My West Ham: Simon Walters

November 30, 2007

I’m starting a new series on the blog asking figures from politics and the media about their support for the Hammers. We start off today with the Political Editor of the Mail on Sunday, Simon Walters.

How did you become a Hammer?
I became a Hammer because my mum grew up in the East End and as children, we used to visit my grandparents’ home there often.

Your first game?
Not sure about first game but the first one I remember is Chelsea v W Ham at Stamford Bridge which was a 5 – 5 draw. Must have been the Sixties.

How many games do you get to?
How many games do I get to? One or two a year mainly because I work on Saturdays. Managed to get to W Ham v Spurs on Sunday. What a save! Gave up going as a teenager partly because I got scragged on the Tube by QPR fans on the Tube. They stole my scarf and bobble hat.

Most memorable moment?
Most memorable moment at a live match was the 5 – 5 draw, though 1 – 0 over Man U at home last yr in Curbs’ first match came close.

Have you met any Hammers players?
Only Hammers player I recall meeting was Trevor Brooking who I persuaded to attend a childrens Xmas party at the Commons Press gallery.

Favourite current player?
Dean Ashton

What’s the football banter like in the bars of the House of Commons?
The only soccer banter I take part in at the Commons is with a Tory MP who once offered out of the blue – so to speak – to take me to a W Ham match. That was 15 years ago. I am still waiting and I remind him every time I see him.

Describe last season. How did it affect you?
My memory of last season is the Tevez goal at Old Trafford. I ran round my brother in law’s house screaming like a whirling dervish. I went there because he has Sky TV. He is a Man U fan and was Old Trafford – poor bloke.

What are your hopes for this season?
Two more wins and we could be eighth. As a Fulham fan pal of mine said the other day, we spend our whole lives saying that.

Choose your all time Hammers Eleven
Tevez x 5, Moore x 5, Robert Green.


Redknapp & Storrie: What Are We To Make Of It?

November 29, 2007

Readers of the Harry Monk column in Over Land And Sea will recall a regular feature where Harry Monk would ring Peter Storrie about, say, the fact that interest rates had gone up to 10% and Peter Storrie would reply: “This has absolutely nothing to do with me”.

So we have to ask, what have Redknapp’s and Storrie’s arrests got to do with West Ham. Seeing as the ex Portsmouth chairman and one of their ex players has been arrested too it is clear that it is player transactions at Portsmouth which are under investigation. However, it cannot be too long before player deals during their tenure at West Ham will come under the spotlight. I think in particular of Titi Camara’s transfer from Liverpool for £2.5 million. But there were plenty of others which some of us questioned at the time.

I always really liked Harry Redknapp and wish he had been able to stay longer in many ways, but we all have to admit that there were plenty of rumours going round at the time about some of his wheeling and dealing.

I’d love to think that there was nothing to yesterday’s events and that no charges will be laid. But in general the Police do not make such arrests without being fairly sure of their ground. The Hamilton rape case was an exception and I hope this one is too.

NOTE: Please be aware of the laws of libel when leaving comments. If I feel that a comment is risky I will not allow it through moderation. Be warned.


Green Streets Ahead in HOTY Poll (So Far)

November 27, 2007

The results of the Hammer of the Year Poll I posted on Sunday are unsurprising.

1. Rob Green 68%
2. George McCartney 22%
3. Carlton Cole 6%

Most of the other players on the list barely scored a single vote.


ESPN to Showcase Greatest West Ham Victories

November 26, 2007

I have just spent a very enjoyable half an hour being interviewed by ESPN for a programme they are making about West Ham’s greatest victories of the last three decades or so. I got to share my memories of the two Cup finals, the 5-4 victory over Bradford, 3-2 against Arsenal, 4-0 against Villa and last year’s 1-0 victory at Old Trafford. The programme will go out sometime during December. Not sure who else has taken part.


Who’s Your Hammer of the Season So Far?

November 25, 2007

Today’s game set me thinking about who my Hammer of the Season so far is. I reckon there are several possibles to choose from, but rather than influence your vote, I’ll stop there.

Click HERE to vote for your Hammer of the Season So Far!!!


Spurs: Afterthoughts

November 25, 2007

Well that was a bit of a corker, wasn’t it? Our matches with them usually are. In the end, I have to admit that a draw was a fair result. While we played well for some periods of the match, so did they, and if anything they had more of those periods than we did. But the result really hung on some controversial decisions by referee Mike Riley, in what was a fairly shambolic refereeing performance.

Their non penalty was a bang-on penalty, although the linesman had already missed the offside, so justice was done in a perverse sort of way. He also missed a blatant handball by Carlton Cole in the penalty area in the second half. Their actual penalty was about the only thing he got right all game. Apparently we committed 33 fouls and they only committed nine, yet we got three yellow cards and they got four. Work that one out.

My man of the match was Carlton Cole. He ran his socks off and was unlucky not to have had more than one goal. Lucas Neill actually got the MoM award from Sky I think, but did he really deserve it when he gave away a penalty? Admittedly, he was due a good performance and today we got one from him. Upson was also very strong and came to the rescue on a couple of occasions.

Now I hope you are sitting down, but I am also going to say a good word about Boa Morte, who I thought gave his best performance in a Hammers shirt today. He was instrumental in our goal, charging down a terrible clearance from Haboul and then running with the ball, before passing it to Solano, who instead of having a go himself, crossed it for Cole to sidefoot in.

And so to the marks

Green 7 Flapping all over the place for their goal but otherwise imperious
McCartney 6 Quiet game
Upson 8 Best performance yet
Gabbidon 7 Played through an injury. Looked solid
Neill 8 Best performance for many games
Solano 7 Getting better with every game
Noble 6 Anonymous for large periods
Mullins 6 Solid
Etherington 7 A few good runs down the left
Boa Morte 8 Battled hard and instrumental in the goal
Cole 8 Ran himself into the ground


Spurs Preview

November 24, 2007

Gutted that I can’t go to the Spurs game tomorrow. Thank God it’s on Sky. It seems ages since the last game and it’s difficult to keep track of who’s back, who’s still injured and who’s suspended. As far as I can make out, Lee Bowyer is suspended but Ashton, Collins, Parker and Ljungberg are all available again. Craig Bellamy is still injured. Mark Noble and Hayden Mullins are both in full training again, but may not feature.George McCartney is also back in training.

If we win tomorrow we will be unbeaten in six. We do need the three points with the two clubs immediately above us winning well today. Pity that Everton are coming into form with us playing them twice in a few days soon.

I’m loath to guess the lineup against Spurs, but I suppose I’ll have to get some egg on my face…

Green
Neill
Upson
Spector
Gabbidon
Etherington
Solano
Ljungberg
Cole
Ashton
Parker

Bet I’m wrong.