How does a rugby/cricket focused sports fan become a West Ham season ticket holder? I think I have to go back to the beginning as far as my football watching days are concerned.
West Ham are my ‘family’ team, going back to my Grandfather, who took my Dad in hand taking him along to Upton Park to watch his Hammers – I believe his preference had been Charlton Athletic having been brought up in the area. Then in turn my Dad took both of my brothers, who have since indoctrinated their own sons. Strangely I can only recall going to West Ham once with my Dad.
He must have been mortified when I acquired a fairly significant Tottenham Hotspur habit in my teens, initially down to a boyfriend I carried on my visits, standing on The Shelf with a group of friends. I can recall one match where I barely saw any football, I was too busy trying to stay on my feet!
I went the whole hog for my team through those years, rocking up on a Saturday with a scarf tied to my wrist, I was something of a tom boy to say the least! My viewing was made easier (I am vertically challenged at 5ft 2) with an infant school stool I took to stand on.
As a group we used to play darts in the pub on a Friday evening, followed by poker for money until the early hours then off we went to the match. One habit I’ve never repeated is leaving a game early; the driver amongst us insisted we did so every week, we left when playing Aston Villa one week, big rivals, the score was 1 All when we left but Spurs won 3 – 1 after 2 great goals we missed!!
Marriage to a man who played football on a Saturday saw my football watching days changed and although we went to a few Spurs games over the years any regular attendance was stopped in its’ tracks.
My sports watching shifted in the direction of rugby league with my second marriage (yep, twice – I won’t be going for it a 3rd time!) and rugby union was added in as time went on.
Once I found myself single and fairly fancy free I decided that watching sport really was the thing I loved to do most of all. I took advantage of the season ticket of a friend who was unable to make it to every West Ham game and started to experience an afternoon at West Ham on my own.
I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, from the journey to Upton Park to the banter with the people I was sitting with. I felt safe, if that makes sense? I even had that feeling of security when I bought a ticket to watch Manchester United in whatever the League Cup was called at that time, although I learnt never to buy a ticket in the Bobby Moore Lower again; standing and watching in a seated area really isn’t my idea of a good experience.
Over the last 5 years whenever I’ve been without a rugby match to go to I’ve checked out West Ham possibilities and managed to get along to a game. I saw Leicester City early in this season and was impressed and surprised by the way they played, yet had no idea they’d end up Premier League winners.
In the last few weeks with tickets thin on the ground as West Ham are playing their last few matches at the Boleyn Ground I’ve gone along to the U21’s Cup Final and the England v Germany Legends match. (photos included)
I confess I was less than impressed by a couple of young lads at the Final, and recognise there will still be a number who lean towards the old football hooligan way of behaving, but again on the whole I enjoyed both games.
Hearing that season tickets at the Olympic Stadium were likely to be very reasonable I took a punt, paid the £10 and put my name on the waiting list. I was stupidly excited to get the call to say I could make an appointment to see about buying myself that season ticket, that was another £10 fee, but I felt certain I’d buy that seat.
I’d been to the Olympic Stadium during the Rugby Union World Cup, it’s pretty much a 30 minute train journey from where I live. I didn’t really need to be sold the whole season ticket thing, but the video produced to encourage helped me to make my decision. At, effectively just under £560 for a 2 year ticket to watch Premier League football it was a no brainer.
I look forward to being a regular at football again, in reality rugby and Saracens in particular will take priority, but I’m certain there will be enough games that don’t clash to see me joining in with ‘Bubbles’ (one of the best sounds in sport) on a regular basis! I can’t wait, I’ve ordered a shirt and no doubt a scarf will come along, round the neck however rather than the wrist! Back to my roots I go!