'We all follow the West Ham'

West Ham United supporters from across the world are invited to share their stories for a new online feature entitled 'We all follow the West Ham'.

With fans in dozens of countries and Official Supporters' Club representation in many of them, the Hammers have fans in all corners of the globe.

A recent request for messages of support on social media saw the Club receive tweets from as far afield as Australia, Indonesia, Canada, India, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and all over Europe.

With more than 50 affiliated Supporters' Clubs based around the world, thousands of fans congregate regularly to watch the Hammers in action on television in bars, restaurants, social clubs, houses and apartments. The same groups also make pilgrimages to the Boleyn Ground each and every season to watch their heroes in action live.

To recognise this amazing level of support, the official website will recognise a different group of loyal fans every week here on whufc.com. If you would like to be interviewed about you or your group, please send an email to [email protected] with 'We all follow the West Ham' in the subject line.

Continuing the series, David Attreed moved to California a decade ago, but his love for West Ham United has only grown stronger, as his blog illustrates:

"Now that I've moved from London and live in the United States and am thus subjected to soccer being a strange mix of end-of-career Europeans and just-finished-college Americans playing MLS for my adopted team, LA Galaxy, my love and nostalgia for MY beloved West Ham United has grown exponentially.

"For the first 30 years of my life; born in Forest Gate, grew up slap-bang next to West Ham Park fence, they were a constant part that I took for granted. Always there if I wanted to go see a game, buy the new Home kit or simply just to smile about when I happened to drive down Green Street.

"Now that I'm 5,500 miles away I yearn for those days of my team being on my doorstep. I've never felt more English and indeed, more West Ham, than since I moved to California more than ten years ago. Have never felt more proud of my East End roots or pride in the team I support. How I feel towards our little part of London with such a huge heritage of football, people and traditions could not be stronger.

"Of course, each and every time I come 'home' to visit Mum and Dad it's filled with as many fixtures as I can manage. Two years ago I attended three West Ham games in the space of eight days; home to Peterborough and Ipswich, then away to Palace. They weren't always perfect results but my geographical distance has given me new perspective on simply being able to enjoy the game - the highs and lows, the good-natured chanting and banter, the ambience and seemingly silly and meaningless things like a swift half in the pub before the game, picking up some new merchandise to take home and of course the famous walk back down the road to the Tube.

"I've grown up with Iron in my blood from three generations of supporters above me. My wife and I are expecting my first child this winter and I simply cannot wait to show him the joys of the West Ham way of life as well as, one day, making the new walk from Stratford tube to the Olympic Stadium, both of us dressed in our colours with scarves, hats, a hot dog and a too-hot cup of tea in a plastic foam cup.

"Sure, I have done and will continue to watch our games with an eight-hour time-difference on TV at my local English pub here in Southern California (The Olde Ship) - you simply can't beat a nice breakfast fry-up and pot of tea at 7am PST on a Saturday in a pub of fellow ex-pats, several from Plaistow, West Ham and surrounding areas - but there's no way it can match being there. No way it can capture that feeling of fortune just hiding around the corner when our midfield get the ball and look up for an attacker to place it. And the exhilaration of the resulting goal is second-to-none.

"I may, who knows, move back to the UK one day and believe me, the very first thing I will do is get a West Ham Season Ticket and smile each week, come rain and shine, happy to be watching MY West Ham."