Elite Player Performance Plan category 3
Carlisle United Football Club can confirm that the club’s academy has achieved category 3 status on completion of the Elite Player Performance Plan [EPPP] audit and inspection process carried out during the first half of this year.
Academy manager Alan Moore said: “We’re obviously really pleased that we’ve achieved category 3 status. The biggest factor for us now is that it means we will receive the funding for our academy which will allow us to push forward in exactly the way we wanted to, from here, for the next three years at least.
“We went down to London on Wednesday to get the results of the audit and the encouraging thing for us is the feedback we received was all very, very positive. There was a small action plan for things we had to review but, again, we had already dealt with eight of the points raised.
“That puts us in the position where we can now drive forward with the main target, as it has to be, of producing players for the first team.”
“The implications of not meeting the criteria weren’t something we even wanted to consider,” he admitted. “If we’d been downgraded to category 4 status one of the huge impacts would have been that we’d have lost the 9 to 16 age groups.
“I’m very pleased to say the club never wanted that to happen and they have supported our push for category 3 from the first day. It’s a big pat on the back and a relief for everyone involved that we have now got it all done.”
“This is the culmination of a long process and a lot of hard work from a lot of people,” he continued. “I came in at the tail end of it, in January, and we have to say a big thank you to Chris [Blake] for the work he put into it. He’s moving on now, to join Sunderland, but he did a massive chunk of the work and he made sure a lot of it was in place.
“It was a hectic period from when I came in back in January because we had a number of things which still had to be done. All of our part time coaches bought into what we needed and they also worked extremely hard to get us over the line.”
“In my opinion, and certainly from my point of view at the club, achieving category 3 status is massive for us,” he told us. “There are clubs around the country right now who are folding their youth academies up, either because they failed the audit or because they decided not to even try to go for it.”
Explaining how the club helped with the procedure, he said: “The club has to put a third of the money up, and that’s well into five figures, so you want to see end results and rewards for that.
“I believe, and the club are backing me, that the best way to do this is to bring young payers under our wing from the age of 8 and 9 years old. Pat Brough and Kyle Dempsey are our most recent examples of where that can work for us and we want to see more of that in the future.”
“Another start along that road is the fact we’ve signed a high number of our academy players for the U18 side this season. We’ve spoken a lot about the club vision of one to nine in ten years and, if we can achieve that, it can only be good for Carlisle United. It will mean we’ll have a group of players who understand the city and the club and who will have the passion and desire to see it do well. We should see a little bit of that type of attitude when we get back to work with next year’s first year group in July.”
“I mentioned the part time coaches earlier but it’s worth saying again how big a part they’ve played in this process,” he reiterated. “They have had to introduce and learn a lot of new paperwork and procedures over the past year or so but they’ve all embraced it and made it run smoothly.
“The approach has been that it’s for the benefit of the young players, in the long term, and I think everyone is also seeing that it’s all actually worthwhile. It also means when a younger age group coach passes a player on, as he gets older, he will know the coaching staff he’s sending the player to are singing off the same song sheet. That gives the player and the coaches a feeling of continuity, which is important when it comes to getting the best out of a young footballer.”
And on the news that professional development coach Chris Blake has moved on to join Sunderland, he said: “You really can’t put into words how much work Chris has done for us.
“He was taking work home to make sure everything was right and he played a massive part in getting us through EPPP. He will be missed, but he can leave here with his head held very high.
“His contribution has helped us to reach this stage, and to secure the funding we need to do what we want to do with our youth set up going forward. This offer from Sunderland has come in for him and he has obviously had a difficult choice to make in where he wanted his career to go. Everyone at the academy wishes him all the very best.”
“It is a position we will now have to fill,” he concluded. “It’s something I started looking at as soon as Chris told me he was going to take the offer, and we have a little bit of time on our side before we get into pre-season before we make that appointment.”