Tony Carr Testimonial update

Hello everyone,

Well, we have exactly two weeks to go until my Testimonial match and things are coming together nicely.

I now have a commitment to play from more than 20 Academy graduates, including the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson and Anton Ferdinand.

As the Barclays Premier League title race hots up, I am now in the hands of the goodwill of the managers in allowing their respective players to take part, but I am very hopeful.


Alongside those already mentioned, I have also spoken to lots of other lads who have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the Football League, while Paolo Di Canio has also agreed to pull on the claret and blue for me one more time.

When I sat down and looked at the full squad list, I must admit it did make me feel very proud of what we have all achieved at the club over the past 37 years.

If all goes to plan, then I should be able to put out a side that will cause West Ham United some problems on the night!

My only slight selection problem is in goal, where my first-choice, Derby County's Stephen Bywater, has injured his ribs in training and is out of the match.

I think I am going to have to pinch Peter Kurucz or Marek Stech from the opposition, but I'm sure they won't mind if I ask nicely enough!

Aside from the younger lads, I have asked some of the older graduates to return, and they will be presented to the crowd at half-time on the night.

Away from the playing side, preparations have been stepped up a gear as the game approaches.

I have taken delivery of the specially-designed shirt my team will be wearing on the night, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ricoh/Alto Digital for kindly being my shirt sponsor.

I have also been working with the media department on producing a commemorative matchday programme - going through some of my old photographs has certainly brought back some great memories.

Ticket sales have also picked up and, as I have said before, I want this to be a night of celebration for everybody connected with West Ham United, rather than just my 37 years. All the players who turn out for my All-Stars are players that we should be proud of.

I know there has been some discussion over which parts of the Boleyn Ground will be open on the night. I have been assured that the West Stand Lower and Bobby Moore Stand Lower will both be open, and other sections of the stadium will be opened, should demand for tickets be there.

For those who would like to watch the match in a little more style, parties of up to ten supporters can hire an Executive Box for the night.

I must admit, the Testimonial match has snuck up on me, and I cannot believe it is only a fortnight away now.

With three FA Premier Academy League matches this week, including a trip to Arsenal this afternoon, I am as busy as I have ever been, but I still love every minute of it.

Tony Carr
Academy Director