The Everton Academy was established in 1997 under the guidance of Peter Johnson to build on the Club's existing tradition and proven track record of identifying and developing youth talent from the local area. This track record has seen the emergence of many players over the years that have progressed to forge a successful playing and in some cases managerial careers. Some youth players, such as Brian Labone, Colin Harvey and Joe Royle, have gone on to become full England Internationals and Everton legends.
The financial advantages of investing in a quality youth academy are two-fold:
The Academy is able to supply players to the first team squad without the need for a transfer fee (for example Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert, Victor Anichebe, and Jack Rodwell); and potential onward transfer value can be received should players be sold to other clubs (for example Wayne Rooney, Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball, were all products of the academy and were sold for a fee of £27 million, £10 million and £6 million respectively.)
The operating costs of the Academy, which are excluded for UEFA's financial fair play break-even calculation, have historically been recovered via the sale of the players it develops. The Academy's success is demonstrated by the impressive 24 players who have moved through the ranks from Academy to the first-team squad and who, when they departed Goodison Park, have generated combined transfer receipts in the region of £50 million. Around 45 Everton Academy 'old boys' play professionally in English or European Leagues.
Since the autumn of 2007 the First Team and the Academy have been based on the same site at Finch Farm. This arrangement has proven beneficial in order to attract the best youth talent to the Club and as such the Club can expect to secure further transfer receipts should these current graduates progress and eventually be sold by the Club. In December 2009, during the UEFA Europa League tie against Bate Borisov, Everton FC fielded a squad with an average age of 21 and with 12 players who had spent at least two seasons at the Everton Academy.
In 2011, the Club demonstrated its commitment to youth development by making the highly regarded appointment of Alan Irvine to lead its Academy.
The merits of a successful youth academy are there for all to see and the Everton Academy has provided at least one player per season for the senior team with the emergence of Ross Barkley in 2010/11, James Wallace and Shane Duffy in 2009/10, Jose Baxter in 2008/09, Jack Rodwell in 2007/08, Victor Anichebe in 2006/07, James Vaughan in 2004/05 , Leon Osman in 2003/04 and Tony Hibbert in 2002/03.
Further information regarding the Everton Academy can be found here.