Filed: Friday, 18th April 2014
By: Paul Walker
West Ham’s history-making 1964 FA Cup winners will be honoured at the Boleyn on Saturday to mark the pending 50th anniversary of our club’s first major trophy triumph.
The club have announced that members of that side--Ronnie Boyce, Peter Brabrook, Eddie Bovington and Ken Brown--will be guests of the club against Crystal Palace, and then again at the end of season annual dinner…you know the one, the event that most of us would need a mortgage to attend!
I make no apologies for flagging up Saturday’s event, and hope that the players are introduced to the crowd on the pitch either before the game or at half-time. Because for the vast majority of those present, it will be a chance to see West Ham players who have actually won something serious.
It will be nice to see players of such quality, because the way the current crop are limping towards the end of a truly forgettable season, winners are a rare species indeed.
Sorry for being a touch sarcastic. The club do deserve praise for making sure this 50th anniversary is not forgotten. If only to give me the chance to applaud players I actually witnessed winning the trophy at Wembley.
The new edition of the admirable Ex magazine has been devoted entirely to those old time stars, I doubt we will see their like again. And I am sure that KUMB.com will be marking the anniversary ourselves around the time of the date, May 2, which is the day before the final home game of the season against Spurs.
Pioneers: Bobby Moore & Co celebrate our first FA Cup success 50 years ago next month
By then I really pray that we are safe from the drop, because our current players seem incapable of saving themselves. Are we to sit and wait while others lose enough games to make sure we stay up? How embarrassing.
Yes, that is a little dramatic. But seven wins in our last 21 league matches explains why mathematically this side is not fully clear of the relegation zone. For us to go down, Norwich, Fulham, Cardiff and Sunderland must all win three each of their remaining matches. Mind you, victory over “form side” Crystal Palace as big Sam calls them, will just about do it. But don’t hold your breath.
As co-chairman’s son Jack pointed out on Twitter…we are just not good enough. The last two games, defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal, just make that point. In 19 games so far this term against sides who are currently above us in the table, we have taken just nine points.
Two wins against Spurs and Southampton, plus draws with Newcastle, Chelsea and Southampton are all we have to show for our efforts. Stoke, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal. and Everton have all done the double over us. It is a truly shocking set of statistics. And the manner of some of those defeats has been abject, to say the least.
Our performances against sides who finish above us has deteriorated this term. Last season we took 13 points from 18 matches against the nine sides ahead of us. And only Arsenal, Everton and Spurs completed doubles.
I have feared for months that we will need to get something from the last day of the season’s game at Manchester City. God help us if that is the case, even if it looks like they have already blown their title chances. But if Liverpool lose a match, and they have to face Chelsea, it could still all come down to the last day.
As many who have read my ramblings over the months will know, I have family and friends who are City fans and the match days-out--for us Irons fans anyway--have been ruined by the games themselves, and no amount of boozing and general juvenile party antics can fully overshadow constant defeats for the Hammers fans in my family to absorb.
So lets hope it doesn’t get to that. We have only taken 1,700 tickets for the match, despite selling out our allocation for Arsenal, Stoke and West Brom, with well over 2,500 travelling.
An enquiry to the ticket office produced a perfectly understandable response. We, it seems, invariably take a lower allocation--certainly outside of London--for matches that charge away fans over £50. It seems just 600 Hammers fans applied for the City game on the priority points system ahead of Wednesday’s deadline. And the fixture looks certain to go to general sale, which has been the case for all our away games this term.
West Brom fans have been making a fuss all week about the same thing. City are charging them over £50 for Monday’s match and the Midlands club have also taken just 1700 tickets when they could probably have had 3,000 in the 46,000 capacity Etihad stadium.
We really have not got much of a case because West Ham charged City over £50 for both the league and Capital Cup fixtures at the Boleyn this term. City were bound to do the same to us.
And again, credit where credit is due, our lot have absorbed some of that cost, like they did for the away games at Stoke and Sunderland, by cutting £10 a head from the ticket price.
Even so, you do get the feeling that if clubs could do away with the annoyance of away fans in terms of the cost of police etc, they would. But charging £50 plus for an away ticket really is a liberty, even if we do it for high category matches.
So we struggle towards the season’s end knowing that Sam will still be in charge and there could be a constant stream of players in and out of the club. I have already totted up a list of 19 players we have already been linked with in various media outlets. It seems that everyone knows who is on our hit list.
I do hope it is better this time than the previous three transfer windows we have had to endure since winning promotion. Last summer’s shameful shambles has been the cause of much of this campaign’s anguish.
There are, to my estimate, 20 players with a question mark over their futures at the club. We need a big influx of quality, but Financial Fair Play what it is, we will have not a great deal more than last summer to spend on wages. Then it was £52m, now with commercial revenue to convert into wages, it seems that there is about another £10m for Sam to spend. That is unless we sell, and sell a lot.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s get another win and reach 40 points, so we can all rest easy. How about beating Palace, a team with players of far less skill than we are supposed to have. As I said, don’t hold your breath.
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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