Scandinavian Hammers turn 25!

The Scandinavian Hammers marked their 25th anniversary with an unforgettable party at the Boleyn Ground.

The largest West Ham United supporters' club outside the UK, with some 800-plus members, brought more than 100 men, women and children over from Norway, Sweden and Denmark ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City.

The Friday evening before the game saw members gather for a memorable 25th birthday event in the 66 Club, where they were joined by former Hammers Julian Dicks, Stuart Slater, George Parris and Mark Ward and Norwegian actor Dennis Storhøi.

Those in attendance enjoyed a meal and an entertaining history of the club from chairman Gjermund Holt (pictured) and founder Rune Jensen before joining in with the singing of a unique version of 'Bubbles' led by Storhøi.

Among those present were three generations of one family of Swedish West Ham supporters, Per, Mats and Sindre Pettersen, along with the five winners of the Scandinavian Hammers Supporter Of The Year award and Boleyn Ground security officer Michael Haydon, who has given the group many stadium tours in recent years.

The evening concluded with the four players, all of whom turned out in the year the Scandinavian Hammers were formed, 1988, answering questions from Holt and his fellow supporters.

The festivities were all caught on camera by West Ham TV, along with Norwegian television channel TV2, who used footage of the event as part of their build-up to Saturday's visit of Manchester City.

Dennis Storhoi

Dennis Storhøi led the singing of a new version of 'Bubbles'

Holt, who has led more than 60 organised visits to the Boleyn Ground, hailed the success of the event.

"We are celebrating our 25th anniversary, having been founded in 1988, so over 100 of us are here for this event and the game," he said. "When we started the club we were rock bottom [of Division One] so there are no glory hunters here! We are proper West Ham supporters and that's what we're here for.

"There are many, many reasons why we are West Ham supporters but one of the main ones is the way we are treated by the Club and the other supporters when we come over on our trips. They treat us well and make us feel welcome, which is important.

"We also hold kids' trips where parents bring their children over for games, like we did at the Play-Off final. That's a very good thing to see and sets us up for the next 25 years!

"Going to Wembley and seeing us get promoted with 40 or 45,000 West Ham supporters was very special, but there have been so many highlights. Our first trip was in 1994 when we went to White Hart Lane and won 4-1! We have been over so many times and have had so many good times.

"We have more than 800 members, I've been leader of the club for 21 of the 25 years and we all know each other from going to games, so it's really good."

Three Norwegian supporters told West Ham TV why they picked West Ham over any other English club.

Birger Vikebo, Ivar Stene and Patrick Andre Nielsen talk to West Ham TV

Birger Vikebø, Ivar Stene and Patrick Andre Nielsen with West Ham TV

Birger Vikebø from Bergen explained: "It was all about Julian Dicks for me. He was a terrific player for me and I just fell in love with him and I've followed them all the time. They have been showing the English Premier League [and Division One] in Norway since 1963, so everybody has a team.

"It's very easy to support the club - easier than before - with the cheap flights and there not being a big problem getting match tickets."

Ivar Stene from Trondheim has followed West Ham since 1963. He added: "They just came to me! The first match I saw was in 1971 which Bryan 'Pop' Robson's debut. and I have been over to watch matches often in recent years.

"My favourite players have been Martin Peters, Bobby Moore and Sir Geoff Hurst. I also liked Clyde Best - he was one of my favourites."

Patrick Andre Nielsen from Stavanger explained that he had little choice but to follow the Hammers: "I'm 25, so I'm the same age as the Scandinavian Hammers! I didn't really have a choice but to be a West Ham fan because my Dad was one too, so I was actually born into it. He is a hardcore fan and was on the board of the supporters' club, so he has brought me to games since I was a little kid and I fell in love with the club.

"I was at the Play-Off final [in 2012] and it was wonderful to be at a final with West Ham because there haven't been many trophies over the years! I've seen victories against Tottenham, but the Play-Off final was the best.

"When West Ham signed [experienced Norway striker] John Carew in 2011, it was in all the newspapers in Norway and at first we thought it was a joke. We gave him a shot but it didn't really turn out well for us."

*Is your supporters' group celebrating an important anniversary? Or maybe a large group of you meet regularly to watch West Ham United matches together? If so, let us know by email at [email protected]