Mabel Arnold was born on 2 April 1916, in east London, and supported the Irons for 85 years and attended 2.000 matches. “Everyone at the club is saddened to hear of Mabel’s passing, yet proud and appreciative that we were lucky enough to call her a member of the West Ham United family”, said West Ham United Vice-Chairman Karren Brady.
“She was an inspirational lady, who will always hold such a special place in our history, and in the hearts of all West Ham fans. Mabel will be sadly missed”. Mabel went to her first match at the Boleyn Ground in 1934, which was also her first date with future husband Richard.
He was a trainer and scout for the club for 23 years but sadly died in 1981. She continued to follow the team with her son Graham and eventually became the club’s oldest season ticket holder.
The most faithful fan
West Ham honoured Mabel’s loyalty in 2016, when they celebrated her 100th birthday during their final match at the Boleyn Ground. She also featured in the 2017 Iron Men documentary about the team’s move from Upton Park to the London Stadium.
Despite her age and failing health, Mabel continued to attend matches from her seat in the East Stand, and then from the Club London hospitality section, having been upgraded to ensure she could continue to watch the team in comfort and more accessible surroundings. The last fixture Mabel managed to attend was the London derby against Tottenham Hotspur in October.
West Ham United has confirmed a full tribute will appear in the official programme for their next home fixture, against Fulham, on Friday, 22 February. Mabel’s son will be travelling down from his home in the Midlands today to support the team at Crystal Palace in honour of his dear Mum. The thoughts of everyone at West Ham United are with Graham and Mabel’s family at this sad time.