Over land and sea: West Ham embracing new foreign fans

The worldwide popularity of the Premier League has changed the way clubs now interact with their fanbases.

It was once the case that football fans would support teams based on where they were born or who their family followed, but things are different in the modern era.

Premier League clubs now have fans across the world and they are increasingly forging improved links with them.

Many home-based fans argue that foreign supporters are not ‘real fans’, but Betway’s latest documentary ‘Over Land and Sea’ strives to dismiss that notion.

The film tells the story of Pan, a passionate West Ham supporter who was born and lives in Shanghai, China. He reveals that playing a popular video game led him latch onto the Hammers.

“I became a West Ham fan around 2005 because of the game Football Manager,” he said. “I searched some information on the internet about the club and saw that we have a huge history.

“I thought West Ham was a good club, so I focused on them. Every season I watch our matches on television or the computer.

“Mark Noble is my favourite player. All the fans tell me he is a very good player and a very good leader. In the match he leads us and after the match he also leads us.”

The documentary also features contributions from Noble, Declan Rice, Pablo Zabaleta and two local fans who travelled to China to watch the team play in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

They all dismiss the idea foreign supporters aren’t true fans and it is a view that Pan firmly agrees with.

Over land and sea: West Ham embracing new foreign fans

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