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15 years of KUMB: 1997/98

Filed: Wednesday, 4th July 2012
By: Staff Writer

15 years ago this month, KUMB.com - then known simply as 'Knees up Mother Brown' - first went online. To celebrate this inauspicious occasion we will be reproducing some of the best articles to appear on our website over the years ahead of the new 2012/13 Premier League campaign.

To kick us off, we're going right back to the end of our our first year in business - July 1998 - to see how former columnist Bobby Upper Bobby reacted to the news of a couple of potentially exciting new arrivals...

Can You Adam'n'Eve it?

Just look at this picture. Can you believe it ? It's like an artefact from a parallel universe. You know, like in 'Sliders', or one of those science fiction programmes. But amazingly this image is from our world, our reality, now - July 1998. Ian Wright has signed for our very own West Ham United!

That's right. Ian Wright, Wright, Wright, the Gooners and the Premiership's highest ever scorer has put pen to paper for Harry's Happy Hammers. As old Damon Albarn would say "Wooo-Hoooooo".

What a coup! What a feather in our and particularly Harry's hats'. You can almost hear, from across London, those sad Totts sphincters' in a state of collective collapse.

Not only that, it was he who desperately wanted to join us. I'll have to say it again, because I can barely believe it myself, Ian Wright d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e-l-y wanted to join us. Just listen to him: "I told my agent that if I couldn't play for West Ham, then I would stay at Arsenal".

It's like a dream come true. The man who has been the bain of our lives for so long and who's still the premiership's most lethal and exciting finisher will be playing for West Ham next season.

And here's a player who really could have gone anywhere he wanted: written his own contract with any club, be they in the Premiership, Serie A, wherever. Yet out of all the possible opportunities he chose West Ham, because he knows, HE KNOWS, we're onto something at Upton Park.

Again just check out what he has to say. "I believe West Ham are going somewhere, and I want to be part of it. I am excited about playing with John Hartson, Eyal Berkovic, Trevor Sinclair, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Steve Lomas - the list just goes on. Harry is building a squad capable of winning something - and I want to help".

Not only that, anyone with eyes in their head can see that Wrighty is the perfect piece to complete Harry's jigsaw. As a team the Irons have always created ridiculous numbers of chances during a game, but since the days of Tony Cottee's first spell at the club, they've lacked a marksman who can put even half of them away. Wrighty is that man and more: he can do it all himself if needs be.

Of course, Harry, like the rest of us, and after a year of flirting, is made up with finally getting his man. Astutely he recognises that acquiring Wrighty is actually a reward for all the hard work put in since signing Johnny Hartson. As he says "It shows how far we have come in the last 18 months as a football club that we can attract someone of Ian's ability and status"

Wrighty won't just be a tremendous asset to the squad as a goalscorer, he'll also be a positive, enthusiastic and, importantly, an experienced presence within our youthful camp. I suspect that 'experienced' might sound a little too much like 'ageing' to the more hard bitten and cynical of you out there.

In fact I'm sure a lot of you'll point to the long list of old and washed up strikers that started with Jimmy Greaves and ran through John Radford, Stuart Pearson, Clive Allen, Lee Chapman to Paolo Futre; who were all on their last legs when they signed on at the Boleyn; but Ian Wright is genuinely different. He's as fit as a fiddle, more than up for a new challenge and has come to West Ham looking to end his illustrious career on a massive high.

So it's a truly delighted Bobby Upper Bobby that signs off his first report for KUMB. Not only delighted, but quite astonished. For years I've tried to get Ian Wright, along with Trevor Sinclair, to sign for West Ham on one of those Championship Manager games and each time they've turned their noses up. Now they're both here and come August 15th I'll have to pinch myself to check that its not fantasy football we're playing.

1997/98 Fact File

League: Premiership
Manager: Harry Redknapp
Final Position: 8th

Points: 56
Record: Won 16, Drew 8, Lost 14
Goals: For 56, Against 57 (GD -1)

FA Cup: Quarter Finals - lost to Arsenal (on penalties)
League Cup: Quarter Finals - lost to Arsenal

Biggest Win: West Ham Utd 6-0 Barnsley (Jan 1998)
Biggest Defeat: Liverpool 5-0 West Ham Utd (May 1998)

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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