Luton Academy's application to move to Category 2 status accepted

Hatters hoping to unearth more homegrown gems like James Justin

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 12th June 2020, 12:12 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 12:14 pm
Luton are hoping to develop further homegrown stars like James Justin
Luton are hoping to develop further homegrown stars like James Justin

Luton have announced that the Academy’s application to ​progress to EPPP Category 2 status has been accepted, subject to increased facilities being built at The Brache, whilst also enhancing the current staff model and improving the club's programme of work.

The application was submitted late last year, in a bid to improve the chances of developing the next Curtis Davies or James Justin, who was sold for a club record fee to Leicester City in the summer, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the full compliance audit that was due to take place between February and May has been unable to go ahead.

A desktop audit will be undertaken instead, which Academy & Development manager Andy Awford has confirmed means a lot of infrastructure work required to meet the criteria.

He told the club's official website: "From the club’s point of view, increasing the facilities for the academy to progress to Category 2 comes at a significant investment, and at this time, whilst the costs are not impossible, any additional help we receive will be extremely appreciated by us all.

“The academy staff have really enjoyed calling the elderly and vulnerable season ticket holders throughout the last three months, and hearing how important the club is to them.

“It’s been a really humbling experience for us to be able to do that, and if the supporters are able to donate their season ticket refund back towards the academy, it would go towards increasing our facilities to be able to step up to the next level.”

Awford is currently working with the audit company to get the desktop audit complete by the end of June, something he hopes will lead to a successful outcome.

He added: “We are confident that we can get the application approved to progress to Category 2.

“However, if for reasons out of our control it didn’t go our way in time for next season, we would still be looking to progress the following season and will still require to meet the required criteria.

“Whatever happens, we are going to need to enhance our current facilities to be able to make that progress so if our supporters – who have been magnificent with their donations in recent weeks – are able to help with their season ticket refunds going towards the academy, the money certainly wouldn’t be lost.

“We will be carrying on with the project that will ultimately put us in a better position to be able to develop the next JJ, who we’ve all watched with pride as he has progressed to a top Premier League club this season.”