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.