Friday, 30 March 2007

The Knot Tightens

The Mirror report that Eggert Magnusson will revamp West Ham's academy by scouring the globe for foreign youngsters. The article states the move is a new step for a club which prides itself on producing top-class English talent and quotes the Hammers chairman as saying: "We need a greater overview of what's happening all over Europe and have contacts that can direct us to the most promising players. We are looking at investing more." Interestingly, the comment has been lifted directly from the exclusive KUMB interview from a couple of days ago. Responding to a question about boosting the West Ham Academy, Magnusson replied: "When the season is over we will sit down and get a grip on the Academy, chat with the staff at the training ground and so on. We are more likely to invest more in the Academy but first I would like to see how it operates at the moment. I've not had the time to sit down with the people there and discuss it seriously. But I think we need more contacts in the rest of Europe. We need a greater overview of what's happening all over Europe and have contacts that can direct us to the most promising players. We have something in place but I think we have to strengthen this - so we are looking at investing more, if possible."

The talk of improving West Ham's Academy comes at a time when the current Under-18's side sit proudly atop the table with Arsenal. The side extended its impressive unbeaten run with a 2-2 away draw at Crystal Palace today. Tony Carr is certainly encouraged by what he has been seeing. Earlier this week he said: "With Mark Noble establishing himself in the team in the last couple of years and the names before him, which don't need to be repeated. We've got James Tomkins coming up on the rails and he'll be there or there abouts. We've got some very good players in our young teams so I think the state of our conveyor belt of players is quite healthy."

In other news, the people at BBC Sport predict West Ham will avoid a hefty points deduction from the Premier League over the signings of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. BBC Five Live's Mike Sewell said: "Any possible punishment will be proportionate. It will be a maximum of three points and a six figure fine. You can dismiss any notion that West Ham will be hit with a large deduction of points. Any points deduction may not even be necessary by the time the hearing takes place because by then the club could already be relegated." Of course, that is the ideal scenario for those involved in bringing this case. The legal ramifications for the Premier League should an enforced points deduction relegate West Ham from a position of safety would be extremely problematic. By the same token, a decision not to deduct points from the club, should they survive, would bring howls of protest (and legal recourse) from the team that finished third from bottom. It would be the Gordian Knot that nobody wants.

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