Tony McNulty is Labour MP for Harrow East and Minister of State in the Home Office in charge of Police. He is a season ticket holder, but is often spied in the Director’s Box, just above where I sit. We have a ritual of waving to each other (usually using more than two fingers) just before the game.
How did you become a Hammer?
I grew up in West London, around Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill, in the 60s when everyone but everyone supported the real ‘sexy, swinging sixties’ teams of the day – Chelsea and QPR. I got really fed up with this and could not see the attraction so when West Ham won the World Cup in 1966 – my search for a team was over and I have supported WHUFC ever since.
Your first game?
I can’t remember my first game – memory fading clearly – but it would have been when I was eleven or twelve – around about 1970-71. I remember the 5-5 draw with Chelsea, but not if I went. I certainly remember being at games with Bobby Moore still playing, I think, and Clyde Best and Ade Coker. I was at the 1975 Cup Final against Fulham and the 1976 Cup-Winners Cup final in Brussels against Anderlecht at the Heysel Stadium. At the Anderlecht Final I remember, much to my subsequent embarassment given my current career, carrying around a huge banner that read “Bonds eats Sprouts”!
How many games do you get to?
I try to get to as many Home games as possible, and the occassional away game – mostly elsewhere in London. This season I think I have only missed the Man.City game at the start of the season. In terms of away games this season, I got to Chelsea’s jammy 1-0 at Stamford Bridge recently where we were very unlucky after playing so well and went to Coventry for our 2-1 victory at the last minute.
Most memorable moment?
The 1975 Cup Final was a highlight, as was 1980. I thought the atmosphere at the Ipswich play-off semi, before the horror of the play-off with Crystal Palace, was just awesome – the Boleyn as a very loud No.12. The 3-3 final against Liverpool was memorable – except for the last 90 seconds! Tevez goal at Old Trafford last game of last season. A special favourite is sitting the North Bank at Arsenal, surrrounded by Arsenal fans, for West Ham’s last game there ever – and the rest is history!!
Have you met any Hammers players?
I have met Trevor Brooking, and I had the great pleasure last season of meeting Billy Bonds – a real hero of mine and all-round favourite Hammer. Also, Bobby Barnes – who I know through his PFA work.
Favourite current player?
Robert Green and Dean Ashton
What’s the football banter like in the bars of the House of Commons?
Banter in the Commons is a bit limited as it seemes to be full of Man. United and Liverpool fans – with a smattering of Arsenal. This season it is easier to let West Ham’s football do the talking. Last season was worse – they all had an opinion on West Ham – mostly stone cold wrong of course, as were their predictions about our fate.
Complete the sentence: West Ham fans should vote Labour because…
….Frank Lampard is a Tory.
Describe last season. How did it affect you?
It is easy to say now, but I always thought that we would survive last season and we really should give Carlos a huge welcome when he comes back on the 29th December. I had so much faith – I went up to Old Trafford for the last game of the season – hoping, praying and knowing we would be alright. It was a very very good day. Throughout the emotional roller-coaster of a season, just like everyone else , I rode the ups and downs week in and week out. It was horrible and I don’t want it ro be repeated anytime soon. It was like being in a Groundhog Day film – with the day we were all condemned to repeat over and over being the Play-Off final against Crystal Palace – especially the journey home from Cardiff.
What are your hopes for this season?
I still think that we have a very real chance on a top six finish – we have got good results whilst carrying significant injuries and, hopefully, the worst of them are behind us. Less than top ten would be a disappointment – then consolidate and Europe next season but not the two-bob cup.
Choose your all time Hammers Eleven
Robert Green (maybe Ludo)
and probably Mascherano if he had got a chance.
What do your colleagues make of your support for West Ham?
They had great fun last season but don’t have much to say this year. It is still the case that many of them would put West Ham as their second team – a source of pride.
We’ve found a new place for online sports betting. Keep up to date with every kick of the 2008/09 season including live score info, articles, news and premiership odds. They have everything you need and more for a successful season of football betting. Good luck!