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How did you become a Hammer?

I became a Hammer in the 1960s and attended my first match on the night of my interview for a first job in London with my soon to be employer – a Hammers fan.

I’d been brought up in a Charlton home but having been taken to Upton Park for the first time I fell in love with everything Hammers on that night in September 22 when we drew 2-2.  I had become a Hammer for life.

Fifty seven years on  I can honestly say the club and my association with it has helped me through the hardest times of my life – notably the passing of my wife two years ago when CandH and the Hammers  literally kept me going.

I owe this wonderful club so much and all these years later I thank that  man who took me to the Boleyn first time – incredibly he was names  named Tony Cottee!

I became Bobby Moore’s ghost writer man years later and became friends with many of the club’s former legends!

That’s my story and why, regardless of the flak and protests that often fly around, it will forever remain my first sporting love.

Now, as things slow down for a while – and we will all get through this pandemic together – give ClaretandHugh your stories of how you became Irons.

Give us your favourite players, matches – mine was the 1964 semi final at Hillsborough in the pouring rain – when we beat Man U and went on the win the FA Cup of course.

Leave your stories below and we will run them all during the forthcoming weeks.


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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

22 comments on “How did you become a Hammer?

  1. I became a hammer back in the 70’s stood behind Mervyn day north bank behind his goal and was hooked. Favourite player of all time trevor brooking. I love west ham. I maybe female but I can talk to any man for hours about west ham. My grandsons all go to the games now. I prefer Upton park that was west ham.

  2. 1974. As a 5 year old i remember every Saturday morning I’d be playing on the green outside our house early in the morning. I’d always see the Milkman, Malcolm, and he always asked me what team I supported this week. I changed teams weekly and remember clearly saying Derby one, Forrest the next week, Sheffield the next, which one he asked? United I said. Then I said West Ham. Next week, West Ham, following week, West Ham. On the fourth week he told me I was a West Ham fan and I’ve NEVER looked back. Hammer for life ⚒⚒

  3. It was 1967, I was 9England had just won the world cup. My Dad took me to a testimonial match Reading (where I live) against the all stars, which included Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters,Bobby Moore. In the second half the ball came in to the crowd and my Dad passed it to me to hand back to GEOFF HURST, my hero, I handed him the ball and asked for an autograph, he said he was busy but would sign my program after the match. The final.whistle went, my Dad was trying to leave but Geoff Hurst lifted me over the wall and signed my program and also got, Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and.the rest of the all stars to sign my program. That is how a 9 yr old met his hero and became and hammer for life. The program I think was swapped for 20 number 6.

  4. I’ve been a hammer since the mid 90s. I took a packet of Tottenham Hotspur (my friends were spurs fans) tickets home after school one day and started showing them round the house. Once my dad got wind of this he sat me down at the kitchen table and ripped each one of them up. That weekend he took me to Upton Park to watch us play Sunderland. I remember the buzz i got as i walked up the steps to see the pitch for the first time, then bubbles left me speechless. We won the game 2 0, Bilic and Raducoiuo with the goals, the rest as they say is history.

    I thank my lucky stars that my dad stopped me being a spud.

  5. 1964 just started school and was nearly a spud as liked Jimmy greaves but then westham started to play really well getting to the facup finals and the cup winners finals the seed was set and still go to this day waiting for the next time we can get those times back

  6. Born in forest gate to west indian parents, only option was west ham! But my dad loved Upton park/green street/queens market atmosphere, and as a west Indian, loved the impact of Clyde Best and how beloved he was by fellow players. Also, players like george Parrish, Potts, phil parkes and cottee/mcavennie and panini 1986 annual!

    • It was April 27th 1964 when as a young lad ,my long deceased dear old dad -bless ‘I’m , took me to John Lyall’s testimonial match.We stood in the West Enclosure at the North bank end .I dont have many memories of the game only John kicking off and then leaving the pitch and a lot of goals and a particular save by Lawrie Leslie.Another memory was my dad giving me sixpence to buy a programme and for some reason I came back with a Jackpot ticket ! Funnily enough I only purchased a copy of the programme earlier this year.Although I can’t remember much of the game I was hooked. My dad took me regularly the following season ,
      standing in the south bank, where like other kids, I was passed down to the front wall while my dad stood further back.He also took me to the Cup winners cup games including The Final itself ,standing way up on the terraces behind the goal and fortunately, I can remember a lot of this most wonderful night

  7. As an impressionable lad in the 60s I saw that West Ham won the FA Cup in ’64, Cup Winner’s Cup in ’65 and the World Cup in ’66. In my part of the Midlands all my pals followed Villa, West Brom, Wolves or Birmingham (unless they were Man U fans!). I thought that the Irons were going to be the best team in the country ‘cos of all these cup wins and nobody among my friends followed them, so I thought I should…cue years of heartbreak, hand-wringing and occasional joy. Nobody warned me that it isn’t easy being an Irons fan but I would never change my allegiance. COYI!

  8. It was 1964 and I was 10 I didn’t really have a club but liked all teams that played in white like England. We lived in the upstairs of a house in Seven Kings with another family living downstairs. The man living downstairs worked in the Royal Docks and was Uncle Len to me. On a May Saturday morning in 1964 I said to Uncle Len what are you doing today, he told me he was going to watch his team West Ham in the cup final. I decided to watch the game on our small black and white TV and was hooked. My Dad took me to my first game which was a cup winners cup game against Spartak in the autumn of 1964 and the rest is history.

  9. I lived in the sticks and from an early age my cousin would come to visit from the East End some 60 miles away with my Uncle and Aunt. We would have a kick around on the front garden acting out stars such as Bobby Moore and John Dick. That’s how I become a “Hammer”
    My first game was 1967 at the age of 15. It was the 1-6 thrashing by Man Utd as they made sure of the Title that year. I cycled 3 miles to catch a bus into Colchester, met my two Man U mates and got on the Grey Green to London, Can’t see many barely 15 year olds doing that today. A year later I saw better fortune when we beat Sunderland 8-0, with “our Geoff” getting a hattrick in each half. I can see him now, if I shut my eyes, punching in the first.
    Over the years, through the good and bad times, I have had the good fortunate to have seen play and met many hero’s of the teams but what stands out the most is being introduced to “Bobby” by my Aunty who sold the Golden Goal ticks and went to all matches home. away and abroad. What a gent, even at an early age.
    I love West Ham, never a dull season!

  10. My elder took me to first game in (59?)we had just come up into old first division….was v notts Forest and we lost 2-3…..went to Leyton orient one week/hammers the next…sometimes watched the reserves sat on the chicken run terrace…saw mooro etc come into team saw sir Geoff and sir Trevor in their youth teams…..saw testimonials when people like jimmy tarbuck played….sure Bonzo signed midway through a pre season friendly but might be wrong…70 now……..so many bad but many great memories…cried at relegation and the end of the Boleyn ground …Irons forever….never in doubt 😀

  11. I grew up in Brighton and though my family didn’t follow football at all I saw a black and white game one night that turned out to be ’65 Cup Winners Cup, and I remembered Bobby Moore when the World Cup came around. When he floated that ball in for Hurst to score with such grace that was it – he was my hero! A few years later when I was 14 I got a paper round to save up and go to a game. It must have been 1971/2 and as I worked my way down the terraces I saw Bobby sell a dummy to Ian Callaghan of Liverpool and then look up and send a ball right across the field to the feet of a west ham player and I was hooked for life.

  12. It was 1966/7 season that I became a Hammer.
    I was 11 years old and went from Bethnal Green to Upton Park to watch a game.
    Unbeknown to me the reserves were playing that day.. Luckily the great Johnnie Byrne
    was coming back from injury and played in the match. Bryne took a great penalty, only for the ref to signal a retake. He strode up and like today’s players stopped his run and sold the keeper the wrong way, before calmly stroking the ball home.
    The next week I attended the first team game against Fulham and we beat them 6-1.
    The following week I travelled by bus to Stamford Bridge and watched a truly classic match away to Chelsea that ended 5-5.
    So many goals in each game – I thought it was like that EVERY week- and so became a lifelong West Ham supporter

  13. Simple, I was 10 when WHU won our nations only
    World Cup. I supported my beloved mighty hammers
    From that day forth. Now in my 65th year. They are
    forever in my heart and always will be.

  14. lived round the corner to the ground (late fifties early sixties) home games our road was busy with parked cars, as people parked we would ask “can we look after your car mister” most would tell us to sod off, but some would bung us a few coppers. At half time the big gates in the south bank would be open, we would go in and get a glimpse of the game. My first proper game, my uncle took me in the chicken run, I can’t remember who we were playing, but the player that stood out was Phil Woosnam. Happy Days COYI.

  15. 1970, aged 5. My Grandfather was a postman and an Arsenal fan but he found a West Ham scarf on his round one day. He took it home to my Grandmother who washed it and they gave it to me (my Dad was a Liverpool fan so the scarf had to skip a generation). That is the reason I became a Hammer.

    Many happy times at Upton Park, plenty of damn right frustrating ones as well including the time we lost at home to Fulham in the cup. I went with my new brother-in-law and was in such a foul mood I didn’t speak after the game until we got back to Ashford in Kent when I just said “Night”.

    50 years on and I still makes my hair stand on end when I sing Bubbles from my lofty seat in the Sir Trevor Brooking stand. Hooked for life!

  16. Dead easy really. Born in Mile End Hospital, grew up in Stepney, who else am I going to support?
    Dad took me to my first match in 1956, yes that’s 1956 when I was 8. Hooked straight away and, for my sins, been supporting the Irons ever since. No wonder I’ve got grey hair.

  17. as an 11 year old,my Dad used to take me to matches in South Wales, he then used to buy me a rosette and I would choose any club, one day he asked me which one I remember asking for a WBA one, he came back with WHU – I never had any others to this day and have stuck by the Irons ever since, getting beaten up in school when WHU beat my local team Cardiff – memories

  18. Born in West Ham Lane, on Bobby Moore’s birthday. Fate.

  19. In 1963 my older brother asked me (aged nearly 5) which team I supported. I said I didn’t support anyone. He said I had to, everybody supported someone. I asked who he supported (Liverpool at the time) so I said I supported whoever they were playing next. It was West Ham. We won 2-1 at Anfield and that was that. I only had to wait 53 years to see it happen again.

  20. The summer of 2014 the company’s contract had ended. I was laid off, bored to death and restless as all hell. Obviously, as a young man living in New York City with a chunk of a change, and under such “dire” circumstances I figured it was my spoiled adolescent duty to drink an exorbitant amount of booze and spend my nights getting myself into whatever trouble I could find.

    A week or two into this drunken malaise I stumbled upon a buddy of mine who attempted to convince me to watch some ridiculous and pompous British sport involving a round inflated ball and 22 pretty boys kissing each other for 90′ minutes. He said, “The World Cup starts next week. You’ve got nothing but time to watch. After that we’ll get you into the premier league when the season starts.” I was hesitant to say the least but after much of his drunken’ drivel I came to acquiesce.
    I don’t remember much of the 2014 World Cup. However, I do remember the Americans were involved and they somehow made it to the knockout stage only to stumble to a Belgian side with some new boy by the name of De Bruyne running rampant in midfield. That was the first and certainly not the last time I’d hear that Belgian *******’s name. Anyway, I learned the rules, enjoyed it and thought maybe I could give this English “football” thing a try.
    The 2014/15 season is when my love for West Ham began. My buddy being a Reds fan of course tried to sway me toward the Liverpool faithful. I was never a big Beatles fan and I’ll just leave it at that.
    I knew I could never side with some tyrannical oppressive regime like that and simply did what any other dumb American kid would do. I did a bit of research and found out these teams all have nicknames. Now, to be honest I was initially torn between two. The black and white “Magpies or the claret and blue “Hammers.” I’m a fan of ornithology and the beauty of any winged creature, but a man knows his place… I’ve been a blue collared stiff swinging a damn hammer my whole life! I decided to go with the all mighty, laughable, desperate, heathens dubbed WEST HAM UNITED!
    The season started with a bang. Big Fat Sam somehow managed to have the side third on the table at Christmas and Kouyate was my favorite in midfield. The match of the year for me was the FA Cup replay against Everton. The game stuttered down to penalties and Adrian smacked home the winning kick. From that moment forward I was hooked. The year ended in embarrassment and Fat Sam was out. I didn’t care. I still loved this team and I couldn’t wait for another term. And so it goes…
    Although my support is only recent compared to a lot of the old timers it is as tried and true. I’ve come to love this team with the upmost passion and reverence imaginable. “The West ham Way” is not only necessarily a style of play but also a life of struggle and therefore perseverance. There is something extremely endearing and admirable about that. Through these hard times and challenges (as in anyone’s life) there are glimmers of hope and promise that keep us afloat and move us forward. I’m so proud to be a Hammers fan through thick and thin and I’ll be crossing my arms till my death. Maybe… even in the coffin.

    With Love,
    Vinni Z, the Yankee Hammer

    • Loved this post
      It’s amazing how we hear stories like this from all corners of the world
      All honorary cockneys and hammers
      Welcome aboard Connie
      I was in nyc last year and went to citi fields home of the Mets baseball team…went to stadium shop and had long chat with the fella in there about supporting Mets and hammers
      A hard life!!!!!but we stay loyal

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