West Ham United, also known as “The Academy of Football”, has a certain reputation for producing many successful players, some of whom have even gone on to play for England.
The likes of Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick all came through the ranks at West Ham and have gone on to play for the biggest clubs in the country and have all represented England as full internationals.
Before that, the World Cup winners of 1966 – ‘Sir’ Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters – both ascended through West Ham’s academy along with West Ham legends such as Sir Trevor Brooking and Tony Cottee.
West Ham have always produced wonderful youth talent but it seems as if the academy may have hit a brick wall.
James Tomkins, Jack Collison and Mark Noble are currently the only three first team regulars to have been home grown.
I’m not saying that’s bad as, compared to other teams, three seems a lot, while I’m also not criticising these players as I think all three are good.
However, in my opinion they are not as good as the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole. The problem is; Tomkins, Collison and Noble have been associated with the first team for a while now and, up until now, no other successful academy players have emerged. Freddie Sears failed and was sold, along with Junior Stanislas and Zavon Hines.
This pre-season alone, Allardyce has let numerous youth players leave. Olly Lee, Jordan Brown, Ahmed Abdulla and Sam Cowler have all joined Barnet, while Freddie Sears has joined Colchester and Montano has left after being loaned out five times in one season.
I, for one, want youth to be given a chance, the academy players form the foundations of a squad and if Allardyce carries on letting them go he is making a mistake. Robert Hall, Jordan Spence and Danny Potts have all proved they are good enough to feature in the team, and this season we will need every talented player we posses.
So, Mr. Allardyce, be careful what you choose to do with our youth players, as the fans would like to see some succeed and some of these young lads look good enough to be able to do a job.