When West Ham United announced their trip to take on RCD Espanyol in a friendly match, one group who reacted to the news with particular relish was the Barcelona Hammers.

Espanyol are based in the Catalan capital, so West Ham's Barcelona-based supporters will have the chance to watch their side in their home city on Thursday evening.

Four members of their 50-strong group met the team on Wednesday evening, posing for pictures with their claret and blue flag, proudly emblazoned with their club's name.

Nick Simons, an ex-pat Hammers fan who has lived in Barcelona since the early 1990s, could barely believe it when he learned Sam Allardyce's men would be visiting the city this week.

He cannot wait to make the most of a rare opportunity to see his team so close to home, and he won't be alone, with West Ham set to receive a strong support from their local fanbase.

"It's unbelievable," Simons beamed. "It would have taken Espanyol or Barcelona and West Ham to be together in the Europa League or Champions League, so when David, another member of the Barcelona Hammers, phoned me last week to tell me West Ham were playing Espanyol here, it was very good!

"We're all going to go to the game. The group has been going since 1994, there are half-a-dozen British people in it, but it is mostly Spanish and Catalan.

"You're looking at 50-plus official members, and we're taking a bus to the game, and looking at a second bus too. We're probably the most active Premier League supporters in Barcelona, which feels good.

"My parents live in Eltham, so I go back every Christmas and watch West Ham a couple of times, but to be able to watch them here is great."

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