Share this page :

After three years as a category two academy, Burnley have been granted the top category one status for the 2020/21 season having passed a recent audit.

This means the teams will move up from the Professional Development Leagues we moved into for the 2017/18 seasons and into the second division of Premier League 2. We will also have the option of playing in the Football League Trophy and potentially European competitions at a later date.

Jon Pepper, who joined the Clarets as academy manager in late 2016, said: “This is really good news and recognition for all the hard work that all the staff at the academy have done over the last few years. The transformation from going from category 3 to now category 1 has been quite rapid and quite remarkable really.”

Pepper believes it will raise the standards even further and added: “It’s massive for a club like Burnley. If you can produce your own and add more academy players into the first team squad and more assets into the club, it’s going to be a really good model to operate, moving forwards.

“It’s a competitive environment and if we can produce two or three of your own into that first team squad, it does save you a massive amount in transfer fees, as well as producing assets for yourself.

“The investment the club decided to put into the training ground four or five years ago to progress initially to category 2, and to support myself in developing that infrastructure, has laid down a marker to say we are serious about what we’re trying to do. I think this further raising of the bar will have a really positive impact and bridge the gap between academy football and senior football.

“It will help us compete for the best players and retain the best players. The concept is best with best, so it will be a challenge for us on the playing side. At the older end, the 18s and 23s, we will be playing some quality opposition. It will be a massive challenge, but great for the players and for the staff as well. They want to challenge themselves, working at the best level they can and hopefully we can provide that sort of environment now.”

It’s difficult to believe that we’ve moved on so quickly in these last few years but we’ve now got ourselves an academy fitting for a Premier League club. Up the Clarets would wish to thank everyone who has been involved in taking us to this level.

Follow UpTheClarets:

Share this page :