West Ham United today officially opened their new Academy facility at the club’s iconic Chadwell Heath training ground, as a host of homegrown Hammers heroes returned to celebrate its rich history and look forward to a bright and exciting future.
New England international Declan Rice was joined by predecessors Sir Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin and Tony Cottee, along with club captain Mark Noble, rising star Grady Diangana and current Academy coaches Steve Potts, Jack Collison and Paul Konchesky – all of whom started out as schoolboy and youth players at Chadwell Heath.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini, former long-serving Academy Director Tony Carr and the families of legendary managers Ron Greenwood and John Lyall were also present, as Academy Director Terry Westley, Joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold, and Vice-Chairman Karren Brady, led guests on a showcase tour of the new facilities.
The redevelopment project highlights the Club’s continued commitment to providing an environment of excellence for the current and future generations of young players who aspire to follow in the footsteps of those great names who previously learned their trade at Chadwell Heath.
The improvement is part of the Board’s wider strategy around the growth and development of the Club at all levels, including a £10m minimum investment across training facilities, £4m of which is on this phase of Chadwell Heath, significant investment in the first-team playing squad with £100m spent in the last summer transfer window, and the appointment of a proven, high-calibre manager with European experience in Manuel Pellegrini, while continuing to honour the rich heritage and traditions of the Club.
The Essex-based site, where the great Bobby Moore and his fellow 1966 World Cup winners Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters – along with countless other Academy graduates through the years - honed their skills and learned their trade, has undergone a complete overhaul that has seen the removal of all temporary offices and cabins, replaced by a modern staff and visitor entrance.
A two-phase programme has seen the upgrade of an enhanced indoor pitch, followed by a completely new interior construction containing state-of-the-art medical, fitness, analysis and education facilities, along with a new parents and spectators viewing gallery, and a coaches’ office offering panoramic views of both the outdoor and indoor pitches.
The renovation ensures that West Ham United will remain at the forefront of young player development, offering cutting-edge facilities and an environment of excellence and care to young players and their families.
Joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said: “This is a proud and special day for West Ham United, as we celebrate another magnificent step forward for our Academy.
“With Declan Rice making a fantastic start to his senior England career last week, four Academy graduates making their first team debuts in Manuel Pellegrini’s team this season and a number of Academy scholars representing their countries at junior international level, the future is looking extremely bright.
“As a Board, we are absolutely committed to ensuring the Academy goes from strength to strength and that we continue to recruit and develop the best young players. The investment of time, energy and continued hard work from all of our fantastic staff here at Chadwell Heath will hopefully ensure that we continue to produce many more Trevor Brookings, Mark Nobles and Declan Rices in the years to come.
“Not only that, but we want the young players and their families who come here to know that they are walking into an environment of excellence and care, where they will develop and grow as people as well as players, benefit from first-class facilities and see a clear pathway to Premier League football in a claret and blue shirt.
“Chadwell Heath holds such an important and special place in the heart of West Ham United. There is such a rich history here to cherish, which the young players can feel as they walk through the door. It is an inspirational location but we also we have to keep moving forwards and ensuring that the environment is also modern and leading the way in terms of the facilities we offer, not only for the players who are here now, but also those we want to attract in the future.”
West Ham United Academy Director Terry Westley said: “This redevelopment is fantastic news for the Academy and the future success of our football club. I would like to place on record my thanks to the owners and the Board for their support and commitment in creating this magnificent facility.
“It will enable us to provide our current Academy players - and those who join us in the future – with the best possible facilities and working environment for their development, while still retaining the wonderful history and tradition of Chadwell Heath, where so many great players and coaches have developed their careers.
“From the likes of Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Sir Trevor Brooking, through to Frank Lampard Sr, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee, Paul Ince, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard Jr, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole and, in recent years, Jack Collison, Mark Noble and Declan Rice – not to mention the great leaders such as Ron Greenwood and John Lyall, whose influence and philosophy lives on to this day.
“Being able to offer our young players the opportunity to tread in the footsteps of those figures gives us a huge sense of pride, and this significant investment ensures we can continue to build upon the legacy of the West Ham United Academy.”