Academy director Steve Coe has issued a statement to outline the current position regarding the academy.
Despite our academy passing the latest EPPP audit when other surrounding clubs have struggled, our first-team position dictates the level of funding our academy receives, which is currently 50% less than the previous year. Unless we gain promotion at the end of this season, EFL funding will stop completely.
We have operated on tight budgets for nearly two years under my direction with the backing of the board and the owner, however this season we can expect to lose around £100,000. Our biggest expenditure continues to be training and match facilities, along with staff costs.
Despite being in regular contact with the EFL, there is still a gulf between the Premier League and non-league for academies. To put this into prospective, one Premiership player’s weekly wage could run our academy for a full year!
It was disappointing that John Pemberton left his role at the end of May, but he received an offer he couldn’t refuse to go into management and we are still in regular contact. As our future continues to be uncertain, keeping our current staff has been a challenge.
Matt Whitehouse has recently left to take up another role closer to his home. Along with three other departures, this has led to our recruitment not being ideal. I have asked Neil Cluxton to head up the academy for the time being, assisted by Lee Walshaw and John Knapper.
Rumours of the academy closing doesn’t help, along with social media playing its part in fuelling speculation without the facts. Our academy is not closing at present and we are committed until the end of the current season.
However, there are a number of hurdles to get over. Promotion back to the Football League being the main aim, as well as a change of ownership that could also have an effect on the running of the academy. Should this change, I will then make further announcements at the correct time.