By Andrew Maddox

21st Jun, 2022 | 11:30am

West Brom academy in trouble as Category One status threatened

West Brom have been dealt a huge blow with their academy now being set for a demotion, according to a new report.

Training Ground Guru reported on Tuesday (21 June) that the club have “been placed into special measures”, potentially threatening the club’s Category One status.

If the club are to keep their Category One status, they must meet a number of action points before the next inspection, which the report claims will take place during the 2022/23 season.

Category One is the highest status of an academy in English football, with clubs being graded on a range of aspects from coaching and facilities to education and welfare.

The Athletic reported in May 2022 that the criteria for a club to be classed as Category One will be increased and Albion could seemingly lose out.

This will see Albion miss out on extra funding as well as the club being unable to sign players from Category One academies.

It has been coming

West Brom used to have one of the best youth academies in the country, but it has been gradually getting picked apart for years.

It started in 2019 when Academy Manager Mark Harrison jumped ship to Aston Villa, with star prospect Louie Barry also leaving soon after.

The experienced academy boss had been at the club for 13 years and had cultivated a strong group of players, but he took much of that set-up with him to Villa Park.

Harrison’s right-hand man Steve Hopcroft and young stars Finn Azaz, Tim Iroegbunam and Finley Thorndike all followed Harrison across the Second City.

Since his departure and the exodus of talent, Albion have showed that they now struggle on to their best prospects.

While Albion have declined, Villa have excelled in their absence, building one of the most talented youth teams in the country.

There are still stars at the club, including goalkeeper Josh Griffiths and midfielder Rayhaan Tulloch who have progressed to the first team, but it is not what it was.

Elias Burke and Joseph Masi have since reported that the Baggies’ Category One status is safe, but were uncertain whether or not other measures are in place.

In other West Brom news, Kenneth Zohore and Kean Bryan have had an early training camp to prove their fitness.