Chadwell Heath will always be a special place for West Ham - Alvin Martin

For Alvin Martin, this week's unveiling of the Club's Chadwell Heath Academy redevelopment brought back a host of special memories.

It was at the Hammers' iconic training base that Martin learned his trade, before going on to make 596 appearances in the Claret & Blue.

Now, having seen first hand the outstanding facilities available to the Hammers' youngsters of today, Martin is sure that Chadwell Heath will continue to be a breeding ground for top level talent.

"It's s a transformation more than anything," he said. "What is really nice for me is that it’s on the original site. There are so many great players that have trained and been developed here, and the players of the future are going to be treading on the same pathway, the same grass that the previous generations have done as well.

"So, it’s obviously a massive transformation, a big investment and it’s such an important aspect of any club now wanting to have long-term success. 

"The facilities are absolutely fantastic, but the thing that drew me to this club was the friendliness, the personal side of the club. So, the moment I walked in to the old training ground it was very inviting and there were a lot of people who were welcomed in and that’s part of the attraction of West Ham.

"I think what they’ve been successful in doing, is not only building great facilities, but also the human factor that West Ham are so strong on is there as well. 

"We were educated in a certain way and as I’m walking round this building and hearing what Terry Westley’s been saying about the coaches and what they expect in the future, it’s exactly what was being said to us many many years ago.

"Although it’s a more modern club now, there’s a lot more technology, I think the ethos and the philosophy is exactly the same."