Burnley Academy Manager Jon Pepper to leave the club after five successful years

Burnley’s Academy Manager Jon Pepper is to leave the club after five successful years.
Jon PepperJon Pepper
Jon Pepper

Pepper, who held a similar role at Bradford City, spent the previous four-and-a-half years carrying out independent audits for the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

And after taking over at the Barnfield Training Centre, he helped the club advance from Category Three to One, achieving Category Two status in 2017, before the rapid rise culminated in the academy's application for Category One being rubber-stamped last year.

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There has been no official announcement on Pepper from the club, but the Training Ground Guru website suggests: “An email was sent to staff informing them of the news at the end of last week, stating that Pepper was leaving for a new challenge.”

New owners ALK Capital are thought to want to make their own appointment, and pursue other avenues, with Paul Jenkins expected to be among the candidates.

Jenkins has been taken on as a technical consultant at ALK Capital and Burnley advising on the recruitment side of things, primarily for the Academy.

Jenkins is a Uefa Pro Licence coach, who worked for Middlesbrough for more than two decades, as Under 21s, Under 23s and first team coach, helping the development of a number of young players, including Ben Gibson, who joined Burnley for a joint club record £15m in 2018.

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Pepper leaves having over-achieved in his role, which was initially to push Burnley to Category Two, and help bridge the gap between the development squad and the first team.

Dwight McNeil is the standard bearer of the latter, having made his debut in 2018, and gone on to make 107 appearances, as a first team regular.

And the likes of Josh Benson, Jimmy Dunne, Bobby Thomas, Joel Mumbongo, Max Thompson, Anthony Glennon and Lewis Richardson have also made their debuts in the last couple of seasons.