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Kwame’s Blog: The end of an era?

19:30 03 July 2014

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‘Legend’ Tony Carr is moved upstairs

Tony CarrTony Carr

To coin a cliché, it’s the end of an era. Tony Carr the academy director at West Ham responsible for bringing through the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Glen Johnson, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole and countless others has been moved into an ‘ambassadorial role’ as the club look to shake up the famed Academy of Football.

The word ‘legend’ is too readily used in modern day football; a player has two or three good seasons and all of a sudden he’s deemed a ‘legend’. However, the term is very fitting when describing what Tony Carr is to West Ham. He brought through an incredibly promising crop of young players in the late nineties and one can only think and salivate at what could have been at West Ham United with a bit more foresight and a little more ambition.

The club’s golden crop of youngsters went on to achieve great things within the game. There were Premier League titles galore and Lampard, Ferdinand and Carrick even achieved the Holy Grail in club football by lifting the European Cup.

Unfortunately we can only dream of what could’ve been had the Hammers been able to keep hold of the family silver, instead of selling them off one by one.

Since those days of what should’ve been West Ham’s golden generation, however, the academy hasn’t been churning them out like it used to … with the exception of Mark Noble and James Tomkins no academy graduate has made a significant impact on the first team.

A few have flattered to deceive, but after much hype names such as Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas and Robert Hall have left the club and have so far yet to prove that their services were dispensed with too quickly.

The real question at the crux of why Tony Carr has effectively been moved upstairs is – has he paid the price for the lack of quality coming through in recent years? And if so, what makes the powers that be think that the much ballyhooed Terry Westley is the man to bring through the next generation of Lampards and Ferdinands?

Tony Carr’s contribution to West Ham over the past 40 years is beyond measure and if you look at the fees generated by the sales of the players he’s brought through, you might just get a sense of his true worth to the club.

I hope Terry Westley is the right man to take the academy forward, he’s got one hell of a tough act to follow.

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