West Ham United’s annual Family Fun Day took place at their home of the London Stadium on Tuesday, following last Saturday’s crucial Premier League victory over Southampton.
The whole of the mens’ and ladies’ first-teams squads were present along with manager David Moyes, who led an open training session with his side in front of 5,000 spectators on the hallowed turf of the former Olympic Stadium.
The Ladies’ side, who take on Charlton Athletic this evening in the final of the Isthmian League Cup, interacted with supporters on the Stadium’s London Marathon Community Track with a series of fun games for young fans.
They then moved inside the Stadium to sign autographs for fans ahead of their final clash, while Moyes’ first-team conducted a training session and invited a lucky few young followers to join them for a kick-about on the pitch.
The players also signed autographs and took selfies with the record number of supporters that showed up for the event, many of them youngsters on their Easter half-term.
As on a matchday, the club’s two mascots Bubbles the Bear and Hammerhead kept supporters in the Betway Stand entertained throughout, along with ex-West Ham star Carlton Cole.
Cole announced his retirement from a playing career that lasted for the best part of 20 years last week via the club he netted over 50 goals and made close to 300 appearances for.
Once the Hammers stars had recovered and changed from their training, they attended Junior Hammers Party which was held inside the Stadium, where yet more autographs were signed, selfies taken and fun games played.
This all came just days after Moyes’ side moved five points clear of the relegation zone with an emphatic triumph over Mark Hughes’ Saints at London Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Inter Milan loanee Joao Mario opened the scoring on that day and had this to say to the club’s Official Website WHUFC.com about the Fun Day and what it means to the supporters and the players.
“It’s a really nice day for us with our squad and our fans and a lot of kids, so I’m really happy for us all to be here and enjoy it with them, we try to provide an enjoyable experience for them and to give youngsters the opportunity to train with us was amazing.”
Cole, who also provided followers of the club’s social media channels who couldn’t make it to Stratford with his own coverage of the day, clearly enjoyed the event as much as his supporters did, also speaking to WHUFC.com.
“It’s basically a Fun Day for the fans and it’s great that West Ham put on days like this to connect with the fans and make sure they feel a part of what West Ham is all about.”
“West Ham has always been a family club and, especially over the Easter holidays when the kids are off school, it’s important to get the parents and kids together and coming out to spend time with the team they support.”
The ex-England International and fan favourite during his time at the Boleyn Ground continued, “This is what West Ham is about. I’ve always said the fans are the 12th man and they’ll be there for us through thick and thin. As long as you’ve got the fans’ support, you’ve got a chance of getting back on form and churning out a good result.
“What’s going on here is excellent for the morale of the team and the morale of the fans as well.”
While the annual event would have proved a welcome distraction from serious footballing matters for all involved with the Irons, they undoubtedly must now focus their minds on Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
The weekend’s beating of Southampton saw them move up to 14th in the Premier League standings ahead of the journey to West London to face Chelsea, now a full five points clear of the dreaded relegation zone.