Hammers fans on a European tour

By air and over land and sea, the Claret and Blue excursion of Sicily is well underway.

The ever-loyal Hammers' fans have been going to extra-ordinary lengths to get to the Stadio Renzo Barbera for tonight's UEFA Cup first round, second leg tie against Palermo.

And in the early hours of this morning, whufc.com was at Gatwick Airport, where the West Ham United supporters were preparing to depart on the club's official day drip, which was scheduled to depart at 5:25am.

Here's what some of them had to say about the day in store...

fans5
Vic Lindsell (Loughton)
"It's a very special occasion for me because I grew up in an era when we were in Europe in the mid-60s. It's just a shame that we've come up against a Palermo side that looks like it knows what it's doing more than we do. If we can get a goal, though, it might just force them out at us. Hopefully, we'll have a good time and enjoy the trip and if we come back with anything it'll be a big bonus.

fans1
Richard & Les Dipper (Gillingham)
"Europe's a whole new experience for us and we're here to get behind the team. There was a really good atmosphere in the first leg at Upton Park and it'll be a struggle against Palermo at their place but it's all about how West Ham can play on the day. We're still quietly confident that we can pull it off."

fans3
Neil Hance, Gary Tiffin & Nadine Tiffin (London)
"It's going to be a very long day but, hopefully, it'll be very worthwhile. It's exciting and we've got to make the most of Europe because you just don't know when your next chance to play in the UEFA Cup will come, do you? We're only one goal behind and there's not a lot in it. West Ham can certainly still do it."

fans4
Dave & Lee Harvey (Guildford)
"I've followed West Ham for 40 years and I've always said that, one day, I'd go and watch them in Europe. We're looking forward to it. When you look at Palermo's home form, they've conceded six goals so far, so there's no reason why we can't go and sneak a 2-1 win. It'll be tough, but we can get two goals. We live in hope."

fans6
Mick O'Sullivan & Danny Phillips (Peterborough)
I went to Sparta Prague in 1965 so I've waited over 40 years for this. We've got to play a lot better than we have been playing, though, but if we go out there positively and play the West Ham way, then we can do it. It's going to be a great day and if we play like we can play then we'll win because Palermo have conceded a lot of goals in Serie A.

fans7
John & Gary Sheehan (Benfleet)
"This is our first time in Europe and it's going to be an exciting 24 hours. We've got a good chance of winning tonight and there are going to be plenty of Hammers fans out in Sicily who can give their support. The first leg was a bit disappointing but at one-nil it's still achievable. It'll be tough but a win can get our season back on track."

fans2
Pauline Dwight (Sunbury-on-Thames) and Julie Wicks (Farnborough)
"It's a girls' day out for us. This is the first time that we've seen West Ham play abroad and we're really looking forward to it. It's going to be a right tight game against Palermo because we haven't had a clean sheet yet. Let's just hope we play well because a victory could really kick-start our season. But, please, don't let it go to penalties!"