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New Year's resolutions

Filed: Tuesday, 29th December 2015
By: Brian Williams

I once resolved to never again make a New Yearís resolution for the simple reason I am too weak-willed to keep them.

But by calling on the same set of double standards that means I believe every time one of our players goes down in the box itís a penalty and when an opponent is brought crashing to the ground itís a blatant dive, I am quite happy to make them for other people. So this year I have ten resolutions that I would like West Ham United and those of us who support them to adopt.

1. I want a solemn pledge from the club that this year we are going to have a serious crack at the FA Cup Ė a tournament which means the world to everyone with claret and blue blood coursing through their veins.

Had Lionel Scaloni sportingly returned the ball to Liverpool via a mighty hoof into the River Taff in 2006 it would almost certainly now be the case that you donít have to of an age when you are thinking about your pension arrangements to be able to remember the last time we won the most famous trophy in club football. As it is, you have to go back to 1980 and Sir Trevís headed goal against an astonished Arsenal side who thought they only had to turn up to lift the cup that day. Another trip to Wembley would be a fitting way to round off our final year at the Boleyn Ground.

2. Find the person with the voodoo doll that, given the number of injuries suffered by our most creative players in 2015, must now have so many needles inserted into various parts of its unholy body it will resemble a hedgehog. (I can only assume the practitioner of this dark art is a Tottenham fan.) Either that, or start training on the spongey stuff they use in kidsí playgrounds and insist on playing the second half of the season under the rules of Bubble Football.

3. Ditch the idea for the new badge before the players wear it in public and we embarrass ourselves. We were told we were getting a ďbolder, cleaner and more vibrant club crestĒ that is "the handiwork of world-class designersí Do me favour. The crossed hammers are still there, of course. But where we once had a castle we now have the word "London". What's that all about?

A decent Latin motto I could take Ė there would be a touch of class about that. But London? We know where we are, FFS. Or is this the first baby-step on the road to an American-style franchising system in which the Dakota Donkeys can become the Detroit Donkeys overnight, and no one seems to bat an eyelid? I hope I'm wrong. But when the London Hammers find themselves playing the Manchester Red Devils it will be the day I finally hand in my claret and blue scarf and take up fishing.

4. Buy a decent right back during the summer transfer window. Right now I wouldn't take Carl Jenkinson on a permanent deal from Arsenal if he were on sale for 12 quid, let alone £12m. For that sort of money we could make a serious bid for Serge Aurier, who is busily making a name for himself at PSG. They used to say right back was the easiest position of the lot. Not these days, when the job is a delicate balancing act between getting forward and taking care of the defensive duties. Time to get someone who can do both.

5. Please, letís get the words to Bubbles right. Itís: ďThey fly so high, nearly reach the skyĒ not: ďThey fly so high, they reach the skyĒ. A small point, but the little things make all the difference.

6. The club should climb down off its high horse and agree to allow supporters on the pitch after the final game. Itís going to happen anyway, so why not withdraw the draconian threat of lifetime bans and accept the inevitable with good grace? People are looking to have a party, not a riot.

7. Itís time we all stopped laughing at Chelsea. Seriously? Nah Ė of course not! In fact, if you can find a bit of spare time in your busy day Iíd urge you to laugh at Man U as well.

8. Letís have an unequivocal commitment to safe standing at the Olympic Stadium. David Gold hinted at it in an exclusive interview with Blowing Bubbles editor David Blackmore in 2013.

The club's co-owner said then: ďWe now donít have the violence we once had and already what exists is unsafe standing. At Upton Park, we currently have unsafe standing that is illegal and anti-social. Itís time to give something back to the fans. The fans who want to stand should be given an area to do so. Iíd be stunned if we donít have some form of safe standing experiment soon. I think in five years we will see safe standing at football stadiums because, letís face it, itís not very expensive to install and itís safe, very safe, in fact itís twice or three times safer than what we have at the moment.Ē Well said, Mr Gold. But, as Elvis so neatly put it: ďA little less conversation, a little more action please.Ē

9. As the club has decided to take the Champions Statue to Stratford, even though it was partly paid for by the local council, the least it can do is put something else in its place. There used to be some public toilets where our World Cup heroes now stand, and Iím sure the local residents would be relieved in more ways than one to see the lavs rebuilt. But if the consensus is for another statue, how about John Hartson and Eyal Berkowich? Their training ground bust-up would fittingly represent the kick in the teeth that the tradespeople of East Ham and Plaistow will be given as a result of the move to the Olympic Stadium.

10. Better still, scrap the move to the Olympic Stadium altogether and stay put at our real home. Tell Galliard where to stick their luxury flats. Tell that slimy little toerag Seb Coe where to stick his running track. And tell yourselves that West Ham United's one true home is in Green Street Ė with a stadium that was built for football and where, when roused, Irons' supporters can still create an atmosphere like no other in the country. Sorry, I know thatís not going to happen. Is it time for my medication yet, nurse?

Have a wonderful 2016.

* Brian Williams is the author of Nearly Reach The Sky Ė A Farewell to Upton Park. You can read his regular column in Blowing Bubbles every month.

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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