Premier League footballer, Steve Cook, surprises students in Hastings

Students at Ark William Parker Academy were thrilled when Premier League footballer and AFC Bournemouth star defender, Steve Cook, paid a surprise visit to the academy.

Steve, a former Ark William Parker student, has been paying particular interest in the Year 8 football team who have reached the last 16 in this year’s ESFA National Cup.

Steve relived his memories of his very own National Cup winning memories from 2004. He spoke to students from the sixth form Football Academy, the Year 8 football team and Year 10 GCSE and BTEC students about his own journey from nearly missing out on a scholarship at Brighton and Hove Albion, to playing against Liverpool in the League Cup. He talked about being on loan at several non-league clubs before being signed by Bournemouth and going on the journey through the leagues before securing a premier league position. Steve spoke clearly about the ‘Perseverance’ he had to show and the ‘Faith’ in his own ability to ultimately ‘Achieve’ what he has - three key words from the schools ethos.

The Year 8 boys were particularly excited and inspired by Steve’s visit. They asked him many questions, ranging from his favourite pitch to play on to the best player he has ever come up against. They were particularly intrigued about his school football memories.

Steve said “It was fantastic coming back to school, seeing the boys and some of the old staff. I had great memories of being at Parker and I wish the current Year 8 team every bit of luck in the National Cup”.

Earlier in the year, the Ark William Parker team were also thrilled to receive a Premier League kit from Steve, who nominated the school through the Premier League Players Kit Scheme.

Jimmy Elford, Coach said, “We are delighted to have received the kit from Steve. We follow his successes at Bournemouth with pride and it’s great to have him think of us. The boys were amazed to see Steve retweet the photo of the team wearing the kit.”