West Ham co-chairman David Gold drew the ire of fans on Saturday after suggesting it was "extremely unlikely" that the club's top academy players would break into the first team as teenagers.
Many Hammers supporters have been unhappy with the lack of minutes given to prospects such as Reece Oxford this season despite the 12th-placed club's mediocre performances.
Oxford made his Premier League debut as a 16-year-old in 2015 and turned in an impressive display against Arsenal in the first of seven appearances that season, but has not played a single minute in the English top flight during the current campaign.
And Gold did not help matters when responding to a tweet critical of Slaven Bilic's reluctance to use the London-born defender or his fellow academy graduate Reece Burke this season.
I think we all have to except that it is extremely unlikely that a teenager will break into a PL team full of seasoned international. dg https://t.co/R0c1SimdVr— David Gold (@davidgold) May 20, 2017
Fans of West Ham and other clubs alike questioned the description of the Hammers' first-team players as "seasoned internationals" while pointing out the success of the likes of Tom Davies, Marcus Rashford and Dele Alli this season.
@davidgold which seasoned internationals are these you talk of?— Paddy Hobbs (@Paddy_Hobbs) May 20, 2017
@davidgold Dele Alli. Marcus Rashford. Tom Davies— Rhys James (@rhysjamesy) May 20, 2017
@davidgold Sums up the problem with UK football. Average foreigners over British potential. If Mbappe was British he's still be playing youth/ressies!— Darryl Duffy (@Duffers9) May 20, 2017
@davidgold David ..— Mr Paul Turner ... (@paulturner67) May 20, 2017
This season you have gone and got us one of the poorest squads I have seen over WestHam in years
@davidgold You've effectively raised the middle finger to the entire West Ham academy here & told them not to bother. Exceptional leadership.— Sibs (@SibsMUFC) May 20, 2017
@davidgold Ah yes a team full of seasoned internationals such as Mark Noble— Cartlon Cole (@_CarltonCole9) May 20, 2017
@davidgold Basically telling the parents of any talented youngster to send their kids to another club. Lovely end to the season.— Trevor Giess (@TrevGiess) May 20, 2017
@davidgold What a kick in the teeth for these teenagers, David. Let's hope none of them read your tweet. How demotivating and diminishing— B P (@bexprice24) May 20, 2017
West Ham have previously given the likes of Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick their Premier League debuts.