Crystal Palace have signed a long-term lease for a site to host their academy which should propel them to category one status in the coming seasons.
Palace’s academy has been based at Goals in Beckenham for several years, since moving out of the main training ground.
Previous boss Tony Pulis was not satisfied with the size of the main training ground – deeming it unsuitable for both the senior side and the academy – and so moved the youth set-up to the rented site less than a mile down the road.
The pitches have seen significant investment over the period, and success has followed on the pitch with both the U18 and U23 sides winning their regional leagues last season, as well as the U15s reaching the regional final of the Floodlit Cup.
The likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Moses, Jonathan Williams, Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have all progressed through the academy set-up and into the first-team in South London in recent years.
Eagles chairman Steve Parish said: “This is an important moment for the club and I am delighted that we now have an opportunity to invest in the long-term future of our academy. We know that there is a wealth of raw talent in South London and we want to ensure that the best young players are playing here and developing their careers at Crystal Palace. “We have a fantastic team of academy coaches, who are steeped in the history of the club, and are achieving great results, despite having to operate in a challenging physical environment. Upgrading the site will give our coaches and young players the facilities they deserve and we are thrilled that we can achieve this whilst remaining in the heart of Bromley and on a site that is adjacent to our training ground.”
In order to bring the site up to category one standard, the level up from the current ranking, they will need to build a dome for indoor training and matches, as well as a 3G astroturf pitch.
The club’s younger age groups frequently train at The Warren in Bromley and also at a dome at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace.
It is understood Palace are planning to build a stand on the site for spectators, mimicking the set-up of Watford and Manchester City. It is unlikely that any move to category one status will be imminent.
Current tenant Goals and children’s amusement centre Gambado are due to remain on site for another year, plus improvements are required in facilities.