Kevin Keen knows the Hammers better than most after 10 years as a player and five as a coach.
He’s one of an elite band who is claret and blue to his backbone and has witnessed many changes at the club since his playing days which started in 1983.
The former midfielder played 219 games before he returned back to the club in 2006 as a coach, spending five years before leaving for Liverpool.
Now he’s back and has seen the massive changes that have taken place at the club since the days of portakabins at Chadwell Heath – now replaced by a state of the art training centre opened by Sir Trevor Brooking.
The massively upgraded training facility has left an impression on Keen since he returned back to the Hammers in July and he is clearly glad to back at the club of which he has been such a part down the years looking after the under 18s with mark Phillips.
He told the official site @https://www.whufc.com/news/articles/2019/october/16-october/kevin-keen-academy-football-facilities-are-fantastic: “It’s great to be back. It’s been fantastic to go back to Chadwell Heath and see the new training ground – I’d not been back here for seven years. There’ve been amazing changes – what facilities for the players to play on.
“It’s a completely different environment now. We had a lot of portakabins, and everyone was more or less on that site. All of a sudden, we’ve got an environment, a building, that’s just for the U18s and younger, and it’s absolutely amazing.”
“We’ve got representations of the history with people like Sir Trevor Brooking, Martin Peters and Alvin Martin – people who’ve played a lot of games through the Club having come through the Academy – on the walls, making sure the lads are aware of that, as well as the more recent ones like Mark Noble and Declan Rice.”
“The lads are there every day reminded of what it is to be a West Ham player, and Chadwell Heath has been transformed into just an amazing, up-to-date training facility that the lads need to make the most of.”
“As a coach, as a player, it was ingrained in me: to play in a West Ham way. As a coach, I coach that way. I learnt so much off John Lyall, Tony Carr, people who had a big effect on me as a coach, and I bring a lot of their ideas, a lot of their sessions, certainly their way of doing things to the Club.”
“I want to make sure that those boys who are under me and Mark Phillips (U18s Assistant Coach) get that training, get that understanding of playing forward, running forward, playing for the badge, playing for the team, being on the half-turn, little things that run through the West Ham philosophy. They’re really, really important.”