Boleyn People

Ray Fuller, who works in the Press Lounge at the Boleyn Ground, speaks about his love for the Hammers
Ray Fuller works in the Press Lounge at the Boleyn Ground on every home matchday. He explains why the Hammers’ home is so special to him…
I’ve loved absolutely every minute of my time working at the Club. I first started at West Ham in 1990 as a steward and then when the Club progressed to establishing a security department for the boxes and the lounges, I joined that about 20 years ago.
I have covered just about every part of the ground in the time I’ve been here. About ten years ago, they asked me if I would like to go and work in the Press Lounge, and I’ve been there ever since. I absolutely love working in there.
West Ham United has been my life for 66 years. The only two years I missed supporting the Club was when I was doing my national service in 1959 to 1961. I was out in North Africa, and all we ever had was a radio there. There was no television for us to watch any matches on. We used to get all the football results coming through at 5pm, on the radio, on a Saturday night.
I used to listen to all the results, and it was simple for me; I was happy when we won, and sad when we lost.
The Memorial Gardens at the Boleyn Ground are extremely important to me, too. Some of my wife’s ashes are in there and before she passed over, she said to me: “I want some of my ashes put in the memorial at West Ham.” I asked: “Why’s that?” And she replied: “So I can hear them when they score.”
First, I spoke to the Club’s chaplain because I imagined that it would be dug up and all that gone when we move stadium at the end of the season. He said no, though, that’s staying.
So, I arranged for her ashes to be laid there, and one Saturday when we were playing away, I came down with my family and there were about 13 or 14 of us. We put her ashes to rest with a plaque and that’s where they’ve been ever since, and every home match that I come to work on now, I can have a look.
Despite that, she never actually came to the ground with me when she was alive! She may have done in her younger days before I met her, when she was 16, however. She said then that she’d used to come and hang around the stadium as she only lived up the road. She was still an avid supporter of West Ham though – an armchair supporter, I suppose!
She definitely liked the idea of me being so passionate about this place. She told me to keep going and not give it up. When she passed over, I missed one game, I think. When it came to the next match, I said to my daughters, who were staying at the time: “I’m not going,” but they told me to go anyway.
So I went to the game and the Chairman, Mr. Gold, came and spoke to me on that particular day. He came down to the Press Lounge and said to me: “It’s good to have you back. My main man Ray is back now, so everything is alright!”
He expressed his condolences to me, which is something that I’ll remember forever.
It’s incredible to think that the Memorial Gardens, where some of my wife’s ashes rest, will forever be her, at the Club I love.