A Christmas message

There is something very special about football over the Christmas period. Whether it's the challenge of travelling to Boxing Day matches, the optimism of the season, or memories of past performances, there is a buzz to the game at this time of year.

Maybe you were at the Boleyn Ground on New Year's Day 1983, when that five-foot-seven product of our youth team, Tony Cottee, scored on his debut against Spurs?

Maybe, you even remember Boxing Day 1963, when we lost 8-2 at home to Blackburn Rovers? Two days on, West Ham turned things around in style, winning 3-1 at Blackburn and Hammers fans were still celebrating a few months later when Bobby Moore raised the FA Cup in triumph at Wembley. As we all know, that was the first of three wonderful years for our supporters.

Whether we win, lose or draw, this is a good moment to take stock of our lives and reflect on the things that are really important to us at Christmas, like looking out for people who are less fortunate than ourselves. It's great, for example, that West Ham fans continue to raise money in all sorts of ways for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK, and for London's first hospice for children, Richard House.

For many of those who are suffering serious illness, or who need the kind of help that Richard House offers, the support of this world-wide West Ham family matters. Thank you for that support.

We don't know what 2010 will bring but every one of us can make sure that we make that the new year as good as it possibly can be for the people around us.

That includes the club's staff, of course, many of whom will be working very hard over the holidays. Let's raise a cheer for the people in the ticket office and the catering teams, for the ground staff and stewards, for the players and management team, and for everyone who helps to make the Upton Park experience as good as it can be.

As Chaplains, we have the privilege of working with people of all faiths and none. So, whether Christmas is for you a celebration of a miraculous and wonderful gift, or simply a chance to spend time with the people you love, to reflect and perhaps to give thanks, we want to wish you a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Elwin Cockett and Alan Bolding