Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

CLOTH CAP nostalgia is a popular pastime among football folk as inner cities continue to be purged of their old football stadiums, replaced by smart, antiseptic structures of white steel and plastic. Horse manure no longer squelches underfoot as fans tramp through the streets and past red brick houses, the mildly eccentric fan with a transistor radio clamped to his ear has long gone. Like … Continue reading Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

Forever blowing bubbles – West Ham’s mid-60s heroes

ON THE London Fenchurch Street railway line out to Essex there was a building that resembled a mill of some sort, alongside a canal. On the wall of this mill was scrawled, “West Ham United – World Cup winners 1966”. It may still be there today, but it’s doubtful given the amount of building and demolition that’s taken place in East London down the years. … Continue reading Forever blowing bubbles – West Ham’s mid-60s heroes

New stadiums for old – reinventing a club

FOOTBALL fans consider the club stadium as an extension of their personal space. They go misty-eyed when they talk about the terraces they once stood on, the end of the ground they occupied and they stick very close to a long-established ritual of going to the match. The stadium is “home”, integral to the club’s image, identity and culture. Any attempt to relocate often meets … Continue reading New stadiums for old – reinventing a club

72 Classic: London’s lost cup

LONDON’s top clubs had a mixed start to the 1971-72 season. Not everyone was surprised, however, for despite the capital city scooping all the domestic prizes and a European trophy, the football establishment still looked to the north of England as the hub of the game in the early 1970s. “I wonder sometimes if the London lads are as dedicated,” commented Huddersfield Town manager Ian … Continue reading 72 Classic: London’s lost cup

1971: Geoffrey and Gordon

ONE OF the privileges of being born in the late 1950s was that your formative years, from a footballing perspective, were the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was a great time for English football as the nation basked in the glow of World Cup 1966. As the passage of time moves on, and history plays tricks with the memory, sometimes you have to remind … Continue reading 1971: Geoffrey and Gordon

London cooling? Not quite yet

IT MAY not be the most successful city across Europe, or the most productive in terms of league titles in the UK, but if you want to see top division action in the European Union’s capitals, London has the highest percentage of clubs among the leading leagues. There are six London clubs in the Premier League (Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham), … Continue reading London cooling? Not quite yet

Spiegler – a star in the Middle East that never got to shine

  IN 1970, West Ham United’s manager, Ron Greenwood, a student of the global game, returned from Mexico with what he thought was a trump card. He was interested in signing  Israel’s captain and star player, Mordechai Spiegler. His fascination with overseas talent preceded the late-1970s trend, which gained fresh legs through Tottenham’s audacious acquisition of Ardiles and Villa, by some eight years. But 1970 … Continue reading Spiegler – a star in the Middle East that never got to shine

Football Media Watch: Sold a dream, given a nightmare on Green Street

THE disconnect between West Ham United’s board and the club’s fans boiled over at the weekend, with protests, violence and symbolic gestures that made it crystal clear – the Hammers’ supporters are very unhappy. The nature of the protest will bring West Ham trouble, but the fact there is an air of delusion about the club means that is will probably happen again. A few … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Sold a dream, given a nightmare on Green Street

Hammers go for “jam today”

ON THE face of it, West Ham United’s transfer activity in the summer has been industrious and a proactive attempt at plugging some gaps. But look more closely and the average age of the signings they’ve made suggests a hint of panic and a short-term policy to ensure they have a better campaign than 2016-17. West Ham failed to build on a decent 2015-16 and … Continue reading Hammers go for “jam today”

London mauling in the imitation zone

LONDON has tried hard to ensure the 2012 Olympics have an appropriate legacy, which includes maintaining the Olympic Stadium as an ongoing concern. West Ham United secured the site and left their Boleyn Ground at the end of 2015-16 for a new beginning. Opinion was divided about the three-mile move to Stratford, but some people believed that the new home would provide the Hammers with … Continue reading London mauling in the imitation zone

We’ve moved on since the monkey chants…haven’t we?

THREE Years ago, I witnessed a Fremad Amager player take the field to a sound I had not heard at a football match since the 1980s – the monkey chant. In itself, it was unpleasant, but it was even more shocking to witness this in a supposedly enlightened and progressive society like Denmark. The BBC has recently screened a documentary on the Black v White … Continue reading We’ve moved on since the monkey chants…haven’t we?

Die Hard 2 Tourist 1

I WAS sitting high in the north side of Stamford Bridge when a bald, burly and Stone Islanded middle-aged man came bursting his way through row 24. He sat two seats away from me and said, “’aint seen you here before. Are you new?”, I smiled and responded, “about 45 years new.” It was true, I looked out of place – firstly, I had not been … Continue reading Die Hard 2 Tourist 1

The Lazy Listicle: Five things to remember about the Boleyn Ground

WEST HAM UNITED will shortly move from their long-time home at Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium. While Hammers’ fans may mourn the loss of their old ground, the relocation could prove to be one of the smartest decisions they’ve made. Nevertheless, the Boleyn Ground has been one of the most atmospheric football grounds in the country. Here’s five things to remember: Nathan’s Eel and … Continue reading The Lazy Listicle: Five things to remember about the Boleyn Ground