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1516 burnley turf moor 04Jason Blake has now confirmed his own departure from Burnley Football Club via his Linkedin page, reporting that he is now Director of Football Operations at UCFB, this based at the Etihad in Manchester.

There has been much debate over his departure and potential replacement for some time since the club advertised a senior academy position in late 2015, and Up the Clarets understands the new man is Jon Pepper who has previously worked for Chesterfield, Bradford City and Nottingham Forest but has, for the last four and a half years been working for Double Pass as firstly an EPPP Auditor and, since August 2014, as their England Project Manager of EPPP Audits of Professional Football Club Academies.

I’m certain his experience is going to be key to us going forward as an academy. Blake all but cost us the entire set up when we failed the EPPP Category 3 audit and we only scraped through the re-audit in 2013/14 because we’d reached the Premier League and a second failed audit might have caused the big league some embarrassment.

Pepper’s first target will be to get the club up to category 2 but beyond that there is big work to do in restoring the academy which has lost so many staff to other clubs during the last five years, and there is certainly one key appointment on the football side to be made as we go forward.

I believe our club needs a strong academy and I’ve been so disappointed at how those responsible have just let what I saw as such an unacceptable situation continue for so long. Finally, someone saw through the mess and realised action was needed.

I’d like to wish the new man the very best in moving our club forward at academy level.

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