coach of Canada."

Yallop was, of course, an old colleague of Mowbray and Venus from their time with Ipswich, and coincidentally the Suffolk club were another who harboured an interest in signing Ayre.

That the player has been taken under the wing of two of Yallop's friends within the game will have pleased the Canadian coach considerably as he considers the likelihood of being able to promote Ayre to the full side in the not too distant future.

Ayre believes he has secured a favourable deal for his player in Scotland which can help put him in the frame for international recognition.

"There is a sell-on clause in his contract if he moves on, and there is a re-negotiation clause that kicks in pretty early if he breaks into the first team. The appearance money on top of his salary would make more than a decent wage for the boy if he makes a first-team appearance."

Other suitors for Ayre's signature included some of England's more luminary clubs, but the opportunity and the environment presented by Hibs was one that McLaughlin and Ayre were together edging towards.

"He has been given a decent contract for a 17-year-old. If we weren't happy with it he wouldn't have signed because we had West Bromwich Albion in the background, we had Ipswich in the background and he has already been to Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday.

"Sheffield Wednesday didn't sign him because of their financial position. They only offered a contract until the end of the season. Ron Bowen, the youth development officer at Middlesbrough absolutely loves the kid, but Dave Parnaby, their academy director, makes the final decisions on youngsters and said that Keegan wasn't physically aggressive enough.

"That has nothing to do with the player's footballing ability."

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  • 4 months later...
quote:Originally posted by bmac

...especially with the "whole of Vancouver" talking about the signing [8D]...yikes, I hope the kid does well but the reporting reads like something T.O.'s agent migh say....

although this is a big exageration, there was a rather large (and with a photo) article about Ayre in the Vancouver Sun this week

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quote:Originally posted by Canuck in Boston

One city does not make a professional environment in a country. Even though I am in favour of MLS in Toronto, for Canada to have a professional soccer environment will take much more.

Should MLS have been to which you were referring.

I was indeed referring to MLS when I made that comment 5 months ago, but even as long ago as that we knew that an MLS team was coming to Toronto (or at least I did). The "hopefully" part was in reference to MLS possibly coming to more than one Canadian city. I agree with you that one team in that league isn't enough for Canada as a whole to have a professional environment, but it is a start.

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