Bees confirm plan to scrap academy


Brentford have confirmed they are to scrap the club’s academy and focus on developing their older youngsters into first-team players.

The Bees are withdrawing from both the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), which grades academies, and the Under-21 and Under-18 Professional Development Leagues.

Instead, Brentford will run a development squad of around 18 players, all between the ages of 17 and 21, who will play matches predominantly against category one academy teams.

Previously, their own academy teams – graded category two – played against other sides of the same level.

Brentford’s new development squad will learn the same playing style and philosophy as the first team and benefit from the same medical, analysis and sports science specialists.

With a lot of competition for players in London, Brentford hope that by offering a higher level of matches, they will attract youngsters ahead of category two academies.

And in focusing the youth-level coaching on the 17-21 age group, they aim to bring more of their own players up to Championship standard and release funds to improve the first team.

In a statement, the club said: “While there will be fewer players involved, we intend that they will be of an increasingly high calibre over the coming seasons.

“The club will specialise in developing one age group rather than trying to master the whole talent spectrum.

“Budgets will be refocused so that we give ourselves the biggest possible chance to achieve our ultimate objective of promotion to the Premier League.

“We cannot outspend the vast majority of our competitors, therefore we will never shy away from taking the kind of decision that can give us a competitive edge.”