There's been a lot of debate about playing the youth, for almost as long as I can remember. Most of the time I think: if they are not good enough, don't play 'em. But I wonder why has West Ham invested so much effort in youth signings the last couple of years: Fernandes, Fletcher, Oxford, Burke, & Co. -- these were all players that were hyped at the time of signing, leading fans to expect that they were sure to become part of the first team sooner or later (and in most cases sooner). So what's the deal with that? Is it just hype? I don't understand why the club makes the effort if these players aren't ever going to get a chance in the first team.