Fans travel Over Land and Sea to back the Hammers

The status of being a West Ham United Season Ticket Holder has never been as valuable as it is now.

A fortnight ago, the Club kicked-off the Farewell Boleyn season with a sell-out 35,000 crowd for the visit of Andorran side FC Lusitans in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round first leg.

A week later, more than 500 Season Ticket Holders boarded planes, trains and automobiles bound for the Pyrenean mountains to watch West Ham secure their progress in the second leg.

Tonight’s visit of Maltese club Birkirkara is also set to see the Boleyn Ground filled to the rafters with fans enthused and excited by the Hammers’ return to European competition.

For all three fixtures, as well as next week’s trip to the Mediterranean, Season Ticket Holders had priority access to seats as West Ham embarked on what every one hopes will be a long and successful continental adventure.

Out in Andorra, West Ham TV caught up with many of the Club’s most-loyal followers about what makes being a West Ham United Season Ticket Holder so special.

Rob Gibson and Lee Thornette, both 32, travelled to the remote principality from the Hammers hotbed of Hornchurch in Essex.

Thornette said the chance to watch their heroes in unfamiliar climes was a reward for Season Ticket Holders’ loyalty, and is relishing the opportunity

“This is what being a West Ham fan and Season Ticket Holder is all about. These away trips into Europe don’t come around too often, so we’ve got to make the most of them when they come along.

“The advantage and perk of your dedication week-in week-out is that you get to go to matches like this. I can’t wait to see how we get on this season under Slaven Bilic. We have made some big signings and everything is so positive.

“The Founders campaign is really good in that it will give us the opportunity to bring people along to the games and sounds like a great scheme.”

Gibson explained that the duo even had the good fortune to bump into the new manager: “We try to do as many away trips like this as we can every season and hopefully we will be off to Malta next week.

“When we got off the coach in Andorra, we even bumped into Slaven when he was sitting at a coffee shop, so we were lucky enough to have a photo with him and he seems to be looking forward to the season as much as we are!

“Founders is a great scheme as it encourages family members and friends who might otherwise watch games down the pub to come along to games. It’ll bring in bigger, different crowds and we can get more people involved.”

Gavin Knight travels to every home and away match from Midhurst in West Sussex: “For me it is good that we got into European competition. It doesn’t happen very often, so it’s very exciting for us as Season Ticket Holders. I didn’t think it was going to happen and now if we can progress a couple of rounds then we will be in the group stage.

“The sell-out in the first qualifying round was amazing and it was the best atmosphere we’ve had for a while at the Boleyn, so long may it continue.”

Chris Lintorn is a Season Ticket Holder from Welling in south east London: “For me, I’ve been to all the Premier League and Championship grounds to watch West Ham but not into Europe, having heard about how it was in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

“The fact we are finally here now is great for me and I’m looking forward to the prospect of going to Malta, even if it means taking three days off work! I’m young enough that I haven’t been into Europe before so I’m loving it.

“We’ve also made some great signings so far this summer and I am hopeful that we can achieve a top-half finish under Slaven Bilic this year.”

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