It takes a special someone to be a football fan. Not just anybody can do it. You can’t just one day pick up a prawn sandwich, sing along to ‘Three Lions’ and think you know it all from your corporate box. Heavens above no! It takes dedication. It takes sacrifices. It takes balls!
But then there’s being a West Ham fan. I’m sure all fans say their fans are special but I believe that at West Ham you have to have a bit more about you than most clubs. These I’m sure are recognisable in most readers
1) A sense of humour.
Where else in the country would fans be amused at the ineptitude of Avram Grant even when he’s in charge? At what other grounds in the land would you have an entire section of crowd singing at some poor sod in the front row for wearing pink? Add to that, where would you see a man in pink milking the attention of a sing-along piss-take!? West Ham that’s where!
2) Self aware
We realise we’re not a Champions League side, we realise we can’t compete with Manchester City, Manchester United and even QPR for big transfer fees and wages. And we realise that there are many clubs ahead of us when it comes to cups and glory. This is why when even a glimmer of success comes our way we are….
Remember the Play-Offs Final!? (How could we forget!?) Not only did we win despite a very nervy performance, but us fans were magnificent and appreciative throughout. We recognised the efforts our players had put themselves through. Yes it’s their job, but when we hear that Carlton Cole took a pay cut to stay with us then 95% of us ultimately show our appreciation and respect.
Like with our appreciation and self awareness we are also brutally honest. Whilst a lot of our fans got on Big Sam’s back last year, we’ve been honest enough to see that he was a success. The majority of Kevin Nolan’s detractors from last season have been open and honest enough to say he’s had a blistering start to the season. I’m honest enough to say I was wrong about Ricardo Vaz Te. (I was also right about David Bentley though!)
You wanna be a Hammer? Then don’t worry about losing to Torquay in the FA Cup. Don’t concern yourself with humiliating defeats to Wigan Athletic, at 3-0 up at home and losing 3-4, it doesn’t matter! We’ll live to fight another day. And if we have to travel away to Hull, City or Sunderland, or Newcastle United, then we’ll sell out our allocation and sing louder than the home fans. So along with the loyalty, make sure you have a good voice!
So those are a few things it takes to be an iron. If anything it’s not something that you just pick up. You are part of a family. The banter, the belonging. The ups, the downs. The cheers, the tears. The pride of being a West Ham fan is immeasurable.