THE Club's Chaplain, Reverend Elwin Cockett has a special Christmas message for everyone involved with West Ham United, wherever they are in the world:
A Happy WWWHF Christmas!
One of the facts that the internet has revealed, if we didn't already ready know it, is that support for West Ham United extends far beyond the boundaries of East London. As you read this, you can be sure that your experience is being shared with people on every continent of the world. The reality of the 'World Wide West Ham Family' is most obvious in our ticket office, which sometimes feels like something out of Thunderbirds as the staff field urgent requests from around the globe.
That world-wide family has some impressive strengths. One is the loyalty of West Ham United fans who support the Club through thick and thin. Fans who endured the dark days of relegation have every right to savour the success that Alan Pardew and his team have enjoyed in 2005. The world looks a better place from the top half of the Premiership, and it is a view that West Ham United's ever-loyal fans can enjoy with pride.
Another strength we enjoy is 'stickability'. That's the quality that fans in Australia showed when they gathered from far and wide to watch the play-offs on beam-back in the middle of the night. It's the quality that countless fans show as they travel to our games every week. And it's the quality that the Club's staff show, day in day out, in the service of our fans. Today, as every day, there will be people at work at the stadium, making sure that everything is right for the next game, and we have every reason to be grateful for their stickability.
Finally, thank God for the generosity of the West Ham United family. Our fans have been involved in mopping-up after the Tsunami, in dealing with the aftermath of Katrina, and in countless other situations around the world. From Lloyd Scott's Leukaemia fund-raising to the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Reseach and the Richard House Children's Hospice, our fans have given generously during 2005, whatever the need.
For those who celebrate Christmas as a Christian festival, it is a reminder of the generosity, loyalty and stickability of God who gave us his Son, and who is always there for us, through good times and bad.
Whatever your faith, and wherever you are in the world, may you enjoy peace and joy this Christmas. And as West Ham United fans everywhere continue to show the loyalty, stickability and generosity for which we have become known, may we all enjoy the success that everyone at this Club so richly deserves.
Rev Elwin Cockett