Nigel Kahn’s Column

I was recently contacted by a West Ham fan who wanted me to tell his story and in a way use it to help others that may feel trapped and alone. I have changed the name of the fan to protect him from unnecessary embarrassment or shame.

My name is Trevor,,,,,,, and,,,,,,,,,,,,, I’m a West ham-a-holic.

It’s been all of 7 days since my last game. It all started as a kid. My uncle introduced me to it. I was so young that I can’t even remember the first time. It’s as if all my life it’s been there. I never saw it being a problem, I mean have always gone West Ham, at first it was exciting being in the crowd with like-minded people. I had it under control. I could take it or leave it. I worked hard and was entitled to unwind in the company of like-minded friend’s, I enjoyed a good night game, and away days could be even better. Pretty soon it was evident that it was out of control, though not to me. My wife complained that I was always going to West Ham and didn’t spend enough time with her. That in turn led to many arguments. She just didn’t understand that when I was at football, I came out of myself. The highs were unexplainable, though too few or often and in the end I was just going to blot out the rest of my life. The trouble is in recent years I could find nothing to blot out the West Ham. My friends at first were sympathetic but then one by one, as their clubs became successful or won trophies, they questioned why I continued down the path I was going. It is not the misery of supporting West Ham that gets you in you the end, it’s the hope, the hope that they will win today, or even score a goal. Yet they never do.

I have been suffering for many years now from the addiction. It seems there was no-where to turn, no help for me. But at last, it does seem that there is hope for me. This week I attended West Ham—a-holics anonymous, a group of like-minded West Ham fans, who, through regular meetings, help others afflicted with this debilitating illness. They have put in place a 10 point programme that all sufferers should follow to help them through and if like me you too are brave enough to admit you are a West ham-a-holic.

1. Cultivate continued acceptance that your choice is between being unhappy watching West Ham or being happy without West Ham.

2. Accept as being normal that for a time, perhaps a long time, you will recurringly experience

A. The nagging craving to watch West Ham
B. The sudden impulse to go, West Ham,
C. The craving, perhaps not for West Ham, but for the warm fuzzy glow going West Ham gave you.

3. Remember that the times you didn’t go West Ham, normally called “Post Season” and use that thought to build up the strength to not go West Ham when you feel the urge taking over.

4. Develop and rehearse daily a plan of thinking and acting by which you will live each day without West Ham, regardless of how hard the urge to go West Ham may hit you.

5. Don’t allow yourself to either think or talk about any real or imagined pleasure you got from watching West Ham. Chances are it wasn’t real.

6. Don’t think for a second that “isn’t it a pity I can’t go, West Ham, like the normal fans, can do

7. Don’t permit yourself to think “one more game won’t hurt” or “just let me go to one more game and I will be able to stop.” You won’t. Just one more game will make it worse.

8. Cultivate and woo the enjoyment and freedom of not going West Ham.

A. How good is it to be free of the shame and guilt of supporting West Ham,
B. How good is it to be free of the consequences of being a West Ham fan, the misery of that feeling when you wake up on a Sunday morning after going to West Ham,
C. How good is it to be free of what fans of other clubs have been thinking and whispering about you, and their mingled pity with contempt?
D. See how good it is to be free of the fear of defeat.

9. Cultivate a helpful association of ideas.

A. Associate being a West Ham fan with the single cause of misery, shame and fear you have ever known
B. Associate being a West Ham fan as the only thing that can destroy your new found happiness, and take away your self-respect and full possession of your faculties.

10. Cultivate Gratitude:

A. Gratitude that so much can be yours for not paying the price of that ticket
B. Gratitude that you can trade going West Ham for all the happiness that brings
C. Gratitude that West Ham-a-holics exist and that you found them
D. Gratitude that you are a West Ham-a-holic, you’re not a bad or wicked person, just you have been in the grip of a compulsion.
E. Gratitude that since others have done it, you in time will learn to live without West Ham

If you like Trevor you recognise the systems and think you need help as well,

You can contact them free on 0800 0-0 0-0 0-0

Help is out there.