This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia.(October 2020)
|Full name||West Ham United Football Club (Under-23s)|
The Academy of Football
|Short name||WHU U23s|
|Ground||Victoria Road, Dagenham, London, England|
|Owner|| David Sullivan (51.1%) |
David Gold (35.1%)
Other Investors (13.8%)
|League||Premier League 2|
|2019–20||Premier League 2 Division 2, 1st (promoted)|
The Academy of West Ham United F.C. is recognised as one of the most successful in modern football, hence its nickname the Academy of Football.
The introduction of the FA's new Academy system in 1998 has placed even more emphasis on the developing of young homegrown players and today the youth system at West Ham is more important than it has ever been.With the influx of many foreign players in the Premier League during modern times, West Ham United has been regarded as one of the few remaining clubs in top flight to continue producing and playing homegrown English players.
The Under-23 team is the most senior of West Ham's youth squads. The Under-23 team is effectively the club's second-string side, but is limited to three outfield players and one goalkeeper over the age of 23 per game following the introduction of new regulations from the 2012–13 season.They play in Premier League 2 and also compete in the Papa John's Trophy.
'The Academy of Football' , or just 'The Academy', is a nickname of West Ham United.The title pays homage to the success of the club in coaching talented young players. The title, originally attributed to the club by the press, has since been officially adopted by the club and is displayed in several prominent places around the stadium such as being printed beside the club crest on the artificial surface surrounding the pitch at Upton Park.
The original tribute intended to reference the entire culture of the club, in much the same way as the Liverpool "Boot Room". It was not solely reserved for the education of young players, but also for the development of a modern approach to football from the roots up, as inspired by the success of the Hungarian national team featuring Ferenc Puskás that had humiliated England 6–3, and the great Real Madrid side of the late 1950s that dominated the European Cup.
The 'Academy of Football' term was first used in the early years of Ron Greenwood's reign as West Ham manager (1961–1974). Greenwood had inherited a young team of players from Ted Fenton and the club was noted for its reliance on home grown talent with Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, John Lyall, Ronnie Boyce, John Sissons, Alan Sealey and Harry Redknapp all in the first team or periphery. Further foundations had been laid with stalwart Ken Brown at the back, Malcolm Musgrove on the left wing (who was to leave in the second season), and the addition of John "Budgie" Byrne up front.
The true heritage of this side, however, owed its pedigree to the practices put in place by the previous manager.
Fenton was praised as a forward thinking manager. He pushed for the establishment of "The Academy" that brought through a series of young players to augment a side that could not be improved with the limited finances available. Two of the signings he did manage to make were those of John Dick and Malcolm Allison. Other players of the day included John Bond, Dave Sexton, Jimmy Andrews and Frank O'Farrell (later swapped for Eddie Lewis) and Tommy Moroney all part of an original 'Cafe Cassettari' club started by Fenton as a result of the restrictive budget.
There [Cafe Cassettari], Allison would hold court and the players would exchange views on the game and make tactical plans around the dinner table, illustrating their ideas with the use of salt and pepper pots. The culmination of those years of hard work, on and off the field, was the Second Division championship in 1958 – the springboard to great cup successes at a much higher level in the mid-60s ... no one should underestimate the positive influence of Malcolm Allison's earlier role in Hammers' history.
Cassettari's Café sat opposite the Boleyn Ground, and Fenton organised a deal that saw meals and a warm welcome for the players of the club at a price the club could manage. It became a place for routine discussion of the team, and ideas and wisdom freely passed back and forth.The tradition of mentorship lasted long into the 1960s even after Fenton had moved on and saw future managers John Lyall and Harry Redknapp pass through. West Ham, with meetings at Cassettari's Café, soon gained a reputation for producing managers via playing for the club including Malcolm Allison, Noel Cantwell, Frank O'Farrell, John Bond, Dave Sexton, Jimmy Andrews and Malcolm Musgrove.
Fenton introduced continental ideas to the team, revamping training methods and taking inspiration from higher ranked teams, and even inspiring some. Fenton had been impressed greatly by the all conquering Hungarians of the 1950s led by Ferenc Puskás and the Cassettari program and development of the academy were at the core.Ernie Gregory said (of the 1950s diet) "We'd usually eaten fish or chicken and toast before then, but Dr. Thomas advised us all to eat steak and rice two hours before kick-off. All the other clubs copied us after that". However, not all the changes were strictly down to Fenton, Musgrove attributed much of the training regime to Allison, going so far as to state that once the players were at the club (signed by Fenton) they were pretty much Allisons property. As well as being a student of the game himself, Fenton encouraged all players to take coaching badges and it's notable that many of his former players went on to coaching and managing roles after they retired. The Academy also involved, beyond the routine training and development of the youth and squad, actual tactical discussions between the players.
At this time, three players who had come through the West Ham youth development system were seeing some success in the England squad; they were Bobby Moore who debuted in 1962, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.
In 1966, these players played a part in England's victory in the World Cup.
Moore was the most well-known of the three. He captained the England squad and was later named by Pelé as the "greatest" of all the defenders he had played against.
In the World Cup final against West Germany in which England won 4–2, Hurst scored the only hat-trick ever scored at a World Cup final match, and Peters scored the other goal. This gave rise to the West Ham supporters' partly tongue-in-cheek terrace chant:
When West Ham beat West Germany.
Peters one and Geoffrey three,
A bronze statue of these three players (and Everton defender Ray Wilson) holding the Jules Rimet Trophy aloft was erected in 2003 at the junction of Barking Road and Green Street close to Upton Park.
During the next thirty years West Ham's youth academy produced many professional players. Notable Academy "graduates" during this time include Frank Lampard Sr. and (later Sir) Trevor Brooking, who both featured in the club's 1975 FA Cup win with a team composed solely of English players; no club since has repeated this accomplishment.
Since 1973 the Academy has been managed by Tony Carr, himself a "graduate" but whose career was cut short by injury.
Paul Ince played his first game for West Ham in 1986, and went on to win more trophies than any other Academy "graduate", albeit with Manchester United.
In 1996, the reputation of the Academy began a fresh revival with the arrival of Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard Jnr. That year, the West Ham youth team reached the FA Youth Cup Final, losing to a Liverpool side inspired by Michael Owen. However, both Ferdinand and Lampard would see success in subsequent years.
In 1999, the West Ham youth team won the FA Youth Cup, beating Coventry City 9–0 on aggregate. The team featured Joe Cole and Michael Carrick. Ferdinand and Carrick played against Lampard and Cole when Manchester United met Chelsea at the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final.
Recent Academy "graduates" include Glen Johnson, Billy Mehmet, Freddy Eastwood, Anton Ferdinand (younger brother of Rio), Elliott Ward, Mark Noble, Jack Collison and James Tomkins.
The Academy is an important part of the club's identity and a regular source of players for the first team. When the club was relegated from the FA Premier League in 2003 the sale of young Academy stars arguably saved the club from financial disaster. It has been argued that if West Ham had kept all of their Academy "graduates" since Rio Ferdinand, they would currently be among the very top English teams.
With their promotion via the Championship Play-Offs in 2005 West Ham have returned to England's top league. Three Academy "graduates" had been key players in this achievement; Anton Ferdinand, Elliott Ward, and Mark Noble. In the 2007–08 season, manager Alan Curbishley handed three graduates, Jack Collison, James Tomkins and Freddie Sears, their debuts.
Gianfranco Zola, who previously worked with the Italy U-21's, stated his desire to continue the club's tradition of using homegrown talent. Noble, Tomkins and Collison all went on to play an important part as West Ham beat relegation to finish 9th in the 2008–09 season. Under him, Zavon Hines and Junior Stanislas have impressed after the August 2009 League Cup match against Millwall where they both scored in a 3–1 win.
A case may be made that West Ham has been a 'selling club' in recent years, that is, a club that provides quality players to other clubs for profit but does not have the prestige or financial means to keep those players for the benefit of their own team. This reputation probably began with the sale of Rio Ferdinand to Leeds United in 2000. Since then, West Ham have sold six Academy "graduates" for transfer fees totalling over £50 million (including £18 million for Ferdinand, who was later sold on to Manchester United for £30 million).This amount has traditionally been much greater than the club's own spending on players (most of which was financed by the above income), and many of the players found success with financially stronger clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester United who are two of the English clubs capable of competing on a different level to most other teams.
Though not a club, the England national team has included various academy apprentices or graduates in recent years, including Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson, as well as John Terry who spent part of his development with the club.
"The crowds at West Ham have never been rewarded by results but they keep turning up because of the good football they see. Other clubs will suffer from the old bugbear that results count more than anything. This has been the ruination of English soccer." – Ron Greenwood, West Ham manager 1961–1974.
"No way is it all down to me. It's very difficult to say why we've been so successful in youth terms; I suppose it's down to a number of factors but, most importantly, our recruitment area of east London and Essex is really fertile." – Tony Carr, director of Youth Development at West Ham 1973–2010, quoted in an interview published by The Daily Telegraph 14 June 2004.
"Why should we sell Rio Ferdinand? Are we a Premier League club or are we just a feeder club for bigger clubs? If we start selling players like Rio, where is the club going to go?" – Harry Redknapp, West Ham manager 1994–2001.
"The biggest single contributor to the current England national squad is not Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea, but the West Ham Youth Academy." – ITV Football article, 13 September 2004.
The West Ham United Reserves Team was founded in 1899 as Thames Ironworks Reserves and they changed their name to West Ham Reserves in 1900. They joined London League Division One in the season 1899–00. In 2007–08 they were FA Premier Reserve League Southern Division runners-up on goal difference.
Between 1948 and 1956 West Ham entered an 'A' team into the Eastern Counties League.In 1952 they also began playing in the Metropolitan League. After leaving the ECL they remained in the Metropolitan League, winning the League Cup in 1957–58 and the Professional Cup in 1959–60, 1966–67 and 1968–69. They left the league when it merged into the Metropolitan London League in 1971, and instead entered a youth team into the South East Counties League, which they won in 1984–85, 1995–96 and 1997–98, before leaving when the FA Academy system was set up in 1998.
The West Ham United Reserves competed in the Premier Reserve League South until relegation from the Premier League. The side is now classed as a development squad coached by Dmitri Halajko and Steve Potts. Friendly games were usually played at Chadwell Heath and other clubs training grounds.
Since the 2012–13 season, the team have played in the Professional Development League (now branded Premier League 2) for players under the age of 21 and a restricted number of over age players.Most home matches are played at Dagenham & Redbridge's Victoria Road ground, with three fixtures per season played at the London Stadium.
Players (excluding scholars) who will qualify as U23s in season 2020–21 and who are outside the first team squad.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
The West Ham under-18's play in the U18 Premier League South. Home games are staged at Little Heath, Hainault Road in Romford, Essex. Tony Carr, a former West Ham player himself, was the youth academy director from 1973 to 2014.They have won the U-19 title twice in 1998–99 and 1999–00, when the Academy League was split into the U-17s and U-21s.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Alongside West Ham's aforementioned representation in the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, the club also produced Clyde Best, Ade Coker and Clive Charles through their academy - with the trio making Football League history, by becoming the first three black players to start a game in the competition. Coker scored the second in the game against Tottenham Hotspur, on 1 April 1972, securing a 2–0 win for West Ham.
|Player||Position||West Ham appearances||West Ham goals||International caps||International goals||International representation||Club debut||Manager|
|Syd Puddefoot||DF||308||207||2||0||England||Age 18 vs. Norwich City, Southern League, 1 March 1913||Syd King|
|Jim Barrett||DF||553||70||1||0||England||Age 18 vs. Tottenham Hotspur, First Division, 28 March 1925||Syd King|
|Ken Brown||DF||474||4||1||0||England||Age 19 vs. Rotherham United, Second Division, 21 February 1953||Ted Fenton|
|Bobby Moore||DF||647||27||108||2||England||Age 17 vs. Manchester United, First Division, 8 September 1958||Ted Fenton|
|Geoff Hurst||ST||503||249||49||24||England||Age 17 vs. Fulham, Southern Professional Floodlit Cup, 15 December 1958||Ted Fenton|
|Martin Peters||MF||364||100||67||20||England||Age 18 vs. Cardiff City, First Division, 20 April 1962||Ron Greenwood|
|Trevor Brooking||MF||643||102||47||5||England||Age 18 vs. Burnley, First Division, 29 August 1967||Ron Greenwood|
|Frank Lampard Senior||DF||670||22||2||0||England||Age 19 vs. Manchester City, First Division, 18 November 1967||Ron Greenwood|
|Clyde Best||ST||221||58||2||1||Bermuda||Age 18 vs. Arsenal, First Division, 25 August 1969||Ron Greenwood|
|Ade Coker||ST||11||3||5||3||United States||Age 17 vs. Crystal Palace, First Division, 30 October 1971||Ron Greenwood|
|Tony Cottee||ST||336||146||7||0||England||Age 18 vs. Tottenham Hotspur, First Division, 1 January 1983||John Lyall|
|Paul Ince||MF||95||12||53||2||England||Age 19 vs. Chelsea, Full Members' Cup, 25 November 1986||John Lyall|
|Frank Lampard||MF||187||38||106||29||England||Age 17 vs. Coventry City, Premier League, 31 January 1996||Harry Redknapp|
|Rio Ferdinand||DF||158||2||81||3||England||Age 17 vs. Sheffield Wednesday, Premier League, 5 May 1996||Harry Redknapp|
|Joe Cole||MF||187||18||56||10||England||Age 17 vs. Swansea City, FA Cup, 2 January 1999||Harry Redknapp|
|Michael Carrick||MF||159||6||34||0||England||Age 17 vs. Jokerit, Intertoto Cup, 2 January 1999||Harry Redknapp|
Since the turn of the century, every permanent first team manager has enabled a player from West Ham's youth teams to represent the first team. The following table shows every player to have made at least one first team appearance in all competitions. Players highlighted in green are still contracted to West Ham.
|Player||Position||West Ham appearances||West Ham goals||Current club||Born||International honours||Debut||Manager|
|Shaun Bryne||DF||3||0||Retired||Taplow||Ireland U21||Age 18 vs. Newcastle United, Premier League, 3 January 2000||Harry Redknapp|
|Jermain Defoe||ST||105||41||Rangers||Beckton||England||Age 17 vs. Walsall, League Cup, 19 September 2000||Harry Redknapp|
|Grant McCann||MF||4||0||Hull City (manager)||Belfast||Northern Ireland||Age 21 vs. Middlesbrough, Premier League, 19 May 2001||Glenn Roeder|
|Richard Garcia||FW||22||0||Retired||Perth||Australia||Age 20 vs. Reading, League Cup, 11 September 2001||Glenn Roeder|
|Glen Johnson||DF||16||0||Retired||Greenwich||England||Age 18 vs. Charlton Athletic, Premier League, 22 January 2003||Glenn Roeder|
|Anton Ferdinand||DF||163||5||Free agent||Peckham||England U21||Age 18 vs. Preston North End, Championship, 9 August 2003||Glenn Roeder|
|Chris Cohen||MF||22||0||Retired||Norwich||Age 16 vs. Sunderland, Championship, 13 December 2003||Alan Pardew|
|Trent McClenahan||MF||3||0||Free agent||Chipping Norton||Australia U23||Age 19 vs. Crewe Alexandra, Championship, 21 August 2004||Alan Pardew|
|Mark Noble||MF||527||60||West Ham United||Canning Town||England U21||Age 17 vs. Southend United, League Cup, 24 August 2004||Alan Pardew|
|Elliott Ward||DF||21||0||Retired||Harrow||Age 19 vs. Southend United, League Cup, 24 August 2004||Alan Pardew|
|Hogan Ephraim||FW||1||0||Free agent||Archway||England U19||Age 17 vs. Sheffield Wednesday, League Cup, 20 September 2005||Alan Pardew|
|Tony Stokes||FW||1||0||Grays Athletic||London||Age 18 vs. Sheffield Wednesday, League Cup, 20 September 2005||Alan Pardew|
|Kyel Reid||FW||9||1||Billericay Town||Deptford||Age 18 vs. West Bromwich Albion, Premier League, 1 May 2006||Alan Pardew|
|Jack Collison||MF||121||14||Atlanta United (coach)||Watford||Wales||Age 19 vs. Arsenal, Premier League, 1 January 2008||Alan Curbishley|
|Freddie Sears||FW||58||3||Colchester United||Hornchurch||England U21||Age 18 vs. Blackburn Rovers, Premier League, 15 March 2008||Alan Curbishley|
|James Tomkins||DF||243||11||Crystal Palace||Basildon||Great Britain||Age 18 vs. Everton, Premier League, 22 March 2008||Alan Curbishley|
|Zavon Hines||FW||31||3||West Ham United (youth coach)||Kingston||England U21||Age 19 vs. Macclesfield Town, League Cup, 27 August 2008||Alan Curbishley|
|Junior Stanislas||FW||47||8||AFC Bournemouth||Kidbrooke||England U21||Age 19 vs. West Bromwich Albion, Premier League, 16 March 2009||Gianfranco Zola|
|Josh Payne||MF||3||0||Barnet||Basingstoke||England C||Age 18 vs. Blackburn Rovers, Premier League, 21 March 2009||Gianfranco Zola|
|Bondz N'Gala||DF||1||0||Free agent||Forest Gate||Age 20 vs. Bolton Wanderers, League Cup, 22 September 2009||Gianfranco Zola|
|Anthony Edgar||MF||2||0||Herne Bay||Newham||Age 19 vs. Arsenal, FA Cup, 3 January 2010||Gianfranco Zola|
|Jordan Spence||DF||10||0||Free agent||Woodford||England U21||Age 19 vs. Manchester City, FA Cup, 9 May 2010||Gianfranco Zola|
|Marek Štěch||GK||3||0||Mansfield Town||Prague||Czech Republic||Age 20 vs. Oxford United, League Cup, 24 August 2010||Avram Grant|
|Callum McNaughton||DF||1||0||Retired||Harlow||Age 19 vs. Aldershot Town, League Cup, 24 August 2011||Sam Allardyce|
|Dan Potts||DF||13||0||Luton Town||Barking||England U20||Age 17 vs. Barnsley, Championship, 17 December 2011||Sam Allardyce|
|Robert Hall||FW||7||0||Oxford United||Aylesbury||England U19||Age 18 vs. Derby County, Championship, 31 December 2011||Sam Allardyce|
|Matthias Fanimo||MF||3||0||Sarajevo||Lambeth||England U18||Age 18 vs. Crewe Alexandra, League Cup, 28 August 2012||Sam Allardyce|
|George Moncur||MF||2||0||Hull City||Swindon||England U18||Age 19 vs. Crewe Alexandra, League Cup, 28 August 2012||Sam Allardyce|
|Dylan Tombides||ST||1||0||Perth||Australia U23||Age 18 vs. Wigan Athletic, League Cup, 25 September 2012||Sam Allardyce|
|Elliot Lee||ST||7||1||Luton Town||Durham||Age 18 vs. Manchester United, FA Cup, 16 January 2013||Sam Allardyce|
|Leo Chambers||DF||3||0||Free agent||Brixton||England U19||Age 18 vs. Cheltenham Town, League Cup, 27 August 2013||Sam Allardyce|
|Reece Burke||DF||15||1||Luton Town||Newham||England U20||Age 17 vs. Nottingham Forest, FA Cup, 5 January 2014||Sam Allardyce|
|Callum Driver||DF||1||0||Free agent||Sidcup||Age 21 vs. Nottingham Forest, FA Cup, 5 January 2014||Sam Allardyce|
|Sebastian Lletget||MF||1||0||LA Galaxy||San Francisco||United States||Age 20 vs. Nottingham Forest, FA Cup, 5 January 2014||Sam Allardyce|
|Blair Turgott||MF||1||0||Östersunds||Bromley||Jamaica||Age 19 vs. Nottingham Forest, FA Cup, 5 January 2014||Sam Allardyce|
|Josh Cullen||MF||10||0||Anderlecht||Westcliff-on-Sea||Ireland||Age 19 vs. Lusitanos, Europa League, 2 July 2015||Slaven Bilić|
|Reece Oxford||DF||17||0||Augsburg||Edmonton||England U20||Age 16 vs. Lusitanos, Europa League, 2 July 2015||Slaven Bilić|
|Lewis Page||DF||3||0||Harrogate Town||Enfield||Age 19 vs. Lusitanos, Europa League, 2 July 2015||Slaven Bilić|
|Djair Parfitt-Williams||ST||2||0||Fylkir||Hamilton||Age 18 vs. Lusitanos, Europa League, 2 July 2015||Slaven Bilić|
|Amos Nasha||MF||1||0||Hayes & Yeading United||Finchley||Age 19 vs. Lusitanos, Europa League, 9 July 2015||Slaven Bilić|
|Jordan Brown||FW||1||0||Fylkir||Brent||England U17||Age 18 vs. Astra Giurgiu, Europa League, 6 August 2015||Slaven Bilić|
|Kyle Knoyle||DF||1||0||Doncaster Rovers||Newham||England U18||Age 18 vs. Astra Giurgiu, Europa League, 6 August 2015||Slaven Bilić|
|Marcus Browne||MF||1||0||Middlesbrough||London||Age 18 vs. Astra Giurgiu, Europa League, 18 August 2016||Slaven Bilić|
|Declan Rice||MF||145||5||West Ham United||Kingston upon Thames||England||Age 18 vs. Burnley, Premier League, 21 May 2017||Slaven Bilić|
|Conor Coventry||MF||3||0||West Ham United||Waltham Forest||Ireland U21||Age 18 vs. Macclesfield Town, League Cup, 26 August 2018||Manuel Pellegrini|
|Grady Diangana||MF||21||2||West Bromwich Albion||Democratic Republic of Congo||England U21||Age 20 vs. Macclesfield Town, League Cup, 26 August 2018||Manuel Pellegrini|
|Joe Powell||MF||1||0||Burton Albion||Canning Town||Age 19 vs. Macclesfield Town, League Cup, 26 August 2018||Manuel Pellegrini|
|Ben Johnson||DF||24||1||West Ham United||Waltham Forest||Age 19 vs. Manchester City, Premier League, 27 February 2019||Manuel Pellegrini|
|Jeremy Ngakia||DF||5||0||Watford||Deptford||Age 19 vs. Liverpool, Premier League, 29 January 2020||David Moyes|
|Harrison Ashby||DF||2||0||West Ham United||Milton Keynes||Scotland U19||Age 18 vs. Charlton Athletic, League Cup, 15 September 2020||David Moyes|
|Aji Alese||DF||1||0||West Ham United||Islington||England U19||Age 19 vs. Hull City, League Cup, 21 September 2020||David Moyes|
|Emmanuel Longelo||MF||1||0||West Ham United||England||Age 19 vs. Hull City, League Cup, 21 September 2020||David Moyes|
|Ademipo Odubeko||FW||2||0||West Ham United||Tallaght||Ireland U17||Age 18 vs. Stockport County, FA Cup, 11 January 2021||David Moyes|
|Nathan Trott||GK||1||0||Nancy (on loan from West Ham United)||Bermuda||England U20||Age 22 vs. Doncaster Rovers, FA Cup, 23 January 2021||David Moyes|
|Jamal Baptiste||DF||1||0||West Ham United||England U17||Age 17 vs. Doncaster Rovers, FA Cup, 23 January 2021||David Moyes|
These players either trained at the Academy but never played for West Ham first team or trained at multiple clubs in their youth. Only permanent spells are shown.
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