THE LAST OLAS
Ive just sat here staring blankly looking at the page wondering how to start my
i did plan to have one last rage against the owners but actually i cant just bring myself to do it, because while it may me feel better it wont change anything, and rather than rage id rather celebrate what has gone.
Ive read Olas for years, even kept issues that go back to the mid 90s, so to join the ranks of writers cheered me no end. Ive ended up from that start in Olas to writing for Websites, running my own websites, even having one of my Olas articles published in a football magazine. without writing in here I'm not sure i ever would have had the confidence to do that, i got asked by someone once why i write in Olas and my answer was simple, Freedom, Gary gives anyone that wants to put the words down the opportunity to have them publish, without being changed, without being edited. If you feel it and want to say it, write it down send it in, he will publish it. If the club don't like it, TOUGH, and that don't happen everywhere. Years ago when blogging first was beginning i got chosen to write for the PFA website about West Ham, i lasted 6 months, reason was they kept pulling my articles as too critical of the club ignoring the fact that we were staring relegation in the face and there wasn't much cheer going around the club at the time.
Freedom when writing is the big thing for me, because if you have to change what you want to say to get to published then actually your diluting your argument and in a way, cheating yourself.
So Gary id like to thank you for running this fine publication and for allowing me the opportunity to write for it. Top man, you are the OLAS BOSS and i wish you every best of luck in whatever you do.
All the sellers deserve a pat on the back as well with a special mention to Michael who stands at the top of Castle street. We bumped into each other on a train back from Palace a few years back so got chatting, and become good friends. In a strange co incidence at Anfield this season He sat directly behind me so to share that historic day with him topped it off.
I wouldn't be here without my MUM or Uncle, My mum had the good grace to bring me up where she was brought up after being left with 2 kids on her own at the age of 21, I wont make the ludicrous claim like DG of being brought up in abject poverty but it wasn't easy for her, but she did it, and she made sure i got to follow my dreams, So Thanks mum for having me and thanks for allowing me to be the west ham fan i am today, without you, i wouldn't be me.
As for my Uncle, well, i love the fact that 40 years later i can still talk to him before the game as he pounds the patch of pavement before the games, doing what he does. Many will object to it but i don't care, as it was him that brought every week to the games, him that payed for me so many times, even when i was grown up and married and money was tight, he always made sure i had the money for football. He may not be my father in blood or name, but in every other way he is to me.
i Say goodbye to my best mates dad Bill today, as he wont be coming to the OS, he don't want it, thinks its wrong, nearly 70 years he's been coming, seen us play under every manager except for two, Bill, I've loved sitting with you and sharing our chats, I've never forgotten you telling me about your first game v Rotherham in the early 50s, I'm not your Son, but you made me so welcome into your family that first Boxing day i turned up, To take your boy to ipswich to see west ham get beat and i know well still see each other but i hope you will come over to the OS as theres a seat next to me for you anytime you want.
And Peggy Bills wife, when Bills not there and you turn up we have such a laugh, even the day when we saw the bloke carried out the East Stand, and he looked a goner, and after the initial shock i remember you laughing as i said, “What a Way to go Though, at the Boleyn watching football”
To my best mate, fuck me we had some laughs, our friendship grew from our mutual love of West Ham, I'm so proud of what you have gone on to achieve, you know id love to work with you, but I'm shit with numbers unless its working out how much VAT people owe me so your job is safe, lol
i think back to some of the games and just think, we stood on the North Bank the last day, we sat in the North stand on its opening, and we will be together as the South East West and North stand fall silent forever.
Stevie Mac and Kieran, who I've seen grow up and hopefully help educate in the west ham way, a boy that is on the way to know as much about west ham as i do, and a master predictor on the premier league results, though we don't have a farewell we stay together at the new club.
Big Thanks must go to Boleyn Ali, that whirlwind of a nutcase who has only given me encouragement and helped kick start me on OLAS.
Special Mention to Dan Yallop, Chalk and cheese we were, but Jesus Dan you made sitting through the SAB meetings bearable just for the beers after. You said you wanted to walk up to the OS together on the opening day, i just may call that in, just to wind you up on the way of course.
The WHUSVIEW? Crowd of like minded fans, great friends i can still talk today, we achieved so much i think, but the biggest achievement was pissing off ole Maid Marion so much he didn't stop banging on about us and our ?. i even wanted to change the group name to just ? like poor old Prince did years ago with his squiggle just to see if he could be even more pissed. LOL
KUMB website forum, and to my new hangout WHTID, which i likened to the retirement home of west ham fans on the internet, as sometimes it seemed a dull Clique. but i ploughed on and have made some great friends on there (BSB) and proves that first impressions are not always right.
But my biggest thanks goes to my Wife Sam.
Football Widow is possibly not far from the truth, from the day we met, she has had to share me with West Ham, dates missed in the early days, Holidays never taken between August and May, though there was one 10 years ago to celebrate her Birthday, we had a week in Palermo in September 06. Functions I've not been to, Boxing days with family i missed. Mood swings when times were bad, putting up with me happy when the times were good, often taken for granted that while I'm out she will be at home with the kids. 27 years still going strong though so she must still love me, though my interest in the hammers borders on Obsession.
The Library i have of over 80 books just about WHU, the writing, my website, the fact i don't generally leave the house without an item of clothing with West Ham on it. I don't just have West Ham wallet i have the West Ham credit card to go with it. Everywhere we go and people see me, the conversation always starts about West ham before long, everywhere she turns its west ham,
then came my opposition to the move, i never used to be someone to do anything like that, but here i was gathering signatures for my petition, Joining together with other like minded fans to force the club to let the fans vote on it, joining the supporters board and actually confronting Gold and Brady on the way the run the club, and yet at times when she has needed me, i was too busy with football to notice. Don't get me wrong, I'm not proud of it, its no badge of honour to time and time again to upset those that love you because they feel you love something else more.
At times I've actually been ashamed of myself but yet time and time and time again i made the same mistakes, behaved the same way, never learned from the past, all in the name of supporting West Ham. At first i just told her, i went before you met me, i went when we first met, so you knew what you was getting into. People laugh when i say, its a drug, but that is what it seems to be.
i recently made a video i put on youtube of my Boleyn Memories, after watching it my Wife made this comment
“ Ive shared you with the Mistress since the beginning, sometimes I've hated her for taking you away every saturday, sometimes I've liked her for taking you away some saturdays, but after over 26 years i know no matter where she lives you will always come home for dinner :) great video”
well that blew me away i wont lie, made me laugh but it put tears in my eyes as well. I don't ever claim to be the best husband or the best dad to that either, But i have the best wife (and Kids) a man could ever have because despite everything, she never left me, nor has she burned my programme collection. So Sam as i bid farewell to a building that has in a way defined me from the age of 7 id like to say Thank You for giving me the chance to have those days, and i will love you forever.
To my kids Mollly, who i hope enjoyed the 5 years she spent trying to figure what way we kicked we didn't even get started on the offside rule, and then Oliver, a boy so special i gave him a footballer name, but it turned out he don't like football at all, and yet if you ask him he supports TOTTENHAM, and i love him for it.
Well thats it, the last one is done, your probably reading this after the game as well, thinking this article has dragged on but I hope you have enjoyed reading this fanzine as much as i reckon all the writers have enjoyed their writing it , but its time to go, time to say goodbye not just to the Boleyn but to what West Ham as a club once stood for. Wounded by Terry Brown Nearly finished off by the Icelandics
finally Killed off by Gold and Sullivan and Brady.
I will never Forget, I will never Forgive.