Taylor Tombides pays tribute to West Ham and brother Dylan

Taylor Tombides has paid homage to West Ham and their fans as he and his family continue to rebuild their lives after the tragic loss of his brother Dylan – a Hammers star in the making before dying of cancer in 2014.


Taylor Tombides signs on the dotted line for Hull City (Picture supplied) Source: Supplied

A former member of the London club’s youth academy, just like his older brother, Taylor, 20, received a standing ovation and scored a cheeky chip in the West Ham All Stars’ 6-5 loss to West Ham XI in Mark Noble’s testimonial match at the weekend.

The love flowing to the Tombides family was all around Upton Park, with Taylor – who is dreaming of carving out an A-League career at same stage -  saying: “It was brilliant going back there, whenever I do there’s always love and support for me and my family.

“Those were 13 really memorable minutes on the pitch for me. I was wearing Dylan’s shirt and the goal had to be dedicated to him.

“It was an honour to be on the field with amazing players like Paolo Di Canio and Rio Ferdinand and the rest.

“It was amazing; I struggle to put into words how brilliant it was to be included in such an incredible event in front of a crowd of 35,000.

“I was at West Ham nearly five years and I wish I could have stayed longer, but that’s life and I have to move on. But I will always have a spot in my heart for West Ham.”

Taylor moved onto Hull City, playing for the Under-21s, after his departure last year.

The winger is now with semi-pro Ryman League side Canvey Island and is training with lower league Southend as he seeks to take the next steps in his career.

While he future has yet to be fully shaped, he has no doubt that Dylan, an Australian youth international striker of rare quality, would now be playing in West Ham’s first team had testicular cancer not claimed him.

“He would have been one of the young ones who made it … he was an unbelievable player,” he said. “He was real talent …it was massive tragedy and sadness to lose him."

“To this day I’m trying to get over it which is very hard. But we, as a family, are moving ever so slowly, trying to do things not to go past it but to help deal with it better. It’s tough and it’s all still very fresh in the mind.”

Taylor devotes time to the DT38 Foundation - the charity formed by Dylan’s mother Tracy to spread awareness and seek more comprehensive and early testing for testicular cancer.

“It keeps his legacy alive and helps raise awareness to try and make sure no other family has to go through what we have,” he added.

“It’s been a really challenging time, up and down, over the past few years and we are working on it.”

Perth-raised Taylor also revealed his desire to sample the A-League at some stage in his career.

“It was my dream as a kid to play at home professionally and if the opportunity does come up, it would be an honour to be back in Australia.

“Perth would be a great place to start because of all my friends and family there. I just want to let my football do the talking for me and if anything comes up it would be great.

“I would love to make a name for myself, and get a few years playing first team at a high level in the years ahead.

“Hull didn’t work out for few reasons which was unfortunate because it’s good club but that’s life and that’s football.”

Meanwhile, mother Tracy disclosed that this weekend’s clash between West Ham and Mile Jedinak's Crystal Palace at Upton Park had been dedicated as an awareness day for testicular cancer with the DT38 Foundation having a prominent role to play,

“The club can’t do enough for us and have allowed us to use the game to promote the foundation,” she said.

“There will be medical van onsite so people can come down and have free testing. Fans can come and learn about the disease and have a screening.

“To remember Dylan and to have involved Taylor at the weekend gave him an opportunity he will never forget. It was an emotional day.''

Socceroos and Palace skipper Mike Jedinak is a fervent supporter of the foundation and also of the Tombides family.

“He’s given us an amazing amount of support as has his family,” Tracy said.

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4 min read
Published 31 March 2016 at 4:58pm
By David Lewis