West Bromwich Albion have today been hit with another major blow in losing Mark Harrison as reported by the Express & Star.
Academy manager Mark Harrison is heading to local rivals Villa Park to take up the reins there after spending 13 years at the Hawthorns.
The West Brom academy is well known for having done extremely well with its youngsters and bringing through the likes of Izzy Brown, Kemar Roofe, Sam Field and Saido Berahino.
Surprisingly, Albion boasted more England youth internationals than both Liverpool and Manchester United last season further emphasising the success of the Baggies youth system.
The under-18s reached the FA Youth Cup semi-final for the first time in 41 years with a team predominantly from Birmingham and the Black Country.
It’s not just his influence on the youngsters which has caught the eye however, as Harrison also helped Darren Moore and Jimmy Shan progress through the ranks at youth level coaching to then go on and manage the club at senior level.
Former technical director Dan Ashworth promoted Mark Harrison to academy manager and he has been an integral part of the backroom set up for more than a decade.
As if losing such an important coach wasn’t a huge blow to the club, to lose him to bitter rivals Aston Villa is surely even more of a bitter pill to swallow.
Harrison will take up the running of Villa’s academy at Bodymoor Heath, replacing Sean Kimberley, who has held the role since 2014.
The search for his successor is already well underway with many options being considered both externally and internally.
Options from within the club include Ryan Maye, who is currently head of academy coaching and has previously worked for the FA and Chelsea.
With the vacant manager’s job currently being top of the agenda, losing someone of Harrison’s status is yet another problem West Brom didn’t need.