Academy & Under 18s

U18 Premier League Format Explained

This season, West Ham United under 18s will be competing in the Barclays U18 Premier League.

The Barclays U18 Premier League replaced the Premier Academy League at the start of last season because of the league aiming to enhance youth development and help transition players between academy and the first team.

Little Heath

Overall, there will be 22 clubs competing in the Barclays U18 Premier League this season, after all the clubs applied for ‘Category One’ status in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). 16 of the clubs competing this season are from the Barclays Premier League, five from the SkyBet Championship and one from the SkyBet League One.

The clubs have been split into two 11 team groups based on regional location; north and south. This is a new format that has been introduced this season.

Each club will play opposing clubs in their own regional group twice, both home and away. Also, clubs will face each opposing club in the other regional group once, either home or away. The season will last for 31 games.

At the end of the season, the top two teams in each regional division will progress onto the semi finals, with the winner of the north group facing the runner up in the south group and vice versa.

Every players taking part in league matches must be from within the U18 age category. Any player over that age category is not permitted to be fielded, with one exception being the goalkeeper who can be from the U19 age category.

West Ham United U18 will take part in the south group alongside Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Fulham, Leicester City, Norwich City, Reading, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

The 11 clubs competing in the north group are Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Sunderland, Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

PLEASE NOTE: West Ham U18 home matches will kick-off at 11am at the West Ham United Academy, Little Heath, Hainault Road, Romford, Essex, RM6 5RX unless otherwise stated on the official West Ham website.

Keep an eye on my website, Tommy Wathen – Sports Journalist, for latest news about the West Ham United U18.

Transfer Gossip

Is Quagliarella On His Way to Upton Park?

Fabio Quagliarella

Various reports, including THIS ONE suggest West Ham have reached ana greement on personal terms with 30 year old Juventus striker Fabio Quaglierella. Crucially, though, terms haven’t been agreed with Juventus. I know videos only ever show the best bits, but this video of Quagliarella’s 20 greatest goals certainly gets your mouth watering.

He’s certainly much travelled, having played for 8 Italian clubs, but his goalscoring record at all of them has been very consistent – 1 goal every 3 games. For Juventus he struck 22 goals in 67 appearances. He’s also scored 6 in 25 international games for Italy. While I’d prefer Demba Ba, I think Quagliarella would be a very good second best option.


The West Ham Team of the 1990s

Ludek Miklosko: Hammers hero

It’s just a bit of fun, but I thought I would spend an hour dreaming up my West Ham team of the 1990s. I first had a season ticket in 1992, so I saw most of the players we had in the 1990s. It’s funny how we all remember certain players who we thought could have really become big stars if only they had been given the chance or seized the opportunity when it came along. There were quite a few in the 1990s. Matthew Rush is one that immediately springs to mind. He had everything – an athletic build, loads of skill, the ability to score spectacular goals and speed. But he lacked application and mental will to drive himself on. He ended up spending a few seasons in the lower leagues before becoming a PE teacher. He won’t make my team of the 1990s, but he could have. So, here we go. To qualify for the team, a player must have played at least one game during the 1990s, starting the the 1990-91 season and finishing with the 1998-99 season.


Can we really look beyond Ludek Miklosko? No, of course not. In my view neither Craig Forrest nor Shaka Hislop were in the same league as Ludo.

Left Back

Similarly, Julian Dicks had a bit of competition from David Burrows, David Unsworth and Stuart Pearce, bur clearly Dicksy gets the nod.

Steve Potts: Loyal Servant

Right Back

Right back was a tricky position once Tim Breacker left and Steve Potts retired. Breacker was a fantastic player for West Ham, but my nod goes to Steve Potts who wasn’t just an excellent right back, but was brilliant in central defence.

Central Defenders

Here’s where it gets difficult. How on earth do you pick two from Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, Marc Rieper, Slaven Bilic and Rio Ferdinand. I can’t believe I am leaving out Alvin Martin, but I am going to plump for Slaven Bilic, who may have been a mercenary, but he was a brilliant, brilliant defender. And Rio Ferdinand looked the real deal from the moment he made his first team debut.

John Moncur Central Midfield

If anything, this was our weakest position in the 1990s. If you think about it, few of the likes of Don Hutchinson, John Moncur, Martin Allen, Ian Bishop, Danny Williamson, Steve Lomas or Frank Lampard in his early days, were likely to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition. Eyal Berkovic, on the other hand, was a different kettle of fish. Playing behind the front two, he was a brilliant playmaker, and formed a superb understanding with John Hartson (apart from when Hartson was kicking him in the head). So it’s Eyal Berkovic and John Moncur for me. Moncur was a tenacious midfielder with a good tackle and a powerful shot. I’d like to have gone for Ian Bishop, but if it’s 4-4-2 with two wingers you need a tackling midfielder in there, putting it about a bit.

Tricky Trevor Sinclair


We also had a nice line in tricky wingers. Stuart Slater, Mark Robson, Kevin Keen, Matty Holmes, Michael Hughes, Stan Laziridis, Hugo Porfirio, Trevor Sinclair and Joe Cole are the leading candidates. Laziridis was always a favourite of mine, possibly because he was the first footballer I ever interviewed. In the end I’ll go for Trevor Sinclair on the right and Joe Cole on the left. Hugo Porfirio was another one of those players who came, made an impact, thought he was better than us and left for oblivion. If he had stayed I believe he could have become a great player for us.

John Hartson


Despite a rich vein of goalscorers including Tony Cottee, Trevor Morley, Jimmy Quinn, Clive Allen and Paul Kitson, the two obvious picks for me are Paolo di Canio and John Hartson. Hartson, together with Kitson, saved us from relegation and Di Canio remains the greatest player I have ever seen in a West Ham shirt.

So here’s my team: Miklosko, Potts, Dicks, Ferdinand, Bilic, Cole, Sinclair, Moncur, Berkovic, Hartson, Di Canio. And on the subs bench: Hislop, Rieper, Morley, Cottee, Bishop.

Feel free to disagree!

Transfer Gossip

Come Back Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole: Missed

It is now clear that we are going to struggle to sign a marquee striker before deadline, unless we can shift out the likes of Taylor, Vaz Te or McCartney, or even all three. There is, of course another option, albeit an unlikely one. Bring back Carlton Cole. Ok, Ok, I know, but bear with me.

As I understand it, Carlton was offered a new contract but didn’t accept it. He felt he’d be better of pursuing other options. Well, so far that hasn’t quite worked for him. There have been suggestions that he might go to France, Turkey or the USA, or even to Crystal Palace. Now he might be playing a very skilful game of poker, who knows? But if we get to 31 August and Carlton hasn’t found a new home, I wonder whether Sam Allardyce might offer him a way back. Yes, he’d have to eat a bit of humble pie, and the deal may not be the one that was of offer in May, but what do you think he’d rather do, languish in the Championship or come back to a club that he has a real affinity with.

Carlton Cole may not be a prolific goalscorer, and last season didn’t have the best of times, but we all know he would give his all, and be a great understudy to a player who is notoriously injury prone. We could do far worse,


David Gold: We Need Another Striker

This is David Gold’s interview with Sky Sports News last night. He is clear that we need another striker, but equally clear we’d have to sell a couple of players first. Ecxpect lots of last minute action!

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