The first steps of our passion for English football started around 1980 when TV Capodistria and TV Switzerland started to televise games. Many Italians loved the style of play and the unique atmosphere that England’s beautiful stadiums create. Th ere are many different reasons why fans would chose West Ham to follow but the club’s great crest, famous stadium with the stands close to the pitch, the warm and passionate fans and the fact it was from an interesting district in East London, with special people, all appealed.
In 1995 we decided to send a letter to West Ham United, because we wanted to know if it was possible to go and see a match without much trouble. Th e club replied with lots of information about the stadium and even provided details of how to use the underground and what the ticket prices were.
A few months later some Italian Hammers watched West Ham United play Chelsea. We can remember a beautiful and warm atmosphere, the continuous encouragement and tough tackles. It was a great experience, and when we returned home from England we shared our passion with our friends, and soon other Italians wanted to go to London.
The launch of the internet in the late 1990s allowed more fans to connect and the blogs and stories of those supporters who had been to London encouraged more to make the trip. Th e arrival of Paolo Di Canio to West Ham increased interest further and a lot of Italians became West Ham supporters, and Gianfranco Zola also attracted a new generation. In 2010 we were recognised as an official supporters group by the club and we have now featured in both the match day programme and on the club’s website.
Today we have more members than ever and every year all the Italian Hammers gather somewhere in Italy for a great ‘Claret and Blue Hug’. For more information about our group visit our website (station936.it). We also have a YouTube channel and are on Facebook and Twitter.