Football clubs rely on their academies to produce talented youngsters, either for their first team squad or as a source of income.

This article series is looking at the top 10 most productive academy set-ups for clubs in the Football League at this moment – their overall ranking also includes all the Premier League clubs as well. This is the second of those – part one can be found here if you missed reading it.

What’s the criteria of the ranking? It’s a very simple one really – how many players generated by the academies of each team played a league match in the top five divisions of English football in 2016/17? In other words, how many players from team X played a league game in either the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two and National League – the overall ranking also includes players from Club X in academies elsewhere, but I have dispensed with that for simplicity’s sake.

Top 10 Football League academies – arranged by overall rating

A little bit of context first – the top 5 academies are Premier League sides: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton. Manchester City might be storming this season’s Premier League but they rank only 14th and Premier League strugglers Swansea City rank 85 of the 86 academies.

These are the next five ranked academies (6-10) for Football League sides in 2016/17.

6. Sheffield United

The Blades’ Category 2 academy is the sixth most successful of the Football League academies with 27 of their academy graduates featuring in league games in 2016/17. This representation was across the following divisions: Premier League (6), Championship (1), League One (5), League Two (5), National League (10). When looking at overall rank (including academy graduates now in other academy set-ups) they rank one place below Watford’s Category 2 academy. The Blades come in 21st  when you take into account players in other team’s academies when their overall total (29) is considered against Watford’s (30).

7. Reading

The Royals’ Category 1 academy is the fifth most successful of the Football League academies with 25 of their academy graduates featuring in league games in 2016/17. This representation was across the following divisions: Premier League (0), Championship (5), League One (3), League Two (9), National League (8). When looking at overall rank (including academy graduates now in other academy set-ups) they rank one place higher than Manchester City’s £200m Category 1 academy. The Royals come in 13th when you take into account players in other team’s academies when their overall total (35) is considered against City’s (35) – the deciding figure being Reading’s 10 academy graduates in other academies.

8. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves’ Category 1 academy is the next most successful of the Football League academies with 25 of their academy graduates featuring in league games in 2016/17. This representation was across the following divisions: Premier League (1), Championship (10), League One (7), League Two (5), National League (2). When looking at overall rank (including academy graduates now in other academy set-ups) they rank one place higher than Crystal Palace’s Category 2 academy. Wolves come in 15th when you take into account players in other team’s academies when their overall total (35) is considered against Palace’s (34).

9. Birmingham City

The Blues’ Category 2 academy is the 9th most successful of the Football League academies with 24 of their academy graduates featuring in league games in 2016/17. This representation was across the following divisions: Premier League (3), Championship (4), League One (4), League Two (4), National League (9). When looking at overall rank (including academy graduates now in other academy set-ups) they rank five places higher than Newcastle United’s Category 1 academy. The Blues come in 23rd when you take into account players in other team’s academies when their overall total (29) is considered against the Magpie’s (27).

10. Bolton Wanderers

The Trotters’ Category 2 academy is the 10th most successful of the Football League academies with 23 of their academy graduates featuring in league games in 2016/17. This representation was across the following divisions: Premier League (1), Championship (3), League One (7), League Two (6), National League (6). When looking at overall rank (including academy graduates now in other academy set-ups) they rank five places higher than Newcastle United’s Category 1 academy. Bolton come in 24th when you take into account players in other team’s academies when their overall total (28) is considered against the Magpie’s (27).

Here’s a link to the full list of Academies mentioned in this article – click here for a link to DropBox

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Cynicism turned to optimism but without the woop woops and ringing bells. Leeds United supporter through thick and thin, more thin than anything recently. Write mainly about the Whites but turn my hand to other clubs. Lover of salted crisp sandwiches. Not a hipster.

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