Book Review

Guest Post by Daniel Hurley

Hello to everybody reading this, I hope you’re all staying safe and well during the madness we are all living in!

Thank you to Iain for letting me tell the readers of WHTID a little bit about my book ‘The Greatest Escape: The Craziest Season in West Ham’s History’, what they can expect if they decide to buy it, and how it came to be in the first place.

Like I’m guessing most of you are, I am a lifelong Hammer, I started going to Upton Park regularly with my father Phil Hurley (a regular reader of this site, I’m guessing he’ll comment below!) back in 1992, and have been a diehard fan ever since. I have two West Ham supporting boys of my own, Jack & Adam, and indirectly it was because of them that this book was written! Out for a walk one afternoon, my youngest son Adam asked me if I could tell him a football story, and scrolling back through my memory bank for a season that they might find interesting, I landed on 2006/07 and the Greatest Escape…

As I told the kids the story, I realised how many absolutely ridiculous things happened that season: there was obviously Tevez & Mascherano signing out of nowhere and the madness that followed.

But there wasn’t just that, you had Pardew and Wenger fighting on the touchline, the Icelandic takeover, the 4-3 heartbreak at home to Spurs, losing 4-0 at Charlton but winning 3-0 at Wigan. How we managed to beat Manchester United and Arsenal home & away, but also went two months without scoring a goal… if it was a TV drama it would have been rejected for being too unrealistic! We were ELEVEN points from safety with nine games to go and stayed up for god sake!

As I was telling them all about it I realised just how many stories and memorable moments there were, and it crossed my mind: “has anybody ever written a book about this whole season?” I mean I knew there was hundreds of articles about Tevez etc, but there was so much more to write about! I checked online and there didn’t seem to be, so the idea was born.

Then in March 2020, like so many people, I found myself furloughed and with my first spell out of full-time work since I’d left university. So I decided that this was the time to see if I could fulfil a lifelong ambition and write a book… and now here we are! The awesome team at Pitch Publishing decided that it was a story interesting enough to release, and at the end of January it will be out for people to (hopefully) enjoy!

What I think people will get from the book is a perspective of that season from a real fan who was there for all of it. There were some unforgettable games that year and I give my memories of what it was like to see them at the time, as well as my take on the trials, tribulations and emotions that being a West Ham fan so often throws up.

There are also some funny stories on away trips I went on in the early 2000’s, why being a West Ham fan saw me denied entry to a pub five minutes’ walk from where I lived, and how one of our signings that season once was a wingman for me on a night out, to name a few!

The book was a labour of love for me, something that really helped keep me going during the chaos of 2020, and I really truly hope people enjoy it!

‘The Greatest Escape’ is available on all major online platforms that books can be bought from, and at the time of writing I believe retails at £11-14, depending on where you look! The best place for all info is my publishers’ website, or feel free to message me personally on Twitter at @TheGreatestEsc1.

All the best, stay safe and Come on You Irons!

Daniel Hurley