The growing rumours that Leeds United's top prospect, Sam Byram, will be joining West Ham during the transfer window is a cause for reflection on the state of the Hammers in 2016. While the troubles at Leeds of the past decade are only too well documented, it's worth reflecting how back in 2000 young Rio Ferdinand, who at the time was our best young prospect, exited Upton Park for the then staggering fee of 18 million!
At that time there was a sense that Ferdinand's departure was inevitable as West Ham were essentially a feeder club for bigger outfits. In fact, the Hammer's faithful were already bracing themselves for the inevitable subsequent departures of Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole, which duly followed a few years later.
Wind forward to 2016 and West ham are no longer a feeder club for Manchester United, Chelsea and (dare i say it!) Tottenham. Of all the arguments for the move to the Olympic Stadium, the improved capacity to build a brilliant team that includes our best home-produced talent is surely the most compelling?
So as we hoover up young Byram into our ranks to serve as understudy to Tomkins and Jenkinson (sorry Leeds fans!), let's all reflect upon how times are changing. When the 'big' clubs inevitably come calling at the end of this season for the services of Payet, Reid, Lanzini, Adrian, Cresswell, Sakho etc we no longer look at the sports news with the previous sense of trepidation.
As Goldie and Sullivan keep reminding everybody.....we are no longer a selling club. Upwards and onwards...