Youth Cup Imminent

West Ham's youngsters launch their annual bid for FA Youth Cup glory in early December - with Glenn Roeder confident there are some future first teamers amongst them.

Tuesday, 3rd December is the date, 7:15 the time, Upton Park the venue...and Oadby Town the opposition.

Glenn Roeder will be amongst those watching, of course, hoping to spot the talent that he can bring through to the first team in the years to come.

"It is very difficult, but if you can produce five, six, or seven top class youngsters in a two year age band you stand a chance of really progressing, because they will want to stay, stick together, and see the club do some terrific things," says.

"That has got to be the ultimate aim of the football club - to produce more than half the first team ourselves.

"Unfortunately, to do that, you have to have some very, very forward thinking - and a bit of bravery, to be truthful.

"The short cut is always to go for a player that has one year left, that everyone knows can do it.

"But if you are trying to build, and you want to put some foundations down, the way forward has got to be through the Academy.

"We have invested a lot of money in it, and we think it is money well spent.

"The chairman does not ever restrict us from spending money on our young players and improving the Academy, because that is how he sees the future as well."

Glenn is full of praise for the coaches who bring the youngsters on, and adds:

"We are getting the building blocks down with Jimmy Hampson, Tony Carr, and Kevin Keen - but there is a big Academy team behind them.

"They might not be to others, but in my eyes they are unsung heroes; they are coaches that no one ever gets to see and scouts that are beavering around, working hard for the club and finding that young talent for the Academy coaches to work with.

"These are people that never get a mention; to be honest they are probably not worried about that, they are only concerned with bringing the quality in.

"Most people don't scratch the surface too much of a football club, and I certainly appreciate that a club is only as good as the first team, and the first team has got to do well.

"We need to do better, and I am sure we can to get us out of this uncomfortable situation that we find ourselves in.

"But if you go a bit deeper, the club is well oiled and working very well at the moment."

Glenn is sure the target of getting more home grown players into the squad will be met, and adds:

"The next group coming through could get the numbers up to six or seven in the next couple of years.

"It would be absolutely brilliant if we could have more than half the first team out of our own Academy.

"It is difficult, because the standards are so high, to have a teenager at 18 or 19 ready for Premiership football.

"That teenager would have to be really special - but we will be patient when we have to and if they are 21, 22, 23 even before they are fully fledged members of the first team, so be it.

"As long as they show good attitude, we will stick by them - because a good attitude takes you a long way."

And Oadby Town? The Leicestershire based club's first team play in the Midland League.

Meanwhile, reports that the Manchester United away game on December 14th will kick off at 12:15 are, strictly speaking, premature.

They have the right to change the kick off to 3 o'clock depending on what the Champions' League draw brings them. A decision will be made after that - probably at the weekend.

If the kick off time remains at 12:15, it will be Pay Per View.