Players turn out for Fans' Forum

Joint-Chairman David Gold, Stewart Downing, Jussi Jaaskelainen and James Collins all took part in an entertaining disabled fans' forum at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening.

The Club's loyal supporters were invited to the special night at the home of the Hammers, where they had the opportunity to quiz the Joint-Chairman and the first-team stars.

Jaaskelainen and Downing, together with Mr Gold, were involved in a lively question and answer session, where the fans in attendance asked the pair a range of questions, from matters on the pitch to the prospective move to Stratford. The trio amused supporters with all manner of anecdotes, before posing for photos and signing autographs.

Guests were also treated to an Olympic Stadium presentation from Marketing Director Tara Warren, outlining how they will be catered for at the Hammers' new home as of 2016.

West Ham stopper Jaaskelainen thoroughly enjoyed his evening spent with the Hammers faithful, insisting that occasions such as these are opportunities to reward the fans' exceptional support of the Club.    

"It was good to be here to interact with our fans, answer their questions and hear their opinions on lots of issues," Jaaskelainen told West Ham TV. "They are a passionate set of fans and they love their Club.

"We know how great their support is for us and in return it is great for us, as players, to meet with them like this. It is nice to get the chance to let them know we appreciate their support and I hope they got the same amount of enjoyment from the event as we did."

Disabled Supporters' Forum

James Collins and Stewart Downing pose for photographs

Meanwhile, the event was certainly well received by the supporters in attendance, as they made the most of the opportunity to rub shoulders with Mr Gold and the players. 

"It's good, it's great that we can get involved and have things like this. Come up to the Club, meet the players and David Gold," said Zak Patmore.
"It feels different, of course, [meeting the players in person]. It's weird seeing them on TV and then coming here. But it's nice to be invited here and to talk to them.

Those sentiments were echoed by fellow life-long Hammer Bernie Munro. He said: "My highlight of the evening was obviously meeting the players and listening to the questions put forward.

"There were lots of funny parts, they had a laugh and a joke, and all that, which was good."  

It was a similar story for Hammers winger Stewart Downing, who continues to be impressed by the Club's supporters since his summer switch from Liverpool.

"Since I arrived at the Club, they have been brilliant," Downing explained. "On Saturday, even though we lost, they still gave us a cheer when the game finished, as they saw that we had given 100 per cent to try and win the game.

"We have an away trip to Swansea this Sunday and we know the support will follow us and they will be there in big numbers to get behind us. Events like these bring the Club, us as players and the fans closer together and that can only be a good thing."

Further information for disabled and visually-impaired supporters can be found here.