Trust to take on Truce Tournament

West Ham United Community Sports Trust is to compete in this year's Christmas Truce Community Tournament in Ypres.

For the third year in succession, the Premier League is marking a precious piece of football history, when soldiers ceased fire on Christmas Day 1914, before taking to no-man's land to have a kick about.

The Premier League are, for the first time, hosting two separate tournaments this year. One, for eight of Europe's elite Under-12 Academy sides and a second, a pilot community competition.  

While the Hammers' Under-12s bowed out in the national finals, losing out to Arsenal in a golden-goal play-off, the Hammers' Community Sports Trust have since been invited to represent the Premier League. 

They, together with a side from Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, will compete in an Under-15s seven-a-side tournament, against two sides from Belgian club KVK Westhoek.

Manchester City and Arsenal, meanwhile, are to represent England against sides from hosts Belgium, France and Germany, namely RSC Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Paris Saint-Germain, Valenciennes FC  Borussia Mönchengladbach and Schalke 04.

West Ham and Spurs both set off from the Boleyn Ground on Thursday afternoon, stopping off to firstly pay their respects to the fallen West Ham Pals of the Great War.  

The plaque at the Ground's entrance was first unveiled by Sir Trevor Brooking ahead of Remembrance Day 2009, with players and staff enjoying a poignant photo-call in front of the memorial.   

Christmas Truce Tournament

Community sports manager Rashid Abba is co-ordinating West Ham's participation and expects the trip to prove an enlightening one for his young charges.

"I'm very proud and very excited to take ten young people from the communities we work with to have a positive experience," he told whufc.com. "It's all about their journey. Most of our youngsters have never been abroad.

"We're going to experience different cultures, languages and it's more about holistic education than the competition. Yes, they'll be playing football, but they're going to learn a great deal about one another and themselves too.

"This is a great opportunity for young people to engage with the history. In World War One, there were obviously a lot of footballers who went to fight, many of whom never returned and they're part of this story too.

"We've done some great work with the Premier League and  they fund many of our grant-aided projects. When we found out that we'd been selected, we felt privileged, because there's a real sense of occasion about this."