Community matters for Curbishley

Alan Curbishley has spoken of the importance of community work to West Ham United - both in reaching out to fans and also in attracting talented young players.

In a special interview featured today on WHUTV, the manager underlined his firm commitment to Creating Chances, the Premier League's flagship community programme. Curbishley was speaking after taking part in a presentation to coaches who had been training for their Level 1 accreditation, a course run in partnership with Havering Adult College which gives them valuable skills to share in the wider community.

Curbishley revealed there was a commitment throughout the club to highlight such worthy initiatives and that such an approach dated back to when he was a player at the Boleyn Ground in the 1970s and even before that to his own childhood. "I remember going to a local school and during the week West Ham players would come in and coach us," he said. "They were encouraged to do it and we are trying to bring that back.

"The club is really demanding that the players get involved in the community and it is part and parcel of being at a football club," said Curbishley. "We have been saying to our players in the last year or two - 'you don't just play for West Ham, you work for West Ham'. The community is a big part of it, because out there is firstly our new generation of fans and secondly some of them fans may become footballers. We have got to do our best to promote that and do our best to try and get that to happen."

One such fan that lived the dream and became a West Ham United player was Mark Noble, and Curbishley emphasised the young midfielder's importance both on and off the pitch. "I think every club needs some homegrown talent and I don't think it is any coincidence that the biggest-selling shirt in our club at the moment is Mark Noble. The fans can have an affinity with him, can appreciate him and he knows what they are about. He is one of them."

While Curbishley has been highlighting the efforts made to train up young community coaches - which you can see in action on WHUTV - his players have been getting out and about to highlight other worthy causes. The most recent of these was when Craig Bellamy and Kieron Dyer visited a special school scheme. Click here to read more about it and check out Sunday's matchday programme for a special feature.

  • Havering Adult College has been working with West Ham United since 2003 to help members of the local community gain their Level 1 coaching badge. The course begins with an induction at the Boleyn Ground, features three practical sessions with a club coach, classroom sessions, emergency first aid, two practical assessment days and finally a child protection workshop. All learners are supported with any literacy or numeracy needs. For more information about the club's Community work, click here