Crystal Palace secure academy's long-term future in hunt for next Wilfried Zaha
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 07/12/18 6:48pm
Crystal Palace have secured the long-term future of their successful youth academy in Beckenham - and intend to produce the next Wilfried Zaha or Aaron Wan Bissaka.
The Eagles have agreed a new 75-year lease on their category two base on Copers Cope Road and say they will invest in improving its facilities after gaining exclusivity on the site.
Palace run 10 youth teams up to their U23 group, who won their professional development league last season along with the U18s and U15s sides, and the club wants to continue garnering South London's best talent for the future.
Chairman Steve Parish said: "This is an important moment for the club and I am delighted 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."
Palace will take full control of the site, moving out current tenant Goals Beckenham North within the next year, and hope their plethora of academy coaches can nurture a new wave of local talent.
Palace have also produced Premier League stars such as Victor Moses, Nathaniel Clyne, Ben Watson and Wayne Routledge via their Beckenham home, and have some promising talent in their U23s such as Nya Kirby and Jade Russell.