Will West Ham reap the rewards of their new Dutch link?


Seeing the words ‘Marco Bogers welcomes West Ham link’ might give some Hammers fans a fright with memories of a striker who apparently went AWOL, later being found in a caravan site in Holland rushing back to them.

But we are talking Bogers, not Boogers here.

Marco Bogers is a Director at Dutch club VVV Venlo, who have recently announced a partnership with the east London side.

Effectively acting as the Hammers feeder club the Eerste Divisie outfit will take players on loan from the capital while allowing Slaven Bilic’s side first refusal on their players.

The link-up could work wonders for both clubs with the Premier League side being able to give their youngsters game time on a regular basis overseas.

Sam Westley, son of Academy Director Terry, has been the first player to be sent to the Stadion De Koel as part of the deal and plenty more are likely to follow.

Bogers himself has spoken at how he hopes it will help the Maurice Steijn-managed club:

“Our goal is to learn about the way West Ham United work and we can learn a lot from a big club like West Ham.

“Our ambition is to get back into the top league in Holland and it would be nice if some West Ham players who arrive here can make it into the first-team.”

Venlo's 8,000 seater home

Venlo’s 8,000 seater home

West Ham have used clubs up and down the football pyramid to give the likes of Reece Burke (Bradford), Diego Poyet (MK Dons) and Nathan Mavila (Aldershot) regular football.

But now, Westley believes, attack minded players at least might be better off on the Dutch-German border.

“If you are looking for a midfielder or an attacking player, you might be looking for a different type of game and Venlo ticks those boxes. Our staff can go and see the things they do and the same for them,” he said.

It’s not all about strengthening their current players though, with West Ham getting first dibs on any starlets who shine at Venlo.

London rivals Arsenal made such a connection work in the past when signing Emmanuel Eboue from now defunct Belgian club Beveren, whom they had gone into partnership with.

It could have been so much better for the Gunners though, after a 20-year-old Venlose Trots player joined them on trial in 2003.

Arsene Wenger described his performance in a trial match against Barnet as “completely average” and a move never happened. His name was Yaya Toure.

Chelsea, while much of the traffic in their connection with Vitesse goes one way, managed to pick up Marco van Ginkel for a fairly nominal fee, while Manchester United recently raided feeder club Newport County for their young defender Regan Poole.

The Hammers scouts will have to work hard to figure out who has the spark to cut it in the Premier League, but with the bridge now built, both sides could reap the benefits of the deal.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.