Nostalgia

Nostalgia Series: Remembering Graham Paddon

Graham Paddon only played four seasons at Upton Park but can be remembered as one of the most popular players of his time at West Ham. Born in Manchester in 1950 and passing away in November 2007, he joined the club from Norwich in 1973 and was transferred back there in 1976. In his short but sweet career in claret and blue he won a FA Cup winners medal and a runners up medal in the ECWC final the following season. During his time at West Ham he played 152 times and scored 15 goals. Personally, I remember getting really excited about Graham coming to our club – in midfield he was quality and he had a cultured left foot which was to bring a great balance to the team.

The time Graham was at West Ham were to be our most successful seasons of the decade. However, when he did arrive from Norwich for a fee of 170,000 pounds, in a deal that saw striker Ted MacDougall go the other way, the Hammers were in a mess. With just one win and nine points from 18 games relegation looked certain. Bobby Ferguson had been dropped by Ron Greenwood for remarking openly that “West Ham had too many gutless, spineless men in the team”. The under performing striker Ted MacDougall had been a big money signing from Manchester United just 10 months earlier but had proved to be a costly mistake. The swap deal with Norwich was to be the catalyst for changing fortunes at West Ham.

Graham made his debut for the troubled club at home to top of the league Manchester City. West Ham had previously not won at home all season but went on to win 2-1 and were only beaten six more times all season to ensure safety. But later Graham was to admit that he nearly scuppered the deal at the ninth hour. “When I arrived at Liverpool St station there was only a taxi waiting there to pick me up. That was a bit off so I got straight back on the train home. I told people I wasn’t signing because I couldn’t believe what they had done. When I spoke to my wife I changed my mind and decided to sign – it really was something I wanted to do”. Despite playing for Norwich many more times than West Ham, it was his time with us that led Graham to say; “my time at West Ham was even better, and my time there was the most wonderful of my career”.

Graham’s spell at the club saw the changing of the guard from Greenwood to Lyall. Billy Jennings and Keith Robson were signed and it was with Robson and Frank Lampard that Paddon enjoyed a great left flank playing relationship with. The team now had a really good balance. The Hammers went on to win the Cup in 1975 and Graham remembered; “the semi final against Ipswich was unbelievable. When we walked out at Villa Park there must have been 30,000 West Ham fans at one end. I had played at Wembley for Norwich with 100,000 there, but the noise and atmosphere West Ham fans made that day was unforgettable”. The following year West Ham were to reach the ECWC final. “The goal I scored in the semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg was my sweetest ever. We really believed we could beat Anderlecht in the final but we made mistakes on the day and paid for them”

The Hammers were to make another poor start to the season in 1976/77 and after six successive defeats Graham was re-signed by Norwich. In later years he would play briefly for Tampa Bay Rowdies and five games for Millwall. He finished his playing career in Hong Kong with Eastern AA. After his playing days he would coach for Portsmouth and Stoke, where he had a brief caretaker manager role, and finally as scout for Derby County, Liverpool and Leicester City. When looking back at his career he was to say; “To play with people like Billy Bonds and Trevor Brooking was the highlight of my career. Ron Greenwood and John Lyall were great too and all the East End people were brilliant to me. The fans were top notch”. Graham died at his home in Norfolk in 2007 aged 57.


Talking Point

Olympic Stadium: Mind the gap re-visited

The Daily Mail ran a story in December last year about the gap between the lower tier and upper tier at the transformed Olympic Stadium. That story can still be read HERE

When David Gold was asked about the Daily Mail story in the Season Ticket Holders’ Fans Forum last December he replied:

“Trust me, that model that the Mail used was clearly the worst possible projection for that image. It is no more than a drawing so they have exaggerated the situation by 50% at least, again it’s the worst part of the stadium, in other words if you pick the east/west sides that’s at the centreline the gap is tiny. They are using the North/South ones where it is true it is larger. That image was misleading, completely misleading. When you see the plans you will be….. I am trying to find another word for gobsmacked….you will be amazed!”

The official image below shows the Olympic Stadium in football mode for 54,000 seats. Are you amazed?

The grey shaded areas are the 6,000 seats plus which will be screened off in football mode to allow the football mode design to comply with UEFA standards for a category 4 stadium. You can see large potions of the north and south upper tiers will be screened off. The seating behind the north and south lower tiers will also be screened off. The side opposite the tunnel (West stand) has been designed to have almost no gap to create a ‘Kop like’ stand. The North, South and the tunnel side (East stand) will have significant gaps between the lower tier and upper tier.

Below is an official diagram from the architects Populous showing Wembley Stadium overlayed on the Olympic Stadium. This clearly demonstrates the reason why the north and south upper tiers will be screened off and why Karren Brady stated that no seat will be worst than Wembley stadium.

What does this really mean to us as fans? I don’t know to be honest. I am a season ticket holder in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower stand at the moment so I imagined I would move to behind one of the goals in the lower tier with my fellow supporters around me. Will the three of the lower stands feel isolated from others? What will this do for atmosphere? I don’t know the answers and probably won’t know until I sit in my seat on day one of the 2016/2017 season.

The artists impression below was found on an architects website by Nigel Kahn. Although some West Ham flags and scarves have been used to obscure some of the gaps you can still clearly see the gap to the right of the picture.

However there might be one solution, I understand the LLDC may be looking at the possibility of using demountable seats to fill the gaps in the East stand like the ones pictured below. These could help create a more intimate atmosphere and allow them to put more bums on seats at the same time.


Parish Notice

Record Traffic for West Ham Till I Die

  • First of all, let me tell you that January was a record month for the site with more than 112,000 individuals visiting the site, viewing more than 700,000 pages. A normal good month would see 70-80,000 people visiting. The number of comments has also increased exponentially.
  • Some people have said they would like Carlos Tevez removed from the banner and replaced by Julian Dicks – that’s assuming I can find a good picture of Dicksy. If you have a view on this please click HERE.
  • I’d really like to pay tribute to Sean Whetstone for the quantity and quality of his articles. He’s been a major reason why this site has gone from strength to strength in recent months.
  • We’re about to add three new links to the top right hand corner of the sidebar.
  • Do let us have your feedback in the comments on the development of the site and anything you think we could add or improve.
  • I’m sorry if my own posts have tailed off a little. I do my best, but the frequency of my posts does depend on my work, and it’s a really busy time at the moment. So apologies!

Talking Point

The Black and White Seated Olympic Stadium

During recent conversations with fellow West Ham fans it became apparent to me that many had an expectation that the seats in the transformed Olympic Stadium would be Claret and Blue. This is not the case as the seats will remain black and white as they did throughout the London Olympics of 2012 as pictured below from the 2013 submitted planning documentation.

The official planning documentation makes it clear that the upper tier seats will remain black and white and that any new seats procured for the lower tier must be purchased to the same specification of the existing black and white seat units, and must be arranged to blend into the existing Olympic ‘fragment’ pattern. There will actually be 60,000 permitted seats within the transformed Olympic Stadium but 6,000 will be screened off in football mode to comply with UEFA category 4 stadium standards.The maximum capacity for concert events will grow to 80,000 people although this will vary depending on stage size and positions.

What is not clear is what will happen to the other 8,000 seats in the upper tier. The Olympic Stadium was built with a capacity of 80,000 made up of 25,000 in the lower tier and 55,000 in the upper tier. We know the lower tier will reduce to 19,000 because of the design of retractable seating but the upper tier will remain largely unchanged meaning it must reduce to 41,000 seats to make the 60,000 seats limit defined in the planning permission. In reality this could mean up to 14,000 seats that need to be removed or screened off in total in the upper tier. In the match segregation section of the planning documentation it shows how West Ham must allocate 15% of the 54,000 seats to away fans if we remain in the Premier league meaning we could see up to 8,100 away fans at our home matches. It indicates that the away fans will have a vertical segregated section which includes both the upper and lower retractable tiers. I was hoping the away fans would be stuck up in the gods like Newcastle but this does not appear to be the case. The 15% zone is clearly marked in the diagram at the bottom of this article.

Although I know the colour of seats might bother some people, personally it doesn’t bother me as long as there is claret and blue and West Ham branding elsewhere in the stadium. When I looked at my faded seat in the Sir Trevor Brooking last Tuesday night it didn’t look very claret in colour to me. Many years ago the seats were wooden at the Boleyn. A fellow SAB member on the Stadium Match Day experience group suggested the club told them that the colour of the seats has yet to be determined. This planning documentation approved last year appears to say otherwise and so appears wishful thinking on the club’s part.

I have shared this information in the spirit of transparency for our impending Olympic Stadium move but remain firmly up for the move despite the issues.

The sections below are straight from planning documents published in March 2013.

Seating Appearance

To achieve the transformed seating bowl, repositioning of the seats will be required, particularly for the upper tier former press areas, as mentioned above, and also to suit the revised allocations of hospitality and general admission seating on the west side. It is intended that existing seat stocks will be reused and repositioned, and some new seats will be procured to the same specification of the existing black and white seat units, and be arranged to blend into the existing ‘fragment’ pattern.

Seating Standards

The seating standards established for the Games mode stadium will be retained, with ‘best practice’ 800 mm deep tread depths on the lower and upper tiers and seats spaces at a minimum 480 mm centres. Seating allocations for hospitality guests on the lower, mid and upper west stand tiers will be set at a minimum of 600 mm centres, with some tread depths on the mid-tier set at 850 mm.The new west stand mid-tier will have super-riser platforms to the wheelchair accessible and amenity seating areas. Th e new private suites will have two rows of seats in front of the glass enclosure, raised to a super-riser condition above the three rows of hospitality seats in front. For the Games mode scheme, all spectator seats were designed to achieve a minimum C-60 sightline standard for the athletics event. This sightline parameter will be maintained for all seats in the stadium transformation in athletics mode; although there is a change in focal point for rectangular pitch sports . The moving tier configurations maintain the sightline to a minimum C-60, with approximately 90% of the 54,000 capacity allocation exceeding aC-90 standard.It should be emphasised that the sightline calculation is a diagrammatic abstraction of the view characteristics, taken perpendicular to the FOP focal point, and that diagonal views out across the arena generally improve as the head turns.The accessible seating strategy for the transformed stadium is largely unchanged from the Games mode, with wheelchair accessible viewing positions to the back of the lower tier, back of the mid-tier, and front of the west stand upper tier.Wheelchair user viewing platforms are inserted into the tiers, and generally laid out as a pair of wheelchair spaces each with an adjacent companion seat. The companion seats will match the design and quality of the adjacent seating standard. Amenity seats, located close to vomitories will also be provided and have a wider seat spacing than the standard seats. Amenity seats are provided to all sides in the lower tier bowl, at the back of the mid-tier, and at the front of the upper tier in the weststand. Where there is lift access in the east stand, amenity seats are provided forward of the adjacent tier vomitory positions. For further detail on the provision, types and potential for accessible seating please refer section 9.4 of this document.

Match Segregation

If the stadium is used for football league, premier league or international matches, then spectators may need to be physically separated into segregation groups. Th e percentage of seating required for the away supporters will vary from a minimum of 5% for football league, 15% for premier league, and 50% for international matches. In order to allow for away spectators to enter separately and have separate coach drop-off facilities, a new set of stairs and lift are proposed to the southern edge of the podium, connecting to the multi-purpose south parking area. This allows for separate access to, and egress from, the podium in all match modes. Should the venue be used for Champions League or similar international events, then the segregation zones can be extended to a 50% capacity division, by the introduction of a third segregation boundary to the east side of the bowl. Segregation barriers will be used in the seating bowl and internal concourses.

The full set of documents can be downloaded and viewed from Newham from HERE


Guest Post

How many points can we get from the remaining 12 games?

Guest post by LittleFork

Thought I’d set out our remaining fixture list…where are we going to get the remaining 12-14 points we need?

February

Sat 22 15:00 H Southampton

March

Sat 1 15:00 A Everton
Sat 8 15:00 H Hull City
Sat 15 15:00 A Stoke City
Sat 22 17:30 H Man Utd
Mon 31 20:00 A Sunderland

April

Sat 5 15:00 H Liverpool
Sat 12 15:00 A Arsenal
Sat 19 15:00 H Crystal Palace
Sat 26 15:00 A West Bromwich Albion

May

Sat 3 15:00 H Tottenham
Sun 11 15:00 A Manchester City


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