The Club is pleased to announce that our Academy has retained its Category One status.
Under the Elite Player Performance Plan, Fulham has held the highest possible status since its introduction in the summer of 2012, and will now continue to enjoy the benefits that come with it.
“It’s really important for a club for our size and standing, to be competing with the best clubs’ youth development in the country,” commented Academy Director Huw Jennings.
“We’re very proud of our Academy and we are delighted to have received further affirmation of our work.”
The Club recently built an indoor facility at our Motspur Park Training Ground as part of a redevelopment project funded entirely by Chairman Shahid Khan, and have further invested by purchasing the land adjacent that was previously owned by the BBC.
“The other thing that is critical to us is the demonstration of the fantastic support we have had from the ownership and the executive of the Club,” Jennings added.
“They have backed the programme with a massive injection of cash into our facility development both last season and also for the long term future with the acquisition of the former BBC ground.
“When the rules relating to facilities changed, we knew that it was going to be a very tall order to first of all gain the planning consent, to build the new facilities, and to get them completed in time to the satisfaction of the Category One auditors.
“We managed to achieve both and I think that’s attributed to a fantastic team effort. I should absolutely compliment [Chief Operating Officer] Darren Preston and his team, the facilities development programme was an outstanding achievement.
“The best thing for me about the facility development is that absolutely everyone at the Club and within our local community benefits.”
Asked about the role high-class facilities play in bringing through and developing players, Jennings responded: “No-one should anticipate that having a good Academy is because you have good facilities.
“You need to have a culture and environment that enables the best young players to develop and reach their full potential.
“If you look at the quality of facilities available throughout academy football, then you clearly have to be aspiring to have the best available for your own programme.
“Almost without exception people comment on the warmth of the welcome when they come to Fulham, and that starts with the reception team and goes all the way through to every member of staff who works at the Club.
“That more than anything means a huge amount to me and my team in the Academy, that the Club is fully supportive of the Academy programme.
“There is no doubt that when you build and develop facilities, and when you demonstrate you want to move the Academy forward, that is attractive for players to join the Club and, frankly, also for players to stay at the Club.
“Those things are critical to success, and in any industry you need to be demonstrating that you are moving forward and aspiring to develop your programme to be the best you can be, and we are no different.”