Dublin Hammers 20th Anniversary Dinner & Dance - 16th April 2011

dublin hammers 20th anniversary

"Mark Ward Stole My Pint and Other Stories from our 20th Anniversary Dinner & Dance"

Saturday, 16th April saw the Dublin Hammers celebrate their 20th anniversary with a dinner dance in the Central Hotel, Dublin. Everyone came out to celebrate the occasion... and they even got dressed up for it! It was great seeing members "scrubbed up" and not a West Ham shirt in sight… (probably wise after the afternoon's appalling display against Villa). A special mention to the ladies, who got into the swing of things by dressing up and giving the evening a very glamourous feel! The night had been organised by a very energetic committee comprising of Brian Madden, Timmy Lloyd, Paul Smith and none other than the President himself, Mr Fran Ryan. And what a job they did.

Having met and mingled in the bar, we were called to dinner. As you entered the room, you were greeted by Timmy’s brilliant DVD on Dublin Hammers memories as told by the members themselves or in the numerous photographs that had surfaced (we never knew some members had hair!) On the table was a Dublin Hammers pen – one for everyone in the audience. Pat’s wife had arranged the flowers on the tables, which incidentally were named after the greats of WHU – Bobby Moore, Sir Trevor, Paulo and of course Scottie Parker.

table opening address dinner

Proceedings were opened by President Ryan as he welcomed all of us to what he anticipated to be a wonderful night. He welcomed our special guest and after dinner speaker, Mark Ward and Mark’s mate Mick (and no they’re not!), as well as Dawn, Heyley and Steve who had also travelled from the UK. He had received communications and well wishes from Tony Cottee and the legendry Sir Trevor Brooking, who had written his message after the match that day. Both messages were very well received by all and Cottee’s comment about the booster seat for Mark Ward went down a treat.

table table table

Dinner was served and consumed over a hub hub of conversation and laughter and despite our website advising us, there was no sign of the Guinness soaked sambos or the chicken wings a la Liamo. Things were going along smoothly until one of the waitresses attempted to throw a pint of guiness over Mark Ward, fortunately he took it in his stride and after a quick mop up and tablecloth change we finished eating.

mark ward speech mark ward speech

Then it was on to Mark Ward’s speech. We had all met him earlier in the bar so he was very relaxed as he told us tales of how he ended up at West Ham, why he had left, how he still loved the club despite being a Toffee Scouser and how he felt privileged to be in attendance at such an event. He was taken aback by the warm welcome that he had received and said that he would be in touch with some of his old teammates to encourage them to make the trip over to meet up with us.

question time question time question time

Obviously, the majority of his speech centered on his time with West Ham and boy, did he tell a few good stories. Arch villain Paul Ince crying in the dressing room after a run in with Alvin and sharing a room with Frank McAvennie on away trips were two that went down well with members (Dawn has posted a clip from Marks speech on www.facebook.com/dublinhammers). He spoke highly of John Lyall and slagged Lou Macari, he also spoke candidly about his time prison. After a well deserved round of applause, a question and answer session began, again very entertaining!

raffle raffle raffle
presentation raffle raffle

Then it was Raffle time! Mark Ward picked the tickets, and first out the hat… for the photograph of the 1980 FA Cup winning team, signed by all the players… was… Josh Holland! (we know it’s going to a very good home!) He looked a happy man shaking hands with Mark Ward as he clutched the top prize as the cameras flashed. Mark Ward had kindly brought over one of his old West Ham shirts and copies of his book which were duly added to the raffle prizes.

book signing book signing photo time
book signing book signing photo time

The dancing was slow to start as members inundated Mark Ward with requests for autographs and photos, he was very gracious and before long we all had our photos and autographs sorted… to the bar batman… to the dancefloor… and boy did we dance!!! With Dawn, Hayley, Steve and John from Donegal in attendance, we all thought that we were back in O’Gradys on a Saturday night!

raffle proud table
look out girls applause el presidente

The evening was rounded off by a rousing rendition of bubbles (thanks to Brian Madden, this can be relived on www.facebook.com/dublinhammers). A top, top night and one that will go down in the annuals of Dublin Hammers history.

I remember leaving at some unknown hour, having turned down requests to head to the Resident bar – I thought they had asked me to go to the Presidents Bar, but I don’t remember getting home. Roll on our 21st!

...Oh and by the way... Mark Ward did steal my pint!

Report by Gerry Murtagh.

kiss dancing lads
happy guests family

Footnote: If you cannot see the video clips on the facebook page, they can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking 'older posts'.

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