Talking Point

Life in Lockdown

Note from Iain: This article has nothing to do with West Ham, but it’s a good read and maybe it’s a good way to let off steam about what we’re all going through at the moment.

I would like to hear how other West Hammers are doing during the lockdown, but here’s my experience.

I have dragged myself from the sofa to my computer to write this. Does this count as my daily exercise?

The only activities I am able to contemplate and in the correct order are going to the toilet, sleeping and eating. I have been reduced to a human version of the Venus Fly Trap, except, for the time being, I am more mobile. Crisps and chocolates act as my prey.

Sleeping comes easily to me, as, all you have to do is think of nothing, which is pretty much what I have been reduced to all day, except, of course, when I am logging in to the Sainsburys website to see if they have delivery slots available.

I try to avoid watching live television, as all channels seem intent on describing to me the different ways I am going to die. A headache. A cough. Difficulty breathing. Pneumonia. Oxygen. A ventilator. Death.

I’ve been watching some series on Netflix, a company which is now worth more than the British economy. 7 seasons of Homeland took me a week to watch. It’s about some nutty American girl who goes round the world, saving everyone she meets, including the American president two or three times. Her co-star is a British actor pretending to be American who plays the part of a patriotic terrorist.

Then came Madmen, which stars a man so handsome that his clients and women fall madly in love with instantly, apart, of course, from his wife. She is a bit naïve, because she believes his story, when he comes home in the morning, that he has been working all night.There is a girl who flits across the screen with a huge bust. There is an incredible amount of alcohol and cigarettes consumed and I’ve taken to making all the cocktails they mention, such as Harvey Wallbangers, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Sidecars etc, so most of the time I am off my head when I am watching it.

We’ve been taking the car to drive to the forest to go for a walk, although we are afraid we shall be stopped by the police and dragged out of the car, whilst one policeman trains a sub machine gun on us. I let my wife drive, as during lockdown, I have forgotten to drive and I’ll take a refresher course when lockdown ends.

My son suggested we start to grow vegetables in the garden, so I have dug up all the roses and planted peas, swedes and potatoes. I’m not sure I did the right thing as I just planted some frozen peas in the ground. As you can tell, I haven’t a clue what I am doing, but intend to learn by experience, just as they must have done in the Stone Age.They certainly had a lot more skills then than I have now. I’d like to plant a cherry tree, but I think the lockdown will end before I get any fruit.

We have been trying not to panic buy, although every room in the house is crammed with boxes of toilet rolls. I estimate we have enough supply for a hundred years. As I am over seventy, I have registered with Sainsburys as vulnerable, which is the only category of people they will deliver to. However, when I log on, there are no delivery slots available. Damn those vulnerable people.

I’m trying to think of all the good things that are happening during the lockdown. Knife crime seems to have dropped to zero and you don’t hear about county line gangs, whatever that was. Rape and sexual crime figures are down to zero. This is fortunate, as the police can direct all their attention to preventing people from sunbathing. My psychological health has improved in one area, as I don’t have to watch West Ham losing most weeks. Nobody is dying in car crashes and plane crashes. Jon Snow has stopped going to Syria. Harry and Meghan are locked down in Los Angeles. Parliament is suspended. Brexit won’t happen, as there is no longer a European Union and it is every man for himself. The Beckhams are in their own special kind of lockdown – sometimes here, sometimes there, you see them everywhere.

The best form of entertainment is watching a Donald Trump press conference. I have never seen an idiot with such self-confidence. They should name a mental disease after him – the Trump complex. He’ll be the only President whose term will bring the best ever economy and the worst ever economy. However, it’s highly likely he will be re-elected in November, as Democrats will be afraid to go to the polls, whereas the Republicans do not believe in social distancing. Joe Biden also seems to be losing brain cells month by month, so , if he is elected, the Americans would have replaced a President with paranoia with one with alzheimers.

In Britain, we are led by leaders, who are so incompetent, they were amongst the first to catch the virus. I believe the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer also got their dose of the virus, so why should we believe a word they say. They parade three zombies out every evening to tell us what is happening and what is not going to happen. They come out with brilliant inventions like a green badge saying ‘Care’. I’m not sure if this will ward off the virus , as there is a shortage of PPE.

Instead of the football results, I listen to the number of deaths. We are in some sort of race with other countries and I’m quite excited, as many say, we are going to win. As most young people aren’t going to be affected, I’d let anyone under 50 end their lockdown and let the rest of the population to go out at their own risk. Let’s face it, it’s the health professionals who are probably spreading the virus more than anyone else. They’re doing shifts without proper protection and then going home on the Underground, which is still packed.

My family and I have tried Zoom a couple of times. What seems to happen is you log on and then spend half an hour saying ‘Can you hear me?’ and ‘Turn on your audio.’ It is a shame people have forgotten how clear phone calls were on a landline. Now, when a chap from the Philippines calls on the landline and tells me he is from BT or Microsoft, I keep him engaged in conversation for as long as I can to preserve social contact. I also keep getting emails from Nigeria telling me that they want to transfer a billion pounds to me, but I reply that, unfortunately, I have no way of going out and spending it at the moment.

I’m reading a novel called, the Mandibles and it’s so prescient that the author, Lionel Shriver, must have come from the future. By the way, the author is a woman and she changed her name from Margaret to Lionel, which definitely proves she is from the future where all names will be gender neutral. By the way, she’s not LGBT. Also, I’m trawling my way through Wolf Hall, where references are made to the sweating sickness, which seems similar to coronavirus except you die more quickly. You have bacon and eggs for breakfast, feeling OK and then you drop down dead at lunchtime So, Hilary (also a unisex name) Mantel must also be from the future and her style of writing English proves it. Anyway, it’s a joyful book where you either die of plague or having your head cut off Otherwise, I’ve just finished a 900 page book ,my son and daughter-in-law gave me, called Stalingrad – another happy read.

We live in a modern household, which means we all eat differently and at different times. I try to creep into the kitchen, but my wife has the hearing of a Golden Retriever. I am told I am useless at washing up. I may scrub a pan until all the non-stick surface has been rubbed off, but my wife will still find a small, unsatisfactory spot. She tells me just to leave everything , but being obstreperous, I still try to clean up. That’s life! One minute they are telling you to clean up, then you are told to leave everything.

I can mostly tell what day of the week it is. I know it is Wednesday, because the gardener comes (we keep our social distance) and I know it’s Friday, because they come to collect the bins. At other times, I can make a haphazard guess, but it won’t be long before I’ll be lucky if I can tell you what month it is. What’s the name of the Prime Minister? I remember it was some chap with crazy blonde hair, but he seems to have disappeared.

Anyway, you all keep well. By the time this ends, I would have forgotten the rules of football, so thank goodness for VAR.


Tony Hanna's Musings

Fashion, Football and Freedom in the 60's and 70's

BSB’s excellent recent article inspired me to lift my head above the pulpit again and put pen to paper, or more realistically finger to laptop. The generations that grew up in the few decades following WW2 would know only too well just how different and how much things have changed compared to today. Back in the 60’s like many of you we had no home phone let alone a mobile one. To make a call it was a half mile jog down to the local public phone booth all the while hoping it had not been vandalised or someone was already using it and in for a long chat. There were no automatic washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, computers and the TV was black and white and only had two channels. But this was a time when we did have one thing, perhaps the most important thing that no other future generation may have – almost total freedom. Mums and dads didn’t want six or seven kids in their tiny homes when it was light. “Go out and play and make sure you are home by dark” was the golden rule. Kids would play football in the street, down the fields or just about any space where you could put two jumpers down for goal posts. These were the Baby Boom times and large families were the norm. Money was tight and not many kids got pocket money. Many of the clothes we wore were hand me downs from older brothers and sisters. To get any money most kids would do odd jobs. In the 60’s I was a bucket boy for a local window cleaner and in the 70’s I had a Thursday night Littlewoods Pools collection round. It had to be done every week whether it be summer, snowing or raining – if not I would be out of the job.

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That Pools round earned me ten bob a week. Coincidently, that was the same amount of money my West Ham match day experience would cost me. Tube from Loughton to Upton Park, entrance into the North Bank, a program and a bag of monkey nuts. At first I went on my own on the premise I was going with a friend and his dad, this was even for night games. You would be amazed at the amount of kids that were doing the same thing though! After a while I started going with different mates, home and away, but game days were always intoxicating. The walk down Green Street was awash with vendors selling scarves, hats, badges, rosettes and programs whilst the smell of the hot dog and hamburger stalls enhanced the senses even further. When you got into the ground the singing would normally start about an hour and a half before the game and it was tribal. You were part of the tribe and this was like a weekly fix for your habit.

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As we moved into the seventies the skin head gangs evolved on the streets and in football grounds. The modern day all-seater stadiums have certainly created a safer and more comfortable football experience but to be honest I think today’s fans are missing out on what a truly incredible fever pitch a football game can deliver consistently. The upside is that attending a football game nowadays is relatively safe and the facilities are a World apart, unlike in the days of skin heads, firms and soccer hooliganism. The truth is that following West Ham home and away in the seventies, you would be watching football shrouded in a threatening atmosphere that tended to hang over games like a dark cloud, ready to burst.

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Back in the seventies we did have fashion and not all was too expensive. I didn’t have much money so was decked out mainly in Dockers trousers, a Donkey jacket and monkey boots. If you were comparing my fashion look to a hotel rating I guess I was about a one or two star! A Ben Sherman or Brutus shirt was always a must. For those with a bit more dosh they may have had a sheepskin or Crombie coat, Doc Marten Boots and Levi jeans. Other items of popular clothing were Brogues, Loafers, Harrington jackets, Prince of Wales trousers and tonics. Perhaps some of you with a better fashion sense or memory than me can recall other popular fashion items from that era?

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My dad only took me the once and I watched from his shoulders in the West Stand for my first ever game. He passed away in 1996. My first WHTID get together in 2015 included staying overnight at the West Ham hotel – the revamped corporate boxes in the West Stand. When my wife and I went back to our room that night I opened the curtains to look over the pitch which still had floodlights shining on it. I was disappointed that our room was not more central until I realised it was virtually in the exact same spot my dad and I had stood for that match against Burnley in 1967. Emotions were hard to hold back – especially as the game we had seen earlier that day was against –you guessed it – Burnley. That was the last match I was to attend at the old ground. On the 18th of this month we should have been playing Burnley at home again but of course it has had to be postponed for obvious reasons. Stay safe everyone.


Nostalgia

On This Day, 21st April: One Gr-Eight Night & Two Relegation Rumbles

West Ham 8-1 Newcastle, 21st April 1986

April 1986 surely goes down as one of the most relentlessly exciting months in West Ham United’s history. Beginning with a 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, the Hammers reinvigorated their title charge by winning eight of their next nine matches. The most outstanding and amazing game in this unforgettable run has to be the incredible 8-1 victory over Newcastle United.

It was Monday the 21st of April 1986 – 34 years ago exactly. George Michael was number one with ‘A Different Corner’, Jossy’s Giants made its TV debut two days later and Fright Night topped the UK box office. Newcastle’s very own ‘Fright Night’ began to unfold after just three minutes when Alan Devonshire’s floated free-kick from the left was prodded home by an unmarked Alvin Martin for his first on what would turn out to be a remarkable personal night for ‘Stretch’. It was 2-0 after 11 minutes as Mark Ward found Ray Stewart overlapping on the right wing – Tonka’s cross-cum-shot was fumbled over his goalline by the Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Thomas, who had been suffering from injury before the game. On 36 minutes Devonshire played a short pass to Neil Orr who hit a rasping 30-yarder which deceived Thomas in mid-air and found the net for the Hammers’ third. Shortly before half-time, Stewart’s long throw sparked a spot of head tennis in the Newcastle penalty area, which culminated in future West Ham manager Glenn Roeder flicking the ball off his heel and into his own net to give the Irons an ultimately unassailable 4-0 half-time lead.

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Thomas’ race was run and he was substituted at half-time with outfield player Chris Hedworth taking the goalkeeper’s jersey in his stead. Hedworth himself was soon injured in a collision with Tony Cottee but stayed between the sticks to see Martin (pictured above) notch his second of the game, and the Hammers’ fifth, after Tony Gale had flicked a cross into the path of his central defensive partner’s run. Hedworth succumbed to injury, with Newcastle consequently being reduced to ten men and Peter Beardsley becoming their third custodian of the evening. Hedworth never played for Newcastle again. Billy Whitehurst fired a consolation for the Magpies but the Hammers were soon back on the attack and grabbing a sixth. Devonshire and George Parris combined down the left, with Devonshire’s dinked cross to the far post being nodded in by the onrushing substitute Paul Goddard (who would go on to sign for Newcastle six months later). Goddard then released Cottee down the left and his cross was headed in by Frank McAvennie to make it seven. McAvennie would top the Hammers scoring charts with 28 goals from 51 matches in 1985/86.

There was still time for an eighth. Ward’s cross found Cottee in the area, the PFA Young Player of the Year-in-waiting being bundled to the ground by Roeder. With the majority of a buoyant Boleyn crowd of 24,735 chanting ‘Alvin, Alvin’, penalty king Stewart passed on responsibilities to his captain and the man of the moment… who didn’t disappoint, Martin completing a very unique hat-trick not just because it came from a defender, but because each strike was registered against a different goalkeeper. Cottee, who must have been desperate to add his own name to the scoresheet, hit the bar with a header late on, with the Hammers having to settle for just the eight goals. Cottee would be voted Hammer of the Year, with strike partner McAvennie runner-up. The action from this match can be viewed in my video below.

West Ham won their next four matches, keeping their title hopes alive until Liverpool clinched the championship with a win at Chelsea. In the final-game decider for the runners-up position, Everton beat the Hammers 3-1 at Goodison Park to leave the Irons in third place, still our highest ever League position. Unfortunately there was no prize of a European place in 1986/87 following the Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe. Liverpool would complete the Double by winning the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, George Parris, Mark Ward, Neil Orr, Alan Dickens (Paul Goddard), Alan Devonshire, Frank McAvennie, Tony Cottee.

Newcastle United: Martin Thomas (Ian Stewart), Neil McDonald, Glenn Roeder, John Anderson, John Bailey, Paul Stephenson, David McCreery, Chris Hedworth, Tony Cunningham, Peter Beardsley, Billy Whitehurst.

West Ham 1-0 Middlesbrough, 21st April 2003

The other two matches today were both single-goal home victories with the Hammers entrenched in relegation danger. The first features a 1-0 victory at Upton Park against Middlesbrough exactly 17 years ago, on the 21st of April 2003 in front of 35,019 spectators.

Room 5 & Oliver Cheatham were number one with ‘Make Luv’ and Johnny English topped the UK box office as the Hammers laboured to victory against the Teessiders. The visitors had future Hammer Robbie Stockdale in their matchday squad, and the right-back entered the fray as a substitute in the second half. The hosts, struggling desperately against the dreaded drop, were in trouble in the first minute when embarrassingly lax defending by Tomas Repka allowed Malcolm Christie in but Rufus Brevett was alert to intercept his cut-back for Massimo Maccarone. Joe Cole, Trevor Sinclair, Steve Lomas and Jermain Defoe were all denied by smart stops from Mark Schwarzer before Repka’s grotesque attempt at a clearance was turned over his own crossbar by David James. Cole then ran almost the entire length of the pitch only to shoot wide. Repka’s needless foul on Christie presented Juninho with a free-kick in a dangerous position which forced James into a double save before Ian Pearce cleared off the line from Maccarone.

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The second half saw Les Ferdinand’s header comfortably dealt with by Schwarzer before a deflected effort at the other end whistled past James’ upright; Lomas then hit the inside of the post with a volley on the turn inside the six-yard box. With thirteen minutes remaining, a nervy Upton Park finally breathed a huge sigh of relief – Edouard Cisse’s pass down the right flank found Glen Johnson who skipped away from his man and had the presence of mind to cut the ball back to Trevor Sinclair who fired low and into the far corner of the net. The goal from this match can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages. Manager Glenn Roeder collapsed shortly after the final whistle. The Hammers had three games remaining, of which they won two (against Manchester City and Chelsea) and drew one (at Birmingham).

The Hammers ended the 2002/03 season 18th in the Premier League and were relegated. Defoe finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 11 goals in 42 appearances – he was also runner-up to Cole in the Hammer of the Year voting. Middlesbrough were to finish 11th, Manchester United won the league and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: David James, Glen Johnson, Tomas Repka, Ian Pearce, Rufus Brevett, Joe Cole, Edouard Cisse, Steve Lomas, Trevor Sinclair, Les Ferdinand, Jermain Defoe.

Middlesbrough: Mark Schwarzer, Luke Wilkshire, Gareth Southgate, Colin Cooper, Ugo Ehiogu, Franck Queudrue (Robbie Stockdale), Juninho (Joseph-Desire Job), George Boateng, Jonathan Greening, Massimo Maccarone, Malcolm Christie (Michael Ricketts).

West Ham 1-0 Everton, 21st April 2007

21st April 2007: West Ham met Everton at the Boleyn Ground, Beyonce featuring Shakira was number one with ‘Beautiful Liar’ and Wild Hogs topped the UK box office.

The Hammers started brightly against David Moyes’ Toffees in front of a crowd of 34,945, with Nigel Reo-Coker firing wide early on. Bobby Zamora (pictured below) scored the only goal of the game on 13 minutes – the striker kept the ball in play himself on the right touchline, nodding the ball back to Lucas Neill. The Australian played a one-two with Yossi Benayoun before finding Zamora again, who returned the ball to the impish Israeli. Benayoun then rolled the ball back into the path of Zamora who took one touch before thumping an unstoppable left-foot drive into the top corner of Tim Howard’s net. Zamora would end the campaign as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 11 goals from 37 appearances. This goal can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages.

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Neill later fired an effort just past the post and Zamora lashed a shot over in the second half. Mikel Arteta shot wide for the visitors before blazing a shot over the bar when well placed. As with another featured match above against Middlesbrough, the Hammers had three games left and, this time, did enough to survive, winning all three against Wigan, Bolton and Manchester United.

Alan Curbishley’s Hammers went on to finish the 2006/07 season in 15th place, while Moyes’ Everton ended up sixth. Carlos Tevez was voted Hammer of the Year with Zamora runner-up. Manchester United won the First Division title and Chelsea won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Anton Ferdinand, James Collins, George McCartney, Yossi Benayoun, Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Noble, Matthew Etherington (Luis Boa Morte), Carlos Tevez, Bobby Zamora (Carlton Cole).

Everton: Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo, Alan Stubbs, Joleon Lescott, Phil Neville (Manuel Fernandes), Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta, Lee Carsley, Andrew Johnson (James McFadden), James Beattie.


Video

David Moyes Interviewed on Coming Back to West Ham

Interesting interview with David Moyes by Richard Keys and Andy Gray.


Guest Post

Life, the universe and everything …… Part 2

Guest Post by Beniron

Ok, so part 1 was a quick tour of the early years, missed out loads but in the interests of brevity had to do this. If I get time I’ll introduce some of you to the wonders of growing up with no social media, no mobile phones, no tablets and limited children’s TV – worse still only 2 channels! That meant building camps, go karts, playing footie every day (fortunately the sun was always shining) etc. In the winter it snowed so it was snowball fights and snowmen, ahh the good old days – we also had icicles on the inside, so bad was the build quality in those days!

Part 2 will be from 10 – secondary school, there will be some overlaps I’m sure and you should treat this as a tale rather than a factual account of the times as it is based on my memory. That aforementioned memory took a bit of a caning during the years after this part all self-inflicted, but that will be part 3.

We are now living in a 2 bedroom maisonette on the Island with its own kitchen – not scullery, a little garden (8ft by 10ft), central heating and its own bathroom – really! I thought we’d struck oil so impressed was I at that tender age.

I had made some new mates (it always seemed easy in those days) some are still great friends today and whom I still go drinking and holiday with regularly. But let’s get started ….

Fortunately most of my mates were all West Ham fans (interspersed with Millwall and Charlton mainly) the odd Spud and Man U fan but most were of the claret and blue variety. We were still keen to go but money etc. seemed to be holding us back, anyway after Chrimbo we were all agreed that after the winter – I seem to recall it was freezing all through winter, but not as much snow as 63 – we would all try and save and pick a match.

So April ‘68 came and the sun was out – it was Good Friday and me and one of my mates had the readies to go watch the Hammers, by readies I’m talking bus fare and entrance money (I think it was 2 bob at the time) bearing in mind it was two buses – we agreed to walk to Poplar and trouser the tuppence fare! Oh forgot this was before decimalisation so two bob was 10p and tuppence was less than a penny.

I should mention that my mate was a Catholic and this game was on Good Friday – he’d missed Mass and everything that goes with it by bunking off with me – his mum was going to give him a right hiding when he got home and it got worse (for him!).

I have recounted this in a post on this forum but this will go into more detail, this was my first match without an adult and arriving at the Boleyn on the bus I was giving it the big ‘un as I’d been there once before, so we followed the same route and headed for the West Stand. I don’t recall any vendors or hot dog stands or anything like that in those days – there was the sports shop in Green Street, which I think eventually was taken over by Bobby Moore – but coming from the Boleyn end I can’t remember any, not sure it was any different coming from the station but that was alien to me.

Anyway, got to the turnstile and was told by the fella to squeeze up and lo and behold both got in for 3 bob so that was another tanner each trousered, this was turning into a right touch! Made our way to the front with over an hour to go and settled down, it was a roasting hot day and there was a massive crowd must have been 30 – 35 thousand, loads more than when my uncle brought me earlier in the season. I think we had just thrashed the bar codes so that may have helped – plus it was a bank holiday.

The match was against Forest and if I’m honest most of it like a lot of games just merge into one memory, I do recall certain things – Alan Stephenson was centre half and had his shorts pulled up so high the waistband was under his nipples, Hurst wasn’t playing, a young fella called Billy Bonds had established himself at right back. At half time the band came on, my mate looked a bit rough next thing he fainted – I had no idea what to do, fortunately the adults just behind clocked it and called to the St John’s Ambulance people who were near the tunnel and they came waddling over. I don’t mean that derogatorily but the first bloke looked like Fred Scuttle (youngsters can look it up).

They got him out of the crowd asked me if I wanted to go with them, I politely declined, he had come round and wanted to be left alone – they wanted to take him to hospital. It clicked with him that he was in enough trouble having missed Mass with his mum so insisted he was ok they relented but had someone sitting near the corner flag at the west side so we could call him back.

The match continued and I’m pretty sure it was this match where a Forest fan who could have auditioned for Jabba the Hutt ran (well moving faster than a walk) on to the pitch wobbling everywhere with his shirt off. We won 3 – 0, a great day despite the drama and we made our way home.

Waiting for a bus was pointless as they were all packed so we started walking back to Poplar. Got to the Abbey Arms and finally a bus was relatively empty, got home eventually to a bit of smoked haddock and mash, even though we weren’t Catholic everybody had fish on Good Friday.

That was my last match that season, the following summer was my last at primary school and then it was off to secondary school, I was lucky enough to pass the 11 plus exam and went to a grammar school, not as exotic as some might think but being a small school of around 600 pupils all in it was quite intimate and I really did have some great times. Even better was that I now had pocket money so the world was my oyster.

That summer was one of the best – played football most days over the park, Red Rovers to the museums, bikes over Greenwich Park over the cowboy hills ( I suppose early mountain biking) and cycling through the foot tunnel shouting at the tops of our voices to hear the echo. Always had to get off and walk the last few yards if the lift was there as the attendant used to shout at us for cycling “it’s a foot tunnel not a bike tunnel” miserable old sod. When school started it was scary being a first year (in those days you counted the years from secondary school) and fortunately for me most of the older kids knew my brother who had just left and got on well with him so I was ignored. At that age it was better to be ignored in the early days.

Outside school it was the same most evenings playing out but looking forward to when we could go to the next match. In the new school, as it was in Poplar, virtually all the kids were West Ham so got a couple of games in, most memorable was the home game against Sunderland. If I’m right it was a pretty low crowd and we set up in the West as was usual for us and watched the game unfold – and it was a slaughter 4-0 up at half time and Hursty had a hat trick, at half time we moved to the other end of the West stand so we could see close up the rest of the goals that were sure to come, lo and behold another 4 and another Hurst hat trick. Next day the papers were all on about the fact that Sir Geoff admitted that he punched one of those goals in (I think it was the first). Is Sir Geoffrey classed as the same villain as Maradona or more recently Chico – not in my book and I don’t care what anyone says about double standards!

It’s getting a bit long so I’ll leave it here for now and start working on part 3, 13 -16 years, is this where it all started to go wrong, innocence over and facing up to life.


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