Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015 League Table

So we approach the end of the last full year at the Boleyn it’s time to look back at the last 12 months and perhaps it is safe to say it has been a topsy turvey year but one that perhaps promised at first great things but quickly stagnated to the inevitable finish of the Allardyce era in May only to be reborn under Slaven.
January and things were rosy in the Boleyn Garden, sitting 6th as the New Year was seen in, but even that while looking good, was a drop from the 3rd place just a few weeks before, and actually was just a continuation as the club then just sat and stagnated week after week dropping 6 places to finish 12th in May. In fact the last 19 premier league games of the BFS Era produced just 16 points in the premier league. Many would say that is relegation form but how close is it, what if for instance the season didn’t run from August of one year to May of the next but in fact ran from January to December. In the Premier league that would actually still be 38 games so I have sat down and worked out as far as I can remembering there are still Two games left this year.
Splitting it into two halves with the summer mid-season break which gave some of the failing clubs the chance to change their managers, which 8 clubs have done this calendar season including of course the Hammers. The fairest option is as well to split the league into Two, the top division being the 17 clubs to play the whole year in the top flight while in the lower league we have the 6 clubs to only play half a season, the 3 that left after the summer break and the 3 that replaced them.
So at the end of May as the season broke for the summer, we bade farewell to QPR, Hull and Burnley. Hull and Burnley pay the price for their previous years form as though they were bottom 3 in May overall, in the Year 2015 league they were both out of the Relegation places. Newcastle were the second worst team from January to May collecting only 13 points out of 19 games, just 1 point better than QPR’s 12, Then Came the Hammers with 16, quite a turnaround when you think the previous 19 games had brought about 31points. So of the 17 teams left in May West Ham were the second worst team, perhaps further evidence why the previous manager had to go.
From the resume of the Premier league in August though the Hammers have far improved their points tally, collecting 28 from the 19 games, which when compared to the other lowest placed teams with us in May, Newcastle, Villa and Sunderland is a great achievement for Billic. David Sullivan’s spending in the summer transfer window certainly has paid off not just in the points gained, but the style of the football it has enabled Billic to construct.

Don’t forget that Newcastle’s last 3 points came last game in May against us otherwise they would have been relegated out of the 17 to survive the cull.
Just 4 weeks later West Ham were back in action as we had the Europa League to deal with, which was stuttering to say the least and ended before the fun really got going, but it gave us 3 extra games at the Boleyn, and also it gave the players a head start as they started the second half of the 2015 season.
Second from bottom faced Top in August as the form book was ripped up and thrown out the Window, West Ham defeated Arsenal in their back yard to start what hopefully would be a revival and show that by playing in the Europa League it did give us an early season boost. But as if to prove that no matter who the players are or who the manager is, West Ham will always flatter to deceive, Leicester turn up at The Boleyn to grab a victory that was a surprise to those that were there, but when you look at the 2015 table perhaps the Foxes victory wasn’t that a surprise. Bournemouth’s on the other hand was a shock, as good a game as it was I doubt many of us saw that result in advance, as was then the Liverpool away day win at Anfield ending 52 years of Hurt. 6 points out of the first 4 games was perhaps expected, just not in the way they were achieved. Victories against Man city Palace and Chelsea and the club are riding crest of a wave, injuries though have started to tell and prior to the Swansea game it is now 6 games without a win, though a draw away at Man United is welcome and Stoke are generally our nemesis as are Everton so points against those two teams are welcome. Over all for West Ham Collecting 25 points out of 17 games is a good return and good basis to hope that if the upward spiral can continue, we may start the season at the OS with another European adventure
As the table shows, the title has already been won by a team that can’t win titles Man United & Liverpool are sliding, but it is the revelation that is Leicester City that stounds out. Perhaps in their performance of the Calendar year there is hope for all the lesser teams and may be finally shows that teams outside of the recent Big 6 teams can compete at last and who knows, may be just may be, in May 2016 we could have a New team winning the premier league title for the first time since 2010. The form of Chelsea since August is evident that as they have slipped down the table into mid table obscurity, Spuds have rose to be in the top 3, while it’s no surprise that 3 of the 4 teams that had a dismal start to the year have carried that on from August, Villa Newcastle and Sunderland year points tally are abysmal, 3 clubs with large fan bases that just lurch from manager to manager while nothing ever changes.
One last point to consider is that across the year, West Ham’s lowest position in the league table proper was where we finished in May, 12th, this season we have been constant in the top 10 so perhaps our final position in the Calendar year table is harsh.
So I present the up to date 2015 Premier league table as of Monday evening after the Southampton game.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

OLAS V West Brom, House called Boleyn Ground

There is a place in Green Street
They call the Boleyn Ground
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

My mother was a single mum
saved for my season ticket
My uncle was a west Ham Fan
and we lived in Canning Town

Now the only thing a West Ham fan needs
Is a Ticket to the game
And the only time i was satisfied
was when i was at the Boleyn

Oh mother, tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House called The Boleyn Ground

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I'm goin' back to Green street
To wear that ball and chain

Well, there is a place in Green Street
They call the Boleyn Ground
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

Im not sure I’ve done "The House of the Rising Sun” justice, but in part, that song does resonate with me, especially the part about it being the ruin of many a poor boy as it seems at times it has been like a drug to me, one that i still haven’t been able to shake. That though of course change next season, the move and they way the club have gone about it has left me feeling angry in the past, that anger has now subsided in to resignation and a sense of finality. To myself i see the club as dying in May, finished, gone, caput, no moore, extinct.
The reason is it will no longer bare any resemblance to the club i was born into supporting, and the reasons look to have started years ago, many blame the advent of Sky and its support of the Premier league founding and its ignorance of the record books of the football that came before it. One such example of their re-writing of history is the lauding of Jamie Vardy equalling the record feat of Van Nistleroy in scoring in 10 consecutive premier league games. As good as a feat it is many don’t realise that the actual record is 15 consecutive games to score in achieved by Stan Mortensen of Blackpool, though his feat was broken by Injury so it wasn't 15 games in a row for Blackpool he scored in.
The premier league now seems to be run purely and simply on a money making model, football is in a way secondary now, Teams are now Brand names with clubs fighting to get their name seen as much as possible on the world stage. Their is no greater evidence of this than our own clubs new badge for for its re-birth next season in Stratford and it use of the word London. That can only be put down as an attempt to project the name in to lands that, as yet, don’t realise West Ham is in London, god forbid they realise its in East London. Fans are no longer treated as fans, but as cash cows, they’re to be relieved of as much money as possible, bombarded with daily emails offering us the chance to buy from the club nothing but tat.
Football without fans is nothing but it seems many get suckered in by the clever marketing by the clubs and West Ham are one of the best. The outside world will tell you that by moving to Stratford we are all getting our tickets 25% cheaper, as that is the story pushed often by the club, the truth is only Band 4 fans get that big a discount, and many i know that have been so far have upgraded to band 3, to avoid the poorer view in band 4, and in upgrading that discount disappears down to around 5%. The way the season ticket migration has been handled smacks of it being maximum money orientated rather than it being a service for the fans. The fact they employ salesmen to carry out the interviews should really show what the tactic is, as they are trained like car dealers to extract the maximum they can out of those sitting in front of them. Lets not forget the +2 policy of allowing non season ticket holders be served in front of some that have held Season tickets for well over 20 years, where is the reward for loyalty, for standing by the club during some of its worse seasons in the past 40 years. No reward is the answer.
I am a bitter man and i only have myself to blame, so mothers, and fathers, tell your children, not to do what i have done, don’t let them spend their life in sin and misery following west ham, tell them football is to be enjoyed, and whatever they do, don’t join the SAB.

On the field though despite the recent return of 1 point from 9 i still have a good feeling about this season, and to be honest, only the defeat at Watford was really disappointing as i really thought we could of done better against them. The defeat to Tottenham though is disappointing but there are times where you have to admit we were beaten by a better team and that is probably the only time we could of said that this season. It seems we have the same points this season after 13 games than we had last season, and the pro Sam media have been quick to point that out. problem is what they don’t get is the way we achieved our points this season is far superior than we did last season, add to the fact that this is Billic’s opening season so he has yet to build his own squad, whereas last season was Allardyce’s fourth at the club and was built by him. I still can’t see us struggling this season and stating to drop away into a slump that happened in the late part of last season, not that i think we can hold onto 6th spot as well, i fancy us to finish between 8th - 12th position, though if it was to be below 10th then i may be disappointed. then again, come May i doubt our league position will really bother me as then end will no longer be nigh, it will be upon us.

Lastly, I listened to the radio 4 programme this week which featured Gary, and it really was a great documentary, The 2 nuns made me laugh and to think all the years i have lived around the area and visited for football since i moved away, i never knew those nuns lived there. Gary’s revelations were no surprise as I’m sure he has let it be known that this is the year he considers his last (for the time being) and wish him every success in his plans for when football to him is no more. There is no way that in not missing a game since 1980 he couldn't have had family moaning at him, i know from experience, about the amount of time he spends at West Ham so his dedication can only be admired.
In the programme there were the locals, pleased we were leaving, though the fact we have been here 112 years surely means when they moved into the area the club was already here so they would have known from day one what to expect, and hammers fans, though the one that called the Boleyn Ground a run-down ramshackle of a stadium perhaps needs a trip to spec savers. i promise that next time i will try be more upbeat in what i write, enjoy today even in defeat as "The End is Nigh"

Sunday, 15 November 2015

OLAS V Everton Nov 2015

On the pitch things have never been better, the football is, in my opinion, as good as it has been since the days of Di Canio and Trevor Sinclair. Payet is a great player, at 28 this is the peak years of his career and it makes a change to have a player that good knowing we have the best years of him, rather than knowing his best will be for some other team. The past years of turmoil with the football side has finally been washed away and it is exiting again to support West Ham.
Off the pitch, ill admit that as every home game passes im struggling with the thought come May this will be no more. Problem i have is that by becoming a member of the SAB back in 2011, a vocal one at that against the owners and the people they have entrusted the day to day running of the club to, i know those running the club are detached so far from the fans of the club they it frustrates the hell out of me. Some things are petty, like the other day, November the 1st.
The club on line run a on this day feature, on November they 1st they posted across the internet, on this day We beat Bury 10-0, Cottee scoring 4, etc etc. Problem is that game wasn't on the 1st of November, it was the 25th of October. Oh dear. not a big crime, but if they cant get the small things right, what chance they get the big issues, and i dont mean transfers and the on field stuff, i mean the day to day stuff that does actually affect fans, say like, the final game of the season.
In Feb 2014 i met with 11 others on the SAB to discuss many things to be recommended for the final season, and then the final game. The 12 of us then conversed with the wider fan base and that was fed back to our Chairman, he prepared a report that was presented in May 2014 to the full SAB. This document outlined what nearly a thousand fans that had responded wanted to see.
what did the club do with this report? i think they lost it down the back of the sofa, because months later at another SAB meeting they again ask for SAB members to dialogue with other fans as to what they wanted from this, the last season. Now the last season is upon us as you would think the club are prepared, think again. another SAB meeting last week, and for the 3rd time they ask the SAB to feedback what they want from the last game. 3rd fcking time, weren't they satisfied with the thousand fan response back in 2014, thing is, i know i'm not the only one of the original 12 on the farewell Boleyn group that is frustrated as it seems the club have totally wasted our time. Time spent at meetings, time spent collating the answers, sending them through, and then the time spent by the chairman setting up a power point display with pie charts the lot, displaying every answer given not just grouping them together. i Realise that to many this disbarring rubbish, but loads of fans have put in effort and given up time to assist the club because they care and the club have just, in my opinion chucked it back in their face, with there attitude. for me, this stems from the fact that many I've met running the club, do not have the club in their Heart, they are recruited from Arsenal, or wherever they've come from, grown up supporting other clubs as kids only displaying their false love for the club as its in their employment.

I would like to Congratulate the club though, it seems they have embraced the football supporters federation 20 is plenty campaign, though, i think they didn't read the leaflet properly.

Match Prices 2014-15

The 20 is plenty campaign is supposed try and get clubs to restrict Away ticket prices to £20, West Ham though have restricted the price rise of day match tickets to £20.
what am i on about i hear you say, well, in March of this year we played Chelsea at the Boleyn, the club charged to price Band 1 seats out at £75 each fast forward 7 months and that same seat was £95. Over 25% increase in the price in the space of months. Another example of the people running the club actually not being concerned one bit about the fans, in fact we are not fans, we are Customers, a patron number, that's all we are, here to be milked of as much money as they can screw. They abuse the loyalty and have turned this last season in to a reason to screw even more out the fans. Don't worry i'm told, it changes when we move, yeah really. lets see how long it lasts. the club have admitted we only get around £15 million more each season than at the Boleyn, that still leaves us 30 million behind Spurs in their 35,000 stadium, let alone their 60,000 stadium. what way can they get more money then. Ticket prices. With sell out after sell out at exterminate prices they know the fans will pay high prices, it won't be long till the cheaper prices at the OS start to overtake. Arsenal is their model and we all know what they pay.
So as each game progresses and goes by, a bit more of the club goes with it.
Match Prices 2015-16

Saturday, 26 September 2015


Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
He got an ice pick
That made his ears burn

Whatever happened to dear old Lenny?
The great Elmyra, and Sancho Panza?
Whatever happened to the heroes?

In 1977 the Stranglers released the song “No more Heroes”, the song bemoaned the loss of strong figures at that time in culture, and pointed at their heroes and why no one else, in their eyes was coming through. Perhaps its an age thing, as I look now at the team we have, currently riding high in the league and I wonder, what has happened to the Heroes.
As a kid growing up in the 70/80s, it seems the team was littered with them, Bobby Moore, Billy Bonds, Hurst, Peters, Trevor Brooking, Pop Robson, David Cross, Phil Parkes, Frank Lampard Snr, Alvin Martin, Ray Stewart. Later on we added to that in, Frank Mcavennie Julian Dicks, Ludo Miklosko. Others of course came along, but I’m talking about real Heroes, the type of player you would pay money to see, the type of player you would pay to see talk about his days at a theatre. I look around the current team; in fact, I look around at the players we have had in the last 10 years, and apart from Mark Noble, I’m just not seeing Heroes.
My kids don’t follow the hammers so I can’t say who they adore, but when I look back at the team around that 70/80s period, so many had been at the club or stayed at the club for a long time, there wasn’t the constant conveyor belt of players, teams grew over a period. I can’t remember ever west Ham signing 5 players at a time and the fact players didn’t move about and generally stayed at clubs increased the affinity between the players and fans, of the list above 10 had testimonial games, some even had 2. Mark Noble is due a testimonial either this season or next but who else will get there. James Tomkins maybe, but is he a hero? Not for me a good player yes, but not a hero, as heroes don’t roll around outside nightclubs kicking policeman and getting arrested do they.
Saying that, as I think back to my all-time Hero, George Best, its well documented the scrapes he went through and was no angel, so that shouldn’t be held against James Tomkins. Perhaps its down to ability then, JT is a good Premier league defender, but he’s no Rio, and how many other clubs fans do you hear saying, “I’d have Tomkins”. Don’t get me wrong, im not saying JT is a rubbish player but do the kids of today or even us older fans look at him in the same light as we did/do Alvin.

The reason for my wondering about this subject is I regularly go to the Hammers Heroes shows held in Southend and at Hornchurch and also the excellent Ex-Hammer forums in Romford, where I sit and listen and generally laugh as the old timers reminisce about what many of us to be the glory days of the club, and I look at the current squad and those of the last 10 years and wonder, who in 20 years’ time will we be listening to, who would you want to listen to, too be more honest. Scott Parker, 3 time Hammer of the year, then leaves to go to Spurs, that went well. Reo-Coker telling us about his great game at Highbury, spilling the beans on Pardew’s demise, and his for that instance. No, not for me, I care not one jot what he would have to say, and I can’t think of others that maybe I would. Perhaps it is an age thing, but with players kissing badges one week, then moving onto to so called bigger clubs the next they don’t stay long enough to get and keep that Hero status.

Who knows, perhaps the Ex Hammer heroes of the future are this squad, that could well be the surprise package of the season, after not just 3 away wins, but 3 wins against supposedly 3 of the best teams with home records in the country that is no flash in the pan. You can’t ignore the Leicester and Bournemouth defeats but when looked at there was a pattern there. Both of those teams chased us down from their front, squeezed the room around our players, none of the other teams we have played, and beat, have done that. They let us play our game probably believing we would be more worried about them than they are about us. Big mistake, Billic is showing his tactical class in those away wins and also showing a great ability to lighten up the press conferences. From the parking of the bus but not having the handbrake on, to the winning those 3 games is like walking into a pub full of girls, Absolute magic. Im asked at times how happy I am that BFS has gone, at the beginning it was happiness, now though this may be early doors, I feel vindicated in taking the stance I did. I always knew that his way was the wrong way to achieve the results, and abit like Cloughie when he walked onto the Leeds training ground for the first time proclaiming they should throw their medals in the bin as they won them through cheating, in that Don Revie’s type of football was not the right way to play, and so Allardyce’s football, points accumulating, is the wrong way to play.

Lastly I visited the sales centre at the Olympic stadium to hopefully choose my seat, It didn’t go to planned. I wanted club 66, all sold out, nothing at all around that area either, in band 1 just the back rows are left, in fact, in band 2, just the back rows were left. The meeting descended into farce with the bloke who kindly took me in with him, Grouping its called, not getting a seat either. He complained, I complained to someone in the club on his behalf, the sales manager talked about me to another salesman that was overheard, and I got called a mentalist, obviously by some one who has read my output, but im guessing doesn’t agree with it. Anyway ive looked up Mentalist and what it means, wiki says this,
“Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. Performances may appear to include hypnosis, telepathy, clairvoyance, divination, precognition, psychokinesis, mediumship,mind control, memory feats and rapid mathematics. Mentalists are sometimes categorised as psychic entertainers, although that category also contains non-mentalist performers such as psychic readers and bizarrists.”
I actually wouldn’t mind being a mentalist now after reading that, but if you go on the internet you can read a detailed report with unseen images that the club wouldn’t want you to see at www.whu365.blogspot.co.uk
Many thanks for reading and may the good times last

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Band View

                                               Band View

Following my sales centre visit last week I will explain how the meeting went and how for some fans they wont be pleased with the outcome.
Firstly I will admit that the task of moving over 20,000 season ticket holders from one stadium to the other would always lead to some fans winning and some losing, and so far we have not really heard much disappointment coming from those that have visited already, but there may be a reason for that.

The fans with the Seats in Band 1 at the Boleyn have finished their viewings and chosen their seats, as they had first choice they naturally had the best chance of securing the best view, the band 2 viewings are coming to a finish and this is where i came in, with a couple of other fans, I'm not band 2 I am in band 4, but was looking to secure a Club 1966 seat, I sat in with a Band 2 Season ticket holder who sits right on the edge of Band 2 in the West lower, towards the Bobby Moore stand. I am guessing here but the fact he sits on the edge of his band meant he got allocated one of the last block of meetings for his banding. When the Stratford office gives out meetings to fans I believe that those in the middle of a band will get the first meetings and then they work themselves outward. Luckily for those in Band 1 as they came to the end of their meetings many of the band 1 fans would of moved into the 1966 seats and also obviously with a larger capacity stadium, there will be more seats to chose from without the need to sit in the back rows. All good with the band 1s then, onto the Band 2 seat holders, those at the front of the meetings  have been able to take up any of the unfilled 1966 seats and also move into the Band 1 spares. So why then when I sat down in the meeting was the Band 2 season ticket holder I was with faced with a virtually sold out stadium for bands 1&2 and the 1966 seats. In the Olympic Stadium there must be more band 1 seats and band 2 seats than at the Boleyn, throw in the extra 1966 seats why was Dave (name changed) so unhappy that not only did he not buy at the OS but was claiming that fans have been shafted so bad he wont go to the Boleyn ever again either. The answer lies in the introduce 2 friends policy, one which on the face of it has been so successful that many existing Season Ticket holders are being denied the opportunity of upgrading as there are no better seats to upgrade to. i wrote recently that the move to the Olympic stadium was based on a Robin Hood ticketing policy, Take from the existing to give to the missing, it seems in some cases that is the reality.

The Picture's above I took from the computer screen in front of me as the salesman started his pitch for David (name changed) to choose from. The colour coding for the larger picture is as follows, Red is sold out, green is available, Orange has limited availability, Block 139 was opened up, and as from the smaller picture you can see a sea of red seats, the purple by the way are Bond holder reserved seats, ill quickly explain that. Bond holders that are season ticket holders can not only buy a seat for their season ticket, but can also hold a seat for their bond, that seat can not be sold until I believe 14 days before the game is played. anyway back to Dave and his Hobson choice, He didn't want the last seat in the front of the West as was offered to him as he wants to have quick access to the trains station, which are in the East, from which the club estimate 75% of fans will come from. So all that was left was those 2 seats shown above, on the aisle, handy for quick exit anyway. The view from those seats wasn't for me to be honest, as the advertising banner round the pitch seemed to take up alot of the view.

but Dave seemed happy enough, and accepted that seat. Me, I passed on it, the reason was, i wanted the best seat, I was leaving my mates in band 4 behind to get the best view possible, but as i have said, they were all gone, so if I'm going to have a bad view, ill sit with my mates with it. 
This is where things took a turn for the worse, just as Dave was ready to settle up, it was pointed out to our Salesman that he couldn't sell them to Dave, as Dave didn't have an aisle seat at the Boleyn, and as the people in the equivalent seat at the Boleyn hadn't been in for their meeting. What was worse, the only other seats available were the back rows, we saw the view from the back rows, and bear in mind, these were still in Band 1, which when you look at the Boleyn bands in the tip picture, you'll notice that the back row seats are actually band 2, nice little uplift for the club there then.
The picture is Blurry but you can still see, for nearly a thousand pounds, that is not a great view. 
Dave was not happy, I wasn't happy for Dave, he wanted that seat at the front, but no can do. It was back of East, or front of West, but he didn't want West. He was Pissed off big time, mainly as he felt he had agreed a seat that was then 20 minutes later taken away from him. I then decided to try do him a favour, remember i wasn't buying, i was dropping out till band 4, i called someone inside the club,  to see if they could help Dave, sadly that made no difference , the sales manager wasn't for budging, the salesman was apologetic, Dave wanted to complain. they took Dave away to talk to him while i sat at the desk, 
it was at this point, the man who i believe to be in charge of the salesman appeared and sat at the back of the sales centre talking to salesman who had no customers. Funny thing is I heard my name mentioned, at which point the Salesman with no customer said, "what, that mentalist" and laughed. 
I had actually had enough, and to be fair I have been called worse, but it showed a big lack of judgement and in a way respect for what is at the end of the day, a fan of the club, i may be mental, i know i have caused problems for the club, at SAB meetings and outside in being vocal about the move, but in doing so all i have tried to do is to make sure the club did right by the fans. and this process is wrong. The fact any season ticket holder attending a meeting can take 2 non season ticket holders with them, has led to this, Fans at the end of band meeting being left the scraps no one wants, and as they cant down band, that means for Dave, that a fan in Band 3 attending his meeting that starts this week can choose a better seat than Dave was offered. the previous week. 
i actually think that it is now we will hear from the fans hard done by, Band 3, as picture above, is Bobby Moore upper, but realistic they wont want to sit upstairs behind the goal, if that view at the OS is put on the Boleyn map, The Bobby upper fans will be sitting upstairs above Nathans pie mash shop, so they then have to move to the side. The same for me and my mates, we sit Trevor Brooking Upper in the family seating stand, Which gives a great view of the pitch, 

This is the view the salesman showed me as comparable

when the salesman asked me what i was thinking, I just said, " you don't want to know what Im thinking"
I don't know if chaos follows me around, i don't know if the club was deliberately difficult as it was me, What i do know is there will be many upset fans in the coming months, that will feel they have shafted by the club they have stood by in the bad times. Long serving fans that have sat in the family seating stand for 10-15 years and now find that because they are band 4 they will get the scraps left behind, long term season ticket holders that have been bypassed in the Queue and shafted by a club that claim they are run by fans for the fans, and by owners that 12 years ago were celebrating with Birmingham City fans as West Ham were relegated. Fans that have only supported one club, showed the loyalty by not walking away through the lean times, but now we sit on the cusp of good times are given a take it or leave it ultimatum, 
Congratulations West Ham you really know how to reward loyalty.


Friday, 18 September 2015

In 2010 I set up 2 Facebook groups, One in favour of the move to Stratford, one against, the reason I did that was to gauge whether there were many fans like me that were opposed to the move. I remember at the time being accused of using a non representative picture of what the stadium would like so I thought that today I would use an up to date picture and ask again, 


The picture above is from the Bobby Moore Stand at the OS and is, I predict, a Band 4 seat, 
I know I don't want that view that is for sure, problem is as I sit in the family seating stand, which is a band 4, We have to wait till last as the clubs policy is to offer bands 1 then 2 then 3 meetings.at those meetings if you have friends in lower bands they can join you in your meeting, grouping together, I think is the term is called
Not only that but the club have allowed every potential season ticket holder to take 2 additional NON season ticket holders to the meetings, effectively by passing existing season ticket holders and those that paid to go on the waiting list. 
what that has led to is a situation on Thursday where I sat in with a Band 2 Season Ticket holder while he was having his meeting, hoping this would enable me to get a Club 66 seat. Problem is there are non left in the central areas of the lower tier that he or I was able to take, The farce continued as He was offered a seat on an aisle which he accepted, I wasn't happy and asked to view other seats, In the West & East stands all that is left is the rear seats, which considering these are Band 1 I think the view is atrocious

 I admit the quality of the picture is not great but the distance is a long way from the pitch, and that is a band 1 so costs over £900. Just to give you what the equivilant view is at the Boleyn, it is around where the houses on the East side of  Boleyn Road are situated, 2 streets behind the current East Stand.

The meeting then descended into farce as after The original meeting holder, after being being offered a seat he was happy with, had this  taken away from him by a manger as it was an Aisle seat & it seems those that sit in aisle seats have to be offered them first. Problem was, all that was left was an aisle seat, so the only option he had, was to take his original seat he was offered, where he didn't like the view, or take a seat in the back rows. I truly felt for the Guy as to be honest it was no choice, I had already decided to go back to wait for my band 4 meeting. to Say he wasn't happy is an understatement, but rules are rules and they wont bend them, not for anyone.

The move was never going to be easy, getting 22,000 fans to pick seats was never going to be straight forward, but the problem was the allowing of fans to bring in the non season ticket holders, this has allowed the best seats to be filled, leaving those season ticket holders whose are given a meeting at the end of their band  with the scraps that no one else wants. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

OLAS V Bournemouth

Today we welcome the newest premier league team to the Boleyn ground, a team that encompasses the Rags to Riches story that is normally reserved for fairy stories. In fact it is only 6 years ago that Bournemouth were fighting for their lives to survive in the basement of the lowest tier of professional football and yet today they are in the premier league, the land of milk and honey. Being in the premier league comes at a price though, not for the club, nor the players, but for the fans who have perhaps realise now that success does not come cheap. At The start of last season Bournemouth fans paid for the best seat, £660, which was advertised as a 20% rise on their previous season where they had finished tenth in the Championship, at that time their best ever finish. This season though they had another price rise, and their price to pay for the team’s promotion, just an extra £5 on the top priced season ticket. Obviously they have such smaller support that any of the other 19 teams in the Premier League and so they have to try to maximise their takings from match day’s as with FFP that seems the excuse used by the clubs to charge the fans more, it is the only way to increase income. Problem is with the price rises, the increased TV deal has meant that every fan could pay only £25 and the clubs would still take the same amount of money than they did with the old TV deal.
Bournemouth Fans today, huddled in the corner of the North that borders the East will be paying £45 adult £25 child's. 1 adult and two kids will cost £95 yet at their ground 1 adult and 2 kids will pay less than £500 for the season, 19 games.
The reason for pointing that out is to try show that even for the smaller clubs success costs and in reality it costs the fans more than any other sector in football, and then we come to today's ticket prices for kids, if you listed the 19 other premier league into our banding system, the top seven in Band A we know who they are , same every season, then you have the band B games and then you have the special games, Community, academy, KIDS FOR A QUID. Now if you was listing today's game, where would you put it, well for me this would be kids for a quid, all day long. first time in a league game we have faced them since the early 90’s in the championship, add to it that they are the weakest team in stature overall in the league how on earth is this not a kids for a quid game. What then amazes me is that our next home game is against the Geordie's, its on Sky, its on a Monday Night which means school night as well, oh yeah, its KFAQ. Night games are hard enough for kids as many parents may be working in London and may not be able to get back home, pick the kids up and then get to the game.
The only reason I can see is that those that run the club, The Chief executive and Vice Chairman are milking this last season for all its worth. Bournemouth being a Saturday game they knew it would sell out no matter how much it costs, Geordie's on a Monday night live on telly, possibly not as many away fans as well, better make that the cheap game. That is not a club run by fans for fans, that is business at work, our owners forever bang on about being fans, they do it for the love, not for the money. Well action speaks louder than words and the ticketing policy of this club Screams, Fcuk You. How many times on twitter has David Gold said “wed love to reduce prices, but we cant alone”, and don’t be fooled by the OS discount, its bollocks as well, the big discount is Band 5, problem is if you’re an existing STH you cant downgrade for a start and many I have spoke to are so fearful of the views behind the goals, they are looking to upgrade to the middle, so in real terms they will pay MORE at the OS not less. Karen Brady is getting thousands of season ticket holders to pay more money next season while getting the outside world to think we’re paying less, its marketing genius and shows why she got a million extra on her wages for securing the stadium, not only that, her crony side kick Tara gets a seat on the board as a director of the club. Tara the Coventry fan now sitting on the board with the Arsenal supporting Karen Brady a board supposedly run by fans for the fans, don’t make me laugh.
I tell you who are fans though, the stewards that patrol inside the ground showing the lost to their seats, some have manned their spot for years, where I sit I've had the same steward for at least 7 years and he is a fan, but how have the club run by fans for the fans repaid their loyalty, with the old tin tac at the end of the season that’s how, no move to the OS for them, unless they want to take minimum wage off OCS who have the stewarding contract, still at least West Ham can still claim to pay all their staff the London living wage, remember that big claim by Brady last season. West Ham was the first football club to do that, of course safe in the knowledge that all the low paid are now outsourced so don’t work for the club, and the stewards that do, will be gone as well. Another pat on the back for Brady. Still at least we know who to blame for last weeks debacle of the claret n blue streamer’s, the SAB of course, as it was in conjunction with the SAB that the club have come up with themes for games this season. I sat on the SAB, also I with 12 others specifically looked at the farewell to the Boleyn.

We met in Feb 2014 in the club, the lovely Tara was there to guide us and help with Ideas, a form was put together, that was put out to the wider fan base asking what they would like to see as themes for the 19 games, 903 fans took part and the response was varied, the top choices were
1. Bobby Moore tribute game. 6.88%
2. 80 Cup Final 6.88%
3. 90’s hammers Legends. 6.19%
4. 60’s legends 5.96%
5. 75 Cup Final & a vote for the Top 5 players 5.28%.

In fact there were listed 37 different themed games suggested by the 903 that took part, but yet Claret and blue day was not mentioned once, not 1 fan asked for that as a theme, but yet the club run by fans for the fans came up with Claret n blue day, obviously the YTS kid put in charge of buying the streamers must of slept in Saturday Morning, because he must of forgot the claret streamers so off he run down the Market, “ Got any claret streamers mate, no son, sorry, ive got purple though, Ok They will do ill take 2 thousand” and so off he ran back to the ground, hoping no one would notice. That has to be what happened because surely a club run by fans for the fans would of noticed that the streamers WERNT FCKING CLARET. If your going to do something so cringe worthy, cheesy and fake the minimum you would expect is at least get the colour of the club right in the streamers. Just look at the Palace fans, they managed it, and the fans themselves organised that not the club, perhaps that’ is where it went wrong, it wasn't organised by the fans.
God knows what other themes are planned but if they say it was in conjunction with the SAB then I'm afraid there’s a good chance its all Bollocks, the reason for my anger is that the SAB gets so much bad press by other fans, rightly so in some circumstances, but the farewell to the Boleyn was possibly the 1 area where those 12 fans could of made sure the club got it right., sadly it was not to be, just like my request to have a sponsor clean shirt front with the sponsors name on the back, they didn't like my idea to call it “The End” either, choosing instead the pony, Farewell to the Boleyn.
Perhaps I'm just bitter, in fact, thinking about it, I am bitter, I don’t want to say farewell to the Boleyn, as each game passes the bitter I get, the club is has died and all that is left is the funeral and the wake.
While I'm here I might as well mention the on pitch shenanigans, I must admit that I enjoyed the Leicester game, mainly that in the 2nd half we came out and showed that we have fight about us and we didn't need to resort to the negativity of the previous managers style. We are still a work in practice, Slaven needs to be given time to build his own team around how he wants it played, so im happy with any place this season above 17 as long as the football is played the same way we have for the 1st 2 games of the season.
Enjoy today anyway, there’s only 17 left after this one.

OLAS V Leicester City

One game is all it took for the club and fans it seems to be rejoined as one, Billic appointment had some sections wondering where The owners ambition was, worried about his lack of premiership experience was one excuse often levelled at him by some section of the fans, who it seems ignored his international experience and yet in his 1st premier league game he does more for the feel good factor around the club than his predecessor ever mustered during his tenure.
I know it's early days and 1 game does not make a season but it's an impressive start and surely the club can only grow off the confidence the victory brought about especially considering that with Leicester City and then Bournemouth coming to town I really do expect to see us sitting in top spot with 9 points before we head to Anfield. Now Anfield, that is a place I would love to be this season at the end of August but while I will be only 30 miles away, I'll be preparing for my godfather duties to my beautiful niece the next day, can you imagine the place if we could finally do the Scousers on their own turf for the 1st time in my and many others lifetime, bearing in mind I'm never someone likely to get carried away when it comes to West Ham, which has evolved in me after year upon year of the crash and burn seasons we generally have, I can honestly see us doing the Scousers and imagine that.
I stopped typing the above sentence as I was imagining that victory and the celebrations after, but just to show that the realist in me is still there, I still can't see us finishing above 9th spot but for me every season Is not about the destination, it's about how we get there.
For me finishing 9th is no different to 17th, the outcome is still the same, not relegated. There would be no fitting tribute to the old ground than to win a trophy in its last stand

Seeing Julian back at the club is also great, a couple of years ago I remember seeing him at one of the great EX hammer forums in Romford and during the Q&A session he spoke with great sense in how he saw football should be played, and it seemed to me he was influenced by the great man that signed him ,John Lyall.
Lyall for me was/is the greatest manager we ever had, not just because of the trophies we won, but the fact he was immersed within the club, 1st as a supporter, then player, coach and finally Manager. He had time for anyone and everyone and I still remember when I met him as an 11 year old, I was mascot for the day against Wrexham on the last day of the season 1981, he himself took my mum and I to his office, where we got to chat for what seem ages. The mark of the man came through when I remarked that Clive Thomas was out of order for sending him off at Wembley, he just said that its best left in the past & there was no bad feeling. He then took me to the dressing room where he introduced me to the days team. The fact he relegated the club twice is rightly overlooked and its a shame it did end the way it did but I will never forget that 10 minutes I spent with the man.
In fact when you look at the managers JD played under at West Ham Lyall Macari Bonds and then Redknapp, for me two of the best managers the club have had that I have seen, and my hero as a kid, Bonds. It will be interesting to find out who he says played a bigger part on his career. I think it was Ron Saunders at Birmingham that gave him his chance before he joined us still as a teenager, though his time spent under Lyall was not the best era for the club. Next up Macari, who to be honest, the only player I've ever heard say a good thing about him was Stuart Slater. Bonds quickly followed and remember the 2 of them played together briefly but looking back, it was Bonds that sold him reputedly frustrated by his discipline problems though the deal bore all the hallmarks of Redknapp pulling the strings. Yet he returned a year later, this time under Harry, and if we are honest, the football under Harry was the best we played while Julien was at the club, even achieving 3 top 10 finishes in a row, the only time ever in the clubs history that had been achieved.
It is just great to see him sitting in the dugout and I just hope he can show the players why the fans love him so much and perhaps help them to embrace the club in the same way he did.
I must admit that Billic was my no1 choice, I always thought the Klopp and Benetiz attempts were just the owners setting the bar unrealistically too high, I'm all for ambition but come on, leave Dortmund then join us, big backward step for a manager of the quality of Klopp. As for Benetiz, I liked him, he did well at Liverpool and Chelsea but I never saw him settling for DS buying the players, but I guess we will never know what the outcome would of been.
On the whole, it's great being a West Ham fan at the moment, so long may it continue.

OLAS V Astra

Hands up, who's missing Big Sam, come on there must be one of you. Ok it's early doors yet and with Billic being so well known to all hammers fans over the age of 30 and with the appointment of Julien Dicks, one of the greatest leaders of men West Ham has had in the premiership era, the good ship West Ham is sailing into exciting times. It is as if the last 4 seasons of football drudgery has been washed away and the new dawn the owners have promised for so long is starting to materialise. Problem is, Slavens start has not been that great football wise and the club can market and push the brand all they like, they can convince you we will be that great big club, they can convince you that despite fact from next season some of you will be watching football equivalent to sitting on the Barking Rd, Green St or in the living room of a flat behind the Sir Trev Stand that the view is better but what they can’t really control is players and the way they play. A manager can say all he like, but if the player when he crosses the white line has a bad day, as everyone at work does, then all those adverts and tag lines account for nothing . The club is selling a dream to the fans, “This time next year we will be a big club”, New stadium, new badge, new players, new fans. Problem with dreaming is sometimes you just end up like Dell boy repeating for years that it will be next year. While at times it is good to dream, when you wake up and realise it was just a dream the disappointment hurts even more.
As someone that never gets carried away I can't say I share the sentiments of those that believe we are about to gatecrash the top 6, the signings so far all seem decent, but as I don't play championship manager nor FIFA 15 computer games I can honestly say I have never heard of any of our signings & I'll wait till I've seen them play before I will contemplate either pulling them apart or bestowing greatness on them. I do find it funny though that many of the same people wary of Slavens return as manager, down to his lack of premier league experience, are welcoming with open arms players who have never played in England. Last season of the foreign new signings only Sakho really excelled, Valencia is hit or miss too much of the time, Song had the experience all ready. Our best signing came from the Championship in the form of Cresswell and Jenkinson on loan was a great coup, and one I hope can be renewed, the problem with buying British is it's mainly overpriced and no better example of that is Jarvis, 10 million for him shows you the pitfalls out there and they get more highlighted when looking at the Andy Carroll deal, you can now see why DS prefers to shop abroad, Yet the club is losing its identity with the local area, how many foreign players have we seen come and use us as a gateway to better things, and prime example of that is our new manager, how will he be able to convince players into staying at the club when he failed to do the same when he was a player. Don’t get me wrong, I think Billic was the right man for the job, just seeing foreigner after foreigner being brought in, with the chance they will push out the likes of Tomkins and Noble from the team is not one I find comfortable.
Of course it's very early days, while our season has started all the others are just getting back into training and formalising their squads, and the only time we can sit back and say we've had a good transfer window is once the window is shut and we can compare our squad with those around us and see how we are performing. I have seen far too many false dawns at this club to ever think, this could be our year.

As for Big Sam leaving, bit of a circus really, right down to the fact Sam was preparing to announce his resignation straight after the Newcastle game only to find that, mistakenly, it was put on the clubs website at half time that he wasn't getting a new contract, the mistake was quickly noticed and the statement was taken down, but just 3 minutes after the ref signalled the end of the game, the statement was again released. Sam was beaten to it and this in a way shows you exactly how the relationship had deteriorated between Sully and Sam. I was disappointed in a way we didn't get to hear his resignation speech, and regular readers will know I loved to hear Sam sing, so I've have combined his resignation speech with the song "don't cry for me Argentina"
So for the last ever time, BIG SAM SINGS,

"Don't cry for me West Ham United"

This won't be easy
You might think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
That I never got your love After all that I've done
You won't believe me
All you will see Is a man you didn't know
And that I didn't follow the West Ham way
Was all that concerned you all

I had to leave you
As I couldn't change
Couldn't stay all my life down south
Looking out of the window & seeing the Sun shine
So I chose to leave you
I'd took you as far as I could
And nothing impressed you at all
But I never expected it too

Don't cry for me West Ham United
The truth is I never loved you
All through my bad games
Our stale existence
I kept my promise
Now keep your distance

I've made a fortune at this club
Though I never invited you in
Though it seemed to the world, we are all friends now,
It's just an illusion
They're not the solutions they promise to be
The answer was here all the time
I don't love you and know you don't love me

Don't cry for me West Ham United
I know you never loved me
You ignored my good games
I ignored your criticism
I cupped my ears
Now keep your distance
But Now I’ve said too much?
There's nothing more I can think of to say to you
But all you have to do
Is look at me to know
That every word I say is true.

OLAS V Lusitano

It seems like only Yesterday we were here last, but its only been 6 weeks and so the longest of seasons is preceded by the shortest of close season, Its good to be back and I for one are grateful for the Europa League as it gives us a chance to enjoy football at the Boleyn just that little bit longer, even if it is against a Pub team from some crappy made up place of a country that has no right competing in tournaments like this. Come on people, the Andorran football league has only 8 teams competing, they play in 4 stadiums, one of which is in Spain, and the biggest only holds 1500 people. Too small for them to play us in so its been switched to their national stadium that holds around 3,500, I swear you could get more in the Spotted Dog ground where Clapton play. As I write the Standard are reporting that nearly 30,000 tickets have been sold, unbelievable show of support for what is in reality a reserve pre season game, just shows you the power of marketing. If this game was the curtain raiser Pre-season friendly everyone would of laughed and we would have been lucky to get 10,000. Play in a European Tournament and we are on the verge of selling out, what is the difference? Cant say I know but it gives us a night out watching football so I’m happy as Larry, but it will be interesting to see what crowd the Werder Bremen game gets on August 2nd as the club want £20 a ticket for that game.

The beginning of July is also momentous time of the year for the club, on July the 6th it will be 10 years to the day the members of the International Olympic Committee voted by 1 vote, to award London the Olympic Games, kick starting the chain reaction that would lead to in my eyes the clubs demise, Just imagine if Paris had been awarded the games and not London. No move into the Athletics stadium for one as it wouldn't have been built. The club would of stayed at the Boleyn, some would argue that we wouldn’t have grown as a club, moved onto the next level, but what the next level is and how much it will cost to get there remains to be seen.
July 4th 1900, Thames Ironworks F.C had already been wound up, it had ceased to exist, mainly down to the fact that its benefactor Arnold Hills so disliked the professionalism creeping in to his club he decided to close it to be reformed as a professional club and so, on the 4th of July that year seven men signed a document that put in place the birth of West Ham United.
Cornelius Edward Osborn, James William Younger Cearns, George Handley, Charles Fundell, Edwin Smith, Aitken Brown and Lazzeluer Johnson were the 7 signatures on the clubs Articles of Association. 3 other men were named in the document as fellow Directors, John Byford junior, George Hone and Albert Charles Davis. The club secretary was a Welshman Lewis Bowen and he is shown far left middle row of the 1st team line up

Only Osborne lived outside the borough of West Ham, in Ilford to be precise, his job was listed as Working for the Thames Ironworks in the Sports and social club at its Premises situated at 55 Barking Road Canning Town. It was in that very place that the 7 local businessmen signed the Founding document. The building still stands today, though it is now a CafĂ©, its located opposite the Post Office just before the Canning Town roundabout next door to what was the Nat West bank when I was a kid but is now a dentists. It is believed most of the 1st Directors of the club had dealings with the Ironworks. Johnson worked there, as did A.C Davis and Jimmy Cearns, who was the first in a long line of the family to serve on the Clubs Board. Byford ran a timber company on the banks of the River Lea, Brown was a coppersmith. George Handley lived on a farm just off the modern day Newham way, located roughly where one of my schools, Cumberland Comp’s lower building, year’s later was located. Edwin smith lived in the Road I and many in Plaistow were born in, Howards Road, George Hone lived in a large house on the Romford Road. Fundell was an exception though, for he was an estate agent living on Balaam st down by the Abbey Arms Pub. Together these men came together to Form West Ham united F.C, there is no way they could of dreamed of what the club would go on to achieve, the last to die was A.C Davis in 1950, but we owe them as much as Arnold Hills for what they created brings us all together.
Arnold Hills remained a benefactor as he pledged to buy a share for every share purchased, though it is not known if he ever saw the team play. Hills actually wanted West Ham to be represented by players who were tee total, im not sure how far he got with that wish and I find it funny that one of the Lounges at the Olympic Stadium is called after him. He was himself tee total and also vegetarian, yet at the OS the club have named a lounge where alcohol will be served and meat will be eaten after a man that not only disliked professional sport but didn't Drink nor eat meet. Just shows you how much the marketing people at the club really know about the club and its roots.
My reason for boring you all with the history lesson is I have always believed that to know where you want to go, you must know how you got there.
Happy 115th Birthday West Ham United F.C

Friday, 14 August 2015

Leicester City 1967

Back in the days when over the Christmas period teams would face each other both home and away, West Ham travelled to Leicester City just 4 days after trouncing them at the Boleyn ground on Boxing Day 4-2, with a young Trevor Brooking scoring his 1st goal for the hammers, and Brian Dear with a hat-trick.
West Ham repeated the scoreline again and this time Dear followed up his Hat-trick with a double to make it 5 goals in 4 days. The 19 year old Brooking also scored, with the other goal netted by Winger Johnny Sissons.
Brian Dear claims to the player born nearest the Boleyn Ground, having been just behind the Chicken Run Stand, in 8 seasons at the club he supported and joined as a boy he played just 67 league games for the hammers netting on average a goal a every game, 33.
The curtain on his time at West Ham was brought down after he was involved in the Blackpool drinking saga in January 1970, where Brian, Clyde Best, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Moore, and the physio Rob Jenkins were out drinking before a FA Cup game, which was lost 4-0.
While his career with West Ham ended on a sour note, Dear is still a well loved player with the older generation that saw him play and can still be found entertaining fans at various Ex Player evenings through the years.
In goal for Leicester was 18 year old Peter Shilton, in what was his breakthrough season, 29 years later, Shilton would join West ham as reserve Goalkeeper where he failed to appear at all though he made the bench often.

visit the Reel History of West Ham to view the video

Saturday, 30 May 2015

1923 Cup Final

In 1923 Wembley opened its doors for the first time with the FA Cup Final featuring West Ham V Bolton Wanderers, before live television the only way to see football was Live or on the news reel shown at the cinemas before the main item.
Pathe news was the main provider of the films that now provide a window on a long forgotten time.
This Video has been put together featuring many of the different new reels from that day, also an eye witness account of the day filmed in 2007 given to the BBC.
Abide with me sung over the opening part of the video is from the FA Cup Final of 1927, Bubbles is sung by Vera Lynn

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

OLAS v Stoke

So it seems the rest of the fan base is starting to believe in what I have been saying all season, Sam wont get a new contract, his time at the club like his contract is running out and a new manager will be in the hot seat come August.
Some will still bang on about, this season is an improvement on last, and we should be pleased with top 10, and if you were offered this position at the start you would of taken it, which is all true, the problem is while all those things are true, it totally ignores the way it has been achieved and what preceded it. Basically there is too much in the past to ignore with Allardyce, and much of it goes against him. If this was Sam’s 1st season then I would be pleasantly surprised as for most we have performed well, we are definitely starting games set up to attack more and while he does let himself down with his substitutions, compared with the dross served up this season we have been attacking more.
Against Leicester on Saturday the defeat was hard to take, not just because they were bottom and hadn’t won for 8 games, but you could see that we didn’t settle for the point and did try to win all 3, just bad luck that we didn’t. The funny thing is he now appears to be slaughtered for no matter what he does, on Friday on the Claret & Hugh Website he was criticised for in his press conference he guarded against smashing Leicester off the park, instead he said teams at the bottom of the table around this time in the season put runs together and pull off unlikely victories. “Not good enough” screamed the many, he should be talking up how we are going to beat them not warning us we might lose. Yet BFS was spot on, not only did the foxes bite us late on, but QPR managed to win, Burnley got a point and Sunderland won as well, so all the bottom 4 picked up points against teams higher than themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going soft on my stance of BFS, and to wanting him out, but I don’t believe in kicking a man just for the sake of it. It is as I said earlier though he is tainted by what has come before, this season is an improvement but it does not change the fact that the 3 previous seasons have been some of the worst football wise I can say I’ve seen. Add to the fact he obviously does not care who he upsets off the field with his criticism of fans in the past, he has overstayed his welcome in my eyes and I cant wait for him to go. I doubt if that will end the infighting amongst the fans though, but it may start the healing yet that may depend though on his successor and how he is perceived to be style wise. Moyes seems to be mentioned alot as has Raffa but I still think its too early to 2nd guess what the owners may be thinking. Season ends late this year so the less time to look around on the transfer market, though if I was a betting man, the fact that Dave Sullys special Advisor, Tony Henry, worked with Moyes at Everton could be the way DS is edging to. Moyes is an upgrade on Sam in my book but not by much and is he the man to lead the new club in 2016 upwards into the top 4, I cant see that but then I don’t think WHU can attract the caliber of manager nor players to do that. In the last 10 years only 7 clubs have finished in the top 4 with Arsenal the only team to do it every season, then Chelsea and United with 9 times. Liverpool are next then the new money of City, spurs have done it twice while Everton managed it the once exactly 10 years ago. Currently 6 of those 7 occupy the top 6 spaces, so it shows you what is required to gatecrash not only the top4 but even the top 6. And while our income goes up with the move, it must kill the notion that ticket prices can be reduced at the OS, as there is no way we can fund top 6 on £30 tickets.

Alex Song wants 100 grand a week apparently, too much for us, if the papers are to be believed, his early season form certainly said he was worth it, yet like our season, he has tailed off after Christmas, yet the old adage is, Form is temporary but class is permanent, and Song was/is definitely class, so why did we bulk at paying his demand. West Ham has a problem, the owners with the move to the Olympic Stadium have made claims that this will push us onto the next level, no longer will mid table be good enough, we are aiming for the top 4. Problem is, the top 4 costs hundreds of millions of pounds to achieve, not just in buying of players, but in their wages as well. In Alex Song we have undoubtedly a top class midfielder, one good enough to be signed by Barca after all, paying him his wages he has requested, is not just about retaining a quality player, but it also gives what’s called a statement of intent. Something that tells the fans and the other clubs, this is what we can do, this is what we are looking to achieve. The signings of Sakho & Valencia didn’t do that, but the loan capture of Song did put down a marker & his permanent signing and paying of his wages tells the outside world, we are aimig for the top. Don’t sign him, get in a cheaper option, less well known, a bit of a gamble of a player, and we tell the rest, we are still the same old West Ham, the move changes nothing, we’ve told the fans were aiming top 4 but reality is, along as we don’t go down we are happy.
Think back to when the Arabs bought Man City, they completed their deal with hours to spare of the transfer window and then rushed into the transfer market. They made a statement on intent, it cost them 33million, but the signing of Robinho told the other teams, look at us, this is where we are, this is what we are looking to achieve. In a smaller way, signing Alex Song and paying him his hundred grand a week will do that, Sadly it looks as if we wont find out if Song would sign if we offered him what its rumored he wants, it appears we wont pay him the money, they have the get out that his form post Christmas doesn’t warrant it and they can find someone just as good but cheaper, but the truth is, in football as in life, you only get what you pay for. And as I said earlier,
Form is temporary, Class is permanent.

Friday, 6 March 2015

OLAS v Chelsea

Last week a group of like minded West Ham fans met for the 1st time, the club I believe played host, they call themselves the pride of irons, and the membership is drawn from the gay community. When I 1st heard of this meeting taking place I must admit I was sceptical as to why they need something like this, I heard the founder Jim explaining why he felt compelled to set the group up on the KUMB podcast and yet I still didn't see what the need was for this group to be in existence. Why not join an existing fan group I thought, but then, their is no supporters group that represents the fans and can liaise with the club on their members behalf. They claim some chants at football can leave them feeling uncomfortable, really, what chants are they. Coming on the back of the Tottenham game and furore of what may have been sung on a tube train I thought, he we go, another attempt to bash the general fans and the songs they sing, but, at the Palace game on Saturday I heard the chants that could make them feel uncomfortable. Sung at a couple of Palace fans, "we can see you holding hands" "does he take it up the arsenal", all harmless fun it seems, I will admit that in the past I've probably sung those songs my self, and without of hearing or reading about Pride of Irons I wouldn't of thought twice about it on Saturday, but because I had heard about the group in the last week it did make me think, is it right, should we just laugh these chants off. I'm not going to pretend I know the answer or know what it's like to be offended by any chants but perhaps it is right to have the debate. I did converse with Jim on a Facebook group where I put it to him that perhaps the only way to achieve the change required is for all West Ham fans to stand together on this, to raise awareness of it and to see if those of us that think it's just a part of funny banter mocking the visiting fans to think twice. Personally I can't see it happening but i suppose without trying you won't get anywhere, so good luck to them. Hopefully though "come on you Irons" won't be deemed offensive. (Joke people, joke).
Last Thursday I attended a fans show hosted by you are the Ref website, big Sam was on the panel as was Mark Halesy, the Spanish bloke off sky Guilem Ballege and former top Referee and their boss once he retired, Keith the cheat Hackett. The Bastard of Villa Park who in one egotistical moment he destroyed or hopes of a Wembley final with the wave of his straight Red Card in Tony Gales Direction.
To be fair the evening was shambolic, held at the sports bar on the Haymarket the sound was so poor that Halesy even led a chant of sacked in morning aimed at the abysmal sound techs on duty. Sam is a great supporter of bringing in more technology, even to the point of having 2 challenges of decisions per game. During the break in procedures Access to Sam was denied by bouncers, and after the event he was out of his seat before the host had finished thanking everyone. So as my friend and I shuffled out we took the chance to door step Hackett and see If we could get a chat with him. Not only did he agree but he allowed it to be recorded for my friends podcast. Keith at first offered a handshake and I held out my hand, but then, the schoolboy in me came racing to the top, and as quick as anything at the last moment I pulled it away "no chance" I said, much to the amusement of the journalist next to Keith, you hammers never forget he said. You bet we don't I replied. I asked him about the incident and the fact that it came about after the FA instructed Refs to issue red cards for that offence on the Thursday before the game. Keith's reply was that it was true and he laid the full blame on the door of the FA for changing the rules, even to the point of telling us that when a FA rep came up to him after the game, Hackett said “A guy from the FA came up to me and said, listen if you hadn’t sent him off we would have suspended you, I told him where to go off!”
When pressed on would he apologise to West Ham Fans he Said “West Ham fans rightly gave me a lot of stick on the day and for months afterwards, someone sent me a recording with a chant every time a referee gave a bad decision at West Ham it was “Are you Hackett in disguise?” I find that mildly amusing but at the same time it reminds me perhaps of the worst decision I ever had to make in my career and i had 34 years, “There are many who watched West Ham and I ruined their day and I apologise for that, but at the same time I shoulder some of the blame at the end of the day I put blame on to the FA for making that change and the player not knowing, neither player knowing and neither manager knew about that interpretation. I remember going to the FA room and saying wow we didn’t except that was going to happen did we? that was the risk!. When we sat in that room on the Thursday [before the game] we should of said ‘Get Lost Mate’ [To the FA] we will change next season and we should have done that”
Looking back on you tube of that incident, I don't really buy it, he was so quick to go off, he didn't seem to hesitate or show anything that looked like a forced decision, to me it still looks like the action of a man who wanted to be the 1st to do it, the 1st Ref to red card a player for the offence of denying a goal scoring opportunity, Keith though now admits that ball wasn't even going towards the goal and neither was Crosby the Forest Player fouled.
All these years later why should we bothered what he has to say anyway, the reason for me why I believe it is good to hear from him is perhaps it was the start of a chain reaction of events the led to one of the greatest days I had supporting this club. The 19,000 West Ham fans there that day will never forget what went on, the sending off, the four goals, the performance of the team even with 10 men and then the fans reaction to all those events was not the modern day, I'm walking out with ½ hour still to go, No, we stood, and for about 30 minutes non stop we sung out hearts out. Watching it back this week gave me goosebumps the day is still one of those engrained in my mind shared with my best friend its only the result that was a downer, even that was tempered with the fact my old school mate (Gary Charles) from Cumberland Comp was off to fulfil every kids dream and play in a FA cup final, where he is engrained in living memory as the player gazza fcuked his knee tackling. Looking back I'm not sure I'd want that day to be any other way than the way it panned out because perhaps it may not have been as good as it was. The West Ham way is many things but our response that day to me shows it did exist in that the fans support in the face of adversity was unwavering.
If you know what a podcast is the full interview with Hackett and Sean's with Tony Gale,s response can be found at moorethanjustapodcast.com. On iTunes or just google it.
Keith Hackett don't get the last word, though we as fans do.
Billy bonds claret n blue army, Billy bonds claret n blue army Billy bonds claret n blue army.

Monday, 19 January 2015

5 years on

5 years today the Dave’s rode in to save the club from extinction, and we should all be so grateful, well that is what many fans believe but im not one of them.
I must admit though that 5 years ago I was pleased they had got the club for DG I had known was a great supporter of the club and always admitted the fact when interviewed as owner of Birmingham City. I cant say I knew that of Sully though but ill take his word that he was a west ham fan, after his family left Cardiff. When they managed to get their hands on the club I did think that they would know the value of the area and how to treat the loyalty of the fans that had stuck by the club while they were feathering their nest in Birmingham, in my opinion sadly I was wrong. At their 1st press conference they set their stall out to reduce the debt and move the club to the Olympic Stadium. Dave Sullivan said they bought it as fans not as businessmen, im sure many may agree with that but in the last 5 years many of their actions are not that of fans. They tried to squirm their way out of the Season ticket discount, claiming no knowledge though the SAB had raised this matter with senior club officials so if they didn’t know, those running the club on their behalf did. In the end they honored it, but in the process tried using blackmail tactics on those not to take the full 20% discount by saying it would hamper their transfer dealings. If that was the case why pay Karen Brady a Million pound bonus for the OS stadium move, did that not hamper us in the transfer market as that was more than the 20% discount to the Season ticket holders, a discount sold as a reward to those that for 5 years continued to renew largely through some of the worse times that the club had gone through. If that was not bad enough the next season we had the Disabled ticket 100% price rise, though after a backlash it was reduced to 50%. Funny how the original price rise letter was sent out by the clubs disabled liaison officer, yet the 2nd letter informing that it will be only 50%, was sent by Karren Brady, Riding in to save the day. I’m only guessing but I am sure 50% was above inflation though. Ok what about the deliberate cutting of away ticket allocations, the club has to pay up front for away tickets so unlike in the past where they have taken the largest amount they switched to taking the smallest amount, thus stopping the maximum amount of fans from travelling to away games. Not very Fan friendly. Neither was the clubs use of Viagogo to sell unsold match-day tickets cheaper than the season ticket holders could buy them for. Is that the action of fans, not in my book? The community ticket sham where tickets were sold for £5 to chosen local groups on a category A game, this was a game not advertised as a community ticket game in advance and it was only admitted after photos of the £5 tickets were circulated. Then there is the move to the Olympic Stadium, 1 month after taking over the club, Dave Sullivan on the BBC was reported as saying “football and running tracks don’t work, the fans are just too far away” yet over 40,000 of the 54 000 seats will still be behind the running track, even with retractable seating. Then we have the claim of affordable football for all, though who the all are I’ve not found out because it doesn’t extend to the season ticket holders who will pay comparable to what they pay now. 5 years ago in his press conference Dave Sullivan said “if we can have a huge ground we can reduce ticket prices and take football back to the people”. He then continued “we could have the cheapest premier league prices in the country and that is part of our strategy”. Since he made that claim my Season ticket has gone up over £50, not bad considering everything else but how does that sit with his claim when taking over the club. Don’t forget that the income from TV money since they have come in far outstrips anything they would have imagined or budgeted for, only once the club reveal the true ticket prices for the OS can a judgment be made properly, but considering last season the cheapest match day tickets in the premier were around £20. In fact in price comparison last season we had the 4th dearest cheap seat, the 6th dearest expensive seat, the 6th most expensive adult match day ticket and the 3rd dearest cheap adult match day ticket. So hands up who thinks when we go to the OS we will have the cheapest match day tickets and be taking the game back to the people.
I’m sure you will read much this week about how much better things are since the 19th of January 2010 when the two Dave’s bought their controlling stake in the club, but I’m afraid that to some, and I am one, they are not the saviours many like to proclaim.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Olas V WBA The Two Daves Xmas Special

Football at xmas is great, gets us out the house and away from the endless repeats on TV, some though are timeless and i must admit to being a big fan of the 2 Ronnie’s and Morecambe & Wise, and to that end I submitted a script to WHUTV for what I think could be a winner on their unloved and unwatched TV Channel. Basically it starts with DS & DG reading West Ham news,

DG “it’s been announced today that West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is to be offered a new contract”
DS “EE have said he can have 600 minutes and unlimited texts and data”
DG “The pentagon announced that Osama Bin Laden was buried in a West Ham shirt”
DS “The spokesman said it was to ensure he stayed at the bottom”
DG “A burglary was recently committed at West Ham’s ground and the entire contents of the trophy room were stolen”
DS “The police are looking for a man with a claret & blue carpet”
DG “and finally Thousands of fans were left disappointed at not receiving tickets for the rugby world cup at the Olympic Stadium”
DS “to soften the blow they were told that they can have 10 each for West Hams opening fixture at the Stadium when they move in”

Next they cut to short sketch set in a cash converter, where DS is the shop owner and DG is the Customer,

DS “can I help you sir”
DG “Yeah, see that video over there, West Ham the golden years, how much is it?”
DS “That sir is £300”
DG “£300, are you Having a laugh, just for 1 video”
DS “Oh No Sir, just the video is a fiver, but for the Beta max player to play will cost you £295”.

The next sketch featured Dave Sullivan walking round the supermarket doing some shopping for Carlton Cole who was feeling Poorly, he bumps into Harry Redknapp while in the vegetable section, when Harry askes DS what he’s doing there, he replies, “Getting a bag of Potato’s for Carlton Cole” to which Harry walks of saying “Sounds like a fair swap to me”
Quickly followed by a scene at a game with DS and in the directors box
DS is watching West Ham from his usual seat but for some reason sat next to him this week is a man with a dog. West Ham is playing really badly on this particular day but every time they get possession the dog starts to bark with encouragement. In the 85th minute they get their first corner of the game and the dog goes absolutely mental. "Why does your dog do that?" asks the DS "I don't know, he's a West Ham fan, it's just what he's like" replies the owner. "So what does he do when we score?" DS asks. "Well I don't really know, I've only had him a year....."

Then we have DG and DS with Sam, DS is trying to get Sam to play football his way, Sam is having none of it, DS keeps telling him he playing all the wrong moves, but Sam comes back and says, “I’m playing all the right moves, just not in the right order”

Finally we get the big musical number with Sam singing his version of “Changing Man” By Paul Weller
Is happiness real or are you all jaded?
Can't you see i feel like a man been tainted
Numbed by the effect, aware of the muse
I like to touch myself before I light the fuse
I'm the changingman,
Built on shifting sand, yeah
I'm changingman
Waiting for the bang, As I light a bitter fuse
Song on loan, only ours to borrow
ours for today, but may be not tomorrow
Yea, all I see, the more I know
The more I know, the less you understand
I'm the changingman
Built on shifting sands
I'm a changingman
I'm waiting for the bang
To light a bitter fuse
Bigger part ahh, when my instincts act
A shot in the box, a long pass back, yea
More I see, more I know
The more I know, the less I understand you
I'm the changingman
Built on shifting sands
I'm a changingman
I' m waiting for the bang
To light a bitter fuse
And finally it’s a good night from me, and a goodnight from him.
Happy new year everyone, The good times are back.