It’s one of those Saturdays where we all sit twiddling our thumbs, cursing Sky for postponing our Chelsea game until Monday. Me in particular. Why? Because a friend of mine who owns a box at Stamford Bridge invited him to join him. That was when the match was scheduled for today. Seeing as it is now on Monday night I can’t go because I have to present my radio show – Brexit means Brexit, and everything…
I’ve been to Stamford Bridge a few times in my friend’s Box. Last time, I genuinely thought we were going to win, but the ref enabled Chelsea to equalise in the last minute of a 2-2 draw. When we scored our first I nearly got thrown out of the ground for having the temerity to celebrate. This, despite there being a wall between me and the Chelsea fans. The only time I’ve been to Stamford Bridge and we won was way back in the 1990s. The ground was a complete wreck then, and I seem to remember John Moncur tucking away the winner, although my memory is probably defective and can’t be arsed to check. It was repayment for the experience of the first time I ever went to Upton Park in March 1975 when I saw Alan Curbishley make his debut in a 1-0 defeat to the Blues.
At Upton Park I only ever watched a match from a box twice. Once was about 12 years ago and I remember it was in the corner, next to the Trevor Brooking Stand. Although the seats were obviously outside, I remember feeling very detached from it all. You don’t feel part of it the way you do when you’re scrunched in your seat with everyone else. The second time was in our final season at the Boleyn. I think it was our win in the Cup when we beat Liverpool through a late Ogbonna goal. I remember hugging Bianca Westwood… Memories, what memories…
Another occasion sticks in the mind too. On my only visit to Anfield a few years ago, I ended up sitting in the Directors’ Box, in the front row. That was quite an experience. I was leaving my seat at half time and someone shouted: “Oi, Iain, you’ve put on a bit of timber!” I was about to retort “Cheeky bugger,” when I realised they were directing the insult at Ian Rush, who was sitting behind me.
My next ‘Box’ experience (ooh, er, Missus) will come at the London Stadium at the Leicester match. It’ll all be a very new experience as the corporate boxes are on the opposite side of the ground to my normal seat. And I don’t even have to be on my best behaviour given Nigel Kahn, David Hautzig and Sean Whetstone will also be there!
I do rather fear that we will go into that match having lost at Chelsea and Old Trafford. But you never know. Marko might have found his scoring boots by then…
As many of you are aware, various events on the site over the last year have led me to question the future of the site. I had to close down the Predictor League because of the abuse I was getting. Then two of our core writers felt they couldn’t continue due to the abuse they were getting in the comments. No one should have to put up with that.
I started this site in 2006 (I think!) and it has developed into a largeish West Ham community. I have always tried to make the site a haven of tranquility compared to some others, and by and large this has worked, until compartively recently. I don’t have time to police the comments and rely on others to do so.
Having consulted other contributors, past and present, I have decided that we must persevere and restore this site to the quality site it once was (and in many ways still is!). So a number of things will happen…
1. I am recruiting some new writers. I’ve already recruited two – one popular past contributor, and another who is a regular commenter and contributor to another site. But there will be more. If you would like to be considered yourself, or know someone who might, please get in touch via the Contact button at the top of the page.
2. There will more pro-active policing of comments. This is not to diminish debate, but to encourage polite and reasonable discourse. Repeated transgressors will be banned without warning.
3. I will reinstate the Predictor League next season.
4. I have commissioned Russell to do a revamp of the site design in readiness for next season, but it may go live much earlier. I have asked him to make the site less ‘bloggy’ and more magaziny. It’s not a news site. It will be mirrored on the structure of my personal site at IainDale.com:http://www.iaindale.com. All ideas gratefully received.
5. The Comments system will be reimagined, to make it slightly more dynamic and user friendly.
6. I’d like the Seen Elsewhere feature to be more active, and on the new site it will be. I’m looking for someone to be the daily edtor of that section.
7. Similarly, I’d like someone to curate a new video section, so there is new video content on the site each day.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for the positive development of the site, please either contact me directly or leave a comment below.
West Ham v Huddersfield Town
FA Premier League
Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.