West Ham are special we hold that belief regardless to all evidence to the contrary that we have that something different and this year maybe our year. Is just over 30 years since I was taken to my first game and in that time, its hasn’t been our year very often, this only serves to make our triumphs however small and fleeting seem even more significant. I cannot imagine supporting a club that was a title contender year after year, I certainly can’t imagine being disappointed with only a League Cup win or being furious that we only reached fourth place year after year I mean seriously can you imagine! If West Ham won the League Cup I would weep with joy and hug any man woman or beast within the Greater London area for at least a fortnight.
In my time I have supporting the Hammers I have found myself in a group of people that can be summed up by the below description and I bet you, you will recognise at least one of the people described below:
Hard as nails, remembers Bobby Moore’s debut like it was yesterday supported the club because his Dad took him so he could sneak a few jars with his mates on a Saturday and passed on his love of the club to his children and so on. He won’t like the Olympic Stadium or many of the people in it popcorn at football do me a favour!! Winces both at the walk from Stratford and the price of a beer in the bars below, goes to the game because he always has the club in unrecognisable to what it was when he was a boy. Cannot talk about Bobby Moore without a tear forming in his eye and holds Sir Trevor Brooking and Billy Bonds in almost as high regard.
Heavily influenced by the Original the Geezer tries to be what he thinks the Original was when he was his age. Too Young for Hurst Moore and Peters but will still eulogise about them and can cultivate a decent argument with anyone willing to listen that West Ham are the biggest club in London. Has a cockney swagger but in reality lives in Essex because very few cockneys can live in East London now. Brings his kids along now the third generation who are decked head to toe in West Ham merchandise like mini Tony Pullis’s pretends he doesn’t like the Olympic Stadium and says he misses Upton Park but secretly likes the new comfy seats and how easy it is to get out to Essex from Stratford he is also partial to a bag of Popcorn but never within sight of an Original.
Knows everyone’s FIFA ratings by heart and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of French second Division football, gets frustrated that West Ham don’t play the latest formation and don’t change from a false nine to floating 10 at the drop of a hat. This person’s grip on reality is just as schewed as the two guys above because his reality in based on a computer game. Doesn’t mind going to the game but would be just as happy sat at home watching it on TV better access to WIFI there and it’s easier to see what his mates are up to elsewhere through the power of social media.
This man loves West Ham everything about them a visit to the ground is like a visit to a holy place a site of pilgrimage where he will smile serenely despite watching Modibo Maiga tread on the ball while going through on goal. Doesn’t have a view on the ground or the board or the manager never criticises the players because once you are wearing those colours you are almost family to him. Defeat and victory are treated the same the Romantic is a rare sighting at West Ham
The Loose Cannon
Greets the emergence of the Referee with the knowing “he never gives us anything this bloke” and gradually get more and more frustrated with proceedings as the game progresses regardless of the context of the game. Expletives are rapid and loud and are aimed at both team the Managers the chairman and occasionally God, hard to see what this man gets out of his hour and half’s entertainment apart form an almost fatal peak in his blood pressure. At the final whistle he changes chameleon like into a normal person, I have seen a few loose cannons on my commute to work or later in life on the school run and the transformation is something to behold. Depending on his age he will vent his spleen towards Millwall (Old School) Spurs, Paul Ince (Old School), Tom Ince (New – and a bit unfair) Jermain Defoe, Dimitri Payet, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick but never Joe Cole or Rio Ferdinand. I was once at a game where the Crewe goalkeeper Clayton Ince was booed purely because he had the same surname as our former midfielder. How is your luck?
The Bloke I know Bloke
Yes, we know this person he is the guy that saw Andy Carroll in McDonald’s at Liverpool Street at midnight on Friday, he knows that the club is being bought by a Saudi prince and that apparently the chairman and the Manager had a tear up in the car park after training, he doesn’t say how he knows he just does. From transfer news to the new striker’s baby’s name he knows it all and most importantly he knows it before you. He is very active in the transfer window regaling anyone who will listen. Of course almost all the information is passed on from bloke I know and is utter cobblers but it passes the time of day.
The New Guy
The newbie is a strange concept and all the above are deeply suspicious of him, attracted by the affordable tickets and the trend he has attended games but in truth is much more excited to watch Sergio Aguero etc than Andy Carroll, finds it hard to get the bitterness about the stadium and the team and sees the stadium as a big improvement on Upton Park as it was hard to get to and quite frankly a bit grotty. May not know everything about the club but it doesn’t matter that much to him and if he can’t make a game he can lend his ticket to a mate.
In truth we can probably identify a bit of us in most of the above, it is often more entertaining listening to those around you at a game than it is watching the match. We are quite often very different in a views and opinions but what does bring us together is seeing our boys in claret and blue do their thing on a Saturday and I don’t think that will change. The characters above are in my experience invariably men but that is because in my experience of going to a game of the last 30 years I was taken by a man and stood/sat with men, I am sure that a female fan will identify with the above descriptions as well. Anyway, onwards to the next game anyone for a bag of popcorn?