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Club News

Changes To Academy Structure

25 April 2024

Club News

Changes To Academy Structure

25 April 2024

As a club, we have always been proud of our academy structure and value our commitment to developing talented young players.

Over the years, we have provided the opportunity for young players to progress in a professional environment and we have been privileged to see so many of them flourish under the guidance of talented coaches.

The fact that the club now faces a third year outside of the EFL will unfortunately result in a number of changes for our academy.

Over the last year, the academy has operated on reduced funding from the EFL. During this time, the Board has been able to provide the backing which has enabled our academy to continue to function under a Category 3 License.

After a second year, however, all remaining support and the status granted by the EFL ceases. This means a club is unable to operate a Licensed Academy under Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) rules beyond this period.

Since the takeover of the club, the Board has worked hard in lobbying government and football authorities by arguing the status of our academy should be assessed on its own merits, rather than league position.

Despite receiving support from prominent figures within politics and football, we have been unable to bring about change in this regard.

As a result, there will be enforced changes to our academy structure from the 2024/25 season. The club will provide support to the staff, players and parents who are affected by these changes.

The club remains committed to producing homegrown talent and providing a platform for young players to develop.

As we look forward, the club intends to operate a high-level academy structure which is self-funded and we are determined to retain an academy system that everyone can be proud of.

Young players who are already within our U8-U15 age groups have been given the option to remain in the new structure with assessment days scheduled during the summer to recruit additional players.

Over the last year, we have also been able to introduce a number of successful changes as we work towards a new structure. The first-year players within the current U18 squad have excelled after being recruited through open trials, while the football development programme coached by Nicky Adams will now have further opportunity to grow.

In March, the club also announced plans for a new women’s academy and this will form an important part of our future structure.

As a club, we remain passionate about providing a future for young footballers within our community and look forward to continuing to support the next generation of players in their development.

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