Hammers fans turn out at Basildon

West Ham United fans turned out in huge numbers at the club's new Basildon store on Monday to meet two of their Hammers heroes.

James Tomkins and Guy Demel took time out to meet hundreds of supporters to sign autographs, pose for photographs and mark the opening of the latest Official Club Store.

Youngsters were delighted to go straight from school to meet the players, who chatted with each and every fan about the good results and the season so far.

The defenders signed everything from shirts and annuals to calendars and other merchandise brought in-store by fans, who were busy getting some early Christmas presents for relatives.

Tomkins, who hails from the area, said it was nice to see so many fans.

He said: "Hundreds turned up and we can only thank them for the support they give us, not only when we are playing, but at events like this.

"I know how much West Ham fans will enjoy this store being here in Basildon. I come from this way and it has such a big fan base for the club, so I am sure they will enjoy coming in here to get their West Ham shirts, scarves and anything to do with the club.

"Everyone was talking about the results and how well the season was going, which was nice. But we are under a bit of pressure now to keep it all going for them! I enjoyed meeting everyone and hope that they enjoyed coming into the shop today."

For fellow defender Demel, it was also a pleasure to see supporters and sign souvenirs they had bought and was happy to pose for hundreds of photos.

He said: "I enjoy events like this as you can take time to speak to the fans and give back something to them for their support. I haven't played in a few games because of injury but everyone was wishing me well as well as saying how well the team are doing. We just want to keep doing as well as we can as we know they are enjoying the season as much as we are."

The Basildon store is located in the Eastgate Shopping Centre, in an area that has long formed a key part of the Hammers' Essex heartland.

As well as visiting the club's three stores in the run-up to Christmas, fans can also look at the Hammers' Online Winter Catalogue which is out now with all the favourite products for this season, including the replica kit, training wear, accessories and souvenirs.