Croydon schools are demonstrating a remarkable track record for producing top-class professional footballers.

David Lomas, honorary secretary of the Croydon Schools’ FA, has researched a list of the players and managers which demonstrates that the borough’s production line is possibly only surpassed by Liverpool Schools FA.

Four Premier League players spearhead his list - Arsenal full-back Kieran Gibbs attended Riddlesdown High School, Aston Villa pair Nigel Reo-Coker and Steve Sidwell both went to Woodcote High School, while Sunderland striker Darren Bent went to West Thornton Primary School, although he made only a single appearance for Croydon Schools U11s before his family moved to Cambridge.

Sean Scannell, a former pupil at Ashburton High School - since renamed Oasis Shirley Park - is in the first-team squad at Crystal Palace and has appeared for the Republic of Ireland at various levels.

Former CSFA U16 manager Andrew Cook tells of the time he left Scannell out of the squad to play the second leg of a Surrey Schools’ Cup final with Woking Schools at Croydon Arena because he was playing for the Republic of Ireland U17s the previous day.

At lunchtime on the day of the match, Scannell - having landed at Gatwick Airport from Dublin - called Cook asking to play in the schools’ game and he went on to play a starring role in Croydon’s win.

Scannell’s brother, Damian, plays for Southend United while Dean Leacock, who also went to Ashburton, is one of Derby County’s central defenders.

Former Thomas More School student Mark Howard plays in goal for St Mirren having once been on the bench for Arsenal in the FA Charity Shield.

Chesterfield’s Wade Small, who played for Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool last season, formerly attended Stanley Technical High School in South Norwood.

Ex Trinity schoolboy Lewis Grabban is at Millwall while Archbishop Lanfranc old boy Moses Swaibu plays for Lincoln City.

The list has already been extended this year with 16-year-old Alex Wynter, still in year 11 at Oasis Shirley Park, having made his Crystal Palace debut in stoppage time of their 2-1 FA Cup third round win at Sheffield Wednesday.

It doesn’t stop with players - Fulham manager Roy Hodgson attended the John Ruskin Grammar School in Shirley. And his close friend Bobby Houghton, now in charge of India after a long managerial career that includes managing Malmo in the 1979 European Cup final with Nottingham Forest, taught at the former Ingram School in Thornton Heath.

Keith Millen, now Gary Johnson’s assistant manager at Bristol City, went to Shirley High School.

And what of Palace star Victor Moses? Despite a phenomenal scoring record for Whitgift School - including all five goals in an English Schools FA Cup final - he was never made available to play for Croydon or Surrey’s schools teams.

All of the officials of Croydon Schools FA work on a voluntary basis.

Palace season ticket holder Peter Westlake OBE, a retired head teacher of West Thornton School, is its current chairman.

He said: “Teachers throughout the borough are providing opportunities for players, and at the same time raising standards.

“It is very encouraging that so many are making their mark in the professional game.

“While there is no doubt that coaches and clubs can take credit for their valued contribution, we should like to think that the CSFA have played a pivotal role – and will continue to do so."