With West Ham enjoying an up and down of seasons this year, having endured poor form and crowd trouble early on after their move to the London Stadium, plenty of fans will have been looking to other areas for positives.
One place they can certainly turn is the youth ranks, where the manager of the development side, Terry Westley is beginning to put together quite the team.
The likes of Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina have already seen brief spells in the first team, with the former heading out on loan to Reading, where he is learning from one of the best defenders to have played in the Premier League in Royals boss Jaap Stam.
However, another now knocking on the door of Slaven Bilic’s first team is defender Declan Rice.
The 18-year-old has shown great form in the Hammers Premier League 2 campaign this season, donning the captian’s armband for Westley’s side, and was named on the bench for a first team game against Swansea earlier this season.
The former Chelsea youngster has shown such impressive form that Arsenal had been sniffing around in the lead up to the January transfer window.
However, the club have announced that they have now tied their promising youngster down to a new deal keeping him at the club until at least 2020.
News such as this will be a boost to Hammers fans. Their club is renowned for it’s affluent academy with the words “The Academy of Football” adorning the dugout next to the pitch at both Upton Park and now the London Stadium.
To see the powers that be so keenly investing in top quality youngsters once again, as they also embark on a huge long-term project with the move to Stratford, will be welcome to Hammers fans, who will be desperate to see a string of youngsters follow in the footsteps of Mark Noble and make a real impact on the side.
Once the infamous Payet affair is banished to memory surely the yougsters like Reece Oxford, Declan Rice and Domingos Quina amongst others will be focussed on a little more which should give the side bags of optimism plus a chance for these fine young propsects to make their mark in the Premier League – a great upside to look forward to.