BBM: When, how and why was group founded?
Tore Soyland: Scandinavian Hammers was founded in October 1988 by Rune Jensen. Rune is still active in the club attending lots of matches each season. To begin with, it was named West Ham United Supporters Club Scandinavian Branch, but was renamed to Scandinavian Hammers in 1995.
Gjermund Holt is our best known chairman. He retired ahead of this season after 20 years as head of the supporters club and I took over his position after several years as a board member. Both Tony Cottee and Julian Dicks are good friends with our supporters’ club today, and Scandinavian Hammers is the official sponsor of Julian himself and two of the players at West Ham Ladies.
How many members are there in your group today? How quickly has that membership risen since you founded?
Where do you watch games?
We want to be in the UK as often as possible watching the matches live, but we also get together in pubs. In Oslo, we have a particular pub we meet in for almost every match shown on TV. We also meet at the Supporters Cup in Oslo each summer and at various football pub quizzes all around Scandinavia.
How many times do members travel to games? Do you travel just to Upton Park or do you travel to away games too?
Some of our members are on site at more than 10 matches each year – home and away. The supporters’ club has a total of 11 season tickets, nine in the Bobby Moore Lower and two in the West Stand. If the owner is not using them, we arrange a lottery to decide who can you them the next match.
What have been your most memorable days as a supporters’ club?
I was first introduced to the supporters’ club in 1993. My first match was at Highbury in 1994 when we beat Arsenal 2-0 and Martin Allen and Trevor Morley scored the goals. After that I have been to approximately 100 West Ham matches but the best experience may have been the play-off final in 2012. That was a perfect day out! We often travel to UK in smaller groups but around three times each season we travel with over 50 persons from the supporters’ club.