Taylor drops in on Northbury pupils

Matt Taylor is used to fielding tough questions from members of the press, but on Tuesday afternoon the West Ham United midfielder was quizzed by an altogether different audience.

Taylor visited Northbury Primary school in Barking for a Q&A session with 120 eager pupils, all of whom were ready to fire their questions at the 32-year-old.

After half an hour of answering questions, Taylor presented the school with presents and equipment from the Club shop before signing autographs and taking pictures with the children, who had formed a large, orderly queue to meet him.

The energetic midfielder admitted that he was delighted to attend the afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

He told West Ham TV: "To me, it's wonderful to come into a school like this where the kids are so enthusiastic about meeting you and have some really interesting questions to ask.

Taylor takes questions from Northbury pupils

"It's important to show them that footballers are not just to be seen on the television, that you are normal people, you have normal lives and it's good to give them something to look forward to as well. It's vitally important that we maintain these links as a football club within the community.

He added: "There's no undertone with kids, they ask you a question that they want to know the answer to and I personally thoroughly enjoy that.

"These school visits and other visits within the community are really good fun, especially when you get an infectious group like we had today. They were good fun, they all wanted to learn and hopefully they enjoyed themselves because I know I did."

The midfielder's visit was in line with the Club's 'Football for All' scheme, to which Northbury are signed up, and which aims to make football affordable for families within the local communities in east London and Essex.

Taylor believes that making football affordable to the next generation of Hammers' fans is vitally important as the Club works towards a future at the Olympic Stadium.

"It's especially important, considering that we're in the Premier League, to make watching football achievable for everybody, it's vitally important.

Students queue to as Taylor signs autographs

"For me, it's important as a football club, especially moving into the Olympic Stadium with the extra fans that we hope to get along to games, that these kids can come to watch games, it's great for them and important as West Ham that we continue to be the people's football club, because that's important."

The partnerships between West Ham United and several local schools are beneficial for both parties, and Taylor believes that bringing Premier League football into the reach of more people can only be a good thing.

"Football at the Premier League level is such a huge game that maybe some of these kids don't think that you are normal people, that you have children yourselves and that you understand what being a kid is about.

"The kids here, along with their siblings, they are the next generation of West Ham fans and we need to be seen to giving something back to the community, because often it's thought that football clubs just take, take, take."