Nigel Kahn’s Column

The Queen is Dead

Oh! Take me back to dear old Boleyn, 
Put me on the train for Upton Park, 
Take me anywhere, 
Drop me anywhere, 
Barking Road, The chicken run 
But I don’t care,
I should like to see my……..

Well, Saturday’s game was an eye-opener that was for sure, not just the way the team performed either. VARs full introduction to the Premier League for me highlighted the very reason I have opposed it. It could turn out to be actually detrimental and destructive to the fan experience inside the stadium. 

I’m sure it was a great theatre for those at home or in a pub/bar but for me, and quite a few others inside the stadium, it was detrimental to the beautiful game. How we got to this position is too long and varied for a mere peasant like me to dissect, but i’ll throw my two pennyworth in to try and get you all to understand why I feel this way.

Oh, and before the dinosaur tag is thrown at me, I’m not anti-technology per se. Goal-line technology should have been introduced years ago, across all organised pro or semi-pro leagues. The object of the game we all watch and spend more time tearing apart than we do watch, is to score a goal. The whole ball crossing the line is a definitive non-subjective fact. It either did or it didn’t. 
Farewell to Stratford’s cheerless marshes 
Hemmed in like a boar between arches 
Her very Lowness with a head in a sling 
I’m truly sorry – but it sounds like a wonderful thing 
I said Dave’s, don’t you ever crave 
To appear on the front of the Daily Sport 
Dressed in your Mother’s underwear? 
And so, I checked all the registered historical facts 
And I was shocked into shame to discover 
How I’m the eighteenth pale descendant 
Of some old cockney or other 

The FA a few years back tried and failed to bring respect to referees after years of them being used as scapegoats by players and managers for their own failings. Game after game, week after week, in front of the TV cameras managers would blame this defeat or that defeat on a referee’s decision that changed the game. At the same time, the manager of the winning team would generally point out how well his team had played and how his tactics paid off. He wouldn’t, though, thank the ref for his great performance.  The fans of the losing team would then latch on to their manager’s blame and lambast the refs on social media and so the circle was rounded. This continued on and on with the FA failing to really protect referees from the criticism levelled at them from losing managers.

With the wall to wall coverage of football now, that was possibly started when Sky Sports ews was launched, there is far more dissection of games and as such decisions made by refs. There are now far more TV cameras in the grounds than ever before. They can record contentious issues from multiple angles, playing them back time and time again. The referee missed so and so foul but look, if we look from another angle you can see there was contact, totally ignoring the fact that the referee sees it from one angle, and actually has a split decision of fewer than 2 seconds to make the decision on whether a foul was committed. 

All put together, then the bandwagon of technology “supposedly” to help referees was first mooted. First, we have goal-line technology, which as I said above I broadly support. But that’s not enough. The referees need extra help we were told. Fans drip-fed on the ‘fact’ that referee mistakes are to blame for their club losing fall into line and demand they want technology. 

According to many West Ham fans on social media, I include this site in that. West ham lost 8 points last season due to officials’ mistakes. They cried ‘we could have finished 7th with those and qualified for Europe. It is not fair. We Want VAR.’

Looking back you could see why many now would support its introduction, yet there was a recent study of every game last season and they used VAR in all those games to see if the results would have been the same. West Ham would have benefitted to the tune of……. 1 point. Not 8 points but 1, moving us into 9th, Instead of 10th. Why is that, I don’t hear you say. Well… because what a lot of fans forget is the old adage of swings and roundabouts. If we had just played on the swings we would have got 8 extra points, but we didn’t, we went on the roundabout, that meant VAR was used against us as well, evening out the playing field it seems.
Oh, has the game changed, or have I changed? 
Oh has the game changed, or have I changed? 
Some 90-year-old tough who peddles porn 
I swear to God 
I swear: I never even knew what porn were
So, I broke into the palace 
With a sponge and a rusty spanner 
Brady said: “Eh, I know you, and you cannot write”
I said: “That’s nothing – you should hear me on a podcast”
We can go for a walk where it’s quiet and dry 
And talk about football things 
But when you’re tied to Sullivan’s apron
No-one talks about castration

Now I get to a contentious bit for me and I make no apologies for this. I don’t think I’ve really pushed the fact I’m on Moore than Just a podcast on here. I prefer to keep those separate even though the lord of the manor is a welcome stand-in on the show when we are presenter lite. This week though I alluded on the podcast to an exchange of different views with a regular poster on here who hails from Romania. It seems some heard it and brought it into the discussion on here. As per usual, some chose to misconstrue what I said but nothing new there. But I stand by what I said and that is that during my anti-VAR rant I criticised him for the fact he claimed that VAR had not held up the game unduly.
Now the fact that I and those around me got frustrated with the delays says to me I knew there were delays and they were unduly lengthy. The internet is a great invention, and without it, you wouldn’t be reading this and 95% of those reading this that know me wouldn’t of, but, meanwhile, in TV land you are fed the constant replays, you get told what’s going on and that leads to some watching on TV thinking they can tell someone at the game, “I don’t know what your moaning about there wasn’t much of a holdup.”

As the (changed) song lyrics above say, has the game changed or have I changed? The answer to that is the game has changed and if VAR is kept it is not for the betterment of fans IN THE STADIUM
Past the pub who saps your body 
And the club who’ll snatch your money 
The Queen is dead, boys 
And it’s so lonely on a limb 
Past the pub that wrecks your body 
And the club – all they want is your money 
The Queen is dead, boys 
And it’s so lonely on a limb 

What is the point of professional football, for what reason is it played? Is it for entertainment to those in attendance or those at home on TV? Is it to fund players personal lifestyles or to create wealth for owners? Years ago, it seemed it was organised for the entertainment of the local population to cheer on the team that represented where they live. Now I’m stupid enough to think that is the case or should still be the case. But TV has gone in around 50 years from showing the highlights of one game to now controlling when and now how the game is played. The Queen that I knew is dead boys. 
Life is very long when you’re lonely (repeat 4 times)
(my thanks to Morrissey & Marr for the influence)


Nigel Kahn’s Column

If I Can Dream...

There must be lights burning brighter, somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true
oh why

Part of being a football fan is we dream. We dream of trophies and titles, of being entertained by goal scorers and gifted wingers. Brookings Devonshir’s and Frank Lampards at Elland Road. Away wins at Anfield to cup wins at Wembley. The start of the season is for dreaming. Elvis dreamed of a better land, where all his brothers could walk hand in hand. Well, it seems so did thousands and thousands of West Ham fans. A better land in Stratford has yet to be delivered for many but some will say it already has been. Whether all the claret & brothers (& sisters) can walk hand in hand I’m not sure. Discourse is never far away it seems, Twitter can be a battlefield and I hold my hand up. I can be antagonistic up with the best wind up merchants. Recently I have tried to take a look at what can we do to come together more as a fan base. Frankly, it’s just a dream. There is too much division amongst our fan base, division over the owners, the stadium, players, even who can give us the best news. Division surrounds us.

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away all the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why, won’t that sun appear

How can peace & understanding be brought about between factions? That I don’t have the answer to, but the only thing that comes to mind is a change of ownership. That will mean that all sides can unite behind a new leadership not tainted by the many that see the Daves as destroyers of dreams, not makers. Until that time though should we give up on peace and understanding?

We’re lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We’re trapped in a world
That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

How though can one redeem his soul? Well, perhaps by acknowledging one’s faults and trying to change. To that point above I acknowledge how I can antagonise & wind people up. But that is not enough, so I need to change. Not only change though, but I also need to apologise to those I have at times overstepped the mark with. So, if in the past I have offended personally anyone reading this I do apologise, and I hope in the future to never repeat my actions. Sometimes stupidity can overtake me and going forward I hope to avoid such actions.

Jimmy Cooney, ill never see eye to eye with you, I still think you’re a drama queen at times and think you need professional help, but I say that now with no malice.
As for anyone else, all I can do is say I hope we can draw a line in the sand and leave past indiscretion’s to the past and accept this apology. 
Don’t get me wrong though, this extends to the west ham fanbase, not to the owners or their sidekick that is supposed to run the club.
As I said above, to truly heal this club, they must leave. Too many, myself included, will never forgive, nor forget how they took us to this so-called promised land of dreams.
So as we enter the new season, I hope it’s a season where dreams do come true, but if it doesn’t, never mind. Next year’s dream is just 12 months away. Until then let us sing along with Elvis………

Deep in my heart, there’s a trembling question
Still, I am sure that the answer gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true, right now
Let it come true right now
Oh yeah

Nigel Kahn’s Column

Its Called Silly Season for a Reason

Summer months for the news outlets is generally known as the silly season, the reason is not a lot happens so they have to scratch around for any news stories they can find.
It seems that this season that has transpired to the west ham news outlets, they seem to be struggling for genuine transfer news which probably most of the fan base are pleased but it certainly leaves those that make their name from being "in the know’ to coin a phrase scratching around and “perhaps” gilding the lily with some of the names we have been linked to.

One story breaking as I type though is West Ham have bid for Soloman Rondon of West Brom. Apparently, we’ve bid 10 mill and a couple of players.
To be honest, I quite like him so wouldn’t be upset to see him join, I generally prefer to welcome every player when signed and if he pulls the shirt he will get my support as the manager has obviously seen something in him.

Sometimes I do enjoy baiting the ITKs which is childish but it makes me laugh as sometimes I am party to as much info as they have so can see through the spin of their embellishing of possible contact, but as it is the silly season as well, why not be silly about it.

WHUISA, what a joke they are now.

Hammers United still growing but i still find it strange that they think they can force the owners to talk to them, won’t happen, nor will it end well unless they change the path they are on.

OSB, they keep being bypassed on the big club decisions, Season tickets, and Socios social media influence.

So who is best for proper fan representation, I’m not sure I know, but WHUISA & HU won’t talk to club direct unless it is on their terms, the club won’t talk to them unless they join OSB, who the club only talk to on the subjects they choose.

Personally, i am about finished with WHUISA. they are about as democratic as Russia is in my book, Shameful behaviour by some that started a petition to remove the elected chairman & Vice chairman, they wouldn’t reveal themselves but closed the petition after the resignation of Lew the short-lived chairman and then acting chairman John Ratomski throw in Sue Watson is appointed not only to the committee but is chairman.

Co-incidence? In the words of Hong Kong Phoey, “could be”

People keep saying that the fans need to be united but for me the only way that will ever happen is when a new owner comes in, as they are not burdened by the hatred of many including me over undeliverable claims of the move and the world-class team quote and all the other guff they came out with to increase the share price of West Ham. They are sticks that will always be used to beat the current mob ruining, sorry I meant running our club.

Lastly, with the signing of Four Nails I got to wondering about other building based footballers we could team him up with, so here are a few others we could look at.

Ben Ham(m)er – Huddersfield
Eden (Trip) Hazard – Madrid
Mark DEWALTers – Ex Villa & Liverpool
Makita Jelavic – Ex Birmingham City.

Feel free to add your silly tool named footballers to the list, it is the silly season you know.


West H.A.M in the good ole U.S of A

Flicking through some of my old football magazines recently I was reminded of the original North American Soccer League over in the states, not only that though it seems West Ham were very well represented across the league during the 70s. Some I knew had been out there like “Arry” and Clyde Best but then I discovered others and the list just grew including a couple of surprises.
Pike USA

Geoff made his West Ham debut in March of 1976, he was 20 and had come through the ranks with the likes of Alvin Martin, Mervyn Day and Alan Curbishley.
In the Summer of 76, he joined the Hartford Bicentennial’s, so named as in 76 America was celebrating its 200th year of drinking coffee instead of Tea.
The Bi’s as they were known, (stop sniggering people I’m serious) was a new franchise, started in 75 and recruited quite a few English players into their roster.
They changed their name in 77 to Connecticut Bicentennials, where their coach was to be a certain Malcolm Musgrave, one of the original Cassetari boys and an Ex Man United manager. as per their previous season in 76, they were not successful and one story from a coach I have found regards a game against San Jose Earthquakes who included George Best in their side.

“We used to cut the grass so high in the Yale Bowl that the other teams had trouble playing. It was like two or three inches high.
One time we were playing the Los Angeles Aztecs in New Haven and they had a bunch of foreign stars including Georgie Best. They came into town early in the week and were staying in a motel about ten miles away. Our Head Coach Malcolm Musgrove says ‘Rudi, go over there and see what they’re doing.’ I went over and sat next to the pool for most of the week and they were just drinking themselves to death and sneaking out every night, you know?
I came back and told Musgrove ‘Coach, we’ll kill these guys! They won’t be able to make the second half. They’re all drunk.’ They beat us 5-3. Musgrove said ‘You should have found out what kind of whiskey they were drinking.”
In 1977 Milan Mandaric bought the club and moved it, as is the way with franchise sports in the U.S over to the West Coast and Oakland. Just one year later he sold them and they became the Alberta Drillers in Canada until folding in 1982.
Geoff played 39 games scoring 8 goals and assisting in 10, and can claim to have played against the likes of Best and Pele as well. An experience that would stand him good stead for the rest of his career.

Hurst USA

In 1976 Hurst was finishing his time as a professional in England, his time at West Brom brought his career here to a close and so for possibly one last hurrah, or for a nice bit of wedge, he joined the NASL circus at Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders were packed with Brits and Hurst would team up with an old friend from his West Ham days, old Arry.
They though only had an average season with Hurst scoring 8 goals from 20 games with 4 assists, not bad considering his age at the time (37).
The next season though the sounders would fair better,
Under a new manager, Ex Everton, Southampton and Bournemouth player Jimmy Gabrial and though Hurst never returned, Harry was back and this time joined by Bobby Howe. Sounders would finish 3rd in the league but through the playoff system, they qualified for Soccer Bowl 77 where they faced the New York Cosmos.
Pele, Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Italian legend Chingalia. Cosmos would win 2-1.
But Seattle would sign their own world superstar in 1978, the one and only Bobby Moore.

Moore USA

In 1976 while still at Fulham, Bob joined the San Antonio Thunder for a summer of football.
Thunder was a new franchise and 76 was only their 2nd season in existence. playing in the heat of Texas in the aptly named, Alamo stadium they struggled and finished off the pace and out of the playoff picture. Bob would play in more games than any other player for the Thunder that season.
It seems San Antonio wasn’t ready for Soccer and didn’t realise the value they had in Moore, as their average attendance was a [poultry four and a half thousand, and with that in mind the franchise moved to pastures new.
Bobby went to Seattle to join Harry while Thunder went to Hawaii and became Team Hawaii.

In a strange quirk of fate, in 1976 to help them celebrate the Bicentennial, The yanks invited over their old landlords to play in a soccer tournament, England along with Brazil & Italy would play with TEAM USA, in a four-team tournament. As the USA didn’t have anywhere near the quality of players they possess these days, they drafted in the best of the foreign legion in the NASL.
Pele, Chingalia from NY Cosmos, Ex-Spurs and Wales but aptly named Mike England, and Bobby Moore.
This led to Moore playing against England in their final group game, with Moore on the losing side as England ran out 3-1 winners thanks to 2 goals from Keegan and 1 from Gerry Francis. It seems this is not classed as a full international game by England as Keegan’s goals or appearance does not appear in his record.

I will finish off with a team mentioned above in regards San Jose Thunder moving and being renamed.
Now we know Bobby Moore didn’t move with Thunder so why would I mention Team Hawaii.
Well, it turns out if there is one team in the NASL forever linked with the hammers it turns out its Hawaii.
Five of their 20 players were from West Ham, Tommy Taylor, Keith Coleman, Keith Robson, Yilmaz Orhan and Pat Holland all played for Hawaii in 1977.
They lost 15 of their 26 games, losing 11 (draws not allowed in the US) and again only averaged around four thousand fans. Orhan played the most games, 24, and Pat Holland along with Keith Robson scored 4 goals each, Robson’s goals came in only 11 games though so a good ratio for him.
One season only in Hawaii before they were shipped off to Tulsa to become the Roughnecks but not one West Ham player followed them.

Pat Holland TH

Many other Hammers played in NASL including
Clyde Best (Portland Timbers 1978-1981 & various others)

Clive Charles (Portland Timbers 1978-1981)

Dennis Burnett (St Louis Stars 1977-1978)
Ade Coker (Various teams 1974 -1988)
coker & Jennings

Billy Jennings (Chicago Sting 1977)
Paddon USA

Graham Paddon (Tampa Bay Rowdies 1978)

Alan Taylor (Vancouver Whitecaps 1980-1984)

Nigel Kahn’s Column

Lifetime Collecting Prt 2

This week I continue on giving you all a taste of my collection and perhaps some examples of some of the easy ways for kids to start their own collections without spending too much money (to begin with)
When I say I collect anything to do with West Ham I generally do mean anything, if it has a badge or link to the club, I’m interested. I may not buy it but I’m always interested and the more obscure the better I like it, even to the point I have a carrier bag collection.
Ticket stubs were again, one of the first things I kept. As with my programmes, it just started as not throwing anything away but then it grew. It was helpful my Uncle was in the ticket (cough) industry so could supply me easily with them.

The pic shows some of my favourites, including the Liverpool East Terrace ticket and the Spurs South Bank ticket. Special for two reasons, not many terraces back in the day needed a ticket to get onto them, you just queued up and paid on the door, so to have those two is rare I like to think. What sets them apart is they have the counterfoil, which makes them not only very rare but adds a bit to the value I’m told. But as I say to those who ask about the value of stuff I have, its only worth it, if I was selling, since I’m a collector, not a seller, I’m not interested in its worth.
Over the years the west ham ticket style constantly changed, but I believe I have at least 1 ticket from every year since the late 70s. Of course these days with ticket scanning, you can’t tell if a ticket has been used or not but I have some very nice tickets from games gone by. Ive shown some of my England tickets as well, I must admit the old Wembley tickets are my favourites.

I think the cigarette card collections started in the 1920s, I bought a set at Walthamstow town hall boot sale 1 Sunday for about £20 I think back in 1992, I had just bought my 1st house and thought my neighbour who was in his 80s would love to hear about them, he was blind but used to go West Ham back in the day before he lost his sight.
I was sitting in his living room, showing reading him out the names, What you know about Len Gouldon, I said. Len said his wife, that’s old Len across the road, used to play for West Ham. So off Isabelle went to get Old Len, in he came, and, yes, The cigarette card I had of West Hams own Len Gouldon was indeed Old Len. He then tells us that Tommy Lawton was the best forward of the time, had great feet, in his opinion, better than Dixie Dean.
You can see the card with Old Len in the picture, the more modern-day collection came from the fake cigarette sweets we used to get as kids, I only bought them to get the cards as I never really liked those sticks, too sweet for me. The West Ham collection in the binder is Hammers News all-time West Ham 100. A collection that came every month with Hammers News every month I think around 2008.
Also, are some of the very modern-day Match Attax cards, I bought a complete set for my son years ago when trying to get him into football. He wasn’t interested so I gave it away, apart from of course the west ham cards. All add to the collection.

The fanzine started appearing around the late 80s, the first I remembered was On The terraces, swiftly followed by Over Land & Sea. Some of the others are also found in the picture, The Ironworks Gazette which was the name of the actual in house Thames Ironworks magazine that carried the advert by Dave Taylor that he was setting up a football team and needs players. On a mission, The Water in Majorca and the oddly named, We ate all the pies all followed in the 90s. It’s great to read them at times to get a sense of what fans thought at the time and the humour found in them is sadly missing from today’s West Ham. The pic below shows a short-lived but excellent fanzine, 5 Managers. Which was produced for just the last season at the Boleyn, as well as the great Ex Hammer which for me is sadly missed and Blowing Bubbles, which if I’m honest, I struggle to see as a fanzine as its too well produced? Add to the fact they had David Gold write for them I can’t say im a fan of it. If anyone knows of any others please let me know

Lastly for today, if any of you heard last weeks Moore than just a podcast, podcast, then you would have heard about a West Ham programme that recently sold for over 3,000 pounds. it was from the 60s I think but it was for a game that was never played as it was called off in advance, and apparently, there was only 2 known in existence.
I then mentioned that I used to go to the ground if a game was called off and buy a programme if they were on sale.
The first time I did this was Boxing Day 1979, my uncle came to pick me up but said the game was called off. I got upset so he took me to the ground to prove it was off, outside the gates was a programme seller so my uncle bought me one to try to cheer me up.
The game wasn’t played until April which obviously means a totally different programme was needed.
The game itself is well known as Billy Bonds was sent off for fighting with Colin Todd that night and also it was the first game back at Upton Park of local lad and former hero, Alan Curbishley.
I can’t say I know what the Un-played game programme is worth but as I said before, Its only worth something if I’m selling.

Thanks for reading

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