'We all follow the West Ham!'

Stood behind a bar just a short pass away from the Grand River in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eric 'EZ' Albertson is supporting West Ham United.

Albertson is the owner of the SpeakEZ Lounge on Monroe Avenue, a popular bar, restaurant and live music venue which advertises itself as follows: 'With subtle hints of the prohibition-era Speakeasy pubs, SpeakEZ Lounge boasts classic cocktails, some tasty infusions, and plenty of fine craft beers.'

The SpeakEZ Lounge is also a football hotbed, with flat screen TVs showing Barclays Premier League - or 'EPL' as they are known in the USA - matches to American 'soccer' fans.

"I own SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids Michigan and I am a supporter of West Ham United," Albertson explained. "SpeakEZ is the 'soccer' bar for Grand Rapids and we have loyal followings of lesser teams like Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea, and Everton. My General Manager who works for me and became a bloody Toffee!

"In the US the enemy of the team you support isn't your closest rival in the EPL, rather it is the average idiot American fan who says something well thought out and classy like 'Soccer sucks'."

Unlike those soccer-ignorant supporters, Albertson has a long-held affiliation with West Ham, having watched Marlon Harewood score in a 1-1 draw with 1860 Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2005.

"I am born and bred right here in Grand Rapids, but I've travelled a bit, having seen West Ham play a friendly in Munich against 1860 a number of years ago," he confirmed.

Eric Albertson

Eric pours a drink at the SpeakEZ Lounge

Now back in his hometown, Albertson is happy and proud to be able to share his love for the Hammers - and the beautiful game as a whole - with his patrons.

"SpeakEZ is incredibly friendly to all EPL and footie fans and it is great to see arch rivals being able to sit next to each other during a match. So while I make comments about my GM being a 'bloody Toffee' it is all in good fun!"

Albertson may have only opened SpeakEZ as recently as February 2012, but it is already gaining a reputation among fans of English football.

"Some of the Gunners who come in regularly actually have SpeakEZ on the Arsenal.com website as an Arsenal bar!"

If the owner keeps up his new promotion, however, those fans may soon change their affiliation!

"I am the only Hammer Supporter so far in Grand Rapids, but I am trying to 'buy' loyalty to the Hammers. The policy at my bar is 'Every time West Ham Scores, SpeakEZ Pours' and I buy a round of shots for everyone in the bar watching EPL action!

"There was one other West Ham Supporter with me in Grand Rapids but he moved to Oregon last summer. We still keep in touch via our Facebook Page: Grand Rapids Irons!"

While he is alone for now in flying the Claret and Blue flag in Grand Rapids, Albertson is hoping some of his fellow Hammers will drop by for a drink, a meal and, hopefully, a shot in the near future!

"I will ALWAYS welcome anyone coming in wearing Claret and Blue. United! United! COYI!"

*The SpeakEZ Lounge can be found at 600 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503. For more details, visit www.speakEZlounge.com