Adrian enjoyed a trip down memory lane at the West Ham United Foundation’s Any Old Irons session at the East Ham Working Men's Club.
The goalkeeper attended as part of filming for the Foundation’s Match of the Day 2 slot, which aired on Sunday 6 May.
As part of the day, Adrian enjoyed a lively question and answer session with the group of older supporters and then spent time chatting to them personally at the event in east London, signing shirts and posing for selfies with the older Hammers.
It was fantastic to meet some of our older supporters and see the passion they have for the Club
The popular Spanish stopper said, “It was fantastic to meet some of our older supporters and see the passion they have for the Club. This is a great project, and it shows that these people have been following West Ham for a very long time and they had some great stories to tell. There were some tough questions in the session too!”
Maria Abraham, Health Manager at West Ham United Foundation, said, “Any Old Irons has been so successful since we launched it, and I absolutely love seeing so many fans and friendships being made because of it.”
“By bringing together Hammers’ fans who may not be socially active, we are helping to keep vulnerable fans connected. It's great to see so many supporters from different generations bonding over our club and their shared memories. Loneliness and social isolation is such a big issue in the community at the moment, so this project is helping tackle that.”
Run in conjunction with Friends of the Elderly, Any Old Irons gives participants the opportunity to connect with other fans and locals in their community, bringing them together for fun and friendship. Those attending can also learn how to stay in touch with their fellow fans and the Club using digital technology.
Don Adams, 67, from east London, took part in the first programme back in March 2015, and now heads up the spin off ‘Sporting Stories’ project that sees a large proportion of Any Old Irons participants continue to meet up after their five week cohort has finished. After retiring six years ago, Don found there was nothing of interest for him to get involved with.
He said, “You hear so many things aimed at senior women but little that also includes men. Any Old Irons has truly changed my life. It’s got me out of the house, it’s got me interacting with other people and I’ve made so many new friends – and done things I thought I’d never be able to do!”
With the project now expanding into Tower Hamlets, and plans to keep growing the sessions into 2018, the scheme has gone from strength to strength. Over 200 people have been engaged through the project – with dozens of friendships forged and memories shared during that time.
If you’d like to sign up for Any Old Irons, or know someone who’d be interested in joining the scheme, please contact [email protected] today!