Alan Thanks Fans

Alan Pardew says he was overcome by the sheer volume of support shown at Upton Park on Tuesday night against Ipswich.

Reflecting on a classic Upton Park evening, he says:

"It is easy for a manager to pay lip service to supporters, and that is not what I am about.

"What I do want to express, and it is absolutely genuine, is how I have been so moved by the sheer depth of loyalty the fans have shown this season, even when things haven't gone as we would have wanted.

"They have stayed with us throughout the downs as well as the ups - and that is not easy.

"It is something of a cliche to say the fans can be a 12th man but last night they played a huge part in what turned out to be a magical Upton Park evening.

"There is, quite rightly, huge expectancy from the West Ham supporters, and we have no complaints about that because we set ourselves high standards.

"But by the same token, ambition creates its own pressure - that goes with the territory.

"The fans lifted that pressure, in what was a tense situation, with their positive attitude, 100% backing, and a passion that is second to none.

"Once more they have done the club proud - and we will do everything we can to ensure we do them justice in Cardiff at the end of the month.

"I am sure there were some sore throats, ringing ears, and hands raw from clapping last night; I know how that feels, not to mention the hairs on the back of my neck standing up!

"When I said on the microphone after the match that the fans made the evening I meant it - and, together, I hope we can make a great afternoon in Cardiff."

The huntsman of the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt led out West Ham to the call of the hunting horn.

Ken Hand, of the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt, echoed the old tradition of the Leyton Silver Band - which used to play the post-horn gallop in the 60s and 70s - by playing his hunting horn before kick off.

Perhaps he should go to Cardiff...