Former West Ham star Mark Ward became an official supporter of DT38 in 2019 to help us raise awareness of testicular cancer and we spent a few minutes chatting to the Scouse-born footballer about his career and why he chose to get behind our charity.
Now 57, Mark was one of the “Boys of 86” and an integral part of the team that secured the Hammers third place in the first division in 1985-86, the club’s highest ever position in the top flight.
Having signed for the Irons from Oldham Athletic, Mark went onto to enjoy spells at Manchester City, Everton, Birmingham and a number of clubs before hanging up his boots in 1999.
During the legendary 1985-86 season at West Ham the winger, who wore the number seven shirt, was one of only three players to appear in all 42 league matches, he scored three league goals during the campaign.
On February 2nd 1986 he found the net in a 2-1 win over Ron Atkinson’s Manchester United at Upton Park, with fellow DT38 Ambassador Tony Cottee scoring the other.
Speaking of his memories of West Ham United’s greatest league season in history, Mark said: “It was the most memorable time of my career, a great team who went so close to winning the top prize.
“I played in every game that season. West Ham’s best ever season and finish in the top flight!”
When asked about his proudest single moment in football, hitting the back of the net in the Merseyside derby came out on top.
“I will never forget scoring a goal in the win for Everton versus Liverpool at Goodison Park in 1993, Tony Cottee scored the other and it was even more sweet because Julian Dicks was marking me that day”.
Tough defender Julian, nicknamed “The Terminator”, was a team mate of Mark’s at West Ham and was making his debut for Liverpool in that memorable match.
When it comes to footballing heroes Mark revealed that Kevin Keegan was his idol as a kid and he believes that Lionel Messi is the greatest player in the world today, who he describes as “unplayable at times, mesmeric”.
Becoming a professional footballer is a dream for many young boys and girls but making it to the top of the game is notoriously difficult.
Mark revealed that the support of his father, Billy, was very key to him and he offered advice to youngsters who are making their way in the game.
“May Dad was a good player and I remember the day he told me I was a better player than him, it was very emotional.
“My advice is to never give up your dream, you may have set backs on your journey but always believe in yourself and you will eventually find your level”.
As an Ambassador of DT38, Mark will now spread the word for DT38 on social media and at future events.
“It’s so important that you check yourselves regularly guys. I would recommend you follow DT38’s Check 1-Two campaign which reminds you to check your testicles on the first of every month.
“Finding any signs of testicular cancer early can make a big difference so please get involved, it really could save your life. Check out DT38’s website for advice on how to check yourselves.”