West Brom youth chief leaves Hawthorns
Albion have begun the search for a new head of junior recruitment after Steve Hopcroft tendered his resignation.
Hopcroft, who grew up in Winson Green just a couple of miles from The Hawthorns, joined the Baggies in 2004.
After discovering the likes of Saido Berahino, Jonathan Leko, Rekeem Harper and Izzy Brown, the talent spotter was head-hunted by Manchester United in 2016.
But he turned it down in favour of signing a new deal with the Baggies.
As well as spotting a host of future stars, Hopcroft also founded Soho Albion.
The junior football club was the first to be established in the Soho area of Birmingham and is free for all its members – with those youngsters then having a direct pathway into Albion’s academy.
Hopcroft’s exit follows on from academy manager Mark Harrison’s decision to leave Albion last summer.
Harrison quit his role at The Hawthorns to take up a similar position at Villa.
Former academy coach Paul Gardner also left the Baggies to team up with Harrison at Villa Park.
While Mike Scott, who led Albion’s under-18s to the FA Youth Cup semi-
finals last season, also left the club in the summer to join Derby County.
Hopcroft handed in his notice to Albion and was immediately placed on gardening leave by the club. His next destination has not yet been confirmed, but there have been rumours he will join Harrison at Villa. Richard Stevens, who was appointed as Harrison’s successor, will play a key role in Albion’s search for a new recruitment chief.
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