Personal and undiluted views
Upton Park

2468 days ago

Am I hexing West Ham? Bristol City on Sunday

As you know I have guided West Ham to the brink of Champions League football by studiously paying no attention to every game played and avoiding going anywhere near a match or even watching on TV. When I have weakened and thought about attending a game, suddenly The Irons stop playing like Brazil and start playing like a Hackney Marshes side. I must warn you that with the Hammers travelling to my home City of Bristol this Sunday for an FA Cup game, my resolve weakened.

My daughter is in town and I tried to buy a pair of tickets off an online site. Luckily www.ticketbis.net offers the most useless service on this planet and treats potential customers like shite. I was promised calls back, I harried, a bloke called me asking for my business and said right now go buy tickets online only to find there were none. This company is run by a bunch of total wankers from Liverpool.  The sooner the welfare safari that is scouseland is towed off into the Irish Sea and sunk the better. I heartily advise that you never use this company ever, not even to buy a stolen hub cap.

So no tickets. That prevents an almost certain cup upset. However I should warn you

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2475 days ago

City forex dealer Alpari goes bust thanks to the Swiss: Poor West Ham

City forex dealer Alpari has today gone bust, fessing up to taking a £30 million hit as the Swiss depegged its franc from the Euro . the ripples of this mess will spread out to the Academy that is Upton Park in East London. 

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2549 days ago

The Sacrifice I have made for West Ham and its inspired manager Fat Sam Allardyce

For longer than I can remember I have had seats at West Ham. Years of misery has been the only result. Worse still I have taught my daughter to support the Irons, taken her to games and she is now a diehard hammer. It is the sort of act that should get me reported to Social Services.

Last year was dreadful. West Ham were not only hopeless but dull too. I could take it no more and at £650 a pop my season tickets were not renewed. I dithered about a late renewal after a couple of summer signings by Fat Sam but our early exit from the Carling Cup kept me strong. I was not renewing.

It was at that point that West Ham started playing like Brazil. 

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2802 days ago

A Mixed sporting weekend – Ireland, Wales & West Ham

Whatever one things about the sheep shaggers, and as I explained on Friday I have mixed feelings, an evening match at the Millennium Stadium has a world beating atmosphere. It was a wonderful night. Wales played well, France were abject. I returned to Bristol rather worse for wear on the last train.

Worse was to come with Ireland against the Old Enemy. I really do loathe the swagger of English rugby with a passion. I loathed it when I wore the green jersey of London Irish

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2805 days ago

I am Off to Wales v France – who to support?

Naturally my sporting thoughts this weekend will be in London. Can West Ham, in our last game before the return of Horseface, defeat Southampton at Upton Park to go into the top half of the table? More importantly can Ireland defeat the Old Enemy at Twickenham to lift the Triple Crown. Oh Lord, as I prepare for sleep tinight I pray of you that you may give your faithful servant BOD this one last triumph. As a merciful, fair and kind Lord I know that you cannot be an England supporter, so how about it?

But a nice man from North Wales has just offered me a ticket to see the Sheep Shaggers take on the Froggies in Cardiff on Friday night. It is but a short trip over from Bristol and so I have accepted. But who to support?

If I think of Big Nose, the Welsh speaking mother of my daughter Olivia and how insufferable she and her countrymen are when Wales win I am naturally inclined to support the Froggies. But then I chatted to Olivia tonight. For some reason she was not keen to discuss the Ireland game ( I cannot think why) but she says that she hopes Wales defeat the French and …it gets better…that what really matters is that Wales go on to beat England. That’s my girl!

And so for Olivia’s sake I am decided. I shall show solidarity with our Celtic Cousins. C’mon the sheep shaggers.

 

 

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2816 days ago

When did Ireland & West Ham both win on the same day last? Er…7 days ago

Last week I expressed my shock that Ireland and West Ham had both won on the same day and wondered when this happened last? You see, I am used to supporting sporting sides that are just not very good. Well blow me down Ireland and West Ham have now both put in back to back wins on the same day – when did that happen last?

For Ireland it was a home game against Wales. Such occasions usually prompt a post-match call between my father and myself “At least Olivia will be happy.” My daughter is like her mother (Big Nose) a proud Welshie. But not this time.

Ireland were ruthlessly efficient and made Wales (who are not hopeless) look just ordinary. The pack lead by Paul O’Connell was magnificent at the lineout, with the rolling maul and in all aspects of secondary play. The scrums were a bit of a mess but overall it was a powerful display. Throw in the kicking of Sexton and the tackling of the backs – and their strength under the high ball and Ireland looked really good.

Next up is the Old Enemy at Twickenham

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2823 days ago

No Tomograph or videos this weekend as I am flat out at Maribelle’s

I lost my voice screaming at Upton Park yesterday so no videos are possible – I sound like I have gargled razor blades. And I am afraid that there is no Tomograph newsletter either. Today I have been flat out at Maribelle’s.

And next week I am also more or less on writing holiday. Steve and Ben are in charge, this is Maribelle’s week.

The signs went up last week. The carpenters finished this morning and, this afternoon, Darren, myself and Maribelle herself have been flat out unpacking alcohol, setting up the till, printing off menus, moving chairs. The work will continue late into tonight and will start again tomorrow first thing as Darren pucks up some rather unusual artwork which with our new wine & tapas bar will be decorated. We open at 1 PM and close at 11 PM Monday to Friday starting tomorrow.


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n a brief break Mirabelle and I enjoy a bottle of Estrella Galicia, a Spanish lager which is not half bad… now back to laying out the tables. Naturally I would be delighted to see any blog readers at Maribelle’s this week. We are at 91-95 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1R 5BX, underneath the Real Man Pizza Company quirky Italian restaurant, and I am in residence all week.

Oh and here is a view of a well-stocked bar.

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2824 days ago

Mandela – The Film

Sitting on a train on my way to inflicting misery on my daughter by taking her to Upton Park, I am thinking of last night’s film. But first one I saw the other day: Mandela. As those who have read my articles will know, the man is a hero of mine so I suppose it is hard for me to view the film entirely objectively. But it was wonderful.

There may be some younger readers who forget that Mandela (reluctantly) found himself and the ANC engaging in acts of terror in the early 1960s. There were those on the right who branded Mandela a terrorist as a result. I suppose a Gandhi- style campaign of passive resistance might have been more desirable. However, the Apartheid regime in South Africa was a lot more evil and heavy handed than the British in India. The Mandela defence of “just cause” is not something I feel uncomfortable with. The film begs the question and allows each of us to answer it. 

The two things about Mandela which make him truly remarkable were his willingness to admit to his failings as a man and his unbelievable power of forgiveness to those who had locked him up and made his life hell for 30 years. It was the latter that give South Africa a chance to heal its wounds and move forward.

Mandela insisted that his biography, upon which the film was based, did not airbrush out his failings. How many other world leaders would have behaved thus?  The lamentable (BBC) aspect to coverage of the death of this great man was that it attempted to portray him as a saint, whiter than the driven snow. Mandela did not view himself in that way which makes him all the more of an amazing human being. It is a subtlety some missed. 

As to the forgiveness,

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2838 days ago

I’d rather build a new herb bed and stink of horse manure than Watch West Ham today

 My season tickets for my beloved West Ham go unused yet again. We lost 3-1 at home to Newcastle and were crap and should have lost by more. Fat Sam Allardyce has Horseface back from injury and we are still crap. I do not want to watch a game until he goes.


So instead, in the face of almost non-stop rain I have spent the afternoon nailing together railway sleepers, buying five bags of horse manure (no the real stuff not anything to do with what West Ham serve up these days) and five of earth hauling them up a steep hill from the most dreary garden centre in Christendom and then into my house and garden to create a herb bed.

A day spent dealing with horse manure, getting drenched in the rain, putting my back out and all to grow some herbs or an afternoon at Upton Park. Until Fat Sam goes it is a nil brainer. 

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2979 days ago

Two free tickets to West Ham vs Stoke - ko 3 PM Upton Park on offer

A last minute cancellation means that as things stand I shall be standing next to two empty seats in the Trevor Brooking lower tomorrow. I know it is only Stoke but that would be a waste so if anyone fancies joining me - we can meet either at the Ground if you are coming from the East or at Real Man in Clerkenwell if you are coming from the West  - get in touch. First come first served - email me on [email protected]

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2993 days ago

18 Hours to Kick Off: West Ham vs Cardiff

I am more than a bit excited, the inner child in me is in control. The new season is upon us and I am off to Upton Park tomorrow.  My old pal Neil Masuda (who as my babysitter made my sisters and I watch the FA Cup Final on the box when Sir Trevor scored with his head) will be coming along with his latest bird. Neil, as you may remember started his long and glorious career as a peddler of sleaze on Fleet Street by breaking the Howard Jones (like to get to know you well) three in a bed scandal when on his local paper.

Anyhow, myself, Neil and his bird will meet up at Real Man Pizza before heading to the Academy. Cardiff were promoted last season so anything could happen. With Andy Carroll injured it will be interesting to see who can actually get it in the net for the Irons. Anyway, another season is almost underway. Another 40 weeks of misery is upon me. Like an addict I cannot wait and as 3 PM looms and we start “I’m forever blowing bubbles.”

I am excited already. It is almost as much fun as asking the Serious Fraud Office to investigate Pinsent Masons and Sefton.

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3029 days ago

The Bulletin Board Morons – They do not like it up ‘em

I see that my recent articles on Bulletin Board Morons have unleashed a firestorm of anonymous abuse various from Bulletin Board Morons. As I wandered along the beach and enjoyed a very nice grilled octopus lunch I pondered whether the morons have a point? For about five seconds.

The morons of course never post under their own names and then proceed to say whatever they wish. If I had a penny for every time I had received abuse from the morons over the years I could buy half of Greece. Perhaps these days I could pick up the whole country. Hidden behind the mask of anonymity they say what they like.

That is fine by me. Airstrip One is a free country. Well sort of. But please do not expect me to regard dishing out abuse without revealing your identity as courageous in any way.

Among writers (i.e. those who earn money from writing in their own name) I am a little unusual in that I am happy to dish out the abuse back. I do so in my own name. And sometimes in quite a witty manner. The BB Morons however think that this is all shocking.
Some feel I should show bravery by going onto BB threads and posting as myself. Hmmmmm.

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3055 days ago

West Ham Season Ticket Renewal…Against My Better Judgement

I truly dithered about this one but already I find myself looking forward to a new season at Upton Park. I guess it is like dating. You break up with your bird (not that I have, as far as I know) after 8 months of pain and anguish. You were not having fun for a lot of the time and frankly sometimes she was just taking the piss with the sheer misery she inflicted on you. And she was pretty expensive too. Having a season ticket at West Ham can be like being forced to spend most Saturday afternoons heading round a shopping centre being forced to buy new clothes for the bird or worse still for you and then afterwards having to go to some overpriced vegetarian, alcohol free restaurant. The sheer misery of it all is interrupted only briefly when you find a new Ramones T-shirt to buy to add to the collection. But it is a rare moment of joy.

I stress that my partner inflicts none of this on me but I know that some birds regard that sort of thing as fun. And watching West Ham, knowing that you have forked out £650 for a season ticket can be like that.  Jeepers. Losing at home to Wigan in the Carling Mickey Mouse Cup. That was torture. The game at Reading on 29th December will long stay in my mind as a masterclass in making a ninth rate team look like Brazil.  But: You are my West Ham, my only West Ham you make me happy when skies are grey you’ll never know how much I love you until you take my West Ham away.

And so after you split up with one bird and enjoy a short break of freedom, of being allowed to wear clothes with holes in them and of being able to wash up dishes before you eat rather than afterwards, what do you do?

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3082 days ago

West Ham vs Reading- Match Preview

A 4 O’ Clock kick off at Upton Park means lunch beforehand for my daughter and I at the Diner on Curtain Road. That always used to be part of my pre-match ritual but that was before my ex-wife threw away a lucky shirt (ok more holes than shirt) which had got West Ham to a Cup Final. Naturally we were relegated that season. You now know who was to blame.

Perhaps the Diner can restore its magic. My jinx on seeing West ham lose every time I attended this season was broken with the 0-0 draw with Newcastle. Reading are rubbish and were down a while ago. If we win we finish 10th. If we lose we could just plausibly finish 15th. It’s an okay end of season tally.

In fact we have lost our last three games against Reading so that is a bad omen. Having said that will the Royals play for pride? No. They are professional soccer players so do not give a damn. Will the Reading “stars” want to showcase talent so a Premier League side might snap them up in the summer? Er…they have no talent to showcase. But will our boys “turn up”? Who knows.

At the end of the game the squad will walk around the pitch to say thanks. Will it be the last time we see Andy Carroll in a West Ham shirt? I fear that is possible – Monaco (flush with hot Russian billions) want to sign him. We shall see. At a sentimental level I fear it will be goodbye to loyal servant Carlton Cole. Who else will go in the summer? Heaven only knows. I hope that we say goodbye to Vaz Te and that is it. Sadly I fear it will pan out rather differently.

Will I renew my season tickets despite Fat Sam getting another two years? Heck I am almost tempted if only for the home game against Paulo di Canio’s Sunderland. The messiah returns.  That match I shall not miss. It is almost worth renewing just for that game.

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3097 days ago

BoJo you Clown – sort it out!

It took me 80 minutes to get from Chancery Lane to Upton Park. Boris Johnson I blame you. You knew that there was a fixture at The Academy today almost a year ago. Yet you scheduled repairs across the network today. It was 40 minutes before I got to Bethnal Green at which point I was told that Mile End was closed. Panicked I shared a £15 mini cab to Green Street.

Getting home was an equal mess. The District Line stopped at West Ham and so after waiting 15 minutes to wade through crowds at West Ham it was the Jubilee line to Green Park and a Victoria line to Kings Cross. What a tedious mess. And there were other games in the Capital as well today. Could you not schedule works for four weeks’ time when the football season is over and no-one in their right mind would be heading to Upton Park?

Oh cripes. Jeepers. We did not think of that. Jeepers again.

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3097 days ago

Language you do not wish to have to explain to your daughter at Upton Park

My football mad daughter and I were at the Arsenal game a few months ago and as the crowd chanted “with a packet of sweets and a cheeky smile, Arsene Wenger’s a paedophile” I dreaded the question “Daddy what is a paedophile?” Wenger is not a nonce as it happens but what would I say? “Er.. It is a sort of person who is often on the BBC.” I guess that is true.

Today’s game (a nil nil draw with Newcastle) was hardly a classic.  The bloke two seats down shouted Cisse loudly as the Newcastle player ambled from the corner flag towards his goal (which is where my seat is). He was ignored. Cisse. Again ignored. Louder still came the shout Cisse at which point Mr Cisse looked up and got an instant shout of “Wanker!” from the bloke two seats down who regarded this as a win.

Former West Ham boss Alan Pardew manages Newcastle. Not for much longer one suspects as they will – at best – narrowly survive but I sense they may not. Pards left Upton Park amid, no doubted unfounded, rumours about his private life. And so within minutes of the opening whistle the rhythmic chat went up: “Alan Pardew shags who he wants, Alan Pardew shags who he wants.” After a few minutes of this the chant changed to “Alan, Alan give us a wave.” Mr Pardew obliged. The Trevor Brooking stand then started off with “He loves us more than you” at the Newcastle supporters. A few minutes later it was back to “Alan Pardew shags who he wants, etc.”

A couple more terms I am glad that I do not have to explain to my daughter.

With my record of having seen West Ham lose every time I have watched them this season broken and with the Irons now 100% safe from relegation I shall take my daughter to the last home game against Reading. “Going Down, going down” and “That’s why you’re going down” should not be too hard to explain.  

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3097 days ago

West Ham vs Newcastle Preview – Bad News for the Irons

As fate would have it. Every West Ham game I have seen this season seems to have been a defeat. As such I head off from Clerkenwell to Upton Park this afternoon, taking along a Real Man Pizza Company loyal customer, with some trepidation.

Alan Pardew comes back to the Academy with his side still a good outside bet for relegation. Their recent form is poor and my sense is that whatever happens between now and May 19th, come May 20th Pards is set to get his P45. For a team that thinks it is a “big side” Newcastle has had a lousy season.

By contrast the Irons have started to play some pretty decent football of late. We are now almost certainly safe from the drop and one sense that Messrs Nolan and Carroll will have a point or two to prove today. The odds have to be on a home win, 100% certainty of top flight football next year and Pards being one game closer to black bag time. But I warn you, I shall be heading down to the Academy in a couple of hours, the Albatross is on his way.

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3140 days ago

West Ham wins Olympic Stadium – On balance I am happy

It looks as if we will be playing at home in an 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium for 99 years starting in c2016. Like everyone who supports West Ham I have mixed feelings. Green Street may be a shit hole but it is our shit hole.

I shall miss the various cafes where you can have some exceedingly unhealthy food before and after the match. I shall miss the Queen’s dive though it is. I shall even miss my Jamaican barbours. And I shall miss Upton Park. For all its faults it is a ground with atmosphere. I have some very happy memories of the place.

But if we can start to fill the Olympic Stadium West Ham will have the financial muscle to be a Big Club and I know this will sound like heresy to some West Ham Supporters but I’d like to win something now and again. The question is can we fill an 80,000 seat stadium. Right now we sometimes struggle to fill a 34,000 seat stadium. There are c26,000 season ticket holders. If we are serious we need to double that number.

And that means that we need to engage a charismatic manager who can start RIGHT NOW to reach out to the wider community in East London and Essex and who will make a long term commitment to the club. If the contract of fat Sam is renewed in May then we can look forward to three more years of football which does not turn anyone on and three years with a manager who will not be there after 2017. And who does not have the charisma to reach out and get folks signing up for season tickets, etc.

If West Ham is serious about becoming a top six club it has to hire someone NOW ( well in May) who can deliver a seven year plan not only on the park but also in the wider community. There is only one man who can do that and that man is. Paulo di Canio.

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3217 days ago

Lucian Miers – A Bear with a Very Sharp Brain profiled

Lucian Miers often finds himself overshadowed by the larger than life figure that is Evil Knievil (Simon Cawkwell). The two men sometimes share ideas and bear raids but on other occasions they disagree. They are very much their “own men.” I sense that perhaps because of his casual and light hearted approach to life, folks underestimate Lucian. That is a mistake.

Known as East London’s most feared short seller, Lucian is about as much of a cockney as myself or Prince Charles. His family used to own rather large amounts of real estate in the area around Upton Park and hence “the Bard of the Boleyn” is a devoted West Ham supporter. But he is (like Cawkwell) quite a posh public school educated fellow. And like Cawkwell he did not quite make it passed the final interview when it came to applying to Oxford. That is not to say that Lucian is not very clever, just that he is perhaps not a true academic.

The highlight of Miers career as a stockbroker was his short selling of Pan Andean Resources as the world and his wife bought the stock on the back of hopes (and puff pieces in the Daily Mail) for South American drilling success, Miers took the trouble to call the site of the well on the phone to be told that it was dry and that the directors were at that stage flying back to Ireland.

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3218 days ago

Yossi Out, Joe Cole Back at our home team West Ham – Great Business

Yossi Benayoun has not flourished in his second spell at Upton Park and so has returned to a career sitting on the bench at Chelski. I wish him well but in terms of who is coming back to Upton Park I could not be happier, it is Joe Cole, a midfielder who can run with the ball, pass and who will add both skill and also attractive play to the side. We now have genuine options in the middle of the park.

I remember a bloke who sold flowers outside Finchley Road tube station telling me about his nephew who was a 15 year old at the Academy and who would be better than Rio, Fat Frank and the others of that era. That was Joe Cole. Unlike the others Cole was not keen to leave Upton Park in the years we struggled. And this week he could have gone to rejoin ‘arry at QPR but instead came home. Of course that is largely as Redknapp himself admitted – because Rangers will, notwithstanding the Chelski result, almost certainly still go down in May.

But Cole has always been liked by the supporters. And he clearly regards West Ham as his home club – we must hope that he plays out his career in East London. In signing him, the board shows that it has ambition. This does not change my view that Fat Sam Allardyce needs to go in May and di Canio also needs to come home as manger. But it means that the next few months should not be quite as grisly as I had feared.

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3221 days ago

Why Allardyce should go and Paulo di Canio be appointed in may as West Ham Manager

There will be folks who say that you should back the manager when the club is in trouble. And make no mistake, West Ham is heading for a bottom half finish and if we do not start winning a few games (1 win in eight now) we could still be going down with the Rednapp. And with dismal Reading. My suspicion is that one we get a few players back from injury and with Gold & Sullivan prepared to chuck cash around in the transfer window we will stay up. But it is not a given. And in May West Ham must decide whether to renew the contract of Sam Allardyce. I do not think we should and here is why we should say farewell to Fat Sam and bring Paulo di Canio to Upton Park at once. I start with Sam.

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3257 days ago

The Scum (Spurs) vs West Ham - match preview

Nervously I look at the Championship and see that the form side is Millwall. Now 6th they are on fire and have got to be thinking that they can still secure an automatic promotion spot if the current form continues. I was at Upton Park the last time West Ham met Millwall and have no desire to go to another Derby game ever again. In the absence of Millwall our nearest rivals are Spurs who we play at 4PM today at White Hart Lane. The scum. It is more than the fact that Spurs are local rivals.

There is the little matter of Master Defoe. Judas.

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