West Ham Academy legend receives honorary doctorate
16 September 2021
Mr Tony Carr, MBE, is one of football's greatest ever developers of young talent. He has nurtured talents such as Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard Jnr., John Terry and England's first Black captain, Paul Ince. He directed the trailblazing Academy of West Ham United for over 40 years.
On 14 September, Mr Carr received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of East London (UEL) at their School of Education and Communities graduation ceremony near the Docklands campus. He gave an acceptance speech to hundreds of new UEL graduates and their families, many of whom are West Ham United fans.
Mr Carr advised graduates venturing into the workplace, "Learning is a lifetime's journey. Make sure you choose something you love. Remember, we all have to be part of a team. It's all about character, attitude and a work ethic."
Starting in football as a 16-year-old football apprentice with West Ham United, the club let Mr Carr go without a first team appearance. He spoke emotionally about the highs and lows of football, saying, "Success and perceived failure sometimes go hand in glove."
Mr Carr signed with Barnet FC, then retired from playing to qualify as a PE teacher. He taught in schools for 10 years - "10 years in schools taught me the value of organisation, discipline and setting the right standards," he said.
In 1973, West Ham manager John Lyall asked him to become a part-time youth team coach. In 1980, Mr Carr became full-time youth team manager.
Fulfilling roles including manager, coach, mentor and administrator, Mr Carr's Academy approach took shape with the support of other Hammers' legends like Ron Greenwood. He began to see success in the development of his players.
When Chelsea and Manchester United played in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, four of the players on the pitch were Academy graduates. In 2010, seven of the 23 in the England World Cup squad at were Mr Carr's stars. West Ham fans will also fondly remember the testimonial when a team of Mr Carr's protégés returned to the Boleyn Ground to play the West Ham United first team.
Mr Carr's 43 years with West Ham United came to an end in 2016. He has shared his insights in How to Coach a Soccer Team and Youth Soccer Coaching. He is currently working on his autobiography which will feature the perspectives of some of the stars he has helped produce. Tony is also a coaching adviser to the Premier League.
Mr Carr said, "I could never have imagined as a young lad leaving school at 15 with no formal qualifications to begin a lifetime's journey into professional football that I would be presented with an MBE in 2010 and today an honorary doctorate from the University of East London."