Hammers full of praise for travelling support in Croatia
The night of Thursday 16 September 2021 was one to cherish and remember.
West Ham United ran out 2-0 winners at Dinamo Zagreb in the Club’s first-ever UEFA Europa League group-stage fixture as they were backed by 1,500 supporters who had made the long voyage east to the Maksimir Stadium.
Despite travelling over a thousand miles for the chance to witness the occasion, the Hammers fans were in fine voice throughout and never stopped singing throughout the 90 minutes of the first leg of our European tour.
Their outstanding form was visibly appreciated on the pitch by manager David Moyes and his players, who went across to the away end at full-time to return the applause and show their gratitude for such a strong backing.
Special occasions like Thursday, every Hammer recognised, are made so by the efforts of the fans – and on a proud night for the Club, Moyes and his players were full of praise for the travelling support.
“It was a brilliant night to get our first taste of it,” Moyes smiled afterwards, after cheerily obliging a request to give the Hammers fans a wave during his post-match media duties!<
“I hope they all enjoy Zagreb – I’m sure they will!
“We’re hopefully trying to get them more of this. I’m hoping the crowd will get used to it as well, but obviously it’s the start, so we’re just taking it on. It’s a great win.”
🎶 DAVID MOYES' CLARET AND BLUE ARMY 🎶 pic.twitter.com/7JqRlEO0W6— West Ham United (@WestHam) September 16, 2021
Declan Rice, wearing the captain’s armband on his 150th appearance for the club, and scorer of the crucial second goal on the night, reiterated his manager’s sentiments.
“It was amazing, incredible,” he beamed. “We didn’t want to let the fans down tonight.
“We knew we had a tough game to come out here tonight and that we had to get the three points not only for ourselves, but also the travelling fans – they’ve been amazing.”
Speaking after helping the team to a clean sheet on his West Ham United debut, Kurt Zouma was also delighted to make his bow in front of such outstanding support.
Zouma smiled: “Seriously, thanks to them, because there were a lot of fans here supporting us and the game was for them.
“We did it well for them and they really deserve it. Hopefully we can keep them happy and make ourselves happy too.”
Right-back Ryan Fredericks made his first start of the season at Maksimir Stadium and paid tribute to the electric atmosphere created by the travelling West Ham fans.
“We’re all buzzing with that,” the 28-year-old reflected. “It was a lot of people’s first time playing in Europe, and it was the perfect start to be honest.
“We were all buzzing, all excited all day, and to come out and give that for the fans who have travelled was great.
“The fans were amazing. To come all the way here on a so-called ‘school night’… they were singing, chanting for the full 90 minutes, and I’m glad we could just give them something to sing about.
“Hopefully they have safe journeys home, and I’m glad they could go home happy.”