Testimonials are very rare in modern day football as one player has to remain at the same club for 10 years in order to be honoured with one. So for Skillequal to have played a major role in organising not one, but two testimonials for our players in recent years speaks volumes of the expert support we offer to footballers throughout their careers.
Date: 28 March, 2016
Venue: Boleyn Ground
Teams: West Ham United vs West Ham All-Stars XI
Charities: Help for Heroes, DT38 Foundation and Richard House Children’s Hospice
A sold-out Boleyn Ground turned out on an emotional afternoon to show their appreciation to captain and local hero Mark Noble, who joined the club’s academy way back in 2000 as a 13-year-old.
Mark has since lived the dream of any other Hammers fan, featuring in the first-team since 2004 and captaining the club in fine fashion since 2015.
Working with Skillequal, the Irons showed how much the Canning Town man means to them with his testimonial match (all proceeds of which went to Help for Heroes, DT38 Foundation and Richard House Children’s Hospice) staged during his 12th season as a professional.
Fans queued up the Barking Road and down Green Street to get to the ground as the Tubes were not serving Upton Park on the day, and former stars such as Paolo Di Canio, Teddy Sheringham, Trevor Sinclair and Scott Parker turned out to show their respect and admiration for the midfielder.
On the day, Noble netted and ex-striker Dean Ashton lit up the Boleyn Ground with a bicycle kick as the current crop defeated the All-Stars 6-5 in an entertaining encounter, before a penalty shoot-out finished 7-7.
Taylor Tombides, the brother of former West Ham youth team player Dylan Tombides, who sadly passed away after losing his battle with cancer also scored on an afternoon which symbolised the true meaning of the ‘West Ham Family’.
A truly special day for the Noble family, the club and Skillequal.
“There’s been a lot, a lot of work that’s gone into this, a lot of hard work, a lot of help from friends, family, Skillequal and especially the people at the club. I can’t thank every one of them individually but if I could, I would.”
Date: 4 June, 2017
Venue: Old Trafford
Teams: Manchester United ’08 vs Michael Carrick All-Stars XI
Charities: Michael Carrick Foundation
Over 70,000 fans packed into Old Trafford to honour Michael Carrick’s 11 years of service to the Red Devils, having joined from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2006.
Since his switch from North London to the Theatre of Dreams, Michael has won everything there is to win in European club football – Premier League (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013), Champions League (2008), Europa League (2017), FA Cup (2016), Club World Cup (2008), League Cup (2009, 2010, 2017) and Community Shield (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016).
United, who worked closely with Skillequal, put on a fitting tribute to the pass master, with all monies raised distributed to his chosen charities through the Michael Carrick Foundation.
The majority of the squad which won the Premier League and European Cup double in 2008, including Edwin van der Sar, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and managed by Sir Alex Ferguson, reunited to take on an All-Stars squad with Jamie Carragher, John Terry, Clarence Seedorf, Michael Owen and led by Michael’s former West Ham United boss Harry Redknapp.
Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Eric Abidal, Marcos Senna also took part, while Graeme Carrick, Michael’s younger brother, also made an appearance on his sibling’s big day.
Michael addressed the crowd on what was an emotional day in a city healing from the terrorist bombing at the Manchester Arena just 13 days before, while the country was also still in shock from another attack at London Bridge, less than 24 hours prior kick-off. A minute’s silence for all the victims followed.
Former Middlesbrough and Valencia star, Gaizka Mendieta put the visitors ahead in the first half, before Nemanja Vidic’s trademark header squared up the score.
Legendary Irish striker, Robbie Keane put the All-Stars back in front, but Michael had the last word when his strike from distance went in via the post to give the class of ’08 a share of the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Another special day for one of our players, Skillequal and everyone else involved.
“I cannot thank everyone enough – from the club, to the players, to the Skillequal staff and, of course, the fans, there’s been so much help and support and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved.”