Mark Noble made a special delivery to a group of very special people on Thursday afternoon.
The West Ham United skipper headed to the West Ham Army Reserve Centre - close to where he grew up in Canning Town - and presented match tickets for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Liverpool to the G Company 7 Rifles.
The Rifles will be at London Stadium to form a guard of honour as part of the Remembrance tributes in memory of the men and women who have lost their lives in conflict since the First World War.
After presenting the tickets and a special West Ham United shirt embossed with a poppy to Captain Lee Flitcroft and his team, Noble was given a tour of the barracks and shown a display of the weaponry, equipment and supplies carried by Servicemen during tours of duty.
“It has been an honour to be here,” he said. “I have so much respect and admiration for these guys and what they do for our country.”
What these guys do is life and death...In my view, the soldiers who are going on tours and fighting for our country are the real heroes.
“We play a sport, and I know it means so much to everyone, but it is a sport at the end of the day. What these guys do is life and death.
“We get disappointed when we lose a game, but we all go home to our families in good health. Sometimes, these men and women don’t.
“To come and speak to them, and see the equipment they have to carry on 12-hour shifts – sometimes longer, it’s phenomenal, and a real pleasure for me.
“In my view, the soldiers who are going on tours and fighting for our country are the real heroes.”
Captain Flitcroft added: “It has been fantastic to see Mark, and an honour to have him here at the West Ham Army Reserve Centre.
“Most of the guys here support West Ham, and they have been buzzing all week to meet Mark and show him some of the stuff that we do and share some of our experiences.
“We have been involved in the club’s Remembrance tributes now for around ten years, and we really look forward to that date on the calendar when we get the chance to be a part of a fantastic tribute.
“West Ham fans have always shown it such great respect, and it is a huge honour for us.”