Crystal Palace have been looking to stamp their mark since making their arrival to the Premier League in 2013.
The redevelopment of Selhurst Park had been at the forefront of Steve Parish's mind for a number of seasons. However, due to Palace's prestigious history of developing local talent, enhancing one of their most valuable assets, the academy, had, in recent years, been a top priority.
The Eagles will be joining elite company with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, just a handful clubs who have been awarded the prestigious achievement.
Steve Parish’s thoughts
Crystal Palace Chairman, Steve Parish, had this to say on his club being awarded Category One status, "Achieving Category One status is the culmination of an immense amount of hard work from our staff, and it is an incredible achievement in such a short space of time since securing the land and planning permission.
"Our ambition is to have one of the country’s leading football academies to capitalise on the hotbed of footballing talent in south London. The investment in the playing facilities, education offering and player care provision will enable us to attract and develop the next generation of Wilfried Zahas and Aaron Wan-Bissakas.”
"The whole Academy site will also be widely used by the club to enhance our presence in the community – not just the playing facilities. We are looking at ways we can positively affect the lives of young people using the education facilities for job training and further education.
"I would finally like to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of our supporters who have already generously committed to becoming Academy Founder Members, helping us further enhance this magnificent project for the benefit of our young players for years to come."
South London is a talented area
Category One status should allow Palace the opportunity to hand pick the local talent from the renowned area.
In recent times, South London has produced exciting talent such as freshly crowned Premier League winner, Joe Gomez, Chelsea's key men, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham, and furthermore, the highly-rated Borussia Dortmund superstar, Jadon Sancho.
The Eagles have a rich history of developing their own talent, such as Inter Milan wing-back, Victor Moses, former Liverpool right-back, Nathaniel Clyne, Manchester United full back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Palace's very own, Wilfired Zaha.
After seven consecutive top-flight seasons, the club are finally looking to provide a safety net should the Eagles’ Premier League tenure come to an abrupt end.
Palace will be under a lot of pressure this summer to fix the uncontrollable wage problem at Selhurst Park. The Eagles have an ageing squad, with little room to recoup any transfer fees for them. For example, in 2017, the Eagles splurged a reported £26 million on Mamadou Sakho, who is on £100,000 plus per week.
Now, with Palace looking to make room on the wage bill, may have to let Sakho move back to France for less than £5 million.
The club is looking, during the summer window, to build an exciting young squad, mixed with a hint of experience to really break the mould of the Premier League establishment.
Category One status will allow the club to develop the next crop of young talent, with an excellent path into the first team.