Former England manager Graham Taylor has paid Crystal Palace's academy the ultimate compliment by telling local youngsters to ignore the Premier League in favour of Selhurst Park, reports this is Croydon Today.
Taylor believes it is vital for clubs like Palace to build their futures on the development of home grown talent and is full of praise for the success the Eagles finishing school has had in recent years.
Taylor will be the star attraction of a fund-raising event for the academy at the end of the season.
But the non-executive chairman of Championship rivals Watford was thrilled to accept Palace's offer once he became aware of the cause.
"I really think the running of an academy in a proper manner is very important for a lower league club," he said, in an exclusive interview with the Advertiser. "Crystal Palace have proved this over the years and I respect that. That's why I was only too happy to come and help.
"We've done it at Watford, and Palace have done a similar job.
"These academies are not cheap to run. They can be very expensive. We need to keep them going and we need to help them in any way we can. That's the main reason I'm coming."
But Taylor is a firm believer that young players will get far more benefit from joining a well run Championship academy like the one at Palace than one of the so-called big boys.
"It's so important that young English boys can get a chance to play," he said. "Coming into an academy at a lower division club gives them that chance to get through to the first team that they probably wouldn't get at a Premier League side.
"The Premier League teams chase all the top boys and they can promise them the world. But unless that boy is absolutely exceptional they will never get a chance.
"When they go to these top flight clubs the parents have no real strength in terms of negotiations over contracts.
"It makes far more sense for them to start at a Championship club, then if they make it and move on to the Premier League later on their strength to get a better contract is that much bigger."
He added: "I've been told that the new owners at Palace have said they will run the club sensibly and are keen to develop their own young players. I'm delighted by that. It has to be the way forward.
"Supporters love to see home grown players come through, they can relate to them far more."