Monday 11 Jul
Updated Monday 11 Jul 00:00
US Tour 2016

Fans flock to meet Hammers

  • Hammers hosted Open Training session at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina
  • Hundreds of supporters from all over the United States attended the event
  • Players signed autographs, posed for selfies and were serenaded by a young trumpeter!
West Ham United fans turned out in strength to watch their heroes in an Open Training session in North Carolina.

Hundreds of Hammers dropped in at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary to see Slaven Bilic put his squad through their paces under hot and sunny skies.

The ninth day of West Ham’s US Tour saw applause and smiles, autographs and selfies – and even an impressive rendition of ‘Bubbles’ played by young trumpeter Boris Velinski.

“It’s been a good tour so far and different to back home and it’s been good to have the fans here as well,” confirmed Andy Carroll, who spent time meeting supporters ahead of Tuesday’s pre-season match with the Carolina RailHawks at 8pm ET.

“We trained on Saturday and heard the Carolina RailHawks game going on and it was exciting with all the music and all that, so it’s exciting to experience things which are different from back home.

“It’s very good to meet the fans. We’ve got them everywhere and it’s great for us to get out here and meet them, because we’re trying to grow the Club all over the world.”
Among the supporters to meet the Hammers were the Brogan family from Richmond, Virginia, including Grays-born father Denzil, wife Heather and children Grayson and London.

“I’m originally from Essex but I moved out here when I met my wife, so we figured we’d take a few days off work and come down and watch the team,” Denzil confirmed. “It’s a treat, as we don’t get back home that much, so it’s nice to have a three-hour drive down the road!”

“We’ve seen a few games when we’ve travelled home to London, but it’s Denzil’s birthday on Monday and Grayson’s birthday today, so hopefully we can get a win!” Heather smiled. “London is already playing for the Strikers in Richmond, and Grayson likes to join in soccer practice too!”

Also present was local RailHawks fan Bryce Balsley, who said the presence of West Ham was a sign that his own RailHawks were moving in the right direction.
“You guys are more than welcome, as it’s great to see an English Premier League team here in Cary for the first time ever!” he enthused. “This year has been really good since our new owner came in, and to see Andy Carroll out on our pitch is really cool.

“This is another feather in our club’s cap. We’ve had some good results in the US Open Cup, but this is a much higher step up for us.

“West Ham have a very storied history, including Joe Cole who was here on Saturday night with Tampa Bay Rowdies, and I think Tuesday’s game is going to be a great advertisement for proper football in this area. When teams like yours come over, it can only help our sport grow.”

Among the other fans who spoke to West Ham TV were Will Ambros from Pennsylvania and Tim Skinner from New Jersey, who both drove through the night to be in Cary and were rewarded with selfies by Mark Noble.

Friends Aaron Krause and Matt Pantone had made the shorter journey from the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina.

The final remaining tickets for Tuesday’s game are available to buy here.