Interview with Zavon Hines

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My Sunday Times Feature on West Ham

This is from yesterday’s Sunday Times Sports Section. I thought you might like it.

My club: Iain Dale on his love for West Ham

Broadcaster Iain Dale remembers the perfect day at Wembley and the decision to leave Upton Park for good. Interview by John Aizlewood

Why West Ham?
It wasn’t in my genes: my dad was a Blackpool fan who’d seen them in the 1948 FA Cup final. I was brought up near Saffron Walden in Essex, but I must admit I supported Manchester United until the shame was too much when they were relegated in 1974. My best friend was a West Ham fan and, being easily led I followed. I assumed there’d be no more relegations…

Early memories
My first game at Upton Park was Alan Curbishley’s debut against Chelsea in March 1975. I went with my cousin, uncle and dad and we stood on the corner of the North Bank. We lost 1-0, but my eyes were on stalks: it was a war zone. I got a season ticket around 1990. I’ve had one ever since.

Best of times
The 2006 FA Cup final. The father of the friend who’d got me into West Ham had been a season-ticket holder since 1958 and he hadn’t got a ticket. It wasn’t right, so I gave him mine. A journalist friend heard about it and got another one for me. After we’d lost, Liverpool fans came up and said we had been robbed. That never happened before and it’s never happened since. It still makes me feel emotional. An imperfect result, but a perfect day.

Worst of times
Relegation in 2003. There were amazing players — Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, Michael Carrick — but they couldn’t play as a team.

Favourite player
Paolo Di Canio. The flaws in his character added to his game. We’ll never see anyone like him again.

Least favourite player
Iain Dowie tried his best, but he was a terrible striker. He was a typical West Ham signing: we all knew it wasn’t going to work.

How good is today’s West Ham team?
It’s the best since the days of Joe Cole. Unusually for us, they play as a team. It’s a great feeling to be aiming for fourth rather than thinking about relegation. That said, we’ll finish seventh.

Sack the board?
I’m not part of any campaign to get them out. They’ve made terrible mistakes but moving to the new stadium was the right thing to do. When it’s full, the atmosphere is good. People forget that Upton Park was a deathly place when things weren’t going well.

Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Tottenham Hotspur

West Ham v Tottenham Hotspur
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KP 12 noon
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: talkSport

Please use this thread to comment on the game as it progresses.

Parish Notice

The New West Ham Till I Die - A Sneak Peek

As you know, over the last year a new WHTID site has been developed. It’s taken far longer than I originally envisaged, and many apologies for that. The current site was built in around 2013 and is creaking. The new site will be the fourth incarnation.

But we are nearing the launch of WHTID 4.0, which will hopefully be in the next few weeks once everything has been ironed out and tested to destruction. I’m currently trying to complete a player archive which will contain details of every West Ham player who has made 100 appearances or more since 1900. Eventually I aim to include every player who has ever made a first team appearance, even if it is only one substitute appearance.

As you know the Match Predictor was launched some months ago. The new site will contain three video boxes, and the front page (not wholly shown here) will contain a number of articles, in a more magazine format. You will click on each one to read the whole thing and comment. The commenting system is pretty state of the art.

However, I do recognise that website users are pretty conservative beasts and in general dont like change. So I accept that not everyone will greet this change with huge enthusiasm, but I hope that having seen some of the designs below, it will whet many of your appetites.

In order to take part in the Match Predictor or to comment, you will need to create your own unique user profile. Around 500 of you have already done that. Your current profile and password will not be copied over, so you must create a new profile. Click HERE to do so now.

Over time the posts from this site will be copied over into an archive, but that will not be available initially as it’s a mammoth task.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Feel free also to make any suggestions which will make the WHTID experience better for everyone.









Match Thread

Match thread: West Ham v Sheffield United

West Ham v Sheffield United
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 6pm
TV: BT Sport
Radio: talkSport

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.

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