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2014-05-27T11:00:00 Updated 2015-02-18T21:49:45

'We all follow the West Ham'

The Austrian Irons are preaching the 'West Ham Way' loud and clear in Central Europe.

One of more than 60 affiliated Supporters' Clubs across the world, the Austrian Irons were formed in 2011 by Denis Dusika and Christoph Höller with the purpose of bringing together Hammers supporters from all over Austria.

The Club already attracted 40 members, a number of whom visited the Boleyn Ground in April for West Ham's Barclays Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace.

While the Hammers may have tasted defeat on that afternoon, it did nothing to curb the enthusiasm of Denis and fellow Austrian Irons member Barry Stevens for all things Claret and Blue.

"We have a lot of followers on Facebook and Twitter and we're trying to connect all the Austrians who support West Ham," Dusika confirmed. "We are very lucky that Barry has opened a new pub - The Tube Station - which will give us a meeting point to watch the games together.

"We hope next season more games will be on TV so we can watch them all, while we also want to come to as many games as possible in person. There is a bit of a gap between Austria and the United Kingdom so realistically once or twice a season is our goal to be at the Boleyn Ground following the Club."

The links between West Ham and Austria are few and far between, with the Hammers employing just one Austrian player in their history - Emanuel Pogatetz - and visting the country a handful of times for pre-season training camps.

So, why do Austrians support West Ham?

"I always liked the underdogs and in Austria we have Rapid Vienna, who are also a working class club, and I really like the passion of those two clubs," explained Dusika. "At West Ham have 35,000 people who come to every game and we get a real feeling around the place of how the people feel about their club."

For Stevens, his reasons for following the Hammers are slightly more obvious.

"I'm born and bred in Ilford and came across the Austrian Irons when I was previously running a bar in Vienna and the first week after we opened coincided with a West Ham tour in 2012," he explained. "It was fantastic. We contacted West Ham and got a load of supporters down pre-match and then we went to the game with them as well, which was an awesome day.

"I'm a lifelong West Ham supporter and my new bar is very much West Ham-orientated and is a sports bar in general. With the Austrian Irons, we have a good thing going and we will build up the West Ham support in Vienna, I hope.

"I have my plans for my business in Vienna, but always with West Ham in mind, working with Denis to put things together."

Austrian Irons
The Austrian Irons meet Joint-Chairman David Gold

For expats living in Vienna or visitors to the Austrian capital, The Tube Station will also be showing domestic and international matches from across the world.

"I want to encourage all supporters to visit us as we're fairly central in Vienna, so whenever West Ham fans visit the city they are always welcome and our doors will be open," added Stevens.

While Stevens is hoping to attract visitors to his new bar, Dusika believes West Ham's upcoming move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016 will see his beloved West Ham attract new supporters, players, partners and sponsors as the Club continues to grow and expand its fanbase.

"I really hope that West Ham can attract new sponsors and good new partners because of this awesome opportunity of playing in a big stadium with more than 50,000 people," he stated. "It's a good area with good infrastructure because of the Olympic Games.

"I'm really looking forward to it and I love the plans without the running track. I don't really like running tracks because our national stadium, the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna, has this and it kills the atmosphere. I saw Karren Brady's YouTube presentation and I really like the idea of putting seats over the running track to have a better atmosphere.

"These plans are really promising and I'm really looking forward to it."

For more information about the Austrian Irons and The Tube Station, click here.

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