Everton to invest 80% more in Academy as part of 'masterplan'

Architect's plans for Finch Farm (AFL Architects)

Architect's plans for Finch Farm (AFL Architects)

EVERTON will spend 80% more on running their Academy this season than they did three years ago, according to CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale.

Speaking at Everton’s annual shareholders’ meeting last night, Barrett-Baxendale said the club aims to “outperform our competitors in all football-related disciplines” and that the Academy “is one area that we can make a big impact”.

She added: “This year we have also invested £4.5m into the Academy facilities at USM Finch Farm, including new facilities for our players’ families to help drive retention.

“We will continue to invest heavily into Finch Farm over the coming years, and are working towards a long-term masterplan for the site that will ensure our facilities compete with the best in the Premier League.

“We also continue to increase our investment into the running of the Academy. This season, we are forecast to spend 80% more in this area than we did three years ago.

“Our Academy Director, Joel Waldron, has worked closely with (Director of Football) Marcel Brands and (Under-23 boss) David Unsworth to produce a five-year Academy strategy and performance plan.

“We now have real clarity and direction at youth level on retention, our development pathway and a development programme, including technical, tactical, physical and psycho-social competencies.

“I would like to congratulate our youth teams on their performances so far this season. In particular, the U23 and U18 sides who are currently both top of their respective leagues. I am sure you will agree, the future certainly looks bright.”

It was no coincidence that Barrett-Baxendale mentioned the new family facilities at Finch Farm, as she has championed them for some time.

In July, she said: “When our young players' families come here they often have other siblings with them, and we want a place where they can check their emails, do their homework with their other children, grab a coffee and feel part of the family here at Everton.

“That's the first phase and we have two other phases which are part of a masterplan for Finch Farm. Part of this first phase is about developing a family area.”

The Academy now has more than 300 players and, according to the 2017 accounts, 61 full-time staff, although this figure is likely to be significantly higher now.

Barrett-Baxendale also announced that Brands, who took over as Director of Football from Steve Walsh in the summer, would be taking a seat on the club's board with an expanded remit.

“Our approach now is to have a Director of Football with a broader remit, responsible for the whole footballing strategy at the Club, rather than just player recruitment,” she said.

"Marcel is now responsible, and accountable, for delivering the long-term, holistic, football strategy and principles, from Academy through to the first team.

“Marcel has now begun his work on delivering the cub’s long-term, permanent football strategy, working closely with the Academy Director (Joel Waldron) and Head of Football Strategy (Richard Battle).”

Brands joins chairman chairman Bill Kenwright, Barrett-Baxendale, deputy chair Keith Harris, Sasha Ryazantsev and Jon Woods on the board of directors.

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