'We All Follow The West Ham'

Kevin Grimm from the Columbus E13 tells us why he supports the Hammers from afar
Hammers supporter Kevin Grimm has been a supporter of the Club for nearly 20 years, all the way from Columbus, Ohio. He is co-organiser of The Columbus E13 – an official West Ham United Supporters’ Club…
I first started supporting West Ham after visiting the Boleyn Ground for a match against Liverpool in 1997. I was in London and desperately wanted to see a football game but didn’t know where to start.
I grabbed a Timeout and the West Ham vs. Liverpool match was listed as the ‘Hot Ticket’ for that weekend. It was Michael Owen's first season for Liverpool and the East End was fired up to host the Reds.
I still had no idea what to expect, but my girlfriend and I jumped on the tube, got off at Upton Park, came out the exits and I instantly fell in love with the neighbourhood, the rowdy fans and the atmosphere. When I reached the Boleyn Ground and saw it rise from the housetops, my heart almost stopped! We came away with a win and I’ve loved West Ham ever since!
I actually grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and there you learn to be a tough sports fan. I like the Cleveland Browns (American Football) and the Indians (Baseball). Passion there runs deep for sports teams.
I also support Columbus Crew SC in the USA and I’m one of a bunch who sit in the section called ‘The Nordecke’ – the loud section of support. At one of the events before a game there, I met Justin, who is now my co-organiser, and found out he was a Hammer too. We hit it off famously!
There are supporters’ bars for other clubs here (namely Arsenal and Liverpool) but we want there to be some West Ham ones too! The games all start pretty early over here due to the time difference – though not too early that we can’t shake off the previous nights’ shenanigans – and we all get in front of a TV.
We’ve gathered at houses mainly, but we have convinced a barman or two to switch the Hammers onto the TV. Now we’re official as a supporters’ club, we want to plant a flag somewhere for every match and make sure any West Ham fans around know we’re watching the game somewhere.
We keep up to date through mainly the brilliant West Ham Official Website, and there’s plenty of Hammers talk online elsewhere as well. We take what we feel are the best bits and re-post it on our Facebook page.
My wife and I have recently been in the UK on holiday to celebrate our anniversary as we married in Edinburgh back in 2008. We knew we had to get to another West Ham game, having visited the Boleyn together all those years ago! We pencilled in two matches – the Watford game and Chelsea away. Unfortunately due to the FA Cup, the Watford game was postponed, but the Chelsea game was incredible! When Andy Carroll stuck one in the net right in front of us in the away end at Stamford Bridge, we went wild. It’s a moment that will give me chills for years to come!
We were obviously bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t get to one last Boleyn match, but we had a stadium tour and it was incredible to see where the players go and walk the halls of the ground. As a supporters’ club, we’d love to visit the new ground at some point too!
As for highlights supporting West Ham, my first game was brilliant and probably the main one. A woman sitting next to me screamed constantly, at the top of her lungs, “He’s just a baby!”, referring to Michael Owen, and that’s stuck with me.
I was at Freddie Sears’ debut against Blackburn too, and that was superb. He, along with Paolo Di Canio, Slaven Bilic, Andy Carroll and Dimitri Payet make up my favourite present and ex-West Ham players!