Hammers Early Appeal

WEST Ham United's players have made an appeal to all those fans attending Friday's clash with Sunderland to get to their seats early and help create a memorable atmosphere under the famous floodlights at Upton Park.

For the players involved, the atmosphere generated inside the Boleyn Ground at last season's Play-off semi-final second-leg against Ipswich was the best they have ever experienced in their careers. Now Alan Pardew's team are backing the Hammers faithful to make it another brilliant night at Upton Park on Friday.

Fans are urged to take their seats at least 20 minutes before the 7.45pm kick-off and help build a cauldron of noise and support inside the Boleyn Ground, with the help of Hammers matchday compere Jeremy Nicholas.

Striker Marlon Harewood: "When the crowd are at their best Upton Park is one of the greatest places to play football. I know because I was lucky enough to be part of that memorable night in the Play-off semi-finals against Ipswich last season.

"That was a fantastic atmosphere and it's that kind of positive feeling we want to generate before Friday's game against Sunderland. It's a huge match for West Ham United and the players are going into it focused on taking all three points.

"A win would make a huge difference to our Play-off chances and that's why we need the whole of Upton Park behind us on Friday."

Former England star Teddy Sheringham added: "We're urging fans to get into the ground as early as possible and really build a tremendous atmosphere inside the stadium.

"As a player, there is no greater feeling than running out into a packed stadium with the atmosphere crackling. During those 20 minutes before kick-off it's going to be really important to get Upton Park rumbling, because the players can hear that in the dressing room and coming up the tunnel, and there's no greater motivation for a player than to hear what the occasion means to the fans.

"It's a massive game and I've got no doubt that the atmosphere will be just as big."

Christian Dailly was captain of the side that won on that famous night against Ipswich almost a year ago, and scored the Hammers second goal. He knows just what an incredible place the Boleyn Ground can be under floodlights.

"Memories of that game against Ipswich will stay with me forever," he recalled. "It was an incredible occasion and that's what we need to build inside Upton Park on Friday. This is a must win game and I'm sure the fans will create an atmosphere worthy of the occasion.

"Under floodlights, in a game as vital as this, Upton Park is just a spectacular arena for football. The fans are the ones that make it. Their support and the atmosphere they are capable of creating is unbelievable, and the players are hoping to be involved in another of those memorable nights at Upton Park on Friday.

"Hopefully, the ground will be packed full well before kick-off, with all the Hammers fans helping to build one of those incredible atmosphere's that only Upton Park can create."