West Ham midfield star goes back to his schooldays

Former Hammers Academy boy Mark Noble went back to his old school in Custom House last week

�He may be only 24, but school sport was very different at the Royal Docks Community School when West Ham star Mark Noble was a pupil!

The Hammers’ midfielder returned to his roots last week when he dropped in to the Royal Docks Community School in Custom House to help open their new 4G Astroturf pitch which is the new home to year seven to 11 football teams at the school.

And Noble’s return sent the memories flooding back to him of the time he kicked a ball around the school fields.

“We never had anything like this,” he said. “We had to play on a field which was a bit bumpy, but you knew no different and I remember just enjoying my football, just starting out then as a schoolboy.”

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After speaking to the pupils, Noble cut the ribbon to open the new facility with Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales also on hand along with head teacher Ruth Martin.

He then tried out the new pitch with some of the school’s aspiring youngsters.

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“It is important for schools to have good facilities which they can use and I know they will be used to full effect here at Royal Docks,” said Noble, who scored a penalty in West Ham’s 3-1 win over Derby County on Saturday.

“I also remember how important it was for me to play in the school team and so I was always doing the best I could to be in the team.

“This will give youngsters a great chance to enjoy their sport even more and that is something we want to keep encouraging and you hope that across the community other schools can do the same.”

Those sentiments were echoed by the school’s PE Technician David Oliver, who said: “We as a school are delighted to have these new facilities and the Astroturf will definitely be put to good use here.

“It was great to welcome Mark back to the school along with the mayor of Newham.

“Mark has always been very supportive of us and we hope that with these new facilities we have, Royal Docks may produce another Mark Noble!”

Let’s hope so.

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