My West Ham: Con Coughlin

Con Coughlin and I share a page in the Daily Telegraph every other Friday. He’s the Foreign Editor.
How did you become a Hammer?It’s in my blood. I come from a long line of East Enders (I was born in Stepney) who supported West Ham. My granny went out with a West Ham player (name unknown) in the 1920s and my Dad, who was a football writer for the Sunday Telegraph, grew up with them. Harry Redknapp is my Aunt Pat’s cousin.

Your first game? Must have been about 1963. Mr Dad (Con snr) often used to take me to the old press box at Upton Park when he was covering matches, and I think I first went about 1963 (when I was 8) but I can’t remember who we played. I just remember all the players’ names began with “b” – Boyce, Bond, Brabrook etc..But I do remember us beating Preston North End 3-2 in the 1964 cup final.

How many games do you get to?
As I travel so much for work I don’t get to as many as I’d like. I had a season ticket two years ago, but missed so many matches I gave it up. Nowadays probably get to half a dozen a season. Last saw us lose to Everton in the League Cup – aaaggghhh!! Watch all the live games on telly.

Most memorable moment?
When West Ham won the World Cup in 1966 – and, yes, I was there. My Dad knew the copper running security at Wembley, and slipped him a fiver so we could get in. I was 11, and I had a plank of wood on a camping stool so I could see the game (we were standing on the terrace). Every time a goal was scored, the crowd surged forward and I was knocked off my little stool, which I then had to reconstruct. I spent more time putting this contraption together than watching the game. But I do remember Hurst sprinting off to score the fourth goal, and as we came out of Wembley I clearly remember the Evening News front page headline – “West Ham win the World Cup.” I’ve still got my World Cup Willie rosette!!

Have you met any Hammers players?
I used to know a few through Dad. We moved out to Upminister, and Dad knew quite a few of the players who lived in the neighbourhood through work and playing golf. Jimmy Greaves was a close family friend and my brother and myself once went on a boating holiday with Jim and his two boys, Danny and Andrew, on the Norfolk Broads. Whenever we tied up people would come up and say, “You’re Jimmy Greaves”, and he would get all embarrassed and say, no, he just looked like him. He was in his prime at Spurs then and was such a lovely, funny guy. I remember Greavesy coming round to us in 1966 after the Uruguay game and showed us the big hole that had been kicked out of his leg, which made him miss the final. He was in tears over it. Dad also knew Bobby Ferguson, the goalie, who became a close family friend. He still keeps in touch with my Mum from Australia, where he moved after he finished playing. As a student I used to work in the King’s Head pub in Hornchurch which was the haunt of many of the players from the mid-1970s – Pat Holland, Tommy Taylor, John McDowell – etc..and I used to serve them their half a lager and limes at Sunday lunchtime – priceless!

Favourite current player?
Mark Noble. Not only has he got the talent, he’s got the attitude – the Billy Bonds tackle with the Trevor Brooking class.

Describe last season. How did it affect you?
For a lifelong hammer, totally predictable. I was in Cardiff for the Cup Final where we totally outplayed Liverpool and deserved to win. Then a few months later we are playing like a pub team. Typical. But that’s why we love them.

What are your hopes for this season?It would be nice to finish in the top six, but with the injuries we’ve got I think we’d be lucky to get eighth. I’d just like to see what kind of team Curbs would put out if he had everyone fit.

Choose your all time Hammers Eleven
Parkes, Dicks, Moore, Martin, Lampard (snr) Brooking, Bonds, Devonshire, Peters, Greaves, Hurst – reserves: Green, McDowell, Paddon, Cottee, Di Canio

What do your colleagues make of your support for West Ham
I think they’d like me to talk about something more interesting – like how to win the war on terror or who’s going to win the American presidential election.

When you’re reporting on West Ham games how difficult is it to be objective?
Impossible. I remember going with my Dad when I was a teenager and sitting in the press box when we stuffed Chelsea 3-0 – I was jumping up at every goal and getting some very cross looks from the likes of Brian Glanville.

Complete this sentence: The thing I hate about West Ham is…
…they fade and die – Liverpool in the cup final, Everton this season in the League Cup – it’s now 28 years of hurt!

Complete this sentence: The thing I love about West Ham is…
…they rise so high – when the crowd gets behind them and they go for it, there’s no better place in the world than Upton Park.

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4 Responses to My West Ham: Con Coughlin

  1. WHU Kim says:

    Nice to see John McDowell get a mention, you don’t hear about him so often compared to othes in that side. Are you hoping that Obama becomes president, your Hammers credentials might get you favourable treatment!

  2. my hammers story:

    well, being american to be honest, i grew up hatng football (yes i even call it football now). i started dating this girl from my area who’s father is from essex about 4 years ago. started following the mighty hammers their last season in championship (04-05). Pretty soon i got married to west ham, and we have been together ever since. in fact the site of baseball, american football, and basketball make feel embarassed to american.

    First Game – 31st March 2007 West Ham 2 – 0 Boro

    How many games do you get to – 1, its hard to work and go to college and save enough money to get there (the trip across that pond is a bit expensive, since the american economy sucks!)

    Memoroable moment – toss up between first time at west ham/ FA Cup final 2006 (event though we lost)

    Last Season: Dissapointing. But Made me a stronger west ham supporter.

    This season hopes. – Hoping for a spot in europe. but with the performance against wigan i dont know.

    Players Met – none. trevor brooking came to america to this pub i go to, to watch all the matches. but i wasnt there that day, i dont know why.

    Favourite currewnt player – Marky Noble.

    All time 11 – Parks, stweart, moore, martin, Dicks, Peters, Bonds, brooking, devonshire, Hurst, Tevez. Bench – Di Canio, F. Kanoute, Lampard Sr. Carrick, Green. Manager – John Lyall

    My colleague think of being a hammer: they laugh. americans hate football. then when i get them an east end beat down they dont laugh anymore!

    CTS- The thing i hate the most about west ham is….
    they dissapoint me when i expect them the most. (i learned that being hamemr i must expect these things though)

    CTS- The thing i love most about west ham is…
    the fans. we stick together. were loyal unlike chelsea and Manu.

    If anyone comes out to New York on holiday (or if you are in New York Ian) check out the pub that showes all the football matches. come in when west ham is on and you’ll usually find 10-15 hammers. on a big match day you’ll fin anywhere from 15-30 of us.

    http://www.nevadasmiths.net

  3. IronDane says:

    How did you become a hammer ?

    I’m 33, from Denmark and when I was a kid around 10 years old, so that must have been in the mid 80s, my dad watched english football almost every weekend on danish tele. That was back then, when they could air the games without paying a billion pounds for it. Nowadays in the northern countries, you have to pay alot of money to see english football. Well back then when i was a kid i was a West Ham fan. I dont know why, I just liked the team. I can’t even remember any of the players. I was also into Nottingham Forest, dunno why. Then football became all about money and you couldn’t watch the games anymore if you didn’t pay for it. Then came the hype about italian and spanish football, which I couldn’t relate to at all! I was also into a danish team called Aalborg, which is local to me.

    A long period of time came, where I only saw the danish national team, when they were playing. Best moment europe championship 1992 in Sweden, where we won. Just lately i have the money to buy satelite-TV and I have begun to watch footie again. I fell for the Hammers again, and now I am a Hammers fan Till I Die! I look so much forward to every game and I play Fantasy on pl.com also and try to follow all premier league games. One week between WH games gets me frustrated! 2 weeks is murder! West Ham is the best fokkin team on the planet and I don’t care, that I come from Denmark. I love them like it was my own neighbourhood! Well enough about my hammers story, which isn’t much of a story actually.

    Your first game ?

    Never been to one, as I don’t live in England. First game on tele is some game in the mid 80s.

    How many games do you get to?

    None, unfortunately.

    Most memorable moment?

    2-1 vs Man U dec 2007.

    Have you met any Hammers players?

    Nope.

    Favourite current player?

    Ljungberg, Upson, Ferdinand, Solano and Ashton. After the Wigan game, I’m not so sure about Ashton anymore.

    Describe last season. How did it affect you?

    It didn’t. Didn’t watch any games back then as I didn’t have any satelite-TV.

    What are your hopes for this season?

    I sincerely believe that we can be in the top eight. My dreams are top six! I pray for a Ljungberg goal every game. I think he deserves it so much and if he gets scoring, he has so much to take revenge for with all his injuries. Ljungberg is my favorite player, and he will prove, that just because you are over 30, you are not fokkin dead yet!

    Choose your all time Hammers Eleven

    The ones we have now + Tevez. I believe West Ham is going into a new era. No more selling everyone decent!

    What do your colleagues make of your support for West Ham

    They think it is cool that I don’t support one of the top 4 just like everybody and his uncle does.

    Complete this sentence: The thing I hate about West Ham is…

    I hate, when they lose to Wigan! I hate when all are injured and I hate when good players are being sold.

    Complete this sentence: The thing I love about West Ham is

    The bubbling spirit that never fades and dies! Even if it’s all about the money now, there is still something true left in West Ham. When ppl like Zamora says he is also a hammerheart and not only just playing for the Hammers, it warms my Hammerheart! When Bowyer says he wants to stay at West Ham for life. Thats what its all about! I also have great believe in Curbs.

    Keep these coming, folks! Would be great to hear the stories from you english lads, who actually grew up being hammers!

  4. Job says:

    I became a West Ham fan because I’m a c*nt, and wanted to be among my own kind.

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