West Ham United's founding father

Arnold Hills’ great-grandson says West Ham United are doing his illustrious ancestor proud

The Arnold Hills lounge is among the hospitality on offer in Club London
The great-grandson of Arnold Hills, founder and Chairman of Thames Ironworks FC, says West Ham United are doing his illustrious ancestor proud.

Charles Warner, himself a non-executive director of the Club for some 18 years, is watching on with interest as a Season Ticket Holder these days, full of admiration for the Club's ambitious stadium plans.

But what might his great-grandfather, the forward-thinking businessman and philanthropist Hills, have made of the Club's journey from the Memorial Grounds to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

"He would be delighted, because he was a great one for evolution," Charles confirmed. "Seeing things move on over the last 110 or so years to where we're going to be in 2016 – everything has gone in the right way and to end up at the Olympic Stadium is the dream that Hammers supporters, and he, would have had.

"With the way that the Club is pulling this together, I think that everybody who has any link to West Ham should be delighted.

"To come to the new Stadium for the first game will be fantastic and we'll certainly be taking up seats, as we have done for many years."

Wherever those seats may be, Charles is safe in the knowledge that the new Stadium will bear his great-grandfather's name. In a tribute to the Club's visionary founder, The Arnold Hills – a private dining club – is among the spectacular hospitality on offer in Club London.
He would be delighted, because he was a great one for evolution
For Warner, Hills' namesake lounge is a source of tremendous pride to the family and, with Club London memberships already in high demand, he expects it to prove particularly popular.

He continued: "It is poignant and a great honour that the Club have decided to perpetuate his name and his memory. As the Club's founder back in 1895, it's meaningful for us as a family and hopefully is of interest to supporters and the Club as a whole.

"I was very impressed with what I saw. The way it's set up, the likely finishes, physically, the seat allocation, the sightlines and viewing are going to be top rate.

"I think anyone who decides to buy into it will be happy. I'm sure if Arnold Hills were around, he would be equally pleased with what's going on."

For the time being, though, Charles is thoroughly enjoying the Hammers' penultimate Barclays Premier League campaign at the Boleyn Ground, not least after last season's flirtations with relegation.

"Being a Season Ticket Holder, I've loved my spectating this season and long may it continue," he added. "After last season, which I think we all acknowledged wasn't the best, it's a lovely surprise. I think West Ham fans are inured, we're so used to the ups and downs. But I think Big Sam's done fantastically well with the squad he's put together."
The former director enjoyed an eventful 18 years on the Board, before stepping aside in 2006, a stint that culminated in three successive trips to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Following the turbulence under the Club's Icelandic owners, Charles is mightily impressed with the stewardship of Joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold.

"They were great times, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a great honour to have been on the Board at West Ham.

"We yo-yoed a bit, but we did alright in the Play-Off finals and of course the Liverpool game down in Cardiff.

"Hopefully we held the Club together and took it forward in the right way, but we just knew that, as a group, we couldn't raise the capital base that was needed to take the Club forward.

"The present owners have done a terrific job in stabilising things, being as committed as they are and wanting to take us to where we're going to go. It's been great."

For more information about The Arnold Hills lounge and the remaining Club London spaces available visit the Club London website.