My friends Sean and Hayley had their first baby last week, a strapping young man named Tobias Craig. Here’s a quick letter to him from West Ham fans everywhere…
To baby Tobias,
Welcome to the world young man. On Wednesday evening you took your first breath and joined us. By us, I mean your mum and dad, Hayley and Sean; your grandparents and the rest of the family. And I wanted to also let you know that you’ve joined a community bigger than you’ll ever be able to fit inside a stadium. On behalf of every other West Ham supporter, let me be among the first to welcome you to a life wearing claret and blue. I was convinced you were going to be named Bobby Trevor Paulo Watson but I see Granddad didn’t get his way…
You’re joining a proud history of a club that values loyalty, family and community, things I know are important to your loved ones. You’re joining a club that is respected both locally and nationally for the support of its fans. I know that you’ll be over the Boleyn as soon as Sean can get you there. I also know how pleased he is to be able to watch games with his son. As his father did with him, and his father before that. Your granddad and dad have been my family’s Upton Park companions since I was a little girl. I have complete and utter faith that you’ll be a Junior Hammer before the end of the year.
You’ll grow to learn that being a Hammer isn’t something that you have any say in. Much like eye colour, ear lobes and whether or not you can roll your tongue, your claret and blue is genetically built in. You’ll also grow to learn, as we all have, that supporting West Ham United is one of the better traits a man can have. It tells the world something about you. It says that no matter what happens you can take it. It means that who you are isn’t about money or flashy tricks, but about being true to yourself. It stands for something much bigger than one person.
I’m sorry to tell you that there will be times when it’s going to hurt. There are going to be times when you won’t be able to take much more disappointment from a club that you love so much. I wish I could tell you that it’s not going to happen, but I can’t. What I can tell you is those are the times when being part of that community means more than any other. We promise we’ll be there for you, because we’ve been there before. And we know that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. We are West Ham United and we can weather any storm.
So I raise a glass to your birth Tobias, another lifelong West Ham fan joining the ranks. May you know happiness, excitement and victorious Cup Finals. May you travel to away games and see our beautiful country in new trainers if you’re going north of Watford. May you forever blow bubbles.
Love Hannah xx