West Ham captain matches Barking and Dagenham schools with World Cup nations

West Ham captain Mark Noble and Cllr Darren Rodwell with William Bellamy Primary's girls football si

West Ham captain Mark Noble and Cllr Darren Rodwell with William Bellamy Primary's girls football side - Credit: Archant

Hammers captain Mark Noble believes the borough’s school football tournament celebrating the 50th anniversary of England’s World Cup glory is the perfect way of preserving the area’s sporting heritage.

The Hammers' skipper autographs the players' boots

The Hammers' skipper autographs the players' boots - Credit: Archant

The West Ham skipper matched up 19 of Barking and Dagenham’s primary schools with the nations they will represent yesterday when he made the official draw at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Victoria Road ground.

The mini World Cup will take place in July and Noble hopes the community will come out and support its next generation of talent.

“Anything that gets kids playing football is the way forward,” he said.

“It’s an amazing idea that Darren [Rodwell]’s come up with, a school’s World Cup – it will be competitive, but it’s all in good fun.

Daggers' Dom Hyam, Cllr Darren Rodwell and West Ham captain Mark Noble make the draw, assisted by Wi

Daggers' Dom Hyam, Cllr Darren Rodwell and West Ham captain Mark Noble make the draw, assisted by William Bellamy's Bright Okon - Credit: Archant


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“Barking and Dagenham had the World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore, you don’t get much greater than that, and it’s only right they honour him.

“It’s things like this that keep the name going and keep football developing in the community, so it’s great what they’re doing here in Barking and Dagenham.”

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William Bellamy Primary, in Frizlands Lane, Dagenham, were represented by their girls’ side at the draw and were delighted to be picked out as Brazil.

St Peters Roman Catholic Primary, in Gorsebrook Road, Dagenham, will be hoping the spirit of ‘66 lives on in them when they represent England, although Parsloes Primary, in Spurling Road, Dagenham, will aim to reverse the history books by winning as Germany.

William Bellamy pupils and teachers with Cllr Darren Rodwell, Mark Noble and Dom Hyam

William Bellamy pupils and teachers with Cllr Darren Rodwell, Mark Noble and Dom Hyam - Credit: Archant

William Bellamy’s Bright Okon, 11, also plays in the boys’ side and is confident of reaching the final at the Daggers’ ground.

Despite being an Arsenal fan, she was still delighted to meet the Hammers captain, who obligingly signed boots and shin-pads for the whole team.

“It was really exciting meeting him, even more exciting than meeting Tom Daley,” she said.

“I’m really forward to the tournament, I think we can win it. Hopefully all the autographs will make a difference.”

And Noble, preparing to lead his side in their final games at their Upton Park home, is hopeful that the next Bobby Moore, who was born in Barking, is waiting to be discovered, somewhere in the borough.

“You never know,” he added. “Back then I think there was less foreign players introduced to the game, so 90, 95 per cent of your players were English and from the local areas but I’m pretty sure someone will come along soon.

“Even if you get a player from round here playing for Dagenham and Redbridge or West Ham, it’s still an amazing feat for the community.”

The tournament, which starts on July 4, is supported by the West Ham United Foundation with the final on July 23 to be complemented by a family fun day, backed by McDonald’s.

To see the full draw, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Post.

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