Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has set his sights on the club’s academy achieving Category One status according to current Academy Director Bryan Klug.
Town would be on a level pegging (at youth level) with some of biggest names in world football including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United if they are successful.
The club is currently committed to spending around £1m a year as a Category Two, as part of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) after originally opting to withdraw their interest in attaining Category One status around a year ago.
To operate at Category One level a minimum of 18 full-time staff and an operational budget of at least £2.325m is required so this move represents a quick about turn.
But, speaking ahead of a youth trip to Barcelona’s La Masia academy, for matches against Barca and Espanyol, Bryan Klug, who oversaw the rise of players such as Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose and led Town to FA Youth Cup glory in 2005, said:
“When I was at Tottenham (Head of Player Development), we took teams all over the world and the experience brought the players’ development on quickly. Any experience is beneficial for them.”
“We are currently Category Two but the owner is keen on applying for Category One and we will be doing that as soon as we can. But there is a lot of expense involved and we have to find ways of funding that.”
“The first-team is the priority but its success can tunnel down to our level and traditionally, we have always been capable of producing good players.”