Last year, I wrote the Emulating La Masia series to determine which factors would allow you to improve the quality of your youth academy. All in all, this was a rather theoretical series of articles. While articles were larded with examples from my club at the time, it lacked a proper case study of how such a setup would grow and develop. That’s where this article comes in. I will apply all that knowledge and tell you about how I turned West Ham United’s already formidable Academy into a European powerhouse.
When it comes to youth academies in England, West Ham ranks among the top. Even though Southampton have gained much acclaim in recent years for their prolific youth development, West Ham was probably the best in the 2000s and continue to remain among the best. Dubbed as the “Academy of Football”, West Ham have always been able to attract the best youth players from London due to them being more likely to earn a chance than their more illustrious London neighbours Arsenal and Chelsea.