West Ham and Blackburn join Junior Section lineup

2023 Junior champion West Ham United have confirmed their return to the Junior section at SuperCupNI this summer. The Hammers were hugely impressive in the 2023 tournament as they saw off County Antrim in the decider at the Coleraine Showgrounds to claim their first title at the tournament since 1997.

West Ham United celebrate their 2023 Junior Section win

The Londoners are joined in the Junior section by tournament regulars Charlton Athletic and Stevenage FC, who made their debut at the tournament last summer.

Also joining them, in what is a very competitive Junior section, is Championships side Blackburn Rovers. The former Premier League winners last appeared at the tournament in 2001 and the Ewood Park outfit are returning to Northern Ireland intent on competing for honours.

SuperCupNI tournament chairperson Victor Leonard said securing the services of four of England’s top academies is further evidence to how highly regarded the tournament is.

“West Ham United have been huge supporters of the tournament over the last number of years and long-term supporters of the tournament will remember the years when Joe Cole shone at the tournament and even to this day people still talk about that famous Joe Cole final!

Young Hammers pictured at the 2023 Junior Section final

“It is fantastic to see so many players from Northern Ireland now with West Ham and we know first hand from our conversations with David Moyes and his academy staff just how highly they regard our tournament.”

The organisers behind the tournament have been working tirelessly to attract a stellar line up in the Junior section and Leonard said everyone was delighted to see Blackburn Rovers return.

“Blackburn Rovers were regular attendees at the tournament in the 90s and we were delighted to get a chance to speak to their Academy again this year and we were very pleased to receive confirmation from them a few weeks ago.

“Their Academy have category one status and play against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City and we have no doubt they will bring a strong panel to Northern Ireland.

“It was also pleasing to see Charlton Athletic continue their involvement with the tournament and we know from speaking to Stevenage FC after last year’s tournament that they were overwhelmed with how incredible the overall tournament experience was for them.”

The 2024 tournament will take place from 21st to 26th July, with the traditional parade and opening ceremony kicking off proceedings on 21st July and the tournament will close with finals day on Friday 26th July.