West Ham’s Terry Westley is dreaming of a crowd of 7,000 for Monday’s clash between the Hammers Under 21s and their Newcastle United counterparts.
West Ham are hosting the match at the Boleyn Stadium (Upton Park) and have made it free entry (to be honest I can’t comprehend in this day and age why cash rich Premier League clubs would charge anybody who was prepared to come along and give young players their support) to try and encourage as many fans to attend as possible.
Terry Westley is West Ham’s Academy director and he thinks it is a massive help in the development of young players to get decent crowds watching their matches.
He is envious of Norwich City who average crowds of 7,000 for Under 21 games.
“Some clubs really generate a support for their youth teams and that’s something we want to work on. Norwich City’s average crowd for U21 games is 7,000 – some League One clubs would be happy with that!
“The biggest game last season, Manchester United v Manchester City was 16,000. That game was also shown live on TV so it demonstrates that there is an appetite for youth football.
“We hope that by making it free, on Monday we get a good crowd which will be a great experience for our players.”
“I think you saw how positive an effect playing in the Europa League, in a full stadium, had on the likes of Lewis Page, Josh Cullen and Reece Oxford.
“It’s a whole new experience that players need to adapt to but also thrive on.
“Even at a younger level, I would hate for a scholar never to play in a home stadium, we’re fortunate enough that we get together and give our players that opportunity.”
The Under 21 match is on Monday 21 September at the Boleyn Ground with a kick-off of 7pm. Admission is FREE for all fans, so if you are going to be in the East London area on Monday night get along to support Newcastle’s rising young stars.