Former West Ham star Anton Ferdinand proves he's still a Hammer at heart

Former West Ham United academy graduate Anton Ferdinand, now at Reading, has proved he is still very much a Hammer at heart.

Ferdinand, the younger brother of another ex-Hammers star Rio, returns to his beloved Boleyn Ground one last time on Monday as part of a West Ham All Stars squad for Mark Noble's testimonial.

The Ferdinands have a lot of history at West Ham, where both graduated from the club's self-styled 'Academy of football' and into the first team as centre halves.

Anton was always passionate about representing his boyhood club and made 138 appearances for the East Londoners, scoring five memorable goals along the way.

He was sold to Sunderland in 2008 with the club struggling financially after the Icelandic banking collapse.

Stalling career back on track

While Rio's career reached the very pinnacle of the professional game, Anton's has stuttered and stalled since the fallout from the infamous John Terry incident with failed stints in Turkey and Thailand.

He returned home to England in 2014, though, and is enjoying his football again in a more settled environment at Reading.

Anton shared a dressing room with former teammate Noble for some memorable years including the promotion via the play-offs from the Championship, FA Cup final against Liverpool and the foray into Europe which followed.

Ferdinand brothers back at the Boleyn

Monday's sold out testimonial won't be the first time the Ferdinand brothers have teamed up in the heart of a West Ham All Star defence as the pair joined forces for the testimonial of another West Ham legend Tony Carr back in 2010.

Ahead of Monday's game, which will also feature some legendary faces such as Paolo Di Canio and Trevor Sinclair, Anton proved he is still a Hammer at heart with a touching post on Instagram.

The 31-year-old, who also played for Queens Park Rangers, said: "Just received my tickets for Mark Noble's testimonial, buzzing and can't wait to to see all the lads and to walk out the tunnel at Upton Park for the last time ever in front of the fans and in front of my son who I tell all the time about my days at the mighty Hammers, come on you Irons!"

Emotional celebration

Noble's testimonial promises to be a great celebration of many players who have served the club so well over the years.

But it will also be an emotional day as it represents the last time many of them will play at or visit the club's famous home of 112 years before the big move to the Olympic Stadium in the summer.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch