West Ham group Any Old Irons are mascots for Women's team
PUBLISHED: 08:30 12 January 2019
Novel idea proves a great success for Hammers' golden oldies
West Ham’s Women’s Super League clash with Arsenal had all the hallmarks of a big occasion with the game being broadcast live on BBC and almost a thousand fans in attendance.
But, for a group of ‘Any Old Irons’, the day was extra special thanks to the West Ham United Players’ Project.
Following the Players’ Project launch in November, Kate Longhurst and Jane Ross, together with Adrian, Issa Diop and Arthur Masuaku, attended Any Old Irons ‘Pie and Mash’ Christmas Event.
Jane and Kate wanted to continue their association with Any Old Irons into 2019 and invited them to be mascots for the Arsenal fixture, as a novel change from the younger age groups who usually lead out the teams.
Any Old Iron member and West Ham United women’s season ticket holder Sue Adams said; “For us, being mascots was brilliant! The reaction from both sets of players was amazing.
“The Arsenal players said they had never seen anything like it and they were really excited by it too.
“I feel honoured and it is great that fans like us can represent West Ham United. Like it or not, football is a business these days but something like this makes you realise the importance that the Club places on the fans.
“Us Any Old Irons all feel like we’ve been treated royally. I’m a season ticket holder for the Women’s Super League and what is nice is that many of the new folks from the Any Old Irons are saying that they’re going to come again.
“They can now spread the word, bring their family, and help to build the women’s game up. Hopefully a new generation of women’s supporters will be created.”
Run in conjunction with Friends of the Elderly, Any Old Irons gives participants the opportunity to connect with other fans and locals in their community, bringing them together for fun and friendship. Those attending can also learn how to stay in touch with their fellow fans and the Club using digital technology.
After the game against Arsenal, Jane Ross, West Ham’s player of the match said: “Combatting loneliness in the community is such an important mission and the work of the Players’ Project, alongside the West Ham United Foundation and Friends of the Elderly, is so vital for so many older people. Any Old Irons gives these guys a chance to get involved in all sorts of activities, from walking football to theatre visits, and they loved every minute of their moment in the limelight as mascots on national TV!”
Maria Abraham, Health Manager for the West Ham United Foundation, is heavily involved in the ongoing work between the Club and Any Old Irons. She said; “Kate and Jane enjoyed their conversations with the Any Old Irons and suggested that they should be mascots. The team’s management loved their idea and provided Any Old Irons a VIP experience creating great memories. This is what West Ham United is all about.”
Russ Fraser, General Manager of West Ham United women’s team added; “I think it is just fantastic that we’ve had the opportunity to do this for the Any Old Irons group. It is a great initiative, they’re all bubbly characters and you can tell it means the world to them to have a social circle that gives the chance to get out, do things like this and socialise with like-minded people. Using West Ham as a catalyst to bring them together is brilliant.”
If you’d like to sign up for Any Old Irons, or know someone who’d be interested in joining the scheme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org today.