The Academy of Football
The club promotes the popular idea of West Ham being "The Academy of Football", with the moniker adorning the ground's new stadium façade. The comment predominantly refers to the club's youth development system which was established by manager Ted Fenton during the 1950s, that has seen a number of international players emerge through the ranks. Most notably the club contributed three players to the World Cup winning England side of 1966 including club icon Bobby Moore, as well as Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst who between them scored all of England's goals in the eventual 4–2 victory. Other academy players that have gone on to play for England have included Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee and Paul Ince.
Since the late 1990s Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Glen Johnson began their careers at the club and all are playing for one of the "Big Four" clubs. Most recently the likes of first team midfield regulars Mark Noble and Jack Collison and younger stars Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas, James Tomkins, Josh Payne, Jordan Spence and Zavon Hines have emerged through the Academy. Frustratingly, for the fans and managers alike, the club has struggled to retain many of these players due to (predominantly) financial reasons. West Ham, during the 2007–08 season, had an average of 6.61 English players in the starting line up, higher than any other Premier League club, which cemented their status as one of the few Premier League clubs left that were recognised to be bringing through young English talent and were recognised as having 'homegrown players'. Between 2000 and 2011, the club produced eight England players, as many as Manchester United and one fewer than Arsenal. Much of the success of The Academy has been attributed to Tony Carr who has been West Ham youth coach since 1973.
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Famous quotes containing the words academy and/or football:
“...I have come to make distinctions between what I call the academy and literature, the moral equivalents of church and God. The academy may lie, but literature tries to tell the truth.”
—Dorothy Allison (b. 1949)
“... in the minds of search committees there is the lingering question: Can she manage the football coach?”
—Donna E. Shalala (b. 1941)