My West Ham: David Cracknell

David Cracknell is Political Editor of the Sunday Times. He is shortly leaving the paper to take charge of the political lobbying company, LLM.

How did you become a Hammer?
My mum and dad are from East London so it was a natural thing. There are four season tickets in the family, although as I’ve worked on Saturdays for the past ten years I haven’t had one. But in my new job I get my weekends back, so if anyone knows a mate of a mate who’s got one, please get in touch!

Your first game?
Must have been sometime in 1974, aged six, because I was a mad fan by the time we won the FA Cup the following year. My dad took me to the Chicken Run, so that always feels like home. I remember Frank Lampard, Trevor Brooking always with his tongue in his cheek, looking to make the perfect pass.

How many games do you get to?
Not enough at the moment as I have to rely on someone pulling out, and its had to be on Sundays or mid-week. I went a lot more when we were in the Championship a few years ago because you could just turn up. I went to Cardiff though, three times in a row.

Most memorable moment?
Probably that play-off semi-final at Upton Park where we beat Ipswich. I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it. Deafening as well. Pards dancing around like a lunatic in that “Moore than a football club” T-shirt. Then we lost to Crystal Palace in Cardiff …

Have you met any Hammers players?
I’ve met Brooking, but only a couple of years ago. He’s very passionate about sport in schools these days. My dad always said: “Now there’s a footballer with O levels!” My GP is one of the West Ham doctors – my mum ran his surgery practice for years – does that count?. I bumped into Bob Zamora straight after we lost to Liverpool at Cardiff – I was lucky enough to be invited into the WAGs area after the game. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a happy occasion after getting so close to victory!

I’m most proud of having played on the hallowed Boleyn turf though. It was a charity match against MPs a couple of years ago. We used the home dressing room, which was an honour. I didn’t play very well though – I think I was a bit overawed by the whole thing!

Favourite current player?
We all have to love Robert Green at the moment, don’t we. Should be England’s No1. But am a fan of a good East London Academy boy like Mark Noble – although, like a lot of its graduates (Lampard, Carrick, Joe Cole etc) I reckon he probably needs to move on to blossom. (Sorry!)

What’s the football banter like in the bars of the House of Commons?
Non-stop. As you probably know, the Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick is a Hammer, and the minister Tony McNulty. Ahead of the party conference games, when our Lobby team plays the MPs, there’s always a lot of joshing with Labour’s frontmen Ed Balls and Andy Burnham.

Describe last season. How did it affect you?
Emotional, wasn’t it?! A Shakespearian almost-tragedy.The whole Argentinian fiasco unsettling the team and then at the end of it Tevez (and Green, of course) rescue us from demotion.

What are your hopes for this season?
Well we’re going to stay up for sure. Ideally finish well inside the top half. If we put on a spurt after Christmas I’d hope we’d make Europe. I’d like to see Deano have a purple patch and for Freddie to show us a bit of that old Highbury skill.

Choose your all time Hammers Eleven

1. Robert Green
2. Billy Bonds
3. Frank Lampard
4. Julian Dicks
5. Alvin Martin
6. Bobby Moore
7. Frank McAvennie
8. Paulo Di Canio
9. ‘Pop’ Robson
10. Trevor Brooking
11. Alan Devonshire

What do your colleagues make of your support for West Ham
They often pity me …

COMING SOON: Labour MP Tony McNulty…

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11 Responses to My West Ham: David Cracknell

  1. crazyhorse says:

    Do me a favour,noble needs to move on to blossom? he doesnt need to go anywhere,and if we keep that attitude of offloading our talent when we dont need to now we have financial backing our will we ever flourish to the level we will eventually be at.for gods sake

  2. crazyhorse says:

    No disrespect to mr cracknell,but what does that say about our beloved club if you think mark noble needs to move on to blossom.Are you saying that we are not a good enough club to hold onto our home grown talent.Noble is claret and blue thru and thru and could easily become a hammers legend in years to come,but not by offloading him.get real

  3. Brooking always knows best! says:

    So you know as much about West Ham’s current ambition as you do about politics, Noble needs to move on indeed! I think not, he loves West Ham! I like your all time team selection though, I hope that is Lampard senior and not his fat son though.. I wonder why you never put Booby Moore in Lampards place, he must be a better bet!

  4. Brooking always knows best! says:

    ohps, Moore is in there, my mistake!

  5. crazyhorse says:

    totally agree with you brooking and i cant believe this politician has the audacity to even mention noble moving on.i hope he stays a life long hammer like sir trevor did

  6. WHU Kim says:

    Maybe you should watch a few more games before coming out with the comments you made about Noble.

  7. Plaistow54 says:

    David, most hamsters would want Mark Noble to blossom at West Ham which he will. Any side that can keep Sir Geoff Hurst out & Jimmy Greaves who although he played only one season for us was born in East Ham, is a good side. It is a good side, provided it’s not Lampard jnr.

  8. alanalandevonshire says:

    don’t go very often these days huh, but still managed to get to cardiff 3 years on the trot. nice to have friends in high place to get you tickets when i’m sure there are more deserving supporters out there who go week in week out.

  9. Rob Pratt says:

    I’ve got to agree with the others I’m afraid. Can you see Arsene Wenger letting ANY of his players go ‘to blossom’. For goodness sake, we are one of the country’s best supported clubs – up there not too far behind Newcastle and Liverpool – and we have it in us to be a top 4 club with this fantastic support, a great manager and owners who have enormous vision and ambition, Let’s start talking about bringing the VERY BEST players in to our new 60,000 stadium club, not letting our best young players and prospects go!

    I’m from the New Forest and have supported the Irons for 44 years and can tell you that there Weat Ham fans all over the place. Southampton station is packed with Irons fans before and after every home game – likw Waterloo!

    So come on, start believing the dream, everything is in place if we really want it. If our fans dont really believe we can be great, what’s the point?!

  10. new york says:

    Agree fully with crazy horse. this concept of players having to leave west ham to achieve their potential is exactly what needs to be changed with immediate effect. it isn t just about spending big money on high profile players. it s about nurturing home grown talent ,and keeping it, not selling it to the highest bidder. The “selling culture” is a culture of failure and a culture of mediocrity. It is a culture that allows the likes of Mark Noble to slip through our hands. But thankfully, like them or loathe them, i think our current owners understand this ,and won t make this type of mistake as Terry Brown did . The icelandics aren t patron saints ,or good samaritans- they re in this partly because thr love football ,but partly because they love making money. But they re clever enough to know that making money needs to be done in a manner that is sustainable in the long run . and that means not taking the soft, easy option of selling your young talent ,even at a high price. Supporters need to get out of this mindset that it is inevitable that we sell players like noble . that is utter non-sense. if anyone connected to west ham wants this club to progress,whether you are are employed by the club ,or a supporter then step number one is holding on to our young talent. with the improvement in our finances ,we don t need to take the easy way out anymore.

    you want this club to become a consistent top 7 club sooner rather than later?
    Then you hold on to a player like mark noble. And while you re at it , you hang on to Robert Green, even though he didn t come through our academy.

    godonya crazy horse

  11. nr2iron says:

    I like the others am a bit dissapointed with the comments about Mark Noble having to leave to fulfill his potential and i believe for the first time in our lifetimes we have people who want West ham to at last reward it’s huge fanbase with a few trophys,like the fella from near southampton Norwich is alive with the claret and blue.

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