The academy set-up at Crystal Palace has been a topic of much concern for the club’s supporters over the last year or so, but following a spell of genuine uncertainty, it sounds as if there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
With the current first-team training base at Copers Cope Road having been deemed too small to house both the professionals and our academy players, both age groups had been temporarily moved to Beckenham Goals, but for a club who expressed a desire to see their youth facilities given a Grade 1 rating some years ago, the outlook in recent months had looked far from rosy.
Luckily, after what sounds like extensive discussions between Issott and Palace’s board of directors we are now edging close to a final decision on the new site for our young prospects, which will hopefully aid us, both in the recruitment and nurturing of best young footballers from South London and beyond.
Given our supporters’ well-documented desire for a long-term strategy that places an importance on youth development, the owners would do well to listen to Issott’s views on how and where we can improve our practices below first-team level. As a man who has now been on our books for more than 10 years, he knows better than anyone what is needed for us to kick on in the search for the next Wilfried Zaha or Nathaniel Clyne.
Thankfully, the quotes Gary has given to the South London Press via the link above sound extremely positive, which makes for a pleasant change of pace from the general sense of apathy that had been creeping into discussions surrounding the future of our academy in recent months.