After compiling a list of celebrity fans for a few clubs, it has to be said, West Ham are very well endowed in terms of the quality, and quantity. Although the Hammers might be struggling in the Premier League at the moment, West Ham fans from the East End to Essex should bear in mind that they are not alone, for example it appears the entire cast of EastEnders are going through exactly same thing. However, whilst Ross Kemp and Perry Fenwick are big names, we’ve got bigger fish to fry baby.
Some of the most notable names in politics, Hollywood, literature and shagging are known to support the Hammers. Therefore, whilst there are rumours abound that the likes of Dave Grohl, John Cleese and Macaulay Culkin all follow the Irons, I can assure you that the following 10 celebrities are all true supporters of East London’s favourite team…
1. Barack Obama
The President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, is a West Ham fan. During the race for the Presidency in 2008, an advisor let slip to the English media that Barack had followed the Hammers ever since making a visit to Kent to visit his half-sister Auma back in 2002.
His campaign team revealed that:
“Obama is a big sports nut and loves his soccer.
“He never really followed it, though, until he was told all about the passion of West Ham fans by some of his English relatives. He’s always keen to find out how his adopted club are getting on.”
This is all well and good, but how about instead of wasting his time trying to reform the American welfare system, he lobbies the Premier League for special dispensation that would see West Ham win the Premier League every year? A true President and leader of men would do nothing less for their team. Barack, you’re failing your public, and your club. Pull your finger out!
2. Matt Damon
Star of Good Will Hunting and Team America: World Police, Matt Damon is a self confessed Hammers fan having adopted the side during the shooting of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ before the film’s release in 1998.
“When I was in the UK for Saving Private Ryan, the only team they showed on TV consistently was Manchester United.
“But everyone on the crew assured me that was just like rooting for the New York Yankees, who I hate because I’m a huge Boston Red Sox fan.
“I don’t like supporting teams like Chelsea, Arsenal and Man U. I liked West Ham, though. I always try and catch one of their games when I’m over here.”
The Hollywood A-lister should perhaps consider joining the ICF. He could bring a bit of glamour and publicity to the group, and after shooting action thrillers such as the Bourne Trilogy, is likely to be a lot handier in a fight than Frodo Baggins.
3. Alfred Hitchcock
The greatest film maker that Britain ever produced, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, was a proper Hammer.
Hitchcock was the son of East End greengrocers William and Emma Hitchcock, and despite his moving to Hollywood and becoming one of the world’s most famous directors, ‘Hitch’ never relinquished his love for the club, telling colleagues in Hollywood that he subscribed to English newspapers in order to keep track of their results.
Hitchcock is famous for his innovative approach, pioneering many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres and his collection of works-Dial M for Murder, The Birds, Psycho and Vertigo for example-are still renowned today. However, none of his films will surely compare with the suspense supporters face as West Ham scrap to avoid relegation this season.
4. Sebastian Faulks
Author of Charlotte Grey, Birdsong and more recently Devil May Care (the thirty-sixth James Bond novel), Sebastian Faulks is not only one of the country’s most popular novelists, but he is also an avid follower of West Ham.
In an interview with the Independent in 2000, Faulkes cites his reason for following the Hammers.
“Historic reasons. But I like them because, as Eyal Berkovic said, they are like a pub side: three hugely gifted, three who can play a bit, and the rest pick-ups from the public bar. They remind me of the teams I used to play for.
Hmm. Not exactly the most glowing assessment of the West Ham United team of 1999-2000, especially when considering the team contained Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Frederic Kanoute and Paolo Di Canio. Faulkes must have played in one hell of a pub team.
5. Richard E Grant.
Star of Hollywood Blockbusters such as ‘LA Story’, ‘Age of Innocence’ and ‘Spice World’, the British actor of South African descent is a huge West Ham supporter too. The actor appeared on Soccer AM on the morning of the 2006 FA Cup final with Liverpool, where he declared his love for the club.
Teetotaler Grant shot to prominence in the UK owing to his performance as an alcoholic out of work actor in British black comedy ‘Withnail and I’, where the character demanded ‘the finest wines known to humanity’, lighter fluid, and whatever drugs were on offer throughout the film. Today the film is a cult classic, and Grant remains a national treasure – and a Hammer- to this day.
6. Ray Winstone
Winstone is a well known Hammers fan, having been born in Hackney and living in East London until the age of seven.
Although Winstone is now a star in Hollywood, appearing in blockbusters such as The Departed, Beowulf and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Winstone still keeps abreast of how the Hammers are doing, where ever he may be in the world. In an interview with the Guardian last year, Winstone describes how he follows his team whilst on location:
“In the Australian outback you haven’t got much chance beyond the odd newspaper, but somewhere like New York it’s great. You get up at seven o’clock in the morning, go down to a pub on Third Avenue, all the London kids who work on the stock exchange are out there, it’s like having an English crowd in an American boozer. It’s always early morning, so you say you’re not going to drink…”
Winstone is perhaps the most well-known celebrity West Ham fan, and Harry Redknapp even admitted that if a film was made on his life, he’d want Winstone to play his part. Winstone better do some method acting then. Now Ray repeat after me ‘When I came to Tottenham, we only had two points from eight games…’
7. Russell Brand
Essex born, former shagger of the year Russell Brand is a well known Hammer, following his father’s example by avidly supporting The Irons, and attending games whenever his schedule permits.
West Ham supporters can thank ol’Russ and his other half, Katy Perry, for singlehandedly putting West Ham on the map after his fiancé donned a West Ham United outfit at the MTV European Music Awards in 2009.
Russell has two books published containing his musings on the beautiful game (‘Irons in the Fire’ and ‘Articles of Faith’) containing an assortment of the articles he wrote for the Guardian. Today, despite becoming nice and famous, Brand still writes the odd football column, and can now be read in the News of the World.
8. Pixie Lott
Another big name, another big West Ham fan. After seeing Katy Perry dress up in a West Ham get-up at the MTV awards, Essex-girl Pixie lowered her guard to reveal her love for the Hammers:
“I’m not sure I’d actually dress up for a boyfriend – but I really want that West Ham outfit.
“It’s amazing. I’m a massive West Ham fan so I obviously love the outfit.
“I used to know the names of all the players, but my schedule is so busy I’ve lost touch a bit.”
9. Keira Knightley
Knightly is not only one of Britain’s leading actresses, the Pirates of the Caribbean star is also a very big West Ham fan, and like fellow thespians Russell Brand and Ray Winstone, ensures that when she can, she watches the games live or catches them on the box.
Following West Ham’s promotion to the Premier League in 2005, Knightly struggled to contain her excitement after watching the game at a pub in Santa Monica:
“The atmosphere there is amazing. The games are shown at 6am and the pub is always packed.
“I plan on watching all the West Ham games I can this season. We’re back in the Premiership and we’re going to stay up.”
10. James Corden
Corden is perhaps best known as West Ham United loving ‘Smithy’ in Gavin and Stacey, a British sitcom he wrote and starred in along with Ruth Jones, whom he met whilst filming comedy series ‘Fat Friends’.
Corden, like his character ‘Smithy’, is a huge West Ham fan. For example, although Corden is now a huge celebrity, he claims he is still star-struck when meeting footballers, specifically West Ham players (Corden claimed on Football Focus that upon meeting Lee Bowyer, he struggled to get his sentences out-I’d be pretty scared too in fairness).
Corden still has a season ticket at the club, and remains one of their most famous celebrity supporters.
Well, there you have it. The President of the United States, a former shagger of the year and several Hollywood powerhouses all follow West Ham United. In fairness this list could have been the top 20 or even 30, such is West Ham’s celebrity following. However if you have proof that Dave Grohl is in actual fact a member of the ICF, or you’re outraged that David Essex was omitted from the list, feel free to get involved in the comment box below.