West Ham's Most Famous Fans: Katy Perry, Barack Obama, Matt Damon and More
It’s widely known West Ham has one of the most passionate fanbases.
Did you also know the team has a huge celebrity fanbase?
West Ham supporters have changed the face of comedy, topped the charts, won world championships, directed countless classic films, shredded countless classic riffs, written best-selling novels, been nominated for Oscars and ascended to arguably the highest public office in the free world.
Here’s a list of 16 of the most well-known, influential and passionate West Ham supporters.
Here’s a great story for you.
Matt Damon was in England a handful of years ago and, being the open-minded guy he is, decided to look into the local sport of choice.
When Damon mentioned Manchester United, his English mates told him rooting for United equates to rooting for the Yankees; not something a devout Red Sox fan wants to hear.
“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,” Damon said.
Lead Foo Dave Grohl apparently took up watching the EPL during an extensive tour of the UK during his band's early years.
In an interview with VH1, Grohl spoke of his affection for the EPL, mentioning West Ham in particular as a team he enjoys watching.
As far as we can tell, this makes Millwall the Courtney Love of British football.
Oscar-nominated actress Keira Knightley keeps up with Hammer activities as best she can while on location for films like “Pirates of the Carribbean” and “Atonement.”
After watching the Hammers gain promotion to the EPL in 2005, Knightley proclaimed in an interview: “The atmosphere there is amazing. The games are shown at 6 a.m., 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.”
Novelist Sebastian Faulks is one of England’s most popular writers, as well as a West Ham supporter.
When asked why he supported West Ham, Faulks responded with the type of bloated, pretentious nonsense we’ve come to expect from self-important British writers:
“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.”
But he’s a Hammers fan, so we can forgive his pomposity.
Phil Collen will, among other things, pour some sugar on you.
He’ll also induce hysteria by bringing on the heartbreak while taking a photograph of a foolin’ animal that’s too late for love.
So who is this Hammers fan? Why, the lead guitarist for Def Leopard, of course! When he’s not rocking out with a one-armed drummer, Collen is supporting the Irons.
John Cleese is one of Britain’s most important 20th century comedic voices.
With the possible exception of Peter Sellers, Cleese has had a bigger impact on the world of comedy than any other British voice of the past 50 years.
From his time in Monty Python and “Fawlty Towers,” to his performances in films like “A Fish Called Wanda,” which Cleese also wrote, his influence is tremendous.
In addition to all these things, Johnny boy is a lifelong West Ham United fan.
Rivals of West Ham’s notorious hooligan gang Inter City Firm (ICF) thank their lucky stars the day of every match that West Ham native and Irons supporter Lennox Lewis decided to pursue boxing professionally and not as a match-day hobby.
Lewis retired from professional boxing in 2004 as the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world, much in the same way that West Ham United is—at least in spirit—champions of the footballing world.
First, we’ll admit Rod Stewart is kind of a tool.
His work with the Jeff Beck Group and Faces is beyond reproach, but it’s been all downhill since he started making cover albums for geriatrics and looking like a combination of Barry Manilow and a female porn star from the '80s.
Stewart is a well-known Celtic supporter on account of his Scottish heritage and a noted Manchester Untied fan. However, the poor man’s Sam Cooke considers West Ham his London side.
Russell Brand is, among other things, a recovering sex and drug addict, a good friend to Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, a struggling film actor, a whacked-out comedian and…oh yeah, a West Ham fan.
Brand’s love of West Ham stems from his father’s love of West Ham, a father who also, according to the comedian, took the young lad to a brothel as a form of father-son bonding.
While Russell gave up heroin after being caught shooting up in the bathroom at a Christmas party, he has yet to surrender his love of the Irons.
Ray Winstone is badass. There’s no two ways about it.
Seen “The Departed?" Remember the guy who smashes DiCaprio’s hand on a pool table? That’s Winstone.
Seen “Sexy Beast?" Winstone plays the film’s principal character and does a much better job of facing up to the terrifying Don Logan than any of you would.
Winstone was born in Hackney, London, and currently lives in Essex. In 2009, the fierce thespian became a spokesperson for West Ham's newly redesigned kit.
“It is nice—it makes me feel very slim funny enough! It is the claret and blue and that's all I am worried about,” he said in an interview with the club.
This probably isn’t true, but the name is just too good for us to let slip through our fingers.
West Hammer time!
MC West Hammer!
West Ham is too legit to quit!
And the awfulness goes on and on for eternity.
Few football fans have shredded as many bass riffs in their lifetime as West Ham supporter Steve Harris.
Harris is a founding member of heavy-metal maestros Iron Maiden and contributes bass, keyboards, backing vocals and songwriting to the group.
In his teenage years, Harris was a talented footballer who played for the West Ham youth system. Though he decided to pursue the call of righteous shredding over football, Harris is a dedicated West Ham fan and frequently decorates his basses with the West Ham crest.
Songwriter, musician, progressive political activist, West Ham fan. London legend Billy Bragg is all of these things and more.
An originator of the folk-punk genre, Bragg is in many ways the true successor to great American songwriter Woody Guthrie. He earns bonus points for his love of marmite, which has led him to wear marmite apparel—including a T-shirt designed like a marmite label—on multiple occasions.
Billy is currently waiting for two things: West Ham to win the premiership, and the great leap forward.
One of cinema’s most acclaimed and singular talents, British director Alfred Hitchcock veritably invented a genre (they call it “Hitchcockian,” before you ask).
Al was also a diehard Hammers fan. So much so he had English newspapers sent to Los Angeles every day so he could keep up with the club’s results and developments.
Ray Winstone: cockney geezer. Lennox Lewis: West Ham native. Russell Brand: somewhat-funny, somewhat-irritating comedian. Barack Obama: Harvard Law graduate, president of the United States.
The story goes like this: President Obama’s sister lives in East London. She and her family support the Hammers. On a trip to London, Obama sat down with the family, watched a West Ham match on TV and was hooked.
Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported Osama Bin Laden is an Arsenal fan, Nelson Mandela supports Manchester United and John Major supports Chelsea.
Here’s a piece of logic for all of you: West Ham is to Millwall as Barack Obama is to John McCain.
To what extent chart-topping sex kitten and former contemporary Christian singer Katy Perry actually follows the day-to-day happenings of the Hammers is unclear, though her husband, comedian Russell Brand, is a die-hard Irons supporter.
As an act of homage to Brand’s passion, Perry took the stage at the 2009 MTV Awards wearing West Ham lingerie. The claret and blue has rarely looked as good—or as strange—as it did on the songstress’ halter top and frilly underpants.