Collison backs Claret and Blue Army to inspire Hammers

Jack Collison


Jack Collison has backed West Ham United's travelling Claret and Blue Army to inspire David Moyes' team to a crucial victory at Leicester City on Saturday.

More than 3,000 loyal Hammers fans will be making their way up to the King Power Stadium for our final away match of the campaign, hoping for three points against the Foxes that would virtually guarantee top flight football next season.

Many have been ever-presents at West Ham's 19 Premier League away matches this season, covering thousands of miles on return trips, from Bournemouth all the way up to Newcastle.

Former midfielder Collison, who is now back where it all began for him at the Chadwell Heath Academy, as a coach for the U16 and U14 sides, enjoyed many memorable away matches during his seven seasons as a first-team player, and insists there is something very special about our travelling support.

The fans know how big a game it is, it's their last away day of the season, the sun will hopefully be shining and they will play their part

Jack Collison

"West Ham are lucky in that we have always had one of the best away followings of any club in the country," he said. "We always take thousands, no matter who the opposition, how far away it is, or what day and time it's played. It could be on a Monday night up north, live on TV, and we would still have a big away crowd.

"They certainly make themselves heard and, for the players, that is vital. You go to some big stadiums and if you run out for the warm-up and hear your fans singing louder than the home crowd, it immediately gives you a lift.

"I'm sure it will be no different at Leicester on Saturday. The fans know how big a game it is, it's their last away day of the season, the sun will hopefully be shining and they will play their part.

"I know for a fact, having been in that dressing room, the boys really appreciate the fact that the away fans spend their time and money, and the lengths they go to following the team around the country. They have had some tough days this season, but they've stayed loyal and behind the team, and on Saturday the lads need that more than ever."


Jack Collison, Matty Taylor and Kevin Nolan celebrate winning promotion in 2012


Thursday marked the sixth anniversary of a memorable away day in Collison's career – the Championship Play-Off semi-final second leg at Cardiff – when his double strike against the Bluebirds sealed a 3-0 aggregate won and a trip to Wembley for the final against Blackpool, an encounter that saw the Hammers bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

"Cardiff was a real memorable one," he says. "I remember scoring at the home end and heading off to run towards our fans at the other end, but had to stop on the halfway line because I was knackered!

"I also recall going up to Coventry that season and taking about 7,000 fans – it was almost like a home game for us.

"Scoring a goal away is always a unique feeling, because the home fans go silent and it's just you and your group celebrating together.

"I remember playing at Newcastle, where the away fans are up in the Gods, and Craig Bellamy scoring for us. The roar seemed to take ages to come down from the top of the stand but, when it hit us, it was a special moment.

"I think one of the best things I've seen at an away game though was just a couple of weeks ago, at Arsenal, when James Collins was right in the middle of our fans.

"The fact that one of our players can sit in among the fans, enjoy the game and cheer on the lads with everyone, is testament to our support. You won't find any better."