Thursday, May 6
Tony Carr's claret and blue army
A great turnout of 15,000 for the Tony Carr Testimonial last night. This seemed to take the club by surprise as the programmes were sold out and there were huge queues at the box office to pick up tickets that hadn’t been posted as promised.Thankfully the kick-off was postponed until 8pm because of the backlog of fans.
Numerous ex-Academy stars appeared. The Chelsea lads were not permitted to play but came on before the game. John Terry and Joe Cole were cheered while even Frank Lampard in a Hammers shirt received more cheers than jeers.
Our current side beat he Academy X1 5-1 with Paolo Di Canio turning out for both sides after subbing himself (maybe that’s what he was trying to do against Bradford). Both his West Ham shirts were like a second skin, but sadly he couldn’t score.
When he did nearly get the ball in the net it was nicked off his toe by youngster Christian Montano. However Paolo made one with a stepover and received a rousing tribute from all three sides of the ground (the East Stand was shut).
Star of the night was Gianfranco Zola who came on as a WHU sub, scored with a sublime chip, and looked more than fit to lace Mido’s boots.
Anton Ferdinand and Kieron Richardson travelled all the way from Sunderland and Rio was allowed 25 minutes by Fergie. We also got to see Birmingham’s Liam Ridgewell in a Hammers shirt and the return of Stuart Slater.
It was interesting to see how the Academy has contributed to the football pyramid beyond the Premiership. There was Lee Hodges from AFC Hornchurch, Coventry’s Elliot Ward and Freddie Eastwood and Adam Newton from Luton Town.
And at half time we got see Pottsy (why wasn’t the WHU legend on the pitch?), TC, George Parris, Alan Dickens, Bobby Barnes, Paul Allen and Everald La Ronde (remember him?).
A fitting tribute to the man who’s made the club £100 million and discovered most of the England side.