#13: Perth Hammers

Brian Riddle gives us an insight into the history of the now defunct West Ham United Supporters Club Australia and the birth of the Perth Hammers

I t was in 1989 where the foundations of the West Ham United Supporters Club Australia — and in effect the Perth Hammers – were set with Robert Clements and I coming together to start the group. After flicking through the supporters’ section of British Soccer Weekly, where groups were starting up by advertising in the paper, we agreed to place an advert, and we immediately started getting calls.

The first WHUSCA meeting was in Churchill’s Tavern in Perth in the October 1989 and I was nominated Chairman and Robert was nominated Secretary. One of the main reasons for setting up the club was to give fans emigrating over here a chance to meet up with fellow fans and watch the games together. Eventually, people touring Australia started popping up at various meetings and it wasn’t long before the calls started coming in from other states, with branches in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane set up.

At the time, the only way we could get to see games was by ordering videos from the club and we had a game sent over every month which we all chipped in for. We took turns in the beginning having the meetings in one another’s houses until the numbers got too big, and we eventually found a pub that was willing to show our games. Regarding promoting the club here in Perth, we had a radio station called 6NR which covered British football on a Saturday night.

It had a phone-in segment so fans from various clubs could phone and chat about their teams which helped their supporters’ clubs. It also had a live game which was another great feature. We developed a very good social side of the club, we used to organise barbecues on the South Perth foreshore and we would meet up for birthdays and at Christmas.

We also played football in South Perth on Sunday mornings and entered a couple of fivea-side events organised by 6NR and British Soccer Weekly. Eventually the club fell apart nationally after I entrusted it to another person from another state and all the other state branches broke away and changed their name. We called ours West Ham Supporters Club Western Australia.

From the time of the WHUSCA inception the game and life in general has moved on with the Premier League, Sky, Fox and the internet having taken everything to a different level. We now have various social media outlets that makes information available immediately online. No one is waiting for a paper or a newsletter to appear in their letterbox. Our club has moved on here in Perth. We now have a new chairman, Max Nosworthy, and co-chairman, Janine Hamersley, with the club now called Perth Hammers. We have confidence in Max and Janine taking the club further.

We recently raised $1000 for a stone to be placed at the Olympic Stadium when it opens in August as West Ham’s new ground. The funds were raised through the sale of Perth Hammers ‘Proud Member’ car stickers. We are proud of our stone, which is testament to those who have pledged support over the years and to those who have led our supporters’ club to become the great group it is today.

*Follow them on Twitter @PerthHammers.

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