Ipswich Town youth boss worried Norwich City will benefit from Blues’ lack of Category One academy status
Ipswich Town academy boss Bryan Klug has revealed his worries about Norwich City benefitting from the Tractor Boys missing out on Category One status for their youth academy.
The Blues discovered that their application for top academy status had been rejected last week, after independent auditors ruled that the Suffolk club had fallen 0.3pc short of the required 75pc pass mark.
With that news coinciding with the Canaries launching player development centres at three venues in Suffolk next month, Klug fears Ipswich could lose out to their local rivals in the battle for the region’s top young players.
The Canaries are holding two sessions in north Suffolk, at Bury St Edmunds on August 14 and Stradbroke on August 18, and one which is just three miles from Town’s Portman Road stadium, in Whitton, on August 15.
City’s academy was awarded Category One status under the Barclays Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) rules in December 2012.
With the club’s Under-18s also winning the FA Youth Cup in 2013 and its Under-21s finishing in the top half of the Barclays U21 Premier League last season ahead of being split for this season – the Canaries look to have the edge over their rivals in youth football at the moment.
Asked if he felt Town’s academy set-back would see young players departing this season, Klug replied: “No, but I think if it was more long-term then we would lose a few players because if I was a parent of a 10 (or) 11-year-old I would want to get them into a Category One programme.
“Short-term I think we’ll be all-right though. I think the parents can see what we’re trying to do here.”
The annual costs of running a Category One academy are estimated at around £2.5m, compared to around £1m for Category Two.
The benefits include a significant grant from the Premier League, the ability to recruit young players from nationwide and a games programme against the elite teams from your region.
“It doesn’t really matter to us if we can recruit from the north or not because we’re not going to do that,” Klug added. “We want to get good players from this area and have them playing against the best players of their age. Occasionally we’ll bring in a boy from Ireland or wherever, but we’re not about that.
“We want to make this academy as attractive as possible for young players because we don’t want them going down the road to Norwich or West Ham just because those clubs are playing the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea.”