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  • Writer's pictureTim Parks

Adarkwa on the hybrid model and life at West Ham



When Wealdstone return for pre-season training this summer, Sean Adarkwa will know all about the exciting and progressive move to a hybrid model.


Under manager Matt Taylor, the players will train at new training base at Brunel University on Monday mornings, Tuesday mornings, and Thursday evenings, a schedule that will ensure greater contact time with the squad for our new management team of Taylor and Paul Hughes.


Adarkwa experienced exactly this set up at former club Arbroath, the Scottish Championship team on the East coast.


“Some players came in every day, others less frequently," said Adarkwa in an interview with the award-winning Stones matchday programme. "The standard is probably the equivalent of the National League or League Two - I don’t think there is really much different between the levels. I scored a couple of goals (against Ayr United and Greenock Morton) in a dozen games and had an assist.


"I had an enjoyable time up there... it’s very different to East London, very quiet and peaceful and I was staying in a clubhouse with a couple of other players which was an experience for me, the first time away from home.


"It is an 8-hour drive from London though, or just over an hour by plane which I did once or twice."



Adarkwa's deal at Arbroath ran out at the end of that season and the 6ft 3in East Londoner was snapped up by the Stones.


“I just wanted to get on the pitch and play,” he said. “I have to admit that I didn’t know much about the club, and only recognised the Ruislip area because of driving to QPR for training. And the Wealdstone Raider of course, does he still come to games?


“The move to the Stones came through my agent and as soon as I’d started training I knew that the style of play would suit me. We have some very good players!


"The way we play you have to be very good technically and it’s been impressive. I like the build-up style, it’s different and much better than most full-time clubs, let along part-time ones... most others play direct football and I find myself just fighting for the ball all the time."



Adarkwa first played as a kid for Cobra FC in his hometown of Dagenham. He quickly caught the attention of West Ham and joined their famous Academy. His mentor at the Hammers was the former England striker Carlton Cole, another big awkward customer who eagerly took the teenage Sean under his wing.


“He taught me how to roll defenders, how to turn and get shots off and run in behind; where to be to attack the ball successfully from goal kicks and dead balls. Everything tactically," said Adarkwa.


Sean was at West Ham from the age of six and starred in the Barking & Dagenham District team that produced such luminaries as Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves and John Terry. He signed his first pro contract at 18, one year with an option for a further year - which was triggered as he played his part in the successful Hammers under-23 side.


“But injuries slowed me down,” he said ruefully.



West Ham released him in 2021 but he impressed in a trial at QPR to win a contract after scoring four goals in five games pre-season. He was a fixture in the Rs’ B team, playing against other under-23s and B sides in friendlies... but then came a fracture of the lower spine.


“It is a stress response to overuse and it put me out for ten months” Sean explained. “Not surprisingly they released me, but Arbroath in the Scottish Championship then came in for me."


He has not looked back since after going away in order to come back. He scored ten goals last season, including a hat-trick against Hartlepool, signed a new deal in February and is now one of the most sought-after strikers in the National League and League Two.


*Photos by Jon Taffel












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