There have been reports this morning of an impending departure for England International Matthew Upson from West Ham United. Although presently unconfirmed by the club, a statement released by the club captain yesterday evening, it would appear a transfer is soon on the cards.
West Ham have been renowned for bringing on talented youngsters over the years, that would go on and prosper at some of world’s biggest teams. Never turning their back on their ‘Academy’ traditions, in recent times they cemented this outlook as the foundation of the club’s “Project” outlined by Chief Executive Scott Duxbury.
However it would appear that the sudden influx of young blood at Upton Park, has tipped the scales and has resulted in a generation gap of which they are unable to bridge and could lead to the complete departure of the club’s senior established players.
Matthew Upson reportedly said “At first when I joined the club it made you feel proud to be part of the Academy – to guide these young players on and off the field, they really looked up to the older players. However towards the end of last season more injuries meant more players from the youth set up were filling gaps left in the squad and almost overnight the mood changed – it became quite nasty”.
“At first it was gentle banter and you could just pretend to laugh it off, but then one afternoon I was leaving Chadwell Heath after training when I could see a group of the younger players sitting on the bonnet of my car. I tried to ignore them and get straight in the drivers seat but then Junior (Stanislas) stood in my way and asked where I was going adding “you going to pick up your pension?!?” I tried to step past him, however now being jeered on by the other players he shouted in my face “what’s the matter!?? … you deaf GRAND-DAD?!?!?” At this point I just turned round and ran back into the building – there was no way I was going to let them see me cry”.
“I got off relatively easy to begin with, it was Lucas (Neill) who had to bare the full brunt of the abuse which inevitably saw him leave the club. He put up with it for many weeks but then at our last away game of the season at Goodison Park, Neill was attempting to give a team talk before the game when suddenly Freddie Sears declared to the room that Lucas smelled of wee. It was at this point, with numerous youngsters pointing, laughing and pretending to hold their nose, that he knew he had lost the team. Only a matter of weeks later he had left the club, he was the club’s captain for heavens sake! These kids just don’t know respect”.
Following Neill’s departure from the club, it was Upson who the club turned to for the captaincy, “During the summer break I decided to wipe the slate clean and hope for a fresh start with the new season – it began well, Sears had been loaned out to Palace and the remaining kids now seemed to be responding. However while we we’re in Beijing preparing to play Tottenham, I was having a shower in the changing rooms when suddenly James Tomkins shouts “Ewwww gross, he has hair on his balls” I just stood there, ashamed, amongst chants of Hairy balls Upson”.
“Steve Clarke pretended not to hear what was happening, perhaps wary they could turn on him. Gianfranco was even less help – when I looked at him for some back up he just stood there and gave his usual grin like the banjo playing kid from Deliverance. So for me the final straw has been reached and I am left with no alternative but to seek first team football elsewhere. My thoughts are with those players who remain – sure Boa Morte has feigned injury, Ashton has disappeared and Quashie has hidden from the first team squad for well over a year now, but these tactics can only last so long”.
There will surely be no lack of takers for Upson’s signatures, but perhaps the real interest will remain at Upton Park as we see how this Children of the Corn scenario plays out this coming season.
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