Often Partisan

EPPP and Blues

On Tuesday Birmingham City confirmed that the club have passed the second stage of the Academy audit and have been awarded Category Two status under the Elite Player Performance Plan. It comes as a culmination of 18 months hard work from the club and confirms that the Academy is continuing to grow and improve.

There’s been a lot put about the EPPP in recent months on various news sites – not a lot of it good, it has to be said – and with this in mind I thought I would have a deeper look into what this rating means for Birmingham City.

What does the rating mean?

The rating is a reflection of how much investment has been put into the academy, and how much investment is made into the futures of young players. As a category 2 academy, Birmingham City have to commit a large amount of money annually to the set-up (given as just under £1million here) to qualify. Blues have had to expand the coaching setup within the academy to meet with benchmarks, with emphasis not just on football but things like sports science, nutrition and and non-football education. Academy trainees are also now are assessed on a 6-12 week timescale instead of semi-annually.

How long until Blues are audited again?

The EPPP audit is set up so that audits will be every two years. Thus Blues will be audited for a second time in 2014/15.

Do these new rules mean that youngsters can be easily poached?

One of the main controversies is the way that transfer fees for young players are calculated. Previously fees were decided by tribunal but the new EPPP system implements a set fee structure, with fees dependent on how long a player has been with an academy, the category of academy, and with add-ons for how many games at various levels a player plays.

However, some of the scaremongering I’ve seen in the press is incorrect. When the rules were first announced there were stories implying that players like Nathan Redmond and Jack Butland would have been able to have been poached from Blues by bigger clubs for a pittance but it’s not the case. Having spoken to Blues, I can confirm that:

The fixed compensation rates are for players aged U9-U16 who have not signed to become a scholar at the Club. Once a player signs to be a scholar they become a normal transfer negotiable between clubs. A player once 14yrs of age can commit to a scholarship at a Club and then comes out of the formula.

In other words, any player who is currently on a scholarship with the club – an example would be Reece Hales, who is a first year scholar – would have to have a transfer fee negotiatied in the same way as any of the senior squad. Likewise, an even younger player – and the example I’d use here would be Foday Nabay, who has now committed to a scholarship – is also out of the equation.

Big teams are always going to try to pick up players from smaller clubs – it’s the way economics works after all – but as Kristjaan Speakman, the head of the Academy states it’s down to Blues not to offer monetary incentives but to convince players that maybe their future is better served here.

The upshot of all this is for the next 18 months or so Blues have an academy that will receive a decent amount of funding both from the authorities and Blues and that there is more chance than ever that they will be able to develop players for the first team in the way that they have this season.

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72 Responses to “EPPP and Blues”

  • Louise says:

    With everything that’s gone wrong at the club over the past two years, there is finally something good coming out of St Andrews. This can only lead to a better future for these youths and we’ll possibly look more of a prospect to new kids coming in.
    This country is starved of home grown talent, surely a contributing factor to why the England squad never do too well at major competitions. It can only be good for us as a country and all clubs should be made to do their upmost to improve the academies. The FA should be doing a bit more at grass roots level as well, with the government giving more funding to schools for sports like football, to ensure talented kids get spotted early and they’re given the best development possible.
    Unfortunately, there are far too many foreign players in the premier league at the moment,we wouldn’t need to keep buying abroad if we had the best of our own’

    Fair play Carson- it’s one thing Sully and Gold weren’t bothered by and credit when it’s deserved.

    • Paul Carter want's shooting he says:

      Fair play LC also for being prepared to play these youngsters, something Judas Hughton was reluctant to do.

      Looks like it’s paid for itself already with the sale of JB thwarting administration.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      very well set out Louise;,

      May I also add that in part, — It also ” puts to bed “, Some rumours of monies being ” skimmed ” to Hong Kong, As besides wages for Admin staff, Players wages, and ground maintenance, All monies recieved by the club, re;, Transfers, gate reciepts etc, Actually go back into the club as is outlined by Almajir, in the article above, !!.

      • carlos says:

        comment edited

        • Oldbluenose says:

          Carlos mate;, I take your point there, !!. Peter Pannu, did not do himself [ or us ] any favours with that slight of hand,,!!.

          As for the Kit-fraud, It was Vico Hui, [ I believe ] Not Carson Yueng, !!.

          Upshot of that though is, The major reason why any Cartel that may buy us — Worries the hell out of me, !!.

          • Staffordshire Blue Nose says:

            agreed would be so much better if Jasper bought us, he has the money, when he sold the rights to Who Wants to be a Millionaire, it made him very very rich himself….

          • almajir says:

            JC is nowhere near rich enough to buy Blues.

          • carlos says:

            OBN- Hui took the rap mate, but remember they told us we are family when they arrived and if you think CY knew nothing about it I think you are being a little bit naïve mate. I also think this is why Dunford was shown the door, it was a couple of months after PP was lauding this deal to the press that Dunford departed, perhaps he kept checking the post to see if the xtep cheque had arrived.
            I agree about a consortium mate, its long been my fear that CY will do a deal with a few of his associates and we’ll be back to square one, all smoke and mirrors with just a new figurehead.

      • Louise says:

        You and I seem to agree on quite a bit these days.
        I have this weird feeling I know you lol

  • James Black says:

    Totally agree Louise. It is my belief that much of the big money in football will dry up one day and clubs that have focused on its grass roots will be the biggest benefactors. When we had an influx of foreign players all those years ago, at the time i think it was a good thing as our game was technically lacking. The influx helped at the time and helped English players who previously was coached in a long ball style and the emphasis always on aggression and we was far behind the rest of Europe. Playing alongside more technically aware players was helpful at that time i have no doubts. However, we have improved the technical side of the game here and its time for our own to come through. When we was having problems at the Blues and talk of shifting out bigger names came around, i wasn’t concerned as for me, a club that works with youth and player development is a real football club. Ok it may not sound too sexy but i believe in the long run we will benefit greatly . Sorry we had disagreements about Lee Clarke in the past Louise but this shows that although people cant agree on everything, we can agree on other things :) .

  • Julian Glass says:

    It’s easy to forget with the big money on wages and fees what these amounts really mean in another context. A £1m could be saved from not signing two average players for a season but now imagine what improvements you could make by investing at Wast Hills. A £1m repeat a £1m per se is still an awful lot of money

  • Art Watson says:

    This is fantastic news but there is little point in developing these guys only to sell them on the cheap at a later date. Butland and Mutch being the prime examples.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      Mutch wasn’t sold on the cheap, and would you have preferred to have kept Butland and gone into administration? Always the negative!

      • Blueboy 88 says:

        Which brings us round to the elephant in the room here.

        The current regime is now commiting money to scheme they can not possibley guarantee.

        • almajir says:

          that you know of…

          • Blueboy 88 says:

            Well , as they had to sell a prized asset 13 days ago to pay the bills & avoid the prospect of administration..its a fair assumption

          • almajir says:

            Maybe the money has already been ringfenced for the next eighteen months?

            I see your point, but it might be the money has long been committed and is in place until the next audit? I mean, I’m sure we’d all be happier with £1mil going to that than Mr Pannu’s pocket.

          • Blueboy 88 says:

            That motion would certainly be carried unanimously by all Bluenoses…

      • Julian Glass says:

        As has been mentioned before we could have taken out a loan secured on the next parachute payment instead

        • almajir says:

          Except Julian, we cannot.

          HSBC hold a debenture against all current and future income streams from Birmingham City, meaning that the club cannot get any further into hock.

  • bkkblue says:

    Congrats Almajir, if what you say is correct re. EPPP. Good to know the scholars can’t be hoovered up for pennies as the press have led us to believe.

  • Art Watson says:

    So selling Butland for half his proper value is sound business and was a positive step forward.

    Perhaps PP should have been more prudent with his expenses?

    • Staffordshire Blue Nose says:

      We sold Butland for his market value at the time, and what happens if he got a major injury and we couldn’t of sold him? And by the way a 20% sell on figure is un-heard of. we may even get him back next year…

      • chris says:

        20% sell on is quite common, we should have been insisting on 33% and his market value was a lot higher.
        it was reduced because of inept management by pannu by stating to the whole world how desperate we were on 1152 AM, any other club in the championship e.g. Leicester, Forest, Derby etc would have held out for a lot more.

        • roskoe says:

          But he did hold out for more on other players over the transfer window, Burke being a prime example, so that criticism may not be fair.

          • James Black says:

            First it was a firesale and oh god the swines are destroying us. Now its it shoulda been 33% transfer add on for Butland and the non firesale is already forgotten. What does make you happy Mark. Sheikh Ababulah isn’t interested in buying by the way. For now till the court case, this is how it is, so just live with it and if pannu got 33% as you said he should, then im sure we shoulda had a free box of chocolates too.
            Roskoe, its a waste of words, such as Mark will always find something.

          • James Black says:

            My apologies, i meant to say Chris not Mark

  • Art Watson says:

    Yes and we spent years developing him then sold him in his first season .

    That’s the point I’m making.

    Developing youngsters is essential as long as the long term plan is to strengthen the team and not flog them off to survive.

  • StevieW says:

    Good stuff for the academy and the club.

    If we had not had the academy producing some good players just think where the first team would be now. Lets face it some of the effort put into performances by the youngsters put our seasoned pro`s to shame.

    A very valuable asset and long may it continue.

  • ESONEULB says:

    Well that is good for us cause i can’t see us actually buying anyone… We need a good academy more than ever… Nice read mate


  • andy says:

    With Butland, if he is going to seriously challenge Joe Hart for the England Jersey then he needs to be playing Premiership football, so a move from Birmingham became inevitable. If the kid realises his full potential then he certainly wont be staying at Stoke City, and Blues will pick up 20% of the sell on fee. It hurts to see such a talent sold for chicken feed but it seems it was desperately needed for the club and player.

  • mark says:

    Can we get real ABOUT OUR CLUB what about Tony Coton, David seaman who were previously at the club. From what i am reading it like someone just died. Blues are a club in working progress we will find another jem and possibilities having butland next season fingers crossed. i AGREE again with paul’s comments this club needs to survive and this was a good deal. I really please that blues have got some excellent talent and hopefully we see the most of these young players play together for blues.
    Sorry to say it again if you don’t like clark or the team do not bother supporting the blues, remember we come with joys AND SORROWS. art you are very negative blue supporter and i sure your kids really don’t want hear it, trying putting your positive energy into the team. Also i am sure your kids love to see younger players maybe they can relate to….kro

    • Art Watson says:

      Hi Mark,

      If wanting my kids to watch top class football in the premierships with owners who are prepared to invest in the club and a manager who will achieve success, constitutes being negative then I’m guilty as charged.

      I prefer to call it being ambitious.

      • James Black says:

        Ambition is fine as long as its within the bounds of reality. Their are few owners around stupid enuf to blow all they got on a football club that never gives you anything back. A viable business is as much can be hoped for. Isn’t it misplaced ambition that has a lot to do with our problems such as high wages and overly ambitious contracts that proved to more of a hindrance than a help. Lesson leaned i hope.

        • Art Watson says:

          I agree-blind ambitious can be disastrous for any business and throughout the years (apart from the Brady era )we have suffered the consequent of poor ownership.I get the impression that some supporters although being realistic have lost their ambition and are prepared to accept the status quo.-I’m not!

          The club in the right hands has the potential to be successful but sadly at the moment we are in a dire situation which will only change under new ownership and a different team manager.We can then start the process of rebuilding which hopefully will lead to success.

          • James Black says:

            I think a bit of an old theme here. Goodwin Out, Bell Out, Ramsey Out, Smith Out, Saunders Out, Bond Out, Pendry out, Mckay Out, Macari Out, Cooper Out, Fry Out, Francis Out, Bruce Out, Mcleish Out, Houghton (well by now if he was still here probably Out), Clarke Out. I think nearly all these managers endured the boo boys some more than others.
            Coombes Out, Wheldon Out, Kumars Out, Suluvan Out, (Not forgetting some very distasteful comments and rumours about Brady) and again it was Brady Out, Now Yeung Out.
            Some deserved some not. Sulivan took us from Administration to Premiership yet Sulivan out and guess what, something tells me you was one of them too. Whats the point.

  • James says:

    Mutch – £3 mill
    Butland £3.5 mill

    We aren’t big enough to hold onto our best young players, so we might as well cash in for the good of the club.

    A proper academy that produces talent attracts other talented kids that see’s the likes of Redmund et al making the grade and being offered professional contracts – until we have owners with serious cash and a fanbase that doesn’t just turn up to Wembley, we will always be a selling club.


  • mark says:

    As for the sale of Butland it was done in the best interest of the club….kro

  • Paulo says:

    This is fantastic news for Birmingham City and a real positive step forward. It is good to see the futures of young academy players becoming stronger with developement and further committment from the club. In these very uncertain and financially constricting times, it is also the most promising time for the academy lads to shine. Not only Nathan Redmond, but now Mitch Hancox and Callum Reilly all being handed the opportunity to play for the first team. That in itself is massive, and not something to be taken lightly, especially when the priority is always given to those players brought in, so competition against an experienced ‘contracted’ player is simply an understatement.
    CH did what he could, but is a man who like many managers, wanted to keep those youngsters under a protective wing. He did no wrong in doing so. Yet now, with even further constraints, LC has shown a chance for those in the academy to earn a first team place and recognition.
    That in itself deserves recognition.

  • Alex T says:

    This is great news!! IMO, a healthy academy is the ONLY way we will ever be competetive at top level. We do not have the fan base to spend multiple millions on players (of which you would need to buy several), and we all know the pitfalls of relying on a ‘Billionaire’ benefactor.
    If we can eventually field a team of 6 or 7 top class youngsters from our academy, we could (theoretically) afford a couple of ‘star’ players and be a real competetive force.
    I have always thought we should direct a bigger slice of the financial pie to the academy. Even the fact we have had to sell 2 of our star youngsters for less than we had hoped, still means that the £8m we may eventually get for them (after appearances) has more than paid for the academy… and we are still getting talent coming through.

    I for one, cant wait to see the young Foday Nabay!!

  • Dave mann says:

    this season as omly been highlighted by the emergence of our young (brummie babes)
    lets hope it continues. keep them comming. kro.

  • Kaje says:

    A fantastic article which clarifies everything perfectly and puts some of the scare rumours to bed.

    Top notch, Almajir – and great news for Blues.

  • garconsavage says:

    We can always rely on some Blues fans to find a negative in every positive!!!

  • DoctorD says:

    Why doesn’t someone come in and specifically sponsor the academy — or do they already? Surely it would be a great bit of kudos for a firm for the (relatively) tiny sum of a million quid.

  • Tom says:

    keep investing in the youth system hopefully find another Jack Butland

  • Steve says:

    Let’s not go over the top on this – I seem to remember reading that all Premier League clubs plus at least seven championship clubs are going for category ONE status, never mind category two. Still,it’s a good start I suppose but I suspect every other club in the area, including Wolves, will be category one.

  • Steve-0 says:

    Judas Hughton? Seriously you’re a spaz.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Spaz?? Is that like my disabled grandson?

    • roskoe says:

      My brother has Cerebral Palsy (where the term spaz comes from – the spasticity (stiffness and uncontrollable state) of limbs. Everyone has a right to an opinion but please lay off with such out dated and frankly offensive insults. It hurts to see this kind of poat after all the racist schtick last week. Is it 1970?


    • roskoe says:

      And i totally agree, anyone calling Hughton a judas is warped in the head. Just don’t appreciate your terminology.


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