Boleyn People

Academy Head of Recruitment Dave Hunt says he loves working for the Club he supports
Academy Head of Recruitment Dave Hunt says there is nothing better than working for the Club he supports. He also has plenty of Boleyn memories…
My day to day role at the Club involves me organising the recruitment department in terms of looking for talented young players to sign for West Ham’s Academy. We look at players of all ages, right from the real youngsters who sign to getting players in who are 18 or 20 and looking to play for the first team.
My job lets me watch a lot of football, and I travel everywhere to scout players. That ranges from international games to local and grassroots matches, and also includes other clubs’ academies.
We have four full-time members of staff who work underneath me, and then a number of part-time scouts who work under that, which total around 50.
It’s always a great feeling, giving a youngster the chance to sign for a Club like West Ham United. Giving them an opportunity to come to the Academy and come into a really great learning environment, to create a better human being and hopefully a first team player of the future is fantastic.
If players do come out the system at any time, they’re certainly better individuals for the experience they’ve had here.
With the recruitment side of things this season, it’s so pleasing to see the teams doing so well. Bringing players like George Dobson, Daniel Kemp and Martin Samuelsen to the Club from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City respectively has increased the quality, and players like Dobson have come in and sat on the bench for the first team.
Samuelsen did really well in the Europa League for us and then has excelled on loan, and on the other side of things, we’ve got people like Reece Burke who has been here since he was an U9, played for the first team, and is having a really successful loan spell at Bradford, as well as Josh Cullen.
It’s nice to see the local boys, who have been here since the start, doing really well.
It’s a surreal feeling when one of the lads who has come through the Academy does make that first team bow. Reece Oxford started at the Emirates in October and that was unbelievable, and it was the same with Reece Burke when he played the last five games last season.
As a massive West Ham fan myself, it’s great to work for the Club you support. It’s obviously going to be sad to say goodbye to the Boleyn at the end of the season, but I’m excited to head into what will be an unbelievable era of the Club’s history in my opinion.
I’ve been to the new Stadium for the Rugby World Cup, and I’ve got to say, it took my breath away. Of course, I have so many great memories from the Boleyn Ground too.
As a six or seven-year-old boy, I remember my Dad taking me there before I then started going with my friends. I followed the Hammers home and away. Obviously coming to the Club as an employee and being there on a matchday is amazing.
One of my standout memories from being a kid was when Julian Dicks scored twice against Aston Villa, but I missed both as my Dad had taken me to the toilet during them!
I missed the goals but the atmosphere was brilliant and that’s always been the case at the Boleyn Ground. It’s a ground that will leave a legacy and I’m really going to miss it, of course. I was always one of those who got all the new gear for Christmas and walked to the ground singing all the songs.
They’re brilliant memories that I’ll never forget.