Class of 2000

Class of 2000 - FA Youth Cup feature

The photo above shows the Arsenal youth team celebrating their 5-1 aggregate victory in the 2000 FA Youth Cup over Coventry City – the first of back-to-back triumphs for the club in this competition.

These victories were part of a period of sustained success for Arsenal’s youngsters, and a vindication of the club's youth and development programme.

But perhaps an even greater measure of its success is the fact that, more than a decade on, the vast majority of those players have gone on to enjoy professional careers elsewhere. Below we look at where the FA Youth Cup winners ended up.


Graham Barrett Graham Barrett
Born: October 6, 1981
Position: Forward
2000 FA Youth Cup: P9 G5
Left Arsenal: 2003
Irish forward who went on to feature three times for the first team. After a series of loans he joined Coventry City in 2003, then moved to Scotland in 2006 for spells with Livingston, Falkirk and St Johnstone. Capped six times for the Republic of Ireland, long-term knee problems forced him to retire in 2010 after a season with Shamrock Rovers. In fact he played his last ever game in a pre-season tournament against Arsenal. He has since been doing his coaching badges, while working as an agent.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 192


David Noble David Noble
Born: February 2, 1982
Position: Midfielder
2000 FA Youth Cup: P9 G1
Left Arsenal: 2003
After starring in both legs against Coventry City, he remained on Arsenal’s books until 2004 but never featured for the first team. Following a loan at Watford, he moved to West Ham. Unable to hold down a regular spot, he signed for Boston United, before catching the eye of Bristol City in 2005, where his double against Rotherham United clinched promotion to the Championship in 2007. He went on to play for Yeovil Town, Exeter City, Rotherham United and Oldham Athletic.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 360


Graham Stack Graham Stack
Born: September 26, 1981
Position: Goalkeeper
2000 FA Youth Cup: P10
Left Arsenal: 2006
Loaned to Belgian side Beveren for the 2001/02 season, he was included in Arsenal’s first-team squad for the 2003/04 campaign, and played all five games in the League Cup run to the semi-finals. That included a debut against Rotherham United, when Arsenal won 9-8 on penalties, with Stack among the scorers. After a season on loan to Millwall, the Ireland U-21 international joined Reading. In 2009, he moved to Hibernian, for whom he made more than 50 appearances. Stack has since returned to England and continues to play for Barnet.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 271


Liam Chilvers Liam Chilvers
Born: November 6, 1981
Position: Defender
2000 FA Youth Cup: P5
Left Arsenal: 2004
Spent the 2002/03 season on loan at Beveren in Belgium, with John Halls and Steve Sidwell. A subsequent loan at Colchester United led to a permanent deal in 2004. He helped them win promotion to the Championship in 2006 before moving to Preston North End, where he racked up over 100 appearances. In 2010, he joined Notts County, and was a member of the team that helped christen Juventus’ new stadium. Released by Notts County, he joined Telford United before a loan spell at Port Vale who he moved to on a permanent basis shortly after. The defender retired at Hyde and now works in a law office.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 376


John Halls John Halls
Born: February 14, 1982
Position: Defender
2000 FA Youth Cup: P 10 G2
Left Arsenal: 2003
Islington-born right-back who went on to make a handful of appearances in the 2001/02 League Cup, earning a red card on his debut against Manchester United. In between came loan spells at Colchester United, Beveren and then Stoke City, who later signed him permanently. After three years in the Potteries, he moved to Reading in 2006, accompanying them into the Premier League. Following loans at Preston North End, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United, he moved to Brentford in 2008 and later spent two seasons with Aldershot Town. In 2011 he joined Wycombe Wanderers. After being released, he retired to focus on his fashion business.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 167


Jay Bothroyd Jay Bothroyd
Born: May 5, 1982
Position: Forward
2000 FA Youth Cup: P9+1 G3
Left Arsenal: 2000
After a prominent role in the FA Youth Cup campaign he fell from grace after an act of petulance in a youth game. Losing finalists Coventry City paid a reported seven-figure sum to sign him, and he spent three years in the Midlands, before a surprise move to Perugia in Serie A. Back in England he had spells with Blackburn, Charlton, Wolves and Stoke, before three prolific seasons with Cardiff in the Championship, where he scored 45 goals in 133 games. He then signed for QPR before spending time on loan at Sheffield Wednesday. The striker spent six months as a free agent, until he was snapped up by Thailand side Muangthong United before a later move to Japanese team Jubilo Iwata.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 405


Israel Manoel da Silva Filho
Born: July 9, 1983
Position: Defender
2000 FA Youth Cup: P2+1
Left Arsenal: 2001
Although he never made it into the first team, Israel became the first ever Brazilian to sign for the club when he joined in 1999. After a year as a professional, the full-back headed home, playing for a number of lower-league clubs in the north east states of Pernambuco and Paraiba: Ypiranga (2006), Petrolina (2007), Salgueiro (2008), Sete de Setembro de Garanhuns (2009), Campinense (2010) and Souza (2010 and 2011). He then signed for CSE of the Alagoas State League, but was released at the end of the season. The defender has since played for Paraiba, Lagarto-SE, Vitoria das Tabocas, Jaguar and is now representing Auto Esporte.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: n/a


Craig Holloway Craig Holloway
Born: August 10, 1984
Position: Goalkeeper
2000 FA Youth Cup: P0
Left Arsenal: 2004
Aged 18, in 2002 Holloway sat on the bench for Champions League ties against Valencia and Ajax, though never made a first-team appearance. Released two years later, he signed for Farnborough, and had spells with several other non-league sides including Ebbsfleet United, Braintree Town and Chelmsford City. He was also part of the Welling team that lost to Dartford in the 2011/12 Blue Square South play-off final. In June 2012, he signed for Ryman League Premier Division leaders Margate, where he soon was put temporarily in charge. The goalkeeper was then transferred to Dartford Town. He also runs regular goalkeeping courses for the Pro 1 Goalkeeping Academy and Kent-based youth football club, Danson Sports.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: n/a


Greg Oates Greg Oates
Born: October 3, 1981
Position: Defender
2000 FA Youth Cup: P5
Left Arsenal: 2002
An attack-minded right-back who didn’t feature for the first team but had a brief loan with Sheffield Wednesday in 2001. On his release, he was picked up by Blue Square South outfit Margate and became a firm favourite for several seasons, going on to represent England at semi-pro level. More recently, he captained another Blue Square South side, Billericay Town, before deciding to hang up his boots to focus on interests outside football.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: n/a


Jo Osei-Kuffour Jo Osei-Kuffour
Born: November 17, 1981
Position: Forward
2000 FA Youth Cup: P2+5 G2
Left Arsenal: 2002
Unable to break into the first-team squad, Kuffour was loaned to Swindon Town in 2001, but it was with Leroy Rosenior’s Torquay United the following season that he established himself. Initially signed on non-contract terms, he went on to make 148 appearances in four seasons, helping the Devonians gain promotion to League 1 in 2004. While at his next club, Brentford, he earned a call-up to the Ghana squad, though was never capped. Had stints with Bournemouth, Bristol Rovers, Gillingham, Wycombe Wanderers and then Sutton United before retiring.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 454


Ben Chorley Ben Chorley
Born: September 30, 1982
Position: Defender
2000 FA Youth Cup: P1+1
Left Arsenal: 2003
The 6ft 3in centre back also featured in the side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2001, but faced too much competition to break into the senior team, and opted to sign for Wimbledon, shortly before they morphed into MK Dons. He racked up 125 appearances in three seasons. After a year on loan with Gillingham, he signed for Tranmere Rovers in 2007. Two years later he joined Leyton Orient, for whom he played more than 125 games. He captained the Os against Arsenal in the 2010/11 FA Cup, helping secure a draw at Brisbane Road, before the Gunners prevailed 5-0 in the replay. He then joined Stevenage and Portsmouth and is currently at Bromley.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 478


Jermaine Pennant Jermaine Pennant
Born: January 15, 1983
Position: Winger
2000 FA Youth Cup: P9 G1
Left Arsenal: 2005
A teenage signing from Notts County, Pennant became Arsenal's youngest-ever first-team player in November 1999 when he made his debut aged 16 years and 319 days against Middlesbrough in the League Cup. He made a further 11 first-team appearances, scoring three times (a hat-trick against Southampton) before, after loans with Watford, Leeds United and Birmingham City, he sealed a permanent move to the latter in 2005. After three seasons at Liverpool, he spent a year with Real Zaragoza before returning to the Premier League with Stoke City in 2010. He was released by the Potters after his loan spell at Wolves and went on to join Indian Super League side FC Pune and, later, Wigan Athletic.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 380


Stephen Santry
Born: September 9, 1982
Position: Midfielder
2000 FA Youth Cup:
Left Arsenal: 2002
Santry went on to feature in the 2001 FA Youth Cup-winning squad, and in the 2001/02 season had a short-term loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, along with fellow Arsenal youth-team players Greg Oates and Carlin Itonga. Having been released ahead of the 2002/03 season, he went on trial at Grimsby Town, alongside Itonga, and the pair turned out for the Mariners in a couple of reserve-team matches but failed to earn contracts.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: n/a


Rohan Ricketts Rohan Ricketts
Born: December 22, 1982
Position: Midfielder
2000 FA Youth Cup: P9 G1
Left Arsenal: 2002
After a single game for the first team against Manchester United in the League Cup, Ricketts crossed the north London divide to make 30 appearances for Spurs. After loan spells with Coventry City, Wolves and QPR he sealed a permanent switch to Barnsley, before embarking on an odyssey that has taken him to 10 countries on four continents. First stop, in 2008, was MLS outfit Toronto FC, where he also launched a media career on local radio. That was followed by stints with Diosgyori (Hungary), Dacia Chisinau (Moldova), SV Wilhemshaven (Germany) and Shamrock Rovers (Ireland). Following a brief stopover with Exeter City, he signed for I-League champions Dempo, in India. The journey did not stop there for Rohan, he then turned out for Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador, PTT Rayong in Thailand and Eastern Sports Club in Hong Kong.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 227


Moritz Volz Moritz Volz
Born: January 21, 1983
Position: Defender
2000 FA Youth Cup: P7+1
Left Arsenal: 2004
The former Germany youth captain made two League Cup appearances, but was unable to command a regular senior berth. After a loan season at Wimbledon, he joined Fulham, where he spent six years. While there, he scored the 15,000th Premier League goal, a feat that earned him the nickname ’15,000 Voltz’. His cult status was further enhanced thanks to his website, where he expounded on subjects such as David Hasselhoff, German humour and cycling, which led to a weekly column in The Times. He also worked as an occasional pundit on ITV and Setanta. After spending 2008/09 on loan with Ipswich Town, he signed for Bundesliga newcomers St Pauli in 2010 and has since continued playing for second-tier 1860 Munich.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 222


Steve Sidwell Steve Sidwell
Born: December 14, 1982
Position: Midfielder
2000 FA Youth Cup: P4+2 G2
Left Arsenal: 2003
An energetic central midfielder who went on to claim another FA Youth Cup title in 2001 and was hotly tipped for success. After several loans he completed a switch to Reading and starred in their rise to the Premier League. A move to Chelsea followed, but he was unable to establish himself and left for Aston Villa. In January 2011 he joined Fulham and became a key figure for Martin Jol’s side, scoring seven times in the Premier League, including twice against Arsenal. The midfielder then joined Stoke City and has continued to represent them.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 456


Niccolo Galli Niccolo Galli
Born: May 22, 1983, Died February 10, 2001
Position: Defender
2000 FA Youth Cup: P9
Left Arsenal: n/a
The son of former Italian international goalkeeper Giovanni Galli, he moved to Arsenal in 1999 from his hometown club Fiorentina, spending one season in London before returning to Italy to join Bologna on loan while finishing his education. Highly rated by Arsenal, he had just made his Serie A debut for Bologna, but in February 2001, aged just 17, tragedy struck as he was killed in a road accident. Bologna named their training complex after him and retired his number 27 shirt - while a charity, the Niccolo Galli Foundation, was set up to assist the families of road accident victims.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 1

Other members of the class of 1999/2000, who featured during the triumphant FA Youth Cup campaign…


Jerome Thomas Jerome Thomas(P2+6 G2), was a talented winger who scored in the first leg of the final but missed the second through injury. After a loan spell with QPR, he spent five seasons with Charlton. In 2008, he joined Portsmouth, moving to West Brom as a free agent the following year, helping them secure promotion to the Premier League and racking up 82 appearances. He then joined Leeds United on loan, before being part of the Crystal Palace side until 2015.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 257


Ryan Garry Ryan Garry(P1), a defender who made a single Premier League start for Arsenal in a 6-1 thrashing of Southampton in 2003, and remained until 2007 before joining Bournemouth for four seasons. Forced to retire aged 27, he joined the Cherries’ backroom staff before taking a role as an Arsenal academy coach and currently works closely with Andries Jonker and Thierry Henry with the under-19s.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 76


Jeremie Aliadiere Jeremie Aliadiere (P1), progressed to Arsenal’s first-team squad, remaining until 2007 and scoring 9 goals in 51 appearances, but his opportunities were hampered by injury. After loans with Celtic, West Ham and Wolves, he joined Middlesbrough for three seasons. In 2011, after returning to Arsenal to regain fitness, he went back to France to sign for Ligue 1 side Lorient and then Qatari based-outfit Umm Salal.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 193


Jermaine Brown Jermaine Brown (P0+1), had spells with Colchester United, Boston, Lewes , Margate and Aldershot, before spending several years out of the game. In 2011 the forward made his comeback with Chelmsford City, where he continues to play.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 29


Declan Field  Declan Field (P6), a Republic of Ireland youth international who was released shortly after the final and joined Leicester City, making a few reserve appearances in 2000/2001. Following an unsuccessful trial at Stoke City in May 2001, he drifted out of the game.


Professional matches since leaving Arsenal: 0

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