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Football London
Football London
Jonty Colman

West Ham confirm major academy change amid Stoke City move as former defender takes new role

West Ham United's head of academy Ricky Martin has departed the club to join Stoke City as their new first team technical director.

Martin, who joined the Hammers in January 2019, leaves after almost four years to link up with Alex Neil at the Championship club, with Martin previously holding a similar role when Neil was in charge of Norwich City. Martin worked there between July 2001 and April 2017 before leaving Carrow Road.

With Martin’s move to Staffordshire confirmed, West Ham have announced that former defender Kenny Brown Jnr will succeed him as the club’s academy manager on an interim basis.

READ MORE: Michail Antonio re-lives Crystal Palace nightmare as West Ham's six-match record ends

Brown made 82 appearances for West Ham as a player between 1991 and 1996, with his father Ken Brown Sr winning the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup with the Hammers in 1964 and 1965 respectively.

Speaking on the appointment, having returned as a coach between under-9 to under-14 levels earlier this year, Brown Jr was excited to get going.

He told the club website: “I am very honoured and proud to have been asked to step into this role for the interim period at West Ham United's world-renowned academy, which I believe will help us to ensure continuity and, most importantly, consistency and familiarity in the development of our young players.

“On behalf of everyone at the academy, I’d like to thank Ricky for all of his hard work and support. He has been a great help to me personally since I arrived at the club in January and he leaves the academy in an extremely strong and healthy position.

“We continue to hold Category One elite status following the recent report from the Professional Game Academy Audit Company, meaning that we can provide the very highest tier of youth football provision for our players. The success of our academy was there for all to see in our recent UEFA Europa Conference League fixture against FCSB last week, with Ollie Scarles becoming the sixth youngest player to feature for the senior team, and Divin Mubama, Kaelan Casey and Kamarai Swyer also making their senior debuts, in a squad boasting numerous academy graduates.

“I am looking forward to continuing that good work with Kalam – who has great experience and knowledge having been at Chadwell Heath for more than four years now – along with all of the academy staff, who do such great work across so many areas.”


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