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The Class of 2008

As clubs up and down the country prepare for pre-season training, a small group of coaches will be returning to their clubs with highest qualification in coaching having earned the UEFA Pro Licence following a year of study.

High profile figures from all levels of the game successfully completed the course this month, with the likes of Roy Keane, Gary Ablett and Dave Parnaby finishing a varied and taxing FA programme that is now in its eighth year. Gareth Southgate and Mike Phelan are among a group of 18 coaches who have begun the process and are working towards the Pro Licence.

TheFA.com caught up with the coaches and they were unanimous in their praise for the benefits of the course.

Roy Keane
The Sunderland Manager looks back on a busy first year in the Premier League, that also saw the Irishman travel to New Zealand to see the All-Blacks as part of the Pro Licence.

Nas Bashir
A former coach at Wycombe, Bashir joined Reading in 2003 and has worked on the Academy and U16s especially at the Madejski Stadium ever since.

Charlie McParland
Now the boss at Notts County where he enjoyed many happy memories, McParland will be looking to create some new memories as boss at Meadow Lane.

Steve Beaglehole
One of the youngest coaches to achieve the 'A' Licence at just 21, Beaglehole has been coaching for more than 20 years. Now working with Youth teams at Leicester City and also Northern Ireland.

Ricki Herbert
Played at the World Cup for New Zealand in 1982, and as the manager he is now determined to take the Kiwis back there. Played for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1985, and also coaches Wellington Phoenix.

John Schofield
The former Lincoln City midfielder who went on to manage the Imps for two years, Schofield now works alongside Jimmy Mullen at Walsall as first team coach.

Dean Smith
A favourite at Brisbane Road, Smith would make over 200 appearances for Leyton Orient before returning to the club as a coach in 2005. Now assistant manager to Martin Ling.

Brendan Rodgers
Currently Chelsea Reserve Team Coach, Rodgers joined the Blues from Reading where he had worked in the Royals' Academy after injury has prematurely ended his playing career.

Steve Agnew
Former Barnsley stalwart, Agnew would later achieve promotion to the top flight with Blackburn and Sunderland. Agnew is currently Reserve Team Coach at Middlesbrough.

Overview
The Football Association began the course in 2001 with 12 coaches receiving the award a year later. The Pro Licence is the final step of a coaching progression, following the UEFA 'A' and 'B' Licences.

The content of the course is varied and delivered in a number of ways; in the classroom key speakers are invited to talk on a range of subjects such as finance and contract negotiations, sports science, tactical developments, handling the media and youth development.

The coaches gather at Warwick University in the summer, once in early January before returning a final time a year later to complete the course.

During the time at Warwick there is a rotation between classroom based study and practical courses on the training field.

Practical scenarios are detailed to the extent that coaches might have to prepare a training plan for Bolton Wanderers as they face Rosenborg in the UEFA Cup.

In teams of three, the coaches then develop a plan for each day building up to the game and then deliver the final training session to ready the players.

Throughout the year there is a variety of distance learning utilising an online resource, conference calls between tutors and fellow students and also study visits by the coaches to European clubs.

2001 intake (Qualified in 2002)
Dick Bate, Noel Blake, Terry Burton, Steve Cotterill, Mervyn Day, Dario Gradi, Stewart Houston, Martin Hunter, Chris Hughton, Sammy Lee, Lawrie Sanchez, Alan Smith.

2002 intake (Qualified in 2003)
David Platt, Nigel Spackman, Nigel Worthington, Stuart Pearce, Alan Pardew, Willie Donachie, David Watson, Joe Joyce, Derek Fazackerley, Stuart Gray, Mark McGhee, Phil Brown, Peter Withe, Hope Powell OBE, John McDermott, Nigel Pearson, Stuart Baxter

2003 intake (Qualified in 2004)
Mark Bowen, Paul Bracewell, John Carver, Stephen Constantine, Kevin Dillon, Iain Dowie, Wally Downes, David Geddis, Joe Jordan, Nicky Law, Brian Laws, Neil McDonald, Richard Money, Tony Mowbray, Sean O'Driscoll, John Peacock, Geoff Pike, Steve Round, Kevin Sheedy, Paul Simpson, Steve Walford, Mark Hughes

2004 intake (Qualified in 2005)
Ian Atkins, Andy Barlow, Frank Barlow, Kevin Blackwell, George Burley, Ian Butterworth, Terry Connor, Chris Evans, John Gorman, Brent Hills, Alan Irvine, Bryan Klug, Colin Lee, Gary Megson, John Morling, Phillip Parkinson, Bryan Robson, Glynn Snodin, Kevin Summerfield, Steve Wigley, Sam Allardyce, Steve McClaren.

2005 intake (Qualified in 2006)
Martin Allen, Kevin Bond, Adrian Boothroyd, Stephen Clarke, John Collins, Paul Davis, Nigel Gibbs, Kenny Jackett, Martin Ling, John McMahon, Keith Millen, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Chris Ramsey, Martin Scott, Rene Meulensteen, Dave Penney, Neil Thompson, Jason Withe.

2006 intake (Qualified in 2007)
Tony Adams, Keith Alexander, Warren Barton, Steve Bleasdale, Martin Foyle, Steve Holland, Chris Hutchings, Alex Inglethorpe, Gary Johnson, Kevin Keen, Alan Knill, Kevin MacDonald, Mick McCarthy, Iffy Onuora, Jimmy Phillips, Mark Robson, Glenn Roeder, Leroy Rosenior, Steve Rutter, Terry Westley, Guy Whittingham

2007 intake (Qualified in 2008)
David Parnaby, Kevin Ball, Martin Gray, Russell Wilcox, Gary Ablett, Ian McParland, Steve Beaglehole, Brendan Rodgers, John Dungworth, John Schofield, Maureen Marley, Paul Brush, Mark Proctor, Steve Agnew, Roy Keane, Dean Smith, Nas Bashir, Ricki Herbert, Siggi Eyjolfsson, Jim Hicks, Adrian Whitbread

2008 intake (Scheduled to qualify in 2009)
Neil Bailey, Wayne Allison, David Hockaday, Sean McAuley, Peter Shirtliff, Jamie Robinson, Adam Sadler, Gareth Southgate, Colin Cooper, Kenny Swain, Lee Richardson, Gudjon Thordarson, Tony Loughlan, Jon Rudkin, Malcolm Crosby, Graeme Jones, Mike Phelan, Dan Ashworth