DG on the high cost of finding quality kids


Gold arms up in airHammers co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan probably pump around £5 million a year into the Academy but like most other clubs it gets tougher and tougher to produce quality kids.

Neither begrudge a penny of it as there’s always a possibility of striking gold but the co-chairman doesn’t expect his manager to launch 18 or 19 year olds into the white hot atmosphere of the Premier League unless and until they are 100 per cent ready.

He said: “At this level you have to be 100 per cent certain. You may get away with blooding kids in League One and Two but it’s just not a realistic proposition to do so at this level until you are totally certain.

“It’s impossible to put a precise figure on it but with travel, accommodation, contracts and other elements it probably comes out at around £5 million- difficult one to calculate.

“People complain that youngsters aren’t coming through the academies up and down the Premier League but look at it this way!

“You have 22 players out there every week which gives you about 220 players half of which will probably be foreign along with the established British stars.

“So that’s a very tough market to break into for a young player to break into but you have to do it – it remains an essential and it’s also a community issue.

“We have Mark Noble and James Tomkins in the side which demonstrates the benefits of a decent youth policy but in football 2014 it’s much tougher.

However, you know when you get a good one you really do have a good one given the level of competition.

We will continue to support the academy in every way. It remains an essential element of every football club and we are proud of our work in that area.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • steve says:

    Sometimes, you need to take a gamble. Teenagers won’t be 100% ready, most likely. But they may be 80-90% ready and blooding them in the 1st team (and not in a cup, with half the first XI being rested) can only improve them. One of the few disappointments of last season was Sam not playing some youngsters – or even putting them on the bench – when we were completely safe at the end of the season. No youth players on the bench last day v Reading particularly sticks in the mind . I saw Rio’s debut as a sub, last day v Sheffield Wed and he was a streak of **** back then! Good experience for him though .

    Sam trots out stats on the success of teams playing youngsters but that is a very poor use of stats. I work with statisticians and one thing they’ll always say is correlation does not equal causation. Could be plenty of reasons why teams with young players lose, and plenty of reasons why they’re playing youngsters in the first place (e.g. Teams on their uppers *having* to play young players and no decent old pros left).

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