Your Pre Match Rituals…

I had to get here early today to persuade the ticket office they should give me a replacement season ticket as the one they promised to post me never showed. So it’s 2pm and I am already sat in the Dr Martens lower row X, seat 203.
I love to get into the ground early, just to soak up the atmosphere as the seats start to fill up. The transformation to quiet anticipation to raucous expectation is a joy to experience. I sat here wondering about other people’s pre match rituals, hence this post. Let me kick off with mine.

I normally leave home in Tunbridge Wells around mid day to ensure that I have time to get through any queues for the Blackwall Tunnel. Today we were stationary for 15 minutes. I park on a garage forecourt in Barking Road and leave it with a group of fanastic guys who have been washing and taking care of my cars for about 15 years.If I arrive really early I might listen to a bit of Any Questions or a 5 Live commentary before heading up the Barking Road. I always pop into the bookshop at the corner of Green Street and have a gossip with the manager, Viv Archer. She loves a good political chinwag and she normally has some West Ham luminary or other signing books. I usually meet my friend Jo Phillips there.

I then always buy my programme from the seller on the corner of Green Street and OLAS from the the boy by the church.

Jo and I have now got into the very unhealthy habit of heading off to Ken’s Cafe on Green Street for a fry up too. A lot of people we know from media circles are often in there too – Pete May, The Observer’s Denis Campbell, Matt George from the Western Mail and Nigel Morris from The Indy and also his wife Carolyn Quinn from Radio 4’s Today Programme.

And then at about 2.30 it’s off to the ground. I didn’t go to Ken’s today as Jo can’t be here. It isn’t the same without her!

Before each game I usually look up at the Director’s box and give a two fingered wave to my friend, Labour MP and Home Office Minister Tony McNulty. He’s too polite to respond with fewer than five fingers in his wave.

And that’s about it! I’ve told you mine, now you tell me your pre match routine.


6 Responses to Your Pre Match Rituals…

  1. Wow. How nice of you where you could go and watch the match live. Really envy you man! 🙂 I guess you had loads of fun there.

    Anyway highlights of the highly entertaining match:-

  2. Bernie says:

    My pre-match routine is very simple :
    Train from Grays to Barking, arriving at the Barking Dog or the Barking Arm’s at around 1:30 PM.
    Drink about five pints of John Smith’s with the lad’s then make a mad dash for the ‘Beer Monster Express’ (the 2:40 District Line train). Arrive at seat at 2:59 and 50 seconds! Sorted.

  3. WHU Kim says:

    Row X of the DML is obviously THE place to be Iain! I’m about 60 seats along from you. My pre match ritual usually involves visiting Cassettarris cafe for steak pie with chips and peas and a mug or tea or omelette if I go to Monty’s instead. Of course when I was a kid and lived locally I never needed to eat near the ground. I may frequent the Central or Supporters club before heading off to the game. I don’t get to the ground too early, usually arrive at my seat around 15 mins to kick off. I spread my custom around the various programme sellers I often buy my OLAS from the guy with the marvellous titian coloured hair.

  4. supernumbersix says:

    Come in from Westbourne Park (Chelski, QPR land) Meet my cousin at King’s Cross 1pm. WHU since we were 8 ie 40 years. Dependng on the the state of the ‘wonderful’ tube system get to UP, for 1.45. Fish and chips and soak up the atmosphere, I LOVE Green Street before a game. Last Saturday being a particularly good one with the barcodes in good cheer and frame of mind (mostly) OLAS by the gates. We too, like to watch the ground fill up from upper Doc M. so we get to our seats for 2.30 latest. Problem is that sometimes that’s the best part!! When we win I don’t want to leave. Marvellous.

  5. JJ says:

    I will try to drink my 6 pint minimum before the game starts (rather difficult at 12 o clock kick offs), make a phone call to the missus assuring I´m not wasted, grab a quick fish n chips at Green Street and storm to Boelyn Ground… and hopefully sit down as soon as the first whistle echoes around the ground.
    Yeah… the ritual of about 80% of those that reguraly attend matches at Upton Park, I know.

  6. Hammers Dad says:

    Tube from North Greenwich to West Ham, then West Ham to UP…20 minutes unless they decide that engineering works are required on the Jubilee line, then it’s train to Charing Cross then Embankment to UP and about 1hr 10 minutes…
    Down to the Central, to meet the chaps (and occasional chapess) from the forum for a few diet cokes, and I do mean diet cokes…alcohol=bad me!
    Leave the Central about 2:30ish, up to the chippy for a bag of chips or two, depending on how many of us there are. Get to the ground around 2:45, settle in and get ready for the littlun (he’s al of 5) to sing bubbles and shout “Deano” very loudly indeed!
    After the game, back to UP tube to be treated worse than cattle and make our way back, generally we are indoors by 5:30

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