Next in our Terras Abroad series is Ben Simmons. He talks to us about what it’s like to be a Terras fan in the USA.

Whereabouts in the world are you and what took you there?

I live in New York City and moved over to the States in 2002 for a work transfer.

How long have you been a Terras fan and what’s your earliest Terras memory?

I’ve been a fan for about 30 years now. My first Weymouth game was the only one I ever went to at the Old Rec and was a pre-season friendly against Southampton in 1986. I remember it quite well as I got to go into the centre circle before the game and meet both the captains (pretty sure it was Glenn Cockerill for Southampton).

I remember being disappointed that Peter Shilton wasn’t playing in goal for the Saints that day but do remember who his understudy was – a young Tim Flowers.

My next Terras game was against Manchester United at the new stadium and since then I’ve been hooked, following the team as best I can through the good and the bad times.

Have you started supporting another team since you moved to the States?

I’ve tried and failed at getting into football in the States! For example, I went to see New York FC a couple of seasons ago when Frank Lampard was playing for them. The game was in the Yankees baseball stadium so the pitch was at a weird angle to the seating. Also missing were the witty chants and banter between the two sets of supporters… maybe it’s an English thing, but I can definitely say I prefer the atmosphere at the Bob Lucas when the Weymouth boo boys are on good form.

How do you keep in touch with happenings at the Bob Lucas Stadium?

I check and the Echo most days for news stories about the club, and I also go onto the fan’s online forum for the interesting bits of transfer gossip etc. I follow a few of the players on Twitter now as well. I liked the Q&A session Baggie did recently shortly after we went into post COVID lock down. It’s a great way of connecting with the fans.

On match days, I get updates through the team’s twitter feed and I’ve also started listening to Ben Ashelford’s excellent online commentaries. We Weymouth supporters are very lucky that there are volunteers helping to provide these services. Also, Weymouth’s social media output shows how much more professional the club has become over the last couple of years.

Do you get back to the Bob Lucas Stadium much?

I normally come back to Weymouth a couple of times a year and always check the Weymouth fixture list before booking any flights! If I’m lucky I’ll be able to squeeze in two or three games in for each trip. For many years I used to come back around Christmas and always looked forward to a good Boxing Day or New Year’s Day ding dong against our local rivals in black and white from ‘up North’.

How did you follow the Farnborough game at home last season?

Happy to say I was there, sitting in the stands! It was an amazing thing to be on the pitch celebrating after, where I got my selfie with Josh McQuoid. It’s hard to remember a more exciting day at the club – from the pressure there was on us to win at the start to the huge feeling of excitement and relief at the end. Definitely a top memory at the Bob Lucas Stadium. I also got to travel up to Kettering for the game we won on penalties, which was a great way to end the season.

Have you ever bumped into another Weymouth fan on your travels around the world?

Never… I have sometimes wondered if I might be the only one in New York… or maybe in the States!

How do people react when you tell them you’re a fan of Weymouth?

In the US, they are definitely curious (or at least pretend to be!) but it makes sense when I tell them I still follow the club that I supported as a kid and where I still have family and friends.

It’s interesting how US sports don’t have a non-league, semi professional equivalent, but their college/university sports scene is huge (with 80,000 fans at a game of American football), which the UK’s isn’t so much.

And finally….imagine we draw Yeovil at home in next years FA Cup/FA Trophy, or league (who knows what’s going to happen!), would you fly back for the game?

Weymouth vs Yeovil is a fixture I have never seen. I regret not being there in 2005 for the FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest so if it’s a big cup game it may be too big a temptation to pass up… it would be great to see Zubes lining up against his old team mates!

Thanks for your time Ben, we hope to see you at the Bob Lucas Stadium again soon! If you’re another Terras fan in New York then get in touch!

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