New Academy Coaches

The Club can announce an update to the Academy staff for the 2021-22 season.


Bishop’s Stortford first team player and coach James Baker will be the Head Coach.

“I am looking forward to extending my role within the club to overseeing the Academy and supporting their aspirations.” James said. “I am excited to support the development of the player, but also the young adult, to help them realise their potential on and off the pitch.”


James will be assisted by Ryan Ladyman, who has experience playing in the Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City academies as well as coaching at various grassroots clubs.

“I’m excited to be a part of Bishop’s Stortford Academy.” Ryan said. “The potential of facilities, standard and size of academy are big for the club and the community moving forward.”


Mike Williams – former fitness coach at West Ham United and Colchester United and now manages a gym in the town – becomes the news Strength & Conditioning coach.

He outlined his targets in the following statement:

“Having worked with Bishop’s Stortford first team last year, I was excited about the opportunity of working with the Academy. They are a great bunch with stacks of potential. I am looking forward to helping them develop into better athletes and working with them towards their future career goals. It’s my personal mission to make this team the fittest and strongest in the league so we can compete at the top level.”


As part of his role as General Manager, Shan Toms will oversee the programme.

“I had the pleasure of assuming head coach responsibilities on an interim basis from January in what was difficult circumstances, but what a great group of lads we have.” Shan said. “The team has really come together over the last few months.

The club has so much enthusiasm and passion to do right by the academy and deliver a fantastic programme. The appointment of Bakes, Ryan and Mike really excites me, and I ultimately feel we will achieve great things in the long run.

A big thank you to Birchwood for all their continued support. We have a fantastic relationship and partnership. One which I’m sure will continue to prosper for many years to come.”


Birchwood High School’s artificial pitches will host the trials and Academy training sessions, and their Deputy Principal, Charles Gilbank, had this to say on the staff update:

“The Birchwood-Bishops Stortford partnership has been brilliant since its inception, but the new Coaching team have injected a whole new level of expertise and enthusiasm into the scheme.  We are proud and privileged to be working with such a professional group of coaches.”


The Academy is a huge part of the club, with several graduates going on to play for the first team, such as Jack Thomas, who has made over 100 appearances for the Blues.


Trial Dates:

– Thursday 20 May 2021

Birchwood High School Astro 4:30pm – 6pm

– Thursday 24 June 2021

Birchwood High School Astro 4:30pm – 6pm

– Thursday 22 July 2021

Birchwood High School Astro 4:30pm – 6pm


To sign up for a trial or for more information, contact General Manager Shan Toms:


07952 641 789