Talking Point

A Gentlemen’s Club?

Blind Hammer examines whether there is any future for the tradition of the Gentleman Footballer in the modern game.

James Tomkins’ arrest earlier this year and Diafra Sacko’s recent double arrest has given me cause for thought.

It is important to remember that an arrest does not in any sense equate to guilt in either of these individual cases. However I did reflect that I would have been more astonished if, for example Geoff Hurst or Alvin Martin had endured similar involvement with the police. If they had it would have been a far greater shock.

Comedian Phil Jupitas’ love of West Ham is well known but I remember his description of the time Tony Cottee approached him to invite him to meet with the players. Jupitas described conflicting emotions. On the one hand his heart was racing because one of his idols was actually talking to him; on the other hand he dreaded meeting the players. The reason he gave for this dread was that he wanted to idolise the players as footballers. His big fear was that if he met the players he would not like them as people. If that happened he feared this would ruin his long standing love of the club. I had a similar, as it turned out, completely unwarranted fear before I met Trevor Brooking at work.

Why should footballers be necessarily nice people anyway? It was Ron Greenwood who insisted on Gentlemanly conduct of his players at West Ham. His values and attitudes were in stark contrast to the more aggressive approach of more successful clubs like Don Revie’s Leeds United. Arguably this translated to West Ham being a comparatively soft touch on the field. John Lyell certainly did much to instil much needed steel and aggression into the team. Players like Billy Bonds, Keith Robson and later David Cross were nobody’s soft touches, and helped West Ham struggled to adapt to the inevitable standards of modern physical competitiveness. .

In this era aggression was largely left on the pitch and dressing room. Billy Bonds was allegedly a team enforcer, and rumoured to have held Ted MacDougall by the throat against the wall because he did not consider his work rate as appropriate for a West Ham player.

Yet away from the club these key players did, by and large, act as role models. Bobby Moore liked a drink and famously fell out with Greenwood over the Blackpool nightclub debacle. He was also famously fitted up and arrested in Bogota. However you could never imagine Moore being arrested for taking a swing at somebody. He did his best to conduct himself with the appropriate conduct of the classic Gentleman. The same can be said for other great players in our tradition, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin, Billy Bonds, Tony Gale, Tony Cottee, Julian Dicks, and Alan Devonshire and so on.

Culture is an important component of support for a club. I have supported West Ham for over 50 years not because of our outstanding results. For a West Ham fan it is as important to manage the disappointment of defeat as much as the joy of winning. I have a literal blind loyalty to the club but I do not think my support is metaphorically blind. My enthusiasm for the club is based on the traditions of a club with values that over time I have admired and assimilated into my own identity. I loved Billy Bonds as a player not just because he was able to stand up to the bullies and protect the skills of a Brooking on the pitch, but I loved also his polite gentle nature off the pitch. Similarly Bobby Moore was a role model for me as I was growing up in the 1960s. I loved the polite family atmosphere of the club.

It is of course easier to be a more polite person if you have fantastic ability. It was also arguably easier to be nice in the past. The circus which surrounds modern football is a more critical and hostile environment. It is arguably more difficult to emotionally thrive in most modern football clubs.

A football player in any generation needs to have massive psychological toughness and self-belief to succeed. If you or I have a bad day at work, the result may be a summons to an office and a talk with your manager. You may well feel upset and bruised after this but consider the experience for a player. A bad day on the pitch for a football player can result in your receiving aggressive abuse from hundreds, if not thousands of so called supporters. In the past you may receive a critical write up in a newspaper report or receive a fleeting mention on scarce TV exposure. . For the modern player it does not end there. Today your performance is dissected and analysed at length in myriad radio, online and social media forums. Whilst brief football highlights appeared once a week in the past, Football exposure on the television today spans many days and is far more deeply analysed. In a live televised match your deficiencies may be examined and analysed in great detail in front of millions by TV Pundits.

This is of course all on top of any hair dryer treatment you may receive from your own Manager /coaches in the dressing room or training pitch after the game. Whatever the consolation of massive salaries players are only human and may well wilt under this pressure.

It is probably true then that today you need not only be a physical freak of nature with extraordinary ability, supplemented by obsessive training, you also need to be emotionally amazingly tough to withstand the inevitable criticisms which will come your way.

The personalities which can withstand the massive pressure of 24 hour scrutiny of their performance over the long months of the modern football season are likely to be colder and tougher than their antecedents of past years. It is very possible that a “nice “person may be submerged by the torrents of criticism that may come their way. Put bluntly, the emotionally dysfunctional or borderline psychopath may be better equipped to deal with these sometimes savage pressures. Gentlemen’s football may sadly be a thing of the past.

The one glint of hope may be in the preference for good team spirit and camaraderie. Good social individuals may flourish here. Of course there are also famously successful teams with dysfunctional individuals and relationships as well. For myself I think I will follow Jupitas’s advice and not seek engagement with the personalities of my club and continue to admire them as footballers from afar.

David Griffith

Talking Point

A Question of Mentality or Formation ?

Blind Hammer examines Slaven Bilic’s post match analysis of the Bournemouth defeat

Losing a game of football is not necessarily a disaster or a definer of a team’s ability. Arsene Wenger often declares that how Arsenal are playing is more important than any single Premiership result. Leicester City is a good example of a team which, building upon confidence from promotion, retained belief in their manager, even whilst rock bottom, and eventually came good. All the time Leicester were losing reports appeared which pointed out how close matches were and that they were often unlucky.

Having said that, the worrying thing about the last two West Ham home games is that we were not unlucky in either game. In both games we were beaten by two teams who were better set up and played superior football. Yesterday at West Ham it appeared that there were some Bournemouth players no West Ham player matched. For example, Wilson, Francis and Ritchie. A similar list could have been produced after the Leicester game.

Whilst this should not be a cause for panic it is clearly a cause for concern. In two home games we have now conceded six goals and had two of our key defenders sent off with straight red cards. This follows a similar trend in our European games where our defence leaked goals against moderate opposition. In these games two more of our defenders, Collins and Tomkins also received straight red cards. Sackho of course joined this particular club at an early stage. It is still August but we have had five players sent off already this season, four of them in defence.

Against Bournemouth Creswell and Jenkinson had their worst games in a West Ham shirt. In Jenkinson’s case this is the second poor game in a row.

By any sober analysis this is a defence in disarray. It clearly needs to be sorted. The most difficult thing to do in the Premier League is score goals. A team playing with the handicap of a leaky defence is a sure-fire way to court relegation.

In his post-match interview Bilic focussed on the attitude of his players and their lack of aggression. In particular he described them as needing a better mentality.

This is a worrying analysis as he has some clear responsibilities here. Given the player skill sets available to a manager in any game there are three inter-related areas in which a manager can influence play. The first is by team selection before and, via substitutions, during the game. The second is strategy and tactics including team formation, and finally by providing motivational/inspirational abilities to enable players to play, despite adversity, to the best of their ability.

Bilic’s post-match comments places some doubt on his leadership abilities. The team on the pitch should mirror his personality, including aspects of discipline and concentration.

What can we make of Bilic in the other key areas of management? He has only some limited influence over the composition of his squad. Nevertheless it is a concern that one of his signings, Obonna, who was to be our key defensive lynch-pin this season, was tactically substituted before half time.

Where Bilic has complete responsibility is in team formation, tactics and for want of a better word morale. Can we really explain Cresswell’s and Jenkinson’s errors as being simply caused by “mentality”? Cresswell in particular had no such problems with mentality last season. My suspicion is whilst we obviously need a stronger squad the problems are also deeply rooted in team setup. We are no longer playing a long ball game. Instead we are playing a passing game with a back four supported by a holding midfielder, with three in a diamond supporting an up top and deep lying striker.

However the switch from the long ball, whilst pleasing on the eye, has also placed more pressures on the defensive sector of the team. We are becoming vulnerable on the flanks. Jenkinson and Cresswell are not only becoming exposed in defensive situations but are also under game pressure to provide the attacking width as well. Whilst this was spectacularly successful against Arsenal who failed to provide hardly any pressure on the flanks by playing a narrow midfield, it has not impressed in either of our own two home games or the European adventure.

West Ham is far too feeble defensively at the moment and too much is being expected of Jenkinson and Cresswell. This pressure lays, to my mind behind the fragilities these once dependable players are now exhibiting.

I believe Bilic needs to sort this out. My amateur advice is that if he wants Jenkinson and Cresswell to act as wing backs to provide support up and down the pitch, he needs to have a more cautious defensive setup. Specifically we need three defenders nominated to support rather than the current two. Reid Tomkins and Obonna should provide the insurance which could release Cresswell and Jenkinson into more familiar marauding roles with greater safety. The casualty in this setup would be either the second striker which would make life much tougher for players like Maiga, or potentially abandon the diamond to revert to a 5-3 -2. Of course 4-4-2 is also an option with wide players helping to cover the flanks with Jenkinson and Cresswell.

For the moment I really hope that this is simply a question of Bilic getting to know the Premier League and adapting formations to suit the players he has rather than persisting with ideal formations for which he currently does not have the talent.

What is undeniably true is that if he does not sort this out then problems with mentality, attitude and confidence will not improve. He now needs to show the practical leadership which can re-inspire a team.

David Griffith

Talking Point

The Striker Gap Part 2

In the second part of his blog Blind Hammer examines how the Academy Striker Gap over the last 50 years has distorted West Ham’s Transfer Policy and suggests some strategic re-evaluations of priorities.

It was hard In the euphoria of the glow following the superb win over Arsenal to return to this critique. How could any criticism, even constructive criticism be mounted in this week? Yet the news about Sacko’s arrest and the possibility of its impact on his availability reminded me of our historic lack of depth in striker quality.

In my first blog I suggested that in the 50 years since the Academy produced Geoff Hurst and Brian Dear, only Tony Cottee had emerged at a standard that equated to or exceeded Brian Dear, let alone Geoff Hurst. I argued that a return of one striker in 50 years was an unacceptable return. A Comment on that blog queried my refusal to allow full credit for the development of Jermaine Defoe. Defoe was with Charlton from 1997 before Joining West Ham in 1999. Soon after he famously spent 2000-1 at Bournemouth on loan before returning to become a important member of the first team . In the 4 years of Defoe’s development it seems likely that only in 1999 was the Academy influential. This is why I allow only partial credit.

In this part I will argue is that this Academy striker gap is producing a double transfer whammy. The failure to produce strikers means not only that the club has to buy in strikers but is also not receiving transfers fees for strikers produced. This striker gap has produced nearly 50 years of pressure on scarce transfer resources.

Strikers are notoriously expensive. Cup successes in the 1970s and 1980s enabled the purchase of proven goal scorers like Paul Goddard and Pop Robson who delivered the goods. More recently similar attempts to invest in quality forwards like Dean Ashton and Andy Carroll has unluckily seen both plagued by injury.

Whilst the bigger clubs can shake off an unlucky striker investment, Liverpool have responded to Sturridge’s injuries by investing £32 million in Benteke, West Ham cannot splash the cash so regularly. This has meant that West Ham have had to, over the last 50 years, resort to cheaper gambles to fill the striker void. Occasionally these gambles have been spectacularly successful. Di Canio, McAvennie, and lately Sackho have been good examples of this. Gould, Hartson, Bellamy, Kanoute and Demba Ba are other good investments.

However for every successful example there are plenty of duds that are too numerous to fully mention here. Some examples prove this point. From the 70s we have an un-honourable tradition of multiple dud striker imports. This rogue’s gallery includes Jimmy Greaves and John Radford, but it is since the mid-1990s that more and more duds arrive and depart with dizzying speed, draining resources out of the club. Consider the embarrassing Marco Boogers in 1995 who Redknapp apparently signed without seeing. Reflect on the wages paid out on Florin R?ducioiu and Daniel da Cruz in 1996, Paulo Alves in 1997 and Davor Šuker in 2000. Kaba Diawara was given a go in 2001. We tried Brian Deane in 2004; Titi Camara was given a go from 2000 to 2003 before Henri Camara was experimented with in 2007, as was the barely remembered Kepa Blanco. David Di Michele kept the flow of resources going out of the club in 2008. These undeniably undistinguished signings were outdone in 2009 by the signing of Savio Nsereko who apparently did not even have the psychological toughness to be away from home. After this the revolving door of failed strikers showed no sign of abating. The relatively anonymous Guillermo Franco arrived in 2010. However 2010 was best remembered for the recruitment of the ineffectual “roly poly” Benni McCarthy. Benni was in turn followed hard on his heels by the faded Robbie Keane and John Carew in 2011 , the outclassed Sam Baldock and so far Modibo Maïga in 2012 followed by Mladen Petri? in 2013 and Marco Borriello in 2014. I am sure others can nominate further misfit candidates but I will stop before I get depressed in what is after all a great week to be a Hammer.

The record over 50 years cannot lie. The constant resorting to cheap striker purchases and loans that turn out to be misfits is underpinned by The Academy’s failure to produce the goods in Striker output. When the Academy products trickle down to lower clubs there is rarely even any transfer income. Rob Hall is a possible low level exception.

A hardnosed approach may suggest abandoning the Academy and simply re-directing resources into buying in young talent. This would be anathema to many supporters including myself, for whom the concept of an Academy is hard wired into our view of the club. Southampton has proved that the Academy model can work. My view is that a reform to a striker based concentration in the Academy could save it. It would take the production of only one striker of class to justify the funding of the Academy for many years. Consider the sums being suggested for the signing of Tottenham’s Harry Cane as an example.

Mine is the view of a fan and of an evident Academy outsider. It is true that An Academy insider would be more qualified to comment but some questions are obvious. How are Academy coaching resources strategized? Do we spend equal time on developing goal keepers, defenders and midfielders as we do Strikers? If so this is, in my view a serious mistake. If we examine a team line-up from statistical format strikers are a minority forming at most 2 and often only one of the team slots. Calculated pro rata strikers would attract only perhaps 9 or 18% of development resources. However looking just from a financial standpoint it makes no sense at all to invest only 9 or 18% of Academy resources into striker development. Payet is apparently one of the best playmakers in Europe with Champions League experience but he has so far only cost us £10 million. Charlie Austin, an injury prone striker from a relegated club with no European experience or profile with only one year left on his contract will apparently cost £15 million with eye watering wages of £110,000 a week. Andy Carroll even before the latest TV deal was almost as expensive at apparently £17 million with wages of £85,000 a week. Clubs at the top end of the Premiership will now pay £30million, £40 million or even £50 million for proven goal scoring talent.

Given this in-balance from a financial standpoint it would seem to make sense for at least 50% or even more of Academy resources and effort be devoted to identifying and nurturing Striker talent. The next priority for development is attacking playmakers. This may well mean that Academy teams would become more unbalanced in development and not all that successful as rounded teams in youth leagues. Defensive players may receive proportionately less attention. However if the Academy could then produce a single gem such as a Harry Cane, or a modern day tony Cottee this would all become irrelevant. It is much easier and cheaper to buy in quality defenders and defensive deep laying midfielders.

The reality is that a successful Academy does not have to necessarily produce a Harry Cane or other world class player, though that would be nice. We simply have to provide an alternative strategy to the constant resorting to aged or injured mediocre stream of failed imports. The record of failure through reliance on cheap foreign imports or loans is too clear to deny. It is to resolve this historic striker deficiency in producing even journeymen Strikers of the standard of an Iain Dowie or Carlton Cole that the Academy should focus.

Part of this probably means that we have to emulate other clubs in scouting globally and not just locally or even nationally for young striking talent. Additionally a number of targets need to be set in place if they are not there already. We should, at least every 2 years, be loaning an Academy striker to a League 1 or preferably Championship Club who will provide significant playing time. Out of this program we should produce 1 Striker who can meaningfully participate in the first team squad every 6 years. These are not, to my mind, unrealistic targets, despite the competitiveness of the Premier League. Failure to meet this target should provoke an Academy Coaching review and an evaluation of investments. It is a tough world in the Premiership and we need our development set up to provide the returns we need.

David Griffith

Talking Point

The Striker Gap Part 1

Why have West Ham struggle to produce Strikers? In the first of a 2 part blog Blind Hammer examines a little acknowledged structural problem with youth development at West Ham

The current scramble, in the light of Valencia’s injury, to invest resources in a striker is but the latest example of what has become an annual event at West Ham. Every year we always seem to need to buy or loan in strikers in an effort to increase the team’s potency. Rarely has this need been met from within. I hope I am proved wrong, but sadly Elliot Lee appears to be the latest striker hopeful who will probably follow the likes of Freddie Sears and Gary Alexander to the lower divisions to continue their careers.

In the first match I ever saw at the Boleyn in November 1968, Geoff Hurst and Brian Dear were part of a fizzling team that demolished Leicester City. Hurst and Dear were both products of West Ham’s then famous youth development. Geoff Hurst actually went to my school in Chelmsford, whilst Brian Dear was an East Ender who joined the club as a 15 year old. He never reached the heights of Hurst but nevertheless scored 33 goals in 69 league appearances, a ratio of goal success that would be startling nowadays for a youth product and would probably invoke suggestions of international recognition. Dear never got anywhere near the England team and was really a footballing flash in the pan. Nevertheless he played in a victorious European Cup Winners Final team, and holds the record for the quickest ever five goals in an English game, 20 minutes either side of half time, in a 1965 FA Cup home tie against West Bromwich Albion. Dear though severely blotted his copybook with Greenwood in 1970 when he was found to be with Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves and Clyde Best in the infamous nightclub session, hours before West Ham crashed out 4-0 to Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup. He was never really seen again.

The point is however is that it is now 50 years since 1965 and with one glorious exception the Academy has not produced any similar talent which equates to the achievements of Brian Dear, let alone Geoff Hurst. The exception is of course Tony Cottee who was able to delight in the service provided by another local product, Trevor Brooking during the 1980s.

We may be able to claim a little credit for the development of Jermaine Defoe, but it should be remembered that he was actually a product of the Charlton Academy that we were able to poach, much to their chagrin. Defoe spent little development time at West Ham in comparison to his time at Charlton, instead cutting his teeth in his famous year long loan spell at Bournemouth where he smashed goal scoring records.

Clearly the Academy has produced some good players over the last 50 years but rarely have these players been strikers. Defenders yes, Ferdinand and Tomkins immediately come to mind, and midfield players relatively frequently, from Geoff Pike to the more illustrious Joe Cole and Frank Lampard Junior, and more contemporaneously Mark Noble.

But when was the last time a West Ham development striker was even a regular part of the first team squad let alone the team itself?

According to David Sullivan the current overhauling of the Academy setup at West Ham is prompted by a general concern about the once famous Academy’s recent failure to bring through players of sufficient quality. Sullivan’s concern is well merited. He points out that the Academy invests £4 million a year in producing talent. Presumably then the club have invested something like £30 to £40 million over the last 10 years in essentially producing Noble and Tomkins, neither of which are necessarily guaranteed a starting place in Bilic’s assembling new team. There are some promising signs from Reeces Burke and Oxford but again these are defensive/midfield developments. Elliot Lee may still develop but he did not set Luton on fire in the same way that Defoe impacted Bournemouth in his spell there.

Of course it would only take the production of one successful striker every 5 years to completely revolutionise the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the Academy. However its current success rate is one striker every 50 years. To my mind this is unacceptable. In part 2 of my blog I will examine the disastrous consequences of this Gap in our Academy places on our Club transfer policy, and start to suggest some strategic improvements which may possibly finally start to resolve this historic deficiency.

David Griffith

My Upton Park Memories

On Being a Blind Hammer (Part 3)

In this third Part of Being a Blind Hammer David Griffith describes how West Ham enabled him to access being a supporter again.

After the emotion of the Play off Final celebrations in 2005 and especially after I retired in 2008 I had a hunger to return to the West Ham family. However the problems appeared daunting. I needed to somehow find my way to the ground, then find the correct entrance, then find the right access inside the stadium and last but not least somehow identify which row and seat was mine. This is not to include other essentials like finding the loo or getting a drink. Of course all this navigation had to be done in reverse after the game. I also needed to be reasonably secure that on any match I attended I would find a radio commentary somewhere so that I could have some idea of what was going on. The availability of a commentary proved difficult to establish in advance.

Eventually I took the belatedly obvious step of ringing West Ham to discuss these problems. I spoke to a lady called Julie who works on disability matters and all these apparently daunting problems melted away.

Now whatever the problems the Club experience on the pitch we can all be justifiably proud of the efforts the club makes off it. We are Champions League class in terms of disability access and put some other clubs to shame.

After speaking to Julie I simply had to email her proof of my blindness and the club promptly and without fuss provided the following.

  • Access to a specialist disability ticket ordering service. This is staffed by what are obvious West Ham supporters who are friendly and flexible. They will go the extra mile to help. If I want a group of friends to attend the match with me they will endeavour to arrange seats near me, even though they technically do not have the responsibility for organising tickets for non-disabled supporters.
  • For me personally as a blind supporter the club provided a ticket at a concessionary rate. This was especially welcome given my fall in income after I retired.
  • Most importantly the club provided an extra free “Carers” ticket for the seat next to me. Suddenly all difficulties in accessing the ground disappeared as I could take somebody to guide me everywhere I needed to go.
  • The club provide special disability stewards who provide friendly helpful support and who are incidentally also West Ham through and through.
  • Last but not least for every single game the club provided me with a head set which gave me and in-stadium commentary on the game.

So these superb ticket arrangements provide me with equal physical access to the ground but for me the in stadium commentary is just as important. At West Ham the commentator is James Datson who provides sterling support through illness and health, whether it rains or shine,

The importance of having a West Ham supporter commentating cannot be under-estimated. I remember being outraged when Colin McNamara on Five Live scathingly refers to our forward line of Cole and the heavy Benni McCarthy as being like Laurel and Hardy. He may have been objectively correct but to my mind only somebody who at heart loves the club ever has the right to slag either the club or its players off.

So when James expresses disappointment or even despair you know it is because we are all feeling the same pain. This is surprisingly important. It is easy to listen to a neutral commentator when we are playing well. However a West Ham Commentator is essential if we are not playing well.

The experience of listening at the ground is light years away from listening at home. At home listening to the radio I would probably turn it off if it is too painful or the tension is too high. In contrast at the ground I can shout to relieve any tension and also, unlike when I am at home, I can possibly make a difference. I can remember in the 2012 Wembley Playoff we were, in the second half, definitely second best to Blackpool but I am convinced it was the unflagging support of the fans that day which forced the team home to triumph. Individually my efforts at encouragement may have a minuscule impact but along with thousands of others it can change games. Football at the highest level is about small margins. If Carlton Cole has not reached that extra inch to toe poke the ball across Blackpool’s penalty area, Vaz Te would not have been able to rocket the ball home for glory and enable our return to the Premiership. The fans were crucial that day and probably gave Carlton that extra inch of lunge he needed despite the tiredness of playing in the final minutes.

You can pick up a surprising amount from commentary. You can, drawing on past images of games, hear patterns of play. Admittedly you do not often hear off the ball runs or covering but hopefully pundits on either in stadium or Radio commentary will provide this insight. You can, however, hear on the ball involvement, and whether the involvement of a player results in a successful attack or in the loss of possession. Certainly if you do not hear Nolan’s name in the commentary for 20 minutes it is a big clue that he is not influencing the game. If you hear constantly that Tomkins or Reid are the ones trying to set up and attack it is an indication that our midfield has been nullified. When you repeatedly hear Collins’ name after an opposition cross or attempt a through ball has been attempted you know he is likely to be having a good game. If you hear a buzz of rising anticipation when Sackho is driving towards goal it is a good sign that he is looking dangerous. Sometimes however patterns are sadly predictable. During one game I thought we had a new forward called Cole mis-controls.

My reading of the game though must be worth something as Tommy, the friend and fellow supporter who guides me, started to call me Mystic Dave and even started asking me for lottery numbers because I was so accurately predicting substitutions or upcoming goals. Certainly nobody seems to take my opinions as being of lesser worth than the sighted supporters around me.

Of course there are disappointments but that is football. For me the periods of disappointment mean that we should all savour and celebrate the joy of success more when it comes around. Of course with West Ham that can be an unpredictable event. I guess the prospect of joy and hope that this unpredictability brings is at the heart of being a Blind Hammer going to the Boleyn. Whoever could ever believe that the previously impotent Jonathan Spector could score a hat trick against Manchester United on a cold November evening? When Spector burst into the penalty area to steer his third goal home I stood up in the Upper Alpari and yelled my joy to the skies. Two friends sitting behind me instantly threw themselves onto my admittedly broad back to cling on in celebration. A jumping fan in front of me heard the commotion behind him and decided also to hurl himself up to hug my front . Basically we all fell into a delirious scrum. You certainly do not get that experience sitting at home in the armchair.

This is why I am still a Blind Hammer.

Come on you Irons!

David Griffith

If you missed Part 1 click HERE and Part 2 HERE

Note from Iain: David has kindly agreed continuing to write articles for us under the pseudonym of Blind Hammer. We look forward to hearing a lot more from him.

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