Nigel Kahn’s Column

Back to Normal

The Predictor League for Burnley is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is Saturday at 1pm.

Hurrah, finally it has arrived. No, not the cup win against lower league opposition but this coming Saturday we have a Saturday game that kicks off at 3 pm, the time-honoured traditional kick-off time that many of us still pine for.

No big shock though as with the current situation the country finds itself in, the mass televising of football has been welcomed it seems by the fans, but when/if we ever get back to where we were pre March 2020 with fans allowed on mass in the stadium how will the traditional 3 pm Saturday kick-off be treated?

Short History lesson. The reason why games kicked off at 3 pm on a Saturday was that it allowed factory workers to make the matches. The 1850 Factories Act stopped the working day on a Saturday at 2 pm so when organised football took off in the late 19th century, it made sense to put kick-off times to when your audience could attend.

Fast forward to the early 1960s and the non televising of football games live that kicked off at 3pm was partly brought about to protect the clubs to keep fee-paying match attending fans going to games and not staying at home to watch. Burnley’s owner at the time, a man called Bob Lord, was the big pusher of this and to the point, he refused any TV cameras into Turf Moor, basically Match of the Day cameras, until the late 60s. There appears to be no legal reason to not televise 3pm Saturday games just an agreement between the league administrators to not allow it.

Now with fans only able to see games by watching on TV, the fans are getting used to the new way of consuming the game to the extent when we are back in the ground will the previous status quo resume.

Most fans of any club do not attend games, and I do not include the foreign legions that now follow us, as they always watched on TV.

Will the home-based fans that generally don’t attend but have for the past year and the rest of this season going forward got used to seeing every game accept when fans are back in the ground and the game is not one of the 5 TV picks you can’t watch it (legally).

Should the 3 o’clock kick-off go back to being protected by a TV blackout or do you think that with the change we have seen in the past year in televising every game, that the administrators and clubs should find a way to continue?

Currently, we are having top-flight teams playing nearly every day of the week either cup or Premier league games. Should that be allowed to continue once fans can attend again? Let us know in the comments.

Hammers United are starting the drip-feed release of the results of their Survey. Currently, we don’t know how many took the survey so we don’t know how much of a snapshot of the fanbase it is. Once we have all the info, only then can us so-called commentators of the club try to put together our take on it. We also have not heard the club’s results of their survey that was produced at the same time so kudos to HU in starting to get their information out to the public.

*The circus is back in business people, it’s transfer window season and the people that make a living from giving you the news either exclusively or 1st or maybe both, are jockeying for position as the go-to person for the best info, but how much of that info is real or how much of that information have they put together with educated guesses.
We are currently linked with 5 forward players – Josh King, Giroud, Baku, Dia and Sima. Frankly which one we get I care not one jot. I’ll leave that to the club to chose. Hopefully, they will make the right choice, but I doubt it if their previous track record of signing strikers is anything to go by and while fans beg for info on who we are signing the club announces new directors to sit on the board.

These directors are not shareholders in the club or will be directors of the WH Holdings that own the club but will be directors of the football club itself which I think is classed as a subsidiary of the main company. Why have they done this? Is this a sign of future-proofing the club in the case of one or both the Daves being incapacitated.

The truth it seems is that they want their wife and son and mates to be able to go to games. Quite why Eve wants to go I’m not sure because I cant say I’ve ever seen a photo of her smiling at a game.

It seems only directors of the club can currently attend games so to get them into the ground the only way to do that was to make them directors. They won’t have any say in any way the club is run, so it seems the hashtag #GSBOUT is safe and does not need expanding to #GSBVSDCOUT.

Still, nice to see we are all in it together.

Nigel Kahn’s Column

Entertainment versus Result

*The Predictor League for Stockport is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is Monday at 6pm."

The crowds at West Ham haven’t been rewarded by results, but they keep turning up because of the good football they see. Other clubs will suffer from the old bugbear that result’s count more than anything. This has been the ruination of English soccer

Ron Greenwood’s quote is possibly the nearest definition you will see to explain the mystery of The West Ham Way, though for me what you think is the W.H.W is actually personal to you. It Is what you think it is. Ron’s quote is my mantra though for this.

Why do we watch football? What is it you want to see? Is it just to see your team win or is it to be entertained? Do you hope that in being entertained by your team they will win?
If your team plays well but loses how do you take it? What if the game you watch is frankly as dull as ditchwater do you celebrate the victory as if it was a fantastic achievement or do you shrug your shoulders and say, thank Christ we won that but god it bored me.

Is the result all that matters?

Sometimes you get asked why you go football. My answer is always "To be entertained and then to see my team win that game. I’d rather watch a 4-3 defeat than ground out 1-0 win that was won with a lucky goal. I will naturally welcome that lucky win but I won’t go overboard and celebrate it and when asked I will say what I thought of the game. This is exactly how I felt after our latest victory away at Everton and in one of the many WhatsApp groups I seem to be in I said the same thing.

“Who cares. We won.” was the reply.

That is a good question actually, because who does care if it is a dull game as long as we win? Do you?

I’m genuinely interested in your reply to this question, as I’d like to see if I am alone in wanting to be entertained watching football. So leave your thoughts in the comment section, (keep it short though JC JR). I have attached a screenshot of the conversation and I have removed the names to protect the innocent, oh, and the swear words but you can get the drift.

My reaction is not a criticism of the manager, nor his tactics, but just generally I found the game to dull, lacked any major attacking chances as both defences seem to have the better of the opposition attackers. Our goal was fortunate in the way it was contrived. The deflection could have gone anywhere, it was just lucky for us it fell to Soucek.

I stand by my answer in the text if for you the end result is all that counts. Save your money, don’t bother watching the game, just tune in to final score and the BBC will tell you the result, you can even text me if you have my number, though the reply won’t be blacked out in all the right areas.

Yesterday I received a text that shook me, and frankly thinking about football at this moment while is a great distraction, seeing what my great friend & his family are going through right now makes this even seem trivial.

I received another message from a podcast listener who I have a lot of time for, a young lad who told me his mate, a fellow from the Town you could say had passed. I didn’t know his friend, John, but I know he was well thought of by his friends. He was a regular at West Ham and I’d like to offer my condolences to his friends and family.

When we get back to football, whenever that be, it may be that when we look round we notice seats empty that were always full.

I hope the club remember those we have lost along the way in a fitting way.

Lastly, get well soon to my mate Doddsy and his wife who it seems have been struck down with Covid. “Be strong my handsome.”

Nigel Kahn’s Column

Lets Get This Party Started

To enter the Everton Predictor League, click HERE. Entries can be made until 3.30pm on Friday. The Southampton scores were the lowest of the season. View them HERE. Well done Hammer63 for toppong the league wit 53 points.

It’s party time people. Today is the day we get to banish this god awful year and welcome in what looks like being a far better one, though to be honest, this is the worst year I have known in the 51 years I’ve been on the planet.

Tonight I will party with my close family only, but I will enjoy it as much as possible, music, food and drink but specifically, music will be at the fore.

As the old man of the house, I will be in charge of the music being played and today I will share with you my top 10 songs that will count my house into 2021.

Number 10 – Everybody Hurts REM
One of the rare songs that myself & the Mrs will sing along to, not a great song to get up and dance to but I’m in my living room sitting on my sofa with a beer in my hand, what dance you expect to do.

Number 9 – Johnny B Goode – ChuckBerry

A family favourite especially with my boy thanks to its use in the first Back to the Future. You cant beat chuck when it comes to proper rock and roll

Number 8 – Happy Hour – The Housemartins
Great singalong song from the fantastic London 0 Hull 4 album, one of the rare albums I bought as a kid as I usually stuck with singles or 12" EPs

Number 7 – Common People – Pulp
Jarvis Cocker is up there with Paul Heaton in being able to write working-class songs about working-class life.
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view while singing along to this song.
I’ve put the live version here as it is by far away the best way to enjoy the song and reminds me of being at the front of the Brixton Academy as Jarvis sang to me

Number 6 – Night Boat To Cairo – Madness
Takes me & the wife back to our honeymoon on a Nile River cruise or as we call that period of our life, BC (before children) when we had so much fun, well I did.
Get your Fez hats on and jump around to this one.

Number 5 – A Little Time – Beautiful South
The wifes favourite, im sure as this plays and she sings along sometimes she would quite enjoy the outcome the song has

Number 4 – Jailhouse rock – Elvis
I can’t party without Elvis playing, this not my favourite, that honour goes to Maries the name (of his latest flame) or Crying in the chapel but this one the family will sing along or jive as well too.

Number 3 – My Boy Lollipop – Millie
This takes me back to being 6/7 years old, it is New Year’s Eve and we at my Grandads basement having the family party.
I can still see my great Aunts bopping side to side to this in their carpet slippers, to keep me quiet they let me change the records on the player.

Number 2 – In my Life – The Beatles
There are places I remember, all my life though some have changed, Some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain, all these places have their moments with friends I can still recall, some are dead and some are living,
In my life, I have loved them all.

Number 1 – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
As the end of the year approaches the family will all sing along, while my son starts with Mama I’ve just killed a man, but looking at his mum while pointing at me.
There’s a queue to do that son

These are not my all-time favourite songs and if I played them it would be a party for one as I doubt they would put up with Morrissey and The Smiths dominating the run-up to a New Year, nor would you want to hear Johnny Cash taking Trent Reznor’s Hurt and making it his own.

Perhaps we could try building a WHTID party top 10 in the comments section.

This year has been one to forget but I doubt any of us will ever forget it but its good to look forward to the day, whenever that happens, in 2021 that we can all meet up back at football where we belong.

Many thanks to all those that take the time to comment (even the great critic Johnsey) and to those that lurk and don’t comment, come on, you know you want to.
Now, as the clock is striking 12, lets all link arms for the traditional start to a new year, and don’t forget your tissues as money is on the mum will be crying.

Nigel Kahn’s Column

Repeats Christmas Special

One of the delights of Christmas for me is watching the TV repeats every year. I liked nothing more than seeing the re-runs of Some Mothers do Have Them or Are you Being Served, not forgetting my favourite Dads Army. The music at Christmas with the playing of the old favourites songs of yesteryear give us a familiar feeling at this time of year and as someone that loves nostalgia, I thought I’d bring you my favourite ever article I have written.

The context of this article was I had been to a SAB meeting where David Gold gave a speech where he said, for the first time, that when he looked down Green Street he could see his past, 442 Green street, his present, the Upton park he was standing in & the future in that he could see in the distance the Mittal Tower next to the soon be home of the Hammers, The Olympic Stadium.

Naturally, I wasn’t impressed by DG’s speech, and quipped that all that was missing was Marley’s ghost. With that in mind, I wrote this article for Over Land & Sea back in December 2012 and I’d like to share it with you all here in its original form.

The three ghosts were chosen specifically as Eric Parsons was DGs favourite player, John Bond had only recently died and the ghost of Xmas future was based on my friend and fellow anti move rebel, Alison.

Naturally, I tried to predict the future as expected, I over-dramatised what I thought the future would be and I will leave it to you all decide how close I was.

Also lower down is the film version made by the great Canning Town Len, voices by the Gonzo as well which as you will see has some slight changes to try to make it appeal more to the fans.

I hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas to you all.

A West Ham Christmas Carol

T’was Christmas eve and David Gold stood on the balcony overlooking the concourse out onto Green street. When he looked to his right he could see to his childhood home, number 442. It held so many memories. In the distance he could see the Olympic stadium, where he hoped to move his beloved club no matter what the fans think. In one moment he could see his past present and future standing there in front of him. It filled him with pride – pride in where he had come from and what he had achieved. He was alone in his thoughts and had not noticed the shadowy appearance next to him.

DG, “DAD” he cried, recoiling in the fact that his father had been dead for many years.
GG” Hello David, tis Christmas Eve and I bring you a message, tonight you will be visited by 3 spirits, be sure to listen to all 3 as the future of the club depends upon”. And with that, he was gone.

DG was shocked but looking around and noticing he was alone, shrugged it off as an illusion. That night sitting alone at home, his mind on other things, he heard the clock strike 11, a great draft blew in through an open window, DG quickly closed it. Feeling a slight shiver he walked over to pour himself a drink, he turned back into the room. Standing there was the first spirit, “Woooahh do you recognise me?”
DG “Its, its, Its Eric Parsons, The Rabbit, I remember you, you were my favourite player as a kid.”
EP “Well I’m the ghost of Christmas past, and I’m here to take you on a journey.” And with that Eric grabbed DG’s arm and picked him up and together they left his house. Before they knew it they were back in Green Street. It’s December 26 1949. Standing outside 442 Green Street, a young DG was leaving his house, off into the crowd that was walking past the Boleyn House turret and into the Ground.
EP “Look how happy you are DG look how happy the crowd are.”
DG “yes, I loved this place, such happy times, nothing can quite beat the sound of Green Street on a match day. A great game as well Eric, you scored as we beat Swansea 3-0.”
EP “Yes DG happy days, but still hold on to your memories because when they tear this place down that’s all that people will have, another piece of East London tore down in the name of progress”.
DG “But it will be for the better Eric.”
EP “Time we were off, got to get you back, just hold on to your memories, that’s all you will have.”

And with that Eric Parsons was gone, and DG was back sitting in his lounge. Was it real, had he imagined it, where was that drink he wanted? He went back to the drinks cabinet

“I wouldn’t drink that if I was you Dave.” DG jumped back in shock. “John Bond is that you?”
JB “Yup, not been gone long so I’m a bit new to this spooking lark, but I’ve been nominated as the Ghost of Christmas present, Woooahhh. Wheres the cigars”
DG “Can we get on with it?”
JB “Come on then off we go” suddenly they were back at the lounge at the Boleyn Ground, watching the recent SAB meeting. Karren Brady was speaking to the assembled members, many nodding their heads like the life-size caricature dolls they sell in the club shop of Gold & Sullivan.
DG “She’s got them eating out the palm of her hand, look at them they are loving it.”
JB “Not all though DG, look in the corner to your right see, the revolutionaries plotting your downfall. they can see through the rubbish Brady is spouting. Only 54,000 seats, of which 35,000 will be upper tier so they will all be sitting the wrong side of the running track. in theory, you can fit every fan that attends games at the Boleyn in the upper tier so all will be behind the running track.
DG “Yeah but we will push seats up to the track."
JB “that’s right you will, BUT you said on Match of the Day 2 that front row seats of the Boleyn will match the front row seats of the OS”
DG “Yes that’s right.”
JB “Yeah, but only at the corner flag, because of the arc of the seating the middle will be a lot further away and I didn’t know that the front row of the seats at the Boleyn was 9 meters away because that is the nearest seat at the OS.”
DG “well they are in the East stand”.
JB “come on Mr Gold time we were leaving, got to get you back for No 3”
and with that, they were back in DG’s house.
Relieved to be back DG decided to forgo that drink and retire to bed. He drifted off quite quickly but was soon awoken by a crashing noise. he looked up to see at the end of his bed, a shadowy figure, wild hair and with a cane.
DG ”Who are you?”
BB “I’m the Beast of the Boleyn and I’ve been sent as the spirit of Christmas future. Come on shorty, your coming with me,” and with that, the beast dragged DG off by his ankles.
Next, he knew they were getting off a tube train at West Ham station.
DG “What we doing here?”
BB “Got to walk from here up the Greenway to the OS, won’t let us get off at Stratford, apparently because of the recent aggro when Millwall turned up Westfield have stopped the football fans from entering the stadium that way, now we walk in all weather, 30 minutes up to the stadium.”
DG “What Millwall are in the Premier League?”
BB “I thought you were mad, not stupid. It was a cup game."

As they trudged through the rain the stadium appeared. A sign lit up the view. Welcome To the VISA Stadium, the home of WEST-FIELD OLYMPIC FC.

DG “What’s with that sign?”
BB “Well when you and Sully sold the club after you moved into the OS it was bought by that Aussie who owned next door, the Westfield shopping centre. He didn’t like the name anymore so changed it, dropped the Ham changed it to Field.”
DG “What about the Olympic bit, though.”
BB “ That was Karren Brady’s idea, don’t you remember her Sun Column when you and Sully bought the club?"

As the pair entered the stadium, 1/2 empty in appearance, Gold turned to the Beast. “Where are the fans then?”
BB “Well there are 35,000 in here. The same as you used to get at the Boleyn, but once the initial goodwill disappeared, the £10 tickets never materialised and the tourists stopped coming because the the view is better elsewhere and the part-timers went back to their shopping and watching on the TV. All that was left were loyal regulars, those that had stuck by the club, through thick and thin, of course, many have walked away in disgust at the way you and the others treated them, but then you couldn’t deliver on your promises, no Champions League football, no top 4 finishes, no challenging for the best players in the world, no safe standing area as you couldn’t incorporate that when the Athletics was using the stadium. Just the same old West Ham but in more square footage. That is your legacy, Mr Gold, for once they lost the ground it was easy to strip away the old ways in pursuit of the modern money. The Boleyn was part of the fabric of the club, once torn though, might as well change the lot.”
DG “This is not what I had planned.”
BB “No Mr Gold, it wasn’t, but then you don’t control the future, just the here and now… Time to go Mr Gold.”

David Gold awoke in his bed on Christmas Day. Had he dreamed it, was it just a bad dream or is it the future of the club?

Of course, we all hope the above is purely fictional, it came to me while listening to DG’s speech at the SAB meeting, all that was missing was Marley’s Ghost. No one knows what the future will bring, but as said above The Boleyn is part of the fabric of the club, once torn away it leaves a frayed edge that could possibly unravel to nothing.

Merry Christmas everyone

Nigel Kahn’s Column

Surveying The Fanbase

You wait for ages for a survey and low and behold, two turn up at the same time to gauge your opinion, though the askers couldn’t be more further from each other than what they want to know.
First to announce they were organising survey was Hammers United who spent the time beforehand working the social media circuit to get the word out what they were undertaking.
Now I’m not a believer in coincidence, especially when it comes down to the way West Ham as a club operates, but even they surprised me with the announcement that they had put together a survey themselves for the fan base to take. The email announcing this dropped into my inbox on Friday, while we had prior knowledge of what Hammers United was doing, they were not going live till Sunday.
Imitation is a form of flattery and the fact the club have resorted to this for me shows that they are rattled by the existence and support Hammers United have.
I have taken both surveys and both seem to take you on a path to the answer they want, HU survey did give you the opportunity to be positive about the club, while the club’s survey was more structured in their favour to get the outcome they want. If the club really wanted a true reflection of what the fanbase really think they would have allowed the opportunity for the more negative side to be expressed, aside from the comment box.
Hammers United are hoping for as many fans as possible can take their survey, they are looking outside their membership as well as trying to get their 17,000 members to take part. A good move by them as if they want to be seen as more than just a protest movement that some do see them as then this is a good step for them to take.
What will be interesting as well will be how much of the results we get to see and specifically I’m looking at the clubs survey when I say that, they actually have more to lose in doing theirs than HU do.
See Hammers United website for the survey details and for West Ham survey I’m sure you all got the email.

I see now that West Brom has dispensed with the services of Slaven Billic, they have not had the best start to the season but they are not cut adrift and still could possibly have stayed up. The games in December come thick and fast and the point they gained v Man City looked to be decent but it seems the board had already made their mind up to let him go and not only that, it looks like the replacement was already lined up in another Ex-manager of ours.
I had hoped we had seen the last of him as a football manager his brand of football has no place for me in our so-called forward-looking elite league, but yet he turns up at another club in trouble highlighting the fact that the only club that will hire him, do so out of desperation and not for any footballing style or substance.
Like an oil company watching one of their fields on fire and seeing money literally disappearing up in smoke, the Red Adair of football management comes to possibly resue WBA.
It is said his teams don’t go down and I have always liked WBA but now, I hope they go down.

Talking of going down, while unlikely its still an outside possibility that Londons biggest team could yet be relegated. For as unusual is it that we are sitting high up seeing Arsenal struggling at the bottom brings me joy. In fact, I would absolutely love them to go down.
I don’t dislike Arsenal as a club but seeing the clips of the so-called fans that appear regularly on AFTV and they way they choose to support ( i use that in its loosest form) the team not only brings shame on the club but teh popularity of that form of the show has meant many now see the mental rage breakdown rant whenever the club loses a game is a way to achieve some type of cult celebrity fame.
They have created a genre and sadly it seems to be growing. Football is an emotional game but the bile that spews from those people for me shows they have lost the meaning of what the word supporter is.
Defeats will happen, some teams will lose more than they win, we know that as much as any other fans base, but the personal abuse they throw out at their own players, managers overstep the mark.
If I was an Arsenal player and ever caught site of what they spewed it would make me think twice of wanting to represent them. I certainly hope to never see any West Ham fan behave in that way.

Until we meet again

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