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The BarbelHammer - site owned and created by Peter Adcock. Copyright Peter Adcock
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A Lifetime Commitment
I have been a West Ham supporter all my life. Although I am not an East Ender by birth, my parents and their families are - dad being born and raised just a five minute walk from the Boleyn ground. You could say that I have a claret and blue blood-line! My grandfather was at the first ever Wembley Cup Final in 1923, and since then, between my dad, two uncles and myself, the family have been represented at all the Hammerís Wembley cup final appearances. With this background, combined with West Hamís cup successes and world famous players in the mid-sixties when I was a small boy developing an interest in football, you can see that there was no possibility of me supporting any other club than West Ham.
I saw my first game at Upton Park in the season following our World Cup win Ė a 2-2 draw with Southampton. However it wasnít until after I started work in the mid-seveties that I was able to start attending games on a regular basis. For the first few years I stood on the Lower West, but when it was converted to seating, I switched to the North Bank, where I bought my first ever season ticket. The following season I moved to the Chicken Run, where I stayed until the start of the 2002/03 season, which saw a switch to the new Lower West stand, thereby coming full-circle, so to speak. Although I've only missed a handful of home games over the last twenty years or so, I only manage to get to a few away games each season these days.
Being a Hammer is not easy. Too many embarrassing cup defeats against lower league sides and struggles in league competitions mean that I have suffered much mickey-taking at the hands of friends and work colleagues. However, when we get it right, the moments are made so much sweeter. What also helps Hammers fans through the bad times is the passion and loyalty of the support. This was characterised perfectly in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park, when despite the team getting beaten heavily on the pitch, the fans kept up a sustained chorus of "Billy Bond's Claret and Blue Army" for a substantial part of the match.
Following West Ham has given me many thrilling memories. The following list is just a small selection of those moments - The 1980 FA Cup Final win against Arsenal; A ECWC tie v Dinamo Tbilisi, where Tbilisi played probably the best football ever seen at Upton Park; A League Cup Semi Final win over Coventry; Paolo Di Canio's wonder goal v Wimbledon; The 2004 Play Off Semi Final win v Ipswich; The 2005 Play Off Final victory in Cardiff.