So few youngsters emerge from academy football in an era when foreign players dominate our game that their worth has been regularly discussed inside the game.
The Hammers, in producing Declan Rice, and bringing through Grady Diangana – with others set to make an impact – have to a large extent proved the exception to the rule.
A Declan makes it all worthwhile as the the costs involved are seriously heavy if nobody comes through at all.
The running cost of the West Ham Academy is £4m before players wages without players wages but that cost balloons when the wages are factored in.
This year there has been a costly upgrade of the Chadwell Heath set-up as the club continues to develop its grass roots operation.
Although scholars earn next to nothing while at the Academy their pay usually rockets on signing their first professional contract.
Reece Oxford is the highest paid Academy player on £20,000 per week – a cool £1m per year but many are reported to on £8,000 per week including Toni Martinez, Josh Pask and the recently departed Edmilson Fernandes. Those three accounted for another £1.2m per year.
The average wage of an Academy player on a professional contract is around £5,000 per week which is £260,000 per year.
These higher wages make it difficult to loan out Academy players to lower league teams with less well off clubs asking for West Ham to subsidise part of their wages.
Many of these Academy players may never see first-team football but we have seen such encouraging signs during the Terry Westley era that the Academy of Football will continue with hopefully the odd top player helping the set-up to pay for itself.