I have been a West Ham fan for approximately 15 years. I say approximately because I liked them a bit before the age of 10, but it was always a bit uncool to admit it at school in Kent.
To give a little more background on my personal Hammers journey, I was born in Greenwich and then lived in Romford, hence my local West Ham connections. Add to that a West Ham mad Dad, and there was never going to be any other way for me. I grew to love West Ham, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In terms of my geographic location, that has changed a few times. As mentioned, I went to school in Kent and then moved to Chester for University, but still continued with my season ticket commitment.
I then made an even bigger move at the start of this season, the opening day to be precise. I moved over to the smallest county in Ireland, County Louth. I moved with every intention of attending as many games as possible, mostly away fixtures, and this season I have been to six away matches and will attend the last home fixture of the season against Reading.
I thought this would be a nice time to reflect on life as a Hammer over in Ireland after living here for almost a whole season so far. Nowadays I get far more excited about seeing someone with a claret and blue shirt on and on the rare occasion I do, feel the need to shout out to them but haven’t gained the courage to do so yet!
I’ve seen a West Ham car sticker on a country road in the middle of nowhere, and heard about a West Ham fan who lives vaguely close by, but that’s about as much contact as I get. I thought I’d ask around to find out what it’s like for fellow Hammers to live in Ireland, and was contacted by the Dublin Hammers supporters club, which has been running since 1991.
It does what it says on the tin; it’s a supporters club for West Ham fans based in and around Dublin, who want to meet up, watch matches and attend a couple of games together each season. Brian Madden is on the committee and has been supporting the Hammers since 1975. He travels to two games every season with the Dublin Hammers.
On being a Hammer in Ireland, Brian said: “When I was younger I didn’t know very many Hammers fans as Ireland was and still is full of Man Utd and Liverpool fans. By the 90’s the Dublin Hammers was up and running, I joined and haven’t look back since.” I also asked Brian if he felt isolated from the club at all. He replied: “I don’t think you could say “isolated” from the club it’s not their fault I’m from Ireland. I would love to get to the Boleyn for more games but it’s very expensive getting to and from London, plus match tickets, but there is nothing like being in the Bobby Moore Stand when West Ham score.”
Paul Smith is the brains behind the IT side of the supporters club. He is originally from Billericay and moved to Bray in Co. Wicklow in 1989. His first game was in 1977 and it was a 1-0 defeat to Leeds United. Paul attends as many of the Dublin Hammers’ meetings as possible to watch games on television, and tries to attend at least one of the arranged trips every season.
Paul was very honest about being a West Ham fan in Ireland. He said: “It’s always treated as a bit of a joke when I say I support West Ham by the glory hunting plastic hordes over here, but I am never worried by it. I’m West Ham and that’s it.” I also asked Paul about the possibility of being isolated, and he replied: “As for feeling isolated from the club, not in the slightest. In this day and age of the Internet, I keep up to date by online reading, especially the KUMB website/forums and lately the podcast.”
However, he admits that he was concerned when he first decided to move over. But his concerns were soon put aside: “My only worry when we moved to Ireland was that I would miss all things West Ham, but I have to say that once I found the Dublin Hammers everything was – as they say over here – ‘grand’.” So, there’s a few of us over in Ireland. From a personal point of view, I absolutely agree with both Brian and Paul, it’s impossible to feel isolated from West Ham in this day and age.
The Internet is a fantastic tool to keep the whole world updated on everyday goings on and debates, and then it also helps us to meet up with fellow fans both on social occasions and at matches. I’ve met many fellow Twitter users over the last couple of years, and it’s been brilliant.
West Ham will also play friendlies in Cork and Limerick in the upcoming pre-season warm-ups. These might be a bit of a trek away, but I’ll do my best to make it to at least one. It will be nice to watch my beloved West Ham in a country I now call home. If you do happen to live in and around the Dublin area and wish to contact the Dublin Hammers, then you can find their details at.