The Rev's Christmas Message

Rev Elwin Cockett, our club chaplain, offers a Christmas message:

'On behalf of everyone at West Ham United, I would like to wish everyone reading these words a very happy Christmas.

This is a busy time for a lot of people, among them all the players and staff preparing for the Boxing Day game against Derby County.

That makes it all the more important for us all to make time at Christmas to reflect on the past year and the values that matter to us.

2001 certainly had its highs and lows. Winning at Old Trafford - twice - was a high, along with the opening of the magnificent Doc Martens Stand at the Boleyn Ground.

Among the 'lows' for fans of this club was the tragic death of Les Sealey, a big man who was much-loved and much-missed.

On a different scale, of course, were the events of September 11, which have had their impact on us all.

And widely-reported problems in the world of football have also given everyone with a love for the game cause for thought.

We don't know what 2002 will bring but we can make sure that we make the new year as good as it possibly can be for the people around us.

Part of the message of Christmas is that people matter.

For Christians, the Christmas story tells of a God who cares about people and offers peace to all those who, in the words of the carol, 'will receive it still'.

And that message of peace can have real impact when we take that message - that people matter - and make it something that we live out in our lives.

So, whether you're working at the stadium, or training hard for the next game, whether you're about to sit down to Christmas dinner in Canning Town or sunning yourself in Sydney, I hope that you will have both a very happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.'

MD Paul Aldridge adds:

"We would like to wish all the fans a happy and healthy new year and we sincerely thank them for their support through what has been a turbulent time."