Baltimore Hammers

West Ham welcome Baltimore Hammers to London Stadium

West Ham United welcomed two devoted fans to London Stadium on Monday after they flew 3,700 miles from North America to watch the Hammers secure a thrilling 4-2 victory over Brentford.

Scotty Burkhardt and his mate Aaron Houston made the trip from the US city of Baltimore, Maryland, to watch their beloved Hammers end their six-game wait for a Premier League victory.

The Club has a long-standing history with the city that goes back as far as 1969, when West Ham masqueraded as the Baltimore Bays for the summer North American Soccer League (NASL) tournament. That has not been forgotten in Charm City and their support for the Irons has been handed down the generations through the past 55 years.

And now, five-plus decades on, they are the only true West Ham-supporting bar across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Around 40-50 Hammers fans meet up every matchday at the Abbey Burger Bistro to watch the game and show their support from the other side of the continent.

Scotty and Aaron could have stayed in their cushy comfort zone in the 20-degree Baltimore sunshine. But they decided to make the memorable trip to watch their team on a cold night in east London.

“It means absolutely everything, to be here, be able to see the stadium and see the fans and be a part of the atmosphere is a dream come true,” they said.

“It’s absolutely amazing. We did a stadium tour yesterday [Sunday] and I cried when we got onto the pitch. It’s just absolutely beautiful and a pleasure to be here.

“It’s just something that has been passed down generation after generation, not just in east London but also in Baltimore city. It’s a match made in heaven, and it is something that means a tremendous amount to the Baltimore Hammers. I’m lost for words.

“I think a lot of the connection comes from Baltimore being a working-class town and that’s how West Ham started out as well, local lads coming together to play football, and it’s been built on ever since.

“We love what this Club represents in both our shared history of ship building, iron works and trade unionism. The fan base and the identity of the Club has grown over the years, we’re now in London Stadium and it’s massive. But it’s never lost its identity though and West Ham is a Club for everybody.”

Baltimore Hammers

The duo have supported West Ham for around a decade and, while it was Aaron’s first trip to London Stadium, Scotty attempts to make the trip yearly. Every other weekend, they are up at sunrise watching the Hammers on the TV in their local pub.

They are also hoping to start some fundraisers in the near future to ensure that their fellow Hammers in Baltimore can live a similar experience that they had.

“We’ve sort of hijacked one of our local pubs called the Abbey in Baltimore city at the harbour, and as far as we know, it’s the only true West Ham bar in North America, throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico,” Scotty said. “It’s a West Ham only pub and when you come in, you instantly feel at home. This club means a tremendous amount to us and the fans in Baltimore city.

“We’re averaging around 40-50 fans on a slow day but for the [UEFA] Conference League final we were over capacity. It was unbelievable. We try to pack it out every home, away and European game. 7.30am on the East Coast is an early time but we have a good crowd show up and have a good time.

“We are looking to start doing some non-profit fundraisers and hopefully along the way have some money to help the other guys who can’t afford the out-of-pocket cost to come here and witness a game in person as it’s a life changing experience. It’s my first time to be able to be here and see a game in person and I can tell you it means the world for me to be here, and I want to be able to share that with my friends in the Baltimore Hammers, but also to be able to do some charitable work and support youth leagues and the surrounding area to try make a difference.

We travelled 3,700 miles, nine hours of travelling, but it was 36 straight hours of no sleep to get here. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’re here for 90 minutes of football at the best Club in the world. We were fortunate enough to be in the position that we were able to come here and experience this and be a part of this family, community and bring a bit of love back to Baltimore city. You just feel at home. I’m amongst my family and to be able to bring that back to Baltimore just reinvigorates you.”

Baltimore Hammers

They were both quick to highlight the importance of having these relationships between the Club and fan bases across the globe – and couldn’t have been more grateful.

“This is something we could have never expected, but to see the club reinvesting in the supporters this way is absolutely fantastic and to be able to have that face-to-face connection with the club is amazing,” they said. “It’s an experience every fan would wish to have. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and wish everyone got the same opportunity.

“I’ve been working with the Supporters' Club and am trying to build this non-for-profit incorporation that we have in the USA. The game is expanding. We have the World Cup coming up [in 2026] and it’s an untapped market, but I think West Ham United are really taking that charge and trying to get back to 1969 in Baltimore. The community is eager, we are ready and West Ham are capitalising on it and we are so fortunate to be part of that story and journey.”