Friday 29 Oct
Updated Saturday 30 Oct 10:08

Darren Randolph inspires pupils at Beal High School in Ilford


Secondary school students from Beal High School in Ilford were visited virtually by first-team goalkeeper Darren Randolph during a Premier League Inspires session, where they discussed the benefits of a diverse working environment. 

With values of equality, diversity and inclusion integrated in the programme, one student noted that Darren had previously stated he had experienced discrimination and so asked for his thoughts on the need to raise awareness and tackle the issue.

“I think it’s very important that people keep speaking about it, and keep it relevant, if more and more people getting punished for it [racism] – it’s not right and it’s not something people should accept as normal - so, the more it’s broadcast and spoken about, the quicker the issue can be dealt with,” explained the Irishman.

“In society, it’s understanding people’s different backgrounds or religions and beliefs, and just accepting people for what they do believe in, how they are or their background.”

Foundation Education Officer Antony Kyriakou, who led the session, confirmed: “Especially younger people who watch football, just watching their favourite players taking the knee, they can actually go away and research what has been going on and become more aware of racism, not just in sport but society as well.”


Darren Randolph


Through the programme, the Foundation aims to develop the personal skills, knowledge and attitudes of secondary school students to create a successful education or career pathway.

Crucially, in order to do this, students are mentored and supported by Foundation Education Officers through regular classroom sessions across the Academic year.

Sharing his own career insight, Darren said: “I think the older I become, the more I’ve realised that hard work is essential. I've seen a lot of players and played with a lot of players when I was younger who had all the talent, but they didn't really want to work hard, and thought everything was kind of given to them or that it's going to be easy.

“I’ve always noticed that the players who maybe weren't as talented but worked harder ended up doing better. So, it is a cliché, but hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Part of the Premier League Inspires programme aids individual and team working and West Ham players have often spoken about how diversity in the team has helped to enhance their performance – with 14 nationalities represented currently.

Randolph explained: “Having such a diverse squad, you get to understand different cultures, different people’s backgrounds, believe it or not, you pick up on different languages, as well because we have obviously French, Spanish and others, so you get to pick up different words and phrases. You get to learn about individuals and different ethnicities and different backgrounds, so it can be quite educational.”

To find out more about the Premier League Inspires programme, email Cormac Hanrahan on [email protected]