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Is it time for West Ham to stop calling themselves the ‘Academy of Football’?

Date: 11th July 2013 at 12:02 am
Written by: | Comments (4)

Academy Of FootballOne of the great virtues of supporting a club like West Ham is the history, culture and tradition that goes with it.

The bond that develops comes not only from the current crop of players who turn out on a Saturday, but from those who played in bygone eras, achieved success, and represented a brand that was entrenched in the community from which it grew.

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It was back in the 1960s that West Ham was first termed the ‘Academy of Football’. Many accept that it was a tribute designed to praise the philosophy and overall culture of the club, developed at that time by Ron Greenwood.

Home-grown players included the greats such as Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst. But more than just the players, it was the style and artistry that went with the performances which won such affection from observers.

Over the years, ‘The Academy’ has referenced more the youth set-up at the club, which nurtures the best talent, capable of playing ‘the West Ham way’ at the very highest level.

That youth mechanism working through the club has been somewhat maligned recently, and to some extent it is justified.

The departure of Rob Hall this summer further pressed the question about when the next student is going to graduate from the East London schooling onto the world stage.

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I wrote the other week about the dearth of top class talent coming through the ranks. But it was pointed out to me that the classes of the 60s and early 00s cannot be expected to come through on a wholly regular basis.

Many clubs across the board are showing a shortage of high-class, young, talent. The reality can be seen in the majority of recent England international line-ups.

The fact West Ham is not currently quite the production machine and feeder club it has been in the past, does not detract from the glowing reports it has achieved in the past.

A reputation is forged from many years of dedication to a method, a way of thinking and playing, that is not wiped away by a more barren period. It is not something one manager, or one group of players, can change in just a few seasons of the modern game.

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The honourable branding as the ‘Academy of Football’ should not be forgotten by wider football fans in general, as it has given so much to the sport.

Therefore, it is certainly not something the club should stop calling themselves. We as fans are rightly proud of our heritage, and here in Australia, it is that reputation which distinguishes our supporters from those apparent glory hunters with allegiances the ‘powerhouses’ of the modern game.

‘The Academy’ values are ingrained in the claret and blue, and there are enough true Hammers fans who remain associated with the club to never allow them to be forgotten.

4 thoughts on “Is it time for West Ham to stop calling themselves the ‘Academy of Football’?

  • Cb
    1 year ago

    No

    But maybe it’s time for you to be positive about the club for once instead of non stop slagging them off

    Reply
  • Bishy
    1 year ago

    You like many others on twitter are jumping on the Rob Hall bandwagon.

    Yes he was a good prospect but why criticise the club when they offered him a contract? He decided to turn it down and seek pastures new. Besides every decision the club has made in recent years regarding youth has been proved correct (Stanislas, Hines).

    Yes you can’t always have periods of 60’s or 90’s/00’s but if you look at how many Academy players go on to have a career in football whether its PL or Blue Square Premier then I think this is a more accurate gauge of how successful and effective our youth academy is at producing quality footballers.

    If you do want to question whether we are still entitled to call ourselves The Academy of Football maybe it should be because of a seemingly constant negative attitude of a large and growing section of fans who feel it necessary to criticise the club at every single opportunity. The constant slagging is non stop.

    Reply
  • Phones
    1 year ago

    The term ‘Academy of Football’ originally related to the players from the fifties who gained their knowledge of the game with our club and ‘graduated’ from playing into managing/coaching. Examples being Musgrove, Allison, O’Farrell, Bond, Cantwell. The Academy reference was hijacked and misunderstood by the popular press and is know widely misused by media and supporters alike.
    So there.

    Reply
  • Spyinthesky
    1 year ago

    Yes you are totally correct it regards the fact that these great characters used to meet and discuss Their football philosophy which became by association the ‘West Ham Way’ and subsequently spread it far and wide in the case of Woosnam even into America. It actually had nothing directly to do with the academy but has become so more by association encouraged by the club, than anything else. Not a bad thing and certainly worth pursuing though as I have said before it has been rather poor at exploiting local talent far more of whom have gone to and thrived at other London clubs sadly while we managed to pick up most of our success stories from other neglected areas, but thats another story.

    Reply

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