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Mahatma Gandhi Supported A Premier League Team

Ryan Sidle

| Last updated 

Mahatma Gandhi Supported A Premier League Team

Mahatma Gandhi might not be the first name you'd think of when it comes to football, but the Indian social activist did support an English team.


Gandhi is most famous for his role in leading a successful campaign for India's independence away from British rule in 1947, but he did have a history with football too.

The former lawyer had a hand in setting up three football teams in South Africa in the early 1900s, all of which were called Passive Resisters Soccer Club.

And his story with the sport didn't end in Africa, with the Indian said to have been a 'big supporter' of West Ham United in England.

Benjamin Roberts’ book ‘Bottles – English Football’s Boozy Story,' revealed that Gandhi even visited the pubs in the surrounding area before matches.

"It turns out that Gandhi was a keen football fan and having established three football teams in South Africa," the extract via the Daily Star said.

"There are reliable reports that during his stay he attended several West Ham United games and even visited the Boleyn pub where he socialised with the West Ham fans while drinking cream soda."

The Boleyn Ground was home to West Ham from 1904 to 2016. Image: PA Images
The Boleyn Ground was home to West Ham from 1904 to 2016. Image: PA Images

Gandhi moved to London to study law at the University College, London, late in the 19th century and became friends with the club's founder Arnold Hills.

The club were formed in 1895 and the law student is said to have gone to many matches and socialised at the Boleyn Tavern outside of the ground.

In their first three seasons in a league, the Hammers came second and first in the London League and then won the Southern League division two, meaning Gandhi was possibly a bit of a glory hunter...

Gandhi would have loved Jarrod Bowen's goal. Image: PA Images
Gandhi would have loved Jarrod Bowen's goal. Image: PA Images

No doubt the Indian would not have enjoyed Moussa Dembele's antics on Thursday night, had he still been alive, with the Lyon striker accused of diving, before giving a cheeky wink, getting Aaron Cresswell sent off in the incident.

West Ham thought they had another celebrity fan in The Queen, but recently found out that her majesty is actually an Arsenal fan instead.

Despite that, Liz's favorite player was actually Michael Owen, according to former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson any way.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: West Ham United, Premier League

Ryan Sidle
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