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Newcastle United’s Youth Set-Up Left Trailing As Reading Become 20th Club To Win Top Academy Status

8 years ago

The latest club to announce that their academy has Category One status is Reading, this category is the highest ranking within the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

There are massive benefits that come with that top status, especially the fact that Category One clubs can cast their nets far wider in terms of bringing in promising young kids from further afield.

A rigorous auditing system is used to see if a club meets the highest standards in football and coaching philosophy, facilities and personnel, and player development.

A Reading club statement reads;

“Reading Football Club are absolutely delighted to announce that our Academy has been awarded the highest possible rating of Category One.

From day one, owner Anton Zingarevich has placed huge emphasis on our youth set-up and this categorisation gives us the best chance of maintaining and building upon the fantastic successes from within our youth set-up.”

Reading’s Director of Football, Nick Hammond;

“There are all sorts of benefits but also all sorts of costs as well. I’m delighted from the club’s perspective, from Anton and the board we’ve had that sort of support, because it has been a cornerstone of the club.”

This is now the updated list of clubs with that top Category One Academy status.

Aston Villa
Manchester City
Manchester United
West Brom
West Ham

As for Newcastle United? Well, last year Newcastle were given Category Two status which puts severe limitations on United’s ability to recruit young players from a wider area. It also unfortunately makes the club a less attractive proposition to promising kids in even our own catchment area, with the likes of Sunderland and Middlesbrough able to offer kids that top Academy status. If you’re a parent and really want to do the best for your son, where would you send them?

Newcastle United haven’t made any statement themselves on the subject but their friendly journalists have been happy to put out stories without any substance, along the lines of ‘United expect to be upgraded to Category One by Christmas (2012)’, which them became ‘by the end of the season’, that being the one that just ended.

At the time when it was revealed that Newcastle had failed to get top status, I looked into the subject and found it was stated that clubs getting the lower status could re-apply after a two year wait to be upgraded. Which by my reckoning would mean it would be at least another year until our club could get that Category One status and able to compete on a level footing with the likes of Reading, Sunderland, Boro, Wolves…

As always, Newcastle United’s subservient press are happy to just repeat the lines they are fed, terrified of actually saying anything that might interfere with the propaganda that is drip fed to them by the club.

In the past we have seen headlines such as ‘Mike Ashley to pump £10m into the Academy’, while one of the spins that was put on the Wonga deal was that a proportion of the sponsorship money was going to be used for the academy. Surely that just a ridiculous spin, it is like your employer giving you your weekly/monthly payslip and on it having a breakdown of £XXX for food, £XXX mortgage/rent and so on.

The simple fact is that Newcastle United’s Academy was found to be not as good as the twenty clubs listed above and the more telling result that we can see with our own eyes is that the Academy is failing miserably in producing players good enough to play in the Premier League.

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