I shouldn’t support West Ham. I don’t have the generational and geographic pull many of our fans have. My family are from Limerick City in the west of Ireland, my Mum and Dad moved over to East London in the 1960’s my army of cousins and Uncles all supported Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal or Celtic but my Dad chose West Ham. Why? I have found myself asking that question a few times through the years, would it be easier supporting the other clubs I honestly don’t know and I don’t care it’s too late now you can’t change and despite it all I wouldn’t want to.
14th March 1987 was a momentous day in my household, my first ever West Ham game, Liam Brady’s first game for the club. Brady is one of Ireland’s greatest ever players and my Dad bought us two tickets to the main stand to see the Irishman’s debut. I can still remember walking down Green Street from the bus stop and getting that swell of excitement in the pit of my stomach. There was only 21 thousand there that day but to my 8-year-old eyes it seemed absolutely rammed we walked up to our seats just as Steve Bruce opened the scoring for Norwich in the first minute. I should have run for the exit there and then but I was hooked and even though Norwich scored in the last minute of the game to complete a 2-0 win it didn’t matter, I was in.
From that day to this West Ham has been a massive part of my life, it has been a constant through birth’s marriages and death’s. I went and tied my scarf around the gates of Upton Park the day Bobby Moore died, I was stood on the terraces on 15th April 1989 when the news of the Hillsborough disaster filtered through, I listened to West Ham fans sing you’ll never walk alone when the victims of the disaster finally got the justice they deserved over 25 years later. I have seen Bonds, Brady, Cole, Di Canio, Ferdinand, Ince, Payet and Tevez. Equally I have seen Maiga, Zaza, Labant, McKnight. I have seen us get torn apart by Wigan in the Championship and I have seen us match Arsenal’s invincibles, hammer the great Liverpool team of the 80’s, break Mourinho’s heart.
I am excited about the new season West Ham have made some great signings and have a real World Class Manager at the helm I am still hooked over 30 years later, and now I have passed this onto my 5 year old son who is now asking all the questions I did all those years ago Why West Ham Daddy? I simply tell him I support them because my Dad did – That’s my reason why.