Last things first...
which sane 14 year old is going to go to Bolton or Wigan when Utd, City or Liverpool come knocking?
One that wants to stand more chance of breaking through, I suppose. But "sane" and "14-year-old" rarely go together, especially when families smell football millions.
we seem to hear a bit about some youngster in the reserves who is supposed to be good who then ends up on loan at Macclesfield or Rochdale and struggles to make an impact.
I've nothing against loaning out (and I'm not saying you object either). At a certain stage, it's the best way to make them progress - better than playing in front of 20 at Leyland. Again, if they're up to it they'll step up. Not sure who went to Macc but Rochdale I assume you mean Tope: I fear he may be the perfect example of the greyhound striker - fast, tiny brain, runs round in circles.
In general when our better youth players leave, they end up out of the football league all together, which shows just how far away they are from 'making it'.
That's the worst of it. You can't expect more than one a season to come through, but you'd hope we can release them with sell-on clauses so if they come back stronger we get a butty back.
Take David Norris, who we sold to Plymouth: played so well that Ipswich paid quite a bit for him, up to £2m according to some sources; we were due 50% of that, although I understand we waived some of it.