Ex-Hammers triumph in charity match

A team of West Ham United greats rolled back the years to defeat a Great Ormond Street Children's Charity 8-2 on Friday evening.

More than 1,000 fans turned out to watch the likes of Dean Ashton, Steve Potts, Alan Dickens and Rob Lee pull on their boots and turn on the style at the Boleyn Ground.

Their opponents were a team comprising ordinary footballers representing the world famous Central London Children's Hospital, with a post-match charity raffle raising thousands for the most worthy of causes.

Organised by Football For Fans, the match saw Ashton lead the line alongside Iain Dowie, with the pair combining to score two goals each as the Ex West Ham United XI roared into a 5-1 lead within half-an-hour.

Ashton was delighted to return to the stadium he graced with such class during his playing days.

"It is for a great cause and that's why we are here and for me personally it's great to get back out there and enjoy playing at such a great place," said the former West Ham and England striker.

Great Ormond Street

Lee also hit the target before Frank McAvennie arrived from the substitutes' bench to find the back of the net from the penalty spot to loud cheers from the stands.

Fan favourite Jimmy Walker lined up between the sticks for the veterans, who also fielded George Parris, Don Hutchison, Lee Bowyer, Stuart Slater, Kevin Keen,Kenny Brown,  Paul and Martin Allen and were managed by Julian Dicks and Alan Devonshire.

Midfielder 'Mad Dog' Allen was equally pleased to pull on his kit again for a worthy cause: "It's a great charity supported by everybody and I was lucky to be invited when you see the faces down in our dressing room! I was here for the KUMB awards dinner just a few nights ago at East Ham Working Men's Club where I enjoyed some pie and mash and my pre-match meal was also pie and mash, which is not too good for the diet!"

Great Ormond Street

McAvennie, who has spent the past week holding his popular pitch events at the Boleyn Ground, also spoke warmly of turning out for the Chidren's Hospital, adding: "It's all good. I started my pitch events ten years ago and we did one day, but it's taken off and it's brilliant. West Ham have been great to me and the fans have turned out to support the event, and they've turned out again to support Great Ormond Street, like they do every year.

"It would have been different class to have played with all these lads during my career!"

The final word went to Walker, the 2005 Championship Play-Off final winner who became a terrace favourite for his fine goalkeeping and entertaining Programme column 'Walker's World'.

"It's great to be back, brilliant. There are some proper legends here who have played hundreds of games for the Club and it's also great that there are a couple of lads who I played alongside too. They've all put a bit of timber on, which I'm happy about, especially because a few of them have put some timber on!"

Football For Fans will hold a series of pitch events at the Boleyn Ground over the close-season. For more information, click here.