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A Hammers tale


Guest Gary Loughran
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Guest Gary Loughran

I hold my hands up, it was me, I gave up on my beloved Hammers, I criticised management and players, I didn't watch MOTD to see our defeats, I was that defeatist, the man who shamefully bowed his head at a time when, with chest expanded, my Hammers needed me to go over the top. The coward with a kiss...and I kissed our hopes of survival good bye, I listened to pundits tear the very fabric of our club apart on Sky and on the back pages of red topped papers...and I nodded in agreement. My guilt manifested itself as every good result rolled in Saturday after Saturday, yet I still couldn't believe, I still convinced myself that one more defeat was all that was needed, with expectation comes disappointment, I was protecting myself against more end of season disappointment, I can't forget Gerrards injury time strike, the tears shed, the cup lost...my dreams fading and dying was part of being a Hammer. Not this year, I wasn't a Hammer, a true supporter, loyal, fighting every cause, I was a turncoat, a sad shell of everything being a Hammer's fan entails. I was protecting myself and my weakened psyche from even more pain and defeat. On my daughters birthday, during their party, news came in Tevez had scored - West Ham were beating Bolton 1-0, a glimmer of hope, but still I was the dark cloud on the silver lining, my cup half empty, my heart half in it. I packed up the car after the party with the kid's presents, daring not to hit the buttons on the radio for 909, the reality and unending nervousness of holding on to a 1-0 would be too much for me to bear, I couldn't ruin the kid's birthday. Then it happened my wife hit the button, I couldn't stop her, I didn't really want to because I'd abdicated all my responsibility as Hammers fan, this I thought, meant I could be dispassionate about the results. There were five minutes until half time and Alan Green still hadn't given a score update, I drove on, seemed like a tight game, the commentary was giving nothing away, I couldn't detect anything from the Boleyn faithful to indicate win, lose or draw, I drove on, then it came, West Ham were winning comfortable 3-0, I punched the steering wheel 5 times each time punctuated by a greater roar of yes, I didn't care what the other drivers thought as they looked in and saw this nut pounding the wheel with a look of raw emotion on his face, yes, yes, yes, yes, yeeeeesssss, I was a Hammers fan and the months of anguish, hiding my pain, trying to remain ambivalent, and worse agnostic about my beloved team came streaming out in cries of joy, I had found the fortunes I'd searched everywhere for, they were no longer hiding, the fact that I'd hit the kerb and shredded the left front tyre completely couldn't temper my happiness, it's the first time I've happily put on a spare tyre, the cost of the new tyre came out of my own money because my wife blamed me for being irresponsible, she wasn't to know that for the first time in ages I was being responsible and was able to be a Hammer again. Safety assurred, la vita e bella.

Oh then we beat Man U 1-0 at Old Trafford, but then I knew that would happen, after all I'm a Hammer's fan.

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I hold my hands up, it was me, I gave up on my beloved Hammers, I criticised management and players, I didn't watch MOTD to see our defeats, I was that defeatist, the man who shamefully bowed his head at a time when, with chest expanded, my Hammers needed me to go over the top. The coward with a kiss...and I kissed our hopes of survival good bye, I listened to pundits tear the very fabric of our club apart on Sky and on the back pages of red topped papers...and I nodded in agreement. My guilt manifested itself as every good result rolled in Saturday after Saturday, yet I still couldn't believe, I still convinced myself that one more defeat was all that was needed, with expectation comes disappointment, I was protecting myself against more end of season disappointment, I can't forget Gerrards injury time strike, the tears shed, the cup lost...my dreams fading and dying was part of being a Hammer. Not this year, I wasn't a Hammer, a true supporter, loyal, fighting every cause, I was a turncoat, a sad shell of everything being a Hammer's fan entails. I was protecting myself and my weakened psyche from even more pain and defeat. On my daughters birthday, during their party, news came in Tevez had scored - West Ham were beating Bolton 1-0, a glimmer of hope, but still I was the dark cloud on the silver lining, my cup half empty, my heart half in it. I packed up the car after the party with the kid's presents, daring not to hit the buttons on the radio for 909, the reality and unending nervousness of holding on to a 1-0 would be too much for me to bear, I couldn't ruin the kid's birthday. Then it happened my wife hit the button, I couldn't stop her, I didn't really want to because I'd abdicated all my responsibility as Hammers fan, this I thought, meant I could be dispassionate about the results. There were five minutes until half time and Alan Green still hadn't given a score update, I drove on, seemed like a tight game, the commentary was giving nothing away, I couldn't detect anything from the Boleyn faithful to indicate win, lose or draw, I drove on, then it came, West Ham were winning comfortable 3-0, I punched the steering wheel 5 times each time punctuated by a greater roar of yes, I didn't care what the other drivers thought as they looked in and saw this nut pounding the wheel with a look of raw emotion on his face, yes, yes, yes, yes, yeeeeesssss, I was a Hammers fan and the months of anguish, hiding my pain, trying to remain ambivalent, and worse agnostic about my beloved team came streaming out in cries of joy, I had found the fortunes I'd searched everywhere for, they were no longer hiding, the fact that I'd hit the kerb and shredded the left front tyre completely couldn't temper my happiness, it's the first time I've happily put on a spare tyre, the cost of the new tyre came out of my own money because my wife blamed me for being irresponsible, she wasn't to know that for the first time in ages I was being responsible and was able to be a Hammer again. Safety assurred, la vita e bella.

Oh then we beat Man U 1-0 at Old Trafford, but then I knew that would happen, after all I'm a Hammer's fan.

Being a football fan is a very emotional experience. When you are having a relationship with a woman that is not working out you can leave and start again. You cannot do this with a football team. It is more like being a parent than a lover. You are in for the long-term.

When West Ham lose badly I try telling myself I don’t care. However, it never works. By the time the next game arrives I begin to feel the tension. If they win my mood improves. I search desperately for evidence that the tide has turned. As it happens the tide turned in the lucky win at Blackburn. To be fair, they had no luck until then. However, after that game, they had all the luck that was going. I suspect that teams make their own luck. This is tied up to confidence. After the Blackburn game they seemed to believe in themselves again.

I am now looking forward to the new season. I fully expect West Ham to be challenging for a top six spot. Especially if we get Scott Parker to replace Nigel Reo-Coker.

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Guest Gary Loughran
Being a football fan is a very emotional experience. When you are having a relationship with a woman that is not working out you can leave and start again. You cannot do this with a football team. It is more like being a parent than a lover. You are in for the long-term.

When West Ham lose badly I try telling myself I don’t care. However, it never works. By the time the next game arrives I begin to feel the tension. If they win my mood improves. I search desperately for evidence that the tide has turned. As it happens the tide turned in the lucky win at Blackburn. To be fair, they had no luck until then. However, after that game, they had all the luck that was going. I suspect that teams make their own luck. This is tied up to confidence. After the Blackburn game they seemed to believe in themselves again.

I am now looking forward to the new season. I fully expect West Ham to be challenging for a top six spot. Especially if we get Scott Parker to replace Nigel Reo-Coker.

Indeed John, all feelings I recognise well. Every Saturday in spite of my attempts to accept relegation I would pray for a win, when we got beat my mood darkened. I couldn't let it show though as I'd been telling everyone near me 'We're down, the rest of the season doesn't matter'.

After Bolton was the first and only time I accepted we were up. I didn't believe the result against Man U would matter, but took the liberty of betting on both a 1-0 and 2-1 to Wigan in the final game, going on 0-0 and 1-0 to West Ham V Utd.

I can recall how much we bemoaned our luck during the season, plaintive cries for something good to go our way.

All's well that end's well yet I'm still not convinced about Curb's. Judgement is very much reserved.

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Guest Stephen Turner

Yes, well done the "Ammers" I can echo the feelings about supporting a football team, it really has nothing to do with intellect, and once the die is cast, nothing to do with choise. It started for me one April day, late at night, in 1966. my dad had allowed me to sit up and watch the Footie with him, the match was a European cup Quater final between Benfica, and Manchester United, at the Stadium of Light Lisbon. United were given little chance against a Benfica side that had won the two previous European cups, enter a young Irish lad with a Beatle haircut, Bestie tore them to ribbons, With Charlton and Denis (the King) Law aiding and abetting. United won 5-1, and I was lost. Several times in the interviening years I have tried very hard not to care, but, as John says, to no avail. I have always had a sneaking admiration for West Ham, the acadamy, As they have always attempted to play the game in the right spirit. ATTACK...ATTACK...ATTACK,ATTACK,ATTACK.

PS, United lost in the 1966 semi finals to TA-DA, Partizan Belgrade..A case of "After the Lord Mayors show comes the dustcat" And a useful lesson in what being a Football supporter really entails.

Edited by Stephen Turner
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