Ian King is City Editor of The Sun.
How did you become a Hammer?Confession, first – the truth of the matter is that my home town team is Bristol City. That’s where I’m from, it’s the team my dad supported and it’s the team I grew up supporting. And I still do. However, my career took me to London, making it very hard to see the City regularly. Being a regular football watcher – more than 450 matches and rising – I had to get a regular fix. The Hammers were the London club I’d liked the most as a kid and so, on coming to London, were the team I made a beeline to watch in those early days – nearly 20 years ago. It’s grown from there. The Hammers represent everything that is good and pure about the game and the fans are superb.
Your first game?2-0 away at Southampton in 1984.
How many games do you get to?Season ticket holder, so most home matches. Went to every home match last season but have missed a couple this year.
Most memorable moment?Probably the 2005 play-off final. And Paolo di Canio’s volleyed goal at home to Wimbledon in 1999-2000 was the best goal…although I got very excited by Jermain Defoe’s winner at Old Trafford in 2000-01 (which was overshadowed by the FA Cup win up there later that season)
Have you met any Hammers players?
Yes, I interviewed Sir Geoff Hurst in 1999 when I was working at the Mail on Sunday, in connection with a business venture he had at the time. And I met Sir Trevor Brooking in the corporate hospitality area at the England v Sweden match in Cologne in the 2006 World Cup. And Harry Redknapp when he came into The Sun’s offices in 2000. All he wanted to do was talk about what shares he should be buying, though, and how Davor Suker had talked John Moncur into some iffy investments.
Favourite current player?
For their sheer commitment, it’s hard to see past either George McCartney or Hayden Mullins this season.
Describe last season. How did it affect you?
Despondency, hope and then, ultimately, exhileration. Must admit I thought it was all over that grim afternoon when Fulham got an equaliser to make it 3-3 in the sixth minute of injury time. It was certainly a roller-coaster. Tevez was an absolute hero although hat-tips should also go to Mullins, Neill and Robert Green for their efforts also. My partner was very disappointed though – I’d promised her that I’d give up my season ticket and spend more time with the family if the Hammers went down.
What are your hopes for this season?
Mid-table stability and none of last season’s nerve-shredding.
Choose your all time Hammers Eleven
This is based only on the players I have actually seen physically in action (hence no Moore, Hurst or Brooking, unfortunately):
Ludek Miklosko; Ray Stewart; Stuart Pearce; Alvin Martin; Rio Ferdinand; Alan Devonshire; Joe Cole; Mark Noble; Frank McAvennie; Paolo di Canio; Carlos Tevez. On the bench: Robert Green; Lucas Neill; Igor Stimac (a much under-rated player); Michael Carrick (ditto) and Tony Cottee. Manager would be Alan Curbishley with Tomas Repka as motivational trainer (but certainly not driver of the team bus) and Sir Trevor Brooking in there in some capacity. His record as a caretaker manager is Champions League material.
What do your colleagues make of your support for West Ham?Many of them are West Ham fans themselves and so they welcome it. The rest just ask me what I will do if Bristol City are promoted to the Premiership next season.
When you’re reporting on West Ham games how difficult is it to be objective?I pride myself on my objectivity.
Complete this sentence: The thing I hate about West Ham is…… the anti-semitism of a minority of supporters at Tottenham matches.
Complete this sentence: The thing I love about West Ham is…… the Boleyn Ground when it’s jumping