Issa Diop: Players’ Project is for the West Ham family
West Ham United defender Issa Diop has hailed the Players’ Project for the support it provides to the Club’s wider family.
Speaking at the one-year anniversary of the Project, a massively ambitious and dedicated community programme which has seen players from every team in Claret and Blue commit to over 300 hours in total of community time, Diop expressed his delight at being able to return the support of the people of east London both on and off the pitch.
The Project is split into eleven strands which deliver over 30 programmes between them, with Diop, who moved to West Ham two years ago from Toulouse, having been involved with the Loneliness and Sporting Ambition strands over the past 12 months.
The French defender not only inspired local youngsters at the Foundation’s Second Chance Academy recently, but last year also surprised attendees of the Christmas party for Any Old Irons – the initiative which regularly brings together over-65s to connect with other fans and locals in their community.
“It’s very important to support them, because it’s a whole group's fun,” Diop told West Ham TV of the initiative.
“They love the Club and have been fans for a long time, and for some of them, they are alone. They are like our family, so it’s important to come and meet them.
“It’s good because we know when we are with them, they speak to us and they want to know about our lives. We can speak about each other’s lives, and it’s good to have that exchange.
"They are alone, some of them. We are like a family here, and sometimes they need to speak to us.”
While Diop’s presence alone has often proved enough to bring a smile to the faces of Any Old Irons, the defender offered another consideration going forwards.
“I think the best thing for them is if we play a good game!” Diop laughed. “If we win, they’re going to be happy! We have to play well and win a lot of games to make them happy!”
All of the Club’s players, along with the staff supporting them, have been heavily involved with the eleven strands of the Players’ Project.
West Ham United yesterday announced that, just one year into the Players’ Project, £5m of this £10m has already been invested in local projects, taking the total to £18m.
The Club plans to increase its commitment over the next two seasons and will invest a further £10m, for a forecasted investment of £28m by the end of 2021.
You can read more about the one-year celebration of the event here.