My West Ham: Daniel Schweimler

Daniel Schweimler is the BBC’s South America correspondent, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
How did you become a Hammer?
The first game I ever went to was West Ham v Burnley in the old First Division sometime in the mid-sixties. My dad, a chef, had a rare Saturday off and took me on the back of his scooter. We lost. We then moved out of London and I grew up supporting Aldershot in the old Third Division. But in my early twenties moved to Forest Gate and a job as a reporter on the Ilford Recorder – back in Hammers territory!

Your first game?
See above

How many games do you get to?
Now, none. I’ve lived the past two years in Buenos Aires where I’m the BBC South America correspondent. I see a fair few on tele – less now that Tevez has gone. When I was living in London I worked shifts so usually get to seven or eight home games and one or two away games a season.

Most memorable moment?
I was in Cardiff for the play-off final against Preston…but the following day walking up Green Street with my kids and seeing the open-topped bus was probably my happiest and most memorable moment.

Have you met any Hammers players?
My wife finished third in a charity running race in Victoria Park and Steve Lomas presented the trophies and signed our football for us.

Favourite current player?
Matty Etherington

Describe last season. How did it affect you?
Traumatic! The good side was that living in Argentina, the drama and Carlos Tevez’s involvement in it put West Ham on the map here. Walking the streets of Buenos Aires with my West Ham shirt on, people would shout ‘Wist Jam’ and put their thumbs up to me. It was big news on the sports pages and nearly every painful, frustrating minute was shown on cable TV. I travel a fair bit and got to see us letting in goals in Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. I was observing penguins on Martillo Island near Ushuaia the day we beat Man U at Upton Park. Martillo means hammer in Spanish!! And my boys (Ben 10 and Lucas 8) and I provoked complaints from the neighbours with the noise we made when Carlitos put the winner in at Old Trafford. We were in London last February and went to that West Ham v Watford (league) couldn’t, mustn’t lose game. As the final whistle blew I looked over and saw my youngest son in tears.

What are your hopes for this season?
I guess we have to be comfortable with mid-table mediocrity. Not sure the nerves could stand another season like the last one and hopefully an improvement next year.

Choose your all time Hammers Eleven:
Ludo in goal. Billy Bonds, Bobby Moore, Lampard (senior), Julian Dicks at the back, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Yossi Benayoun in midfield, Paolo Di Canio, Carlos Tevez and Geoff Hurst up front.

What do your colleagues make of your support for West Ham?

Football is the main talking point in Argentina so there’s always interest. Back in London we are a small but elite few.

When you’re reporting on West Ham games how difficult is it to be objective?
I don’t report on them so football is one of the few aspects of life I don’t have to be objective about.

Complete this sentence: The thing I hate about West Ham is…
The lack, often, of any kind of killer, will to win instinct. How many times have we played well and lost? Or been two up with half an hour to go and lost or drawn? It forces you to be philosophical about football and about life.

Complete this sentence: The thing I love about West Ham is…
The apparent lack of any kind of killer, will to win instinct. It’s the game that counts, not just the winning. How many times have we played well and lost? Or been two up with half an hour to go and lost or drawn? It forces you to be philosophical about football and about life.


9 Responses to My West Ham: Daniel Schweimler

  1. TwinHammer says:

    Good read,thanks.

    Dave Tea of Adamson

  2. daddyb says:

    No Alan devonshire……
    The backs are strong though.. Think I’d have Martin at the back with moore and Bonds in instead of Carrick put a bit of bite into the middle

  3. Penally Hammer says:

    Lovely read – brought back so many memories for me. Saw my first game in August 1952 as an 11 year old. My Dad, from Canning Town took me in the old North Bank. He as a 13 year old went he to the first Wembley Cup Final, Bolton v West Ham. The game I saw that day was against Birmingham in the 2nd Div; they were a bit of a bogey team then and we lost 1-2. The indelible memory I still have was seeing that beautiful swathe of green turf inside all the built up area.

    Would love to see more stuff like this as I could reminisce on so many stories over the 60 odd years I have supported the hammers. How I would have felt for your son at that Watford game. I can remember how I felt when we were at the semi-final league-cup replay in Old Trafford against Stoke, back in the sixties. Lawrie Leslie, our Scottish international ‘keeper got concussed and Bobby Moore took over in goal. We eventually lost that game but boy how we went down fighting with only ten men; you would have thought it was Stoke with ten, not us, the way we bombarded them.

    One if the hardest things for me when I moved from Essex to Pembrokeshire in south west Wales in 1973 was not being able to go along to the matches. However, I did manage a few but the most memorable was back in 1978, I think, when Swansea hosted West Ham in the second division. My Welsh friend took his two young boys and I took my 10 year old to the match. For all of them it was their first visit to see West Ham play live. The surprise I had for them though, was that I had phoned the West Ham secretary and he arranged for us to meet the team in the old Dragon Hotel in Swansea.

    I met John Lyall (Manager then) in the lounge and while we waited for the team to come out from a last minute tactics discussion, I had a wonderful time reminicing with John about the games he played at left back for the Hammers; what a lovely man he was. When the team came out, the boys got the autographs from them but their most treasured moment for them was the time Trevor Brooking spent with them. He chatted to them about their desires and work at school, encouraging to work hard to achieve their aims. Both my son and my friend’s youngest have been staunch fans since that day………oh how I could recount so many more of these tales but then it would need a book to fill them! Up you Irons.

  4. Nice read but how could any real Hammers fan possibly leave Trevor Brooking out of his best 11……. Yossi Benayoun ???……. must be a misprint, surely!

  5. curly says:

    Here’s a question you appear to have missed iain

    How much sympathy did you ever have for an opponent?

  6. WHU Kim says:

    Great answers Daniel, I really enjoyed the parade the day after the play off final too. Just goes to show how much the fans love the club. Don’t forget to let Curbs know of any decent South Americans you come across, not those owned by a third party of course!

  7. brooking is still the best says:

    Where’s Iain Dale gone? Maybe he has ben arrested for impersonating a MP?

  8. pche0508 says:

    Love your blog, Love West Ham. Not much love for the way we play, so many long balls. Ever notice we pass the ball around the back four, then Upson or Ferdinand then gives it to Green who boots it up anyway. Not worth staying up to 2am in the morning for.

  9. richo says:

    I’ve notced if we get in a rut we do tend to pass the ball round at the back and generally Neill will have run or lob a long ball forward. Can’t complain too much though at least were not worrying bout playin’ in the Championship next year.

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