WEST BROM’S youth department is reeling after top talent-spotter Steve Hopcroft became the FOURTH member of the Academy staff to quit the club in less than a year.
Hopcroft was the head of junior recruitment who discovered top prospects such as Saido Berahino, Izzy Brown, Rekeem Harper and Jonathan Leko.
That led to an offer from Manchester United in 2016.
But the coach, who grew up a couple of miles from the Hawthorns, snubbed the Old Trafford giants to sign a new deal with Baggies.
However Hopcroft has now been placed on gardening leave after he tendered his resignation last week.
The exodus from West Brom’s youth ranks began in June when former Academy manager Mark Harrison quit to take up a similar role with Aston Villa.
He was followed to Villa by Academy coach Paul Gardner.
Then Mike Scott, who guided Albion’s Under-18’s to the FA Youth Cup semi-final, also left to join Derby County.
In July, Albion’s teenage sensation Louie Barry turned down the offer of a bumper first team contract to join Barcelona in a short-lived move to Spain, before joining Harrison and Gardner at Aston Villa.
Hopcroft has not confirmed his next move.
But Aston Villa is widely rumoured to be his next destination.
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