Diangana: Chadwell Heath is a really special place



Grady Diangana has hailed the impact West Ham United’s iconic Chadwell Heath had on him as a youngster, describing the training facility as a ‘special’ place to develop his game. 

Diangana was one of a number of West Ham Academy graduates to attend Tuesday’s official opening of the new facilities at the Chadwell Heath training ground, joining the likes of Declan Rice and Mark Noble at the event. 

Having made his first team debut in September, Diangana burst onto the senior scene, scoring twice on his first appearance in the 8-0 win against Macclesfield Town in the Carabao Cup. 

Since that unforgettable midweek encounter the winger has featured in 19 first team matches, including 15 Premier League games, and puts that down to his education at Chadwell Heath. 

You can tell that time has been taken on Chadwell Heath, because everything looks amazing. It’s such a nice place to develop your skills as a youngster.

Grady Diangana

“This event has made me realise how special Chadwell Heath is,” Diangana told West Ham TV. “There are so many good players coming through, and they’ve changed it but also kept it similar to how it was. It gives this whole place a special feeling. 

“It’s amazing here. It’s so much different than when I first came here. You can tell that time has been taken on this, because everything looks amazing. It’s such a nice place to develop your skills as a youngster.”

Legendary Academy graduates Sir Trevor Brooking, Brian Dear, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee and club captain Mark Noble were also at Wednesday’s launch, while Academy Director Terry Westley, joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold, and Vice-Chairman Karren Brady, led guests on a tour of the newly developed training ground.

Diangana relished the opportunity to speak to and learn from the Club legends, and hear their stories from their time at Chadwell Heath.



He continued: “It’s amazing to speak to these legends and get advice from them, and hear their journey in coming through Chadwell Heath. It was special for me.

“I’m very proud of coming through here and having my photo up on the wall. My photo is next to Steve Potts and he was my coach at Under-18s and Under-23s. It’s so special to be alongside those players on this wall at this place. The Academy of Football is West Ham United.”

The 20-year-old is one of four West Ham United Academy prospects to make his senior debut this season. Diangana was joined by Joe Powell and Conor Coventry on the pitch back in September, while Ben Johnson recently made his debut against Manchester City in the Premier League.

“I think that shows there’s a lot of talent in the Academy and the manager will give you a chance if you work hard and show your qualities,” Diangana added. “This is a special place to be.”