Boleyn People

For Sue Scanlan, West Ham United is more than a football team. An avid Hammer since her visit aged six, following the Club is a way of life
West Ham United staff past and present, recall their memories of working at the historic home of the Hammers. For Sue Scanlan, West Ham United is more than a football team. An avid Hammer since her visit aged six, following the Club is a way of life...

Having grown up in Plaistow, east London in the 1960s, there can’t have been many better places to celebrate West Ham’s successes of that decade.

Sue Scanlan, who works in the Club’s accounts department, certainly enjoyed her upbringing.

“I’m from just round the corner, I lived on the Barking Road just by Barclays Bank. We lived in a council flat; I think the only reason why we moved was because it was just round the corner from the ground.

“I was about six for my first West Ham game. My Dad Charlie would bring me over, mainly for reserve games because they weren’t so busy.

“Back in the old stands, he would sit me on the barrier and then stand behind me. It was me and my Dad, and when my brother was older he used to come as well. Everyone in those flats was West Ham so we all came to the games together.”

Sue soon fell in love with the Irons and would later find her future husband, Mick, at the West Ham Supporters’ Club.

Having met in 1974, coincidentally John Lyall’s first season in charge, they travelled to Belgium for the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup final and married a year later.  

“I joined the Supporters’ Club, which was where I met my husband. Most of our courting was done going to West Ham matches!

“Both our boys are West Ham, we’ve all got Season Tickets together, and there’s just no question about doing anything other than the football. You get invitations to go elsewhere but if West Ham are playing at home, that’s it. It’s always the same.

“Apart from ‘65 I’ve been to all the Cup finals. I think the Liverpool FA Cup final sticks in my mind the most. It was a great game, just the wrong result. Our run of going down to Cardiff three years on the trot was also something I’ll never forget.”

Having enjoyed many games, both home and away, Sue became even more involved with the Club as she began working at the Boleyn Ground, initially on match days, before becoming a permanent member of staff.
“My mum worked in the shop, she knew Sue Page who was looking for new people to work in the boxes. Sue asked my Mum if I would be interested, that was in 1993.

“I was working match days when Kim Montague fell pregnant, I did her maternity cover and I’ve been here ever since. That was about 2000, so I’ve been here 15 years, it’s gone quickly really.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here; it definitely helps being a supporter. It is hard sometimes, on a match day you’d come in from 8am to about 8pm, counting the money taken from the kiosks. For evening games you go from 9am to midnight.”

While Sue has clearly enjoyed her career at West Ham, working during matches has come with a sacrifice: “I didn’t even actually see Di Canio’s goal! I was working as a hostess in the boxes, one of the security guards came in and said ‘I’ve just seen the best goal ever scored here!’”

Having worked in several different roles, among many responsibilities include looking after the payroll, which gives her a fascinating insight into the inner workings of a Premier League Club.

“I do the payroll now for everyone, the players, the match day staff, everyone. There are 750 odd people; I do the community as well which is about 50 more.

“It is a lot of people to look after, but it’s not as hectic as 800 suggests as 350 of those are match day stewards.”

As the Club enters its final season at the Boleyn Ground, Sue is preparing herself for what is set to be an emotional, yet very exciting time. 

“I think the last game will be a very emotional game, I’ll probably cry my eyes out but at the same time I’m really looking forward to it. The new Stadium is absolutely fantastic!”