It was 10 years ago this weekend that an array of stars returned to West Ham United in honour of Tony Carr.
Carr was one of West Ham’s greatest servants, leading the club’s famed Academy of Football for 41 years.
During his time at West Ham Carr oversaw the recruitment and development of dozens of the biggest talents English football produced during that period.
Appointed as director of youth development at the age of just 23 in 1973, Carr guided the young Hammers to FA Youth Cup glory in 1981 and 1999 – the latter a record 9-0 thrashing of Coventry City in the final – and numerous other league titles and trophies.
The Hammers legend was instrumental in the nurturing of future England captains Paul Ince, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard Jr and John Terry at West Ham.
The true Mr West Ham
He also developed other England stars such as Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson.
Matt Holland, Kieron Richardson, Liam Ridgewell and a host of others also went on to have long Premier League careers.
In his final years as Academy Director the likes of Mark Noble, Jack Collison, James Tomkins, Anton Ferdinand, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears all graduated to the first team under his tutelage and played Premier League football for the Hammers.
This week 10 years ago in 2010, Carr’s achievements were recognised in the shape of star-studded Testimonial match played at the the club’s beloved former Boleyn Ground.
Chelsea trio grabbed headlines in star-studded West Ham return
Dozens of Academy graduates including the likes of Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard and Cole were joined by former West Ham favourite Paolo Di Canio and took on then-manager Gianfranco Zola’s first-team squad in front of nearly 20,000 supporters.
Ferdinand was given permission to play in the match by Sir Alex Ferguson despite being on the road to recovery from an injury. The gesture was not lost on Carr (Daily Mail).
Then starring for bitter rivals Chelsea, it was the trio of Terry, Lampard and Cole who caught the attention.
Terry and Lampard in particular had come in for merciless stick – and were happy to give it back too – whenever Chelsea and West Ham met.
But that day any animosity was put to one side as they returned to where it all began to honour a great West Ham man.
There was still some light-hearted heckling from the Hammers crowd, though.
Where have the years gone?
Michael Carrick was unable to attend due to his wife giving birth to their second child the weekend before.
Glen Johnson had a club function and Jermain Defoe was in action for Tottenham against Manchester City.
Ten years has flown by and West Ham have since moved to the London Stadium.
And now there is a new focus on promoting the best academy talent thanks to David Moyes who is keen to build a new-look Hammers squad based around young, hungry talent.
Jeremy Ngakia is the latest to graduate from West Ham’s famous academy. And long may it continue.