Sunderland and Middlesbrough to get EPPP “Category One” status, but not Newcastle?

Posted on June 28th, 2012 | 32 Comments |

Newcastle United Academy.
Not good enough to join the elite?
When I first saw this story in the Northern Echo last Saturday, I didn’t discount it entirely, but I had the usual doubts I have about virtually every Newcastle United story at the moment. But then it resurfaced again in this story yesterday, and I’m not quite so doubtful anymore.

The “story” is that whilst our much loved cousins at Sunderland Association Football Club, and also from Championship Middlesbrough, seem to be nailed on to acheive the highest “Category One” status in the Premier League’s new “Elite Player Performance Plan” (EPPP) for football academies, Newcastle United have allegedly been told they haven’t have made the grade after an audit of the club in March, and will probably only be awarded “Category Two” status. The independent auditors who carried out the inspections, “Foot Pass England” judged clubs on ten factors, these factors being:

1. Vision and strategy

2. Leadership and management

3. Coaching and developmemt programme

4. Education and welfare provision

5. Games programme

6. Athletic development programme

7. Player development programme

8. Talent indentification, recruitment and registration

9. Facilities

10. Corporate and financial stability,

Speaking on the issue back in February, Newcastle United’s Academy Director, Joe Joyce, said:

“We need to make sure as a club we have our local area tied up – that we do not lose players.”

Well this would undoubetedly make a difference to those plans if it comes to pass, and the club could find itself being bullied over the best young players in the region and elsewhere by superior Category One academies, including on Wearside and Teesside.

Some of the major differences will be:

Although a Category One club will have to guarantee a annual budget £2.325 million (against £969 thousand for C2), the funding from the Premier League will be higher for Category One Academies.

Category One clubs would be able sign players from the age of four, whereas Category Two clubs will only be able to coach them at this age, having to wait until they are nine years old before actually signing them, which will undoubtedly give the Category One clubs, expecially our local rivals, an advantage.

If Newcastle United is only designated as a Category Two club, they could find themselves in a position where they must allow higher ranking clubs to take highly rated young prospects from under their noses for very low fees under the new compensation standard which does away with tribunals for Academy players. From now on, they will follow a very low standard scale which disadvantages lower ranking clubs, and gives an absolutely huge advantage to higher ranking ones under the new system. After all, this was a scheme devised by the Premier League, and his hence heavily biased towards giving the elite clubs a huge advantage. The scale will be as follows:

For each year spent in an academy between the ages of 9 and 11 – £3,000

For each year spent in a Category 3 academy between the ages of 12 and 16 – £12,500

For each year spent in a Category 2 academy between the ages of 12 and 16: £25,000

For each year spent in a Category 1 academy between the ages of 12 and 16: £40,000

This means that clubs would only receive a maximum of £169,000 upfront for a young player, though there may be the potential for the selling club to receive up an extra £1.3 million, dependent on how many Premier League appearances the player makes up to a limit of 100.

There will be a sell on fee of 20%, plus 5% for every future transfer. Good though this may sound, this will still be significantly lower than most clubs have received for nurturing top players of the future under the current tribunal system, with smaller clubs still struggling under the outgoing system of compensation.

One thing which both categories will have in common, however, is that they will no longer have to abide by the “90 minute rule” where young players may only be drawn from an area which is within ninety minutes travelling distance of the club.

Also, one thing which has been passed over by most articles looking at the new scheme is that clubs will no longer have the abilty to deny scouts from other clubs access into their academies to watch their best youngsters and potentially cherry pick them.

Having written this though, if I inject a personal note, I do find the idea of having four year old children under a contract, not to mention uprooting them from their home environments to live at a club which could be at the other end of the country, something should be dealt with extreme care, especially so when such powerful commercial interests are involved. It’s hard to believe, I know, but some things really are more important than football, and the psycholgical development of children at such a tender age if they are uprooted from their families and sent into a highly competitive environment is certainly one of them.

But anyway, I do not intend this to be an essay covering every aspect of the EPPP itself (it’s very complicated), and it’s possible effects on the development of very young minds (even more so). So, I will wrap this up with two points.

Firstly, whilst the indications that Newcastle United have had problems measuring up to the criteria for Category One designation under the new EPPP scheme seem to be getting stronger, it is not completely certain at the time of writing, with the results to be officially announced next month. Secondly, with no disrespect to Middlesbrough, if a club with the resources and facilities of Newcastle United have allowed themselves to be outstripped by the likes of a Championship club, then there would be something seriously wrong somewhere. This would be especially embarrasing to Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias after all the bragging about how much time and money the club have been investing in restructuring and improving the youth development side of Newcastle United, and how the youth development road is the allegedly the future rather than readymade big money signings.

Let’s hope that it doesn’t come to pass.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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32 Responses

  1. We sign the young gifted French players. All the players round this area are dross anyway so we shouldnt worry about it.

  2. Interesting article full of self praise from a typical geordie – heard it all my life and never ceases to amaze me. If your youth system is not up to scratch then dont be bitter against your nearest rivals just because they have had the foresight and intelligence to invest heavily in it over the years. Sunderland have a rich history of bringing through their own players and their facilities/infrastructure is obviously that of warranting Cat 1 status, well done them.

    As for the comment about Middlesbrough, who are my club, “with no disrespect to Middlesbrough, if a club with the resources and facilities of Newcastle United have allowed themselves to be outstripped by the likes of a Championship club, then there would be something seriously wrong somewhere”, utterly ridiculous. Yes the Boro are a Championship team, but did we not get relegated with Newcastle, yes Newcastle went back up but relegated they were none the less. So 2 years back in the premier league and all of a sudden they are a football super power in europe!!! Your team is full of geordies from your youth academy isnt it!!! Middlesbrough have one of the most productive youth academies in Europe having produced the most professional players currently playing. The youth system and facilities are lourded by the FA and this system has been invested in heavily as we realise as a club that we need our academy to keep producing year after year to make ends meet. If Middlesbrough dont get Cat 1 status then there is something seriously wrong, Championship club or no Championship club. Just because a team is in a higher league position doesnt give it the god given right to be graded the best at what it does, in this case the resctructuring of the football academy system.

    I do agree with one comment you made, there is something wrong somewhere if Newcastle have taken their eye off the ball and are not granted Cat 1 status, but that is your issue, dont turn on everyone else simply because their housekeeping has been kept in good order, look at your own club and dont envy others for their rewards.

  3. Interesting article. In fairness to the writer I don’t think he’s having a go at Boro – he’s just making the point that we (Newcastle) have slipped up somewhere in our planning and operation if we fail to get Cat. 1 status. If Boro can do it why can’t we is the question? Mind you it all appears to be rumours anyway at the moment.

  4. steve-boro, “Look at ur own club and don’t envy others” – why not? What else can/should we do?

    We look at our own club, compare it to others’ academies that are more successful like ur own (based on the current standings of that article, cat 1), and aim to reach that standard. Surely u should be flattered by our envy?

    For the good of our national team, standards need raising at youth level – in every team, in every league.

  5. Oh yea, boro are doing so well, aren’t they?
    Newcastle are now acknowledged as a well run club (‘housekeeping’), keep up.

    What good has all this great & well run academy done?
    To expect fans of one club to care about other clubs fans feelings in a bit rich & a bit of a stretch, welcome to the world.

    So quick to defend mediocrity yet point the finger & ‘have a go’ at your near-ish neighbours!

    But in the final analysis: they need all the help/leg up/advantages they can ‘be given’, don’t they?

  6. Good write-up Worky. But what are they doing with this sort of thing? Trying to bring a full on civil service type of rules and regulations to bear on something that doesn’t need it?

    I haven’t been to Boro and don’t ever care to go. The only thing that I know that is any use from there is ICI and Ridley Scott.

  7. GS,

    if i was forced to choose between going to boro or the dark place, i’d have to choose boro every time.
    There’s an indication for ya’ mate.

  8. I have seen various articles similar to this. Personally I feel it’s imperarative we DO get Cat. 1.

    However nowhere is it mentioned exactly where NUFC are failing to meet the reqirements. Anyone any clues?

  9. Clint, mate. I think I have said this before but I have never been to Sunderland either, except when I was about 8 to see a pantomime. And it was at the Empire, not Roker Park.

  10. GS,
    i got took to the village of the damned once or twice as a bairn, i could feel the decrepit vibe even as a young bairn & just wanted out of there. Never been back, nowt there, no reason to go. I do have a couple of mackem mate, but doon sooth here.
    They’d never take me there, they couldn’t guarantee my safety.

    Yet they’d have no problems gannen to the Toon or anywhere else probably.

    weird bunch, weird place, grim doesn’t begin to cover it mate.

  11. GS,
    they payed for his HGH injections mate, as a kind of bribery to have him at barca.

  12. ‘Elite Clubs’. Thanks for the compliment, I’m sure the Boro fans will be happy with your view of them too.

  13. I’m a total sellout. I think I wouldn’t mind the human growth hormone thing if we could ever get a talent like Messi at NUFC.

  14. GS
    Messi was 12 when he and his father moved to Barca, same age as most academy students here, later than most in the Barca academy who’d been there since they were 9.

  15. Pretty sure I heard a story about a Dutch club(think it was Heereven) who recently signed a three year old up to a contract after seeing a YouTube vid of him kicking footballs into his toy trunk.

  16. I’m a Level 2 coach now (charging thru my badges like Ba Arfa on crack), and tried to get work exp at nufc academy. But was flatly told: no.

    Could this be the problem?? Should i send them a transcribe of all my inane and titillating blogs, complete with squad line ups of players we could and should buy?

  17. Andymag says:
    June 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Pretty sure I heard a story about a Dutch club(think it was Heereven) who recently signed a three year old up to a contract after seeing a YouTube vid of him kicking footballs into his toy trunk.

    Aye Andymag, he was one and he signed for VVV-Venlo. He made a bit of a mess of his contract though!

    VVV-Venlo signs up 1-year-old child

  18. Milner says:
    June 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    “I’m a Level 2 coach now (charging thru my badges like Ba Arfa on crack),”

    Milner, I may of mentioned this before but one of my mates down here in London spent quite alot of time being taught by Chris Hughton when he was doing his badges. He ended up coaching a relative of one of the squad too, who I won’t name on here.

  19. Do you think if Balotelli scores again he will be stupid enough to take his shirt off again and get sent off?

  20. GS says:
    June 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm


    Are you supporting the Sausagemunchers then, GS?

    I didn’t see Balotelli get his yellow card for stripping off.

  21. Yes Worky, I lived in Munich and have German friends.

    Good news is that the German bench has some great players. No Jordan Hendersons on there :)