John Terry has spoken of his pleasure at being able to support Tony Carr at his Testimonial match on Tuesday night.
The England defender was proud to wear the claret and blue No4 shirt of the Academy All-Stars, and took to the Boleyn Ground even though he and club-mates Frank Lampard and Joe Cole were unable to play. Chelsea still have Premier League title matters to resolve this coming Sunday in competition with Manchester United.
Despite his allegiances in west London since leaving behind his early days in the Hammers Academy, Terry received a warm welcome when presented to the crowd. The 14,000 plus fans in the stadium were clearly appreciative of his gesture in support of the club's Academy Director.
"It was nice to come back," he said. "I was delighted to say yes when Tony asked me to come down. Unfortunately with what is in happening in the Premiership we were not able to go out there and play tonight but myself, Frank and Joe are here supporting him. He was a massive part in our upbringing at the football club. So it is a big appreciation to him from all of us.
"They [the fans] did give us a great reception. It was totally unexpected. It is not the kind of response we get when we do come here with Chelsea of course but we are really grateful because it is all about Tony Carr tonight.
"It is nice for them to appreciate him and what he has done for the football club with how many players he has brought through the system and for all three of us to get a great reception from the fans. More so for Joe and Lamps because they have played in the first team here and a lot of games but even for myself it was still very nice. I appreciate it."
Terry said he hoped he that the trio would also get Hammers fans backing when England try to win the FIFA World Cup in South Africa from next month. He added: "They will all be cheering us on in the summer and I know they will be right behind what we are trying to do for the country."