Young and committed, facts that prove brave new West Ham are ready for Olympic Stadium era

Picture Supplied by Action Images *** Local Caption *** 2011-07-03T124613Z_243595836_LM1E7730ZCZ01_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-WESTHAM.JPG

West Ham United start a new era at the Olympic Stadium today, and do so with one of their youngest and most committed squads in memory.

Picture Supplied by Action Images *** Local Caption *** 2011-07-03T124613Z_243595836_LM1E7730ZCZ01_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-WESTHAM.JPGThe Olympic Stadium

The Hammers look to have an exciting future in their new 60,000 seater home after their best ever Premier League points return last season.

Slaven Bilic has the East Londoners playing the West Ham way once more and getting results too.

His side play the curtain raiser in Stratford on Thursday night against Slovenian minnows NK Domzale.

West Ham manager Slaven BilicBuilding something: West Ham manager Slaven Bilic

Stats encouraging

It may be something of an inauspicious start but two facts have emerged which prove the Hammers are ready for their new era.

There is currently just one Hammer aged over 30 in the entire West Ham first team squad.

That's a far cry from the West Ham of old, a club as famous for offering one last big pay day to players past their best as it was for its Academy.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic and Reece Oxford as he is substitutedWest Ham manager Slaven Bilic and young starlet Reece Oxford

Young and committed

And it's not just the age of the squad which will please West Ham fans.

The brave new young West Ham are also a committed bunch with only one first team player out of contract next summer in the shape of loan signing Gokhan Tore - who may well be signed on a permanent deal before then.

It is all a result of the club's very deliberate recent change in tact over transfer policy.

West Ham co chairmans David Sullivan and David Gold before the matchWest Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold

A very deliberate change of tact

Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold brought in talent spotter Tony Henry two years ago and the club's transfer business ever since has been some of the best in its history.

Even this summer the Hammers have snared some top young talent from across Europe and also brought in Algerian star Sofiane Feghouli, Norwegian Havard Nordtveit and former Manchester United starlet Ashley Fletcher on free transfers.

	General view during trainingThe dawn of a new era for West Ham at the Olympic Stadium

No guarantees but Hammers are future proof

Bettering last season's seventh place finish is a tough ask given the renewed competitiveness of the Premier League.

Indeed challenging Europe's elite won't be a given just because the club now has the second most season ticket holders in the country - 52,000 - behind only Manchester United.

But one thing is for sure West Ham - for arguably the first time in their recent history - are future proof.

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