Hammer Horror

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Hammer Horror

Postby Poshammer on Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:55 pm

The wife was sorting out some old papers and found this printout from some newspaper. The date
was April 14, 1988. And you youngsters think you've been hard done by!

So read, and see what us old scroats have had to put up with over the years!


HAMMER HORROR Written by Pete May


There is still no cure and it's on the increase. You can't tell who's infected.The more exposures the
greater the risk. Both men and women can pass on the deadly virus.
We can all succumb to temptation. The dazzling lights and throbbing beatof a late-night disco.
Eye contact is followed by drinks and the offer of a “coffee”. At her flat you catch a glimpse of
stocking followed by a knowing look. She places her hand on your thigh. “Do you fancy coming
to Upton Park on Saturday?” she asks
Yes,exposure to the West Ham United FC virus can often prove terminal, even to the Irons most
long suffering fans If you can answer the following questions then you are probably one of those
infected
Which first division team has just played without a centre forward for five months?
Whose full-back went into hospital for a brain scan after complaining of “dizzy spells”
Whose veteran 41year old midfield player injured himself falling downstairs after falling over
his slippers?
Whose former England midfield player has only played 30 minutes football this season,was once
injured for 18 months and also missed half a season with flu?
Who gave a free transfer to Ray Houghton, who Oxford sold to Liverpool for 800,000 and is
currently performing brilliantly?
Who beat Bury 10-0 and signed there centre half?
What team has been linked with and failed to sign Kerry Dixon,Mick Harford,John Fashanu,
Kevin Drinkell, Colin Clarke, Peter Davenport, Nico Clausen,Lee Chapman.
Whose manager after every defeat says “ it was a bit hot/wet/windy/muddy/snowy/plastic for the lads
today, we lost 4-0, but we learned a lot?
What first division program features such words as axiom,kudos,custodian and aficionado plus
complex treatises on the nature of success surely lost on the average denizen of the north bank?
My friend Alison recently returned from a prolonged sojourn teaching in Spain not having
visited Upton Park since 1978. “Are West Ham still having all the game in midfield and failing
to score? “she asked” is Billy Bonds still playing? Is Lyall still saying that he wont be panicked
and he's waiting for the right player at the right price? “I had to answer that yes, 10 years on
nothing has changed.
Like Rupert Brookes clock at Grantchester, West Ham continuing naffness has come to symbolise
to the expatriot the unchanging face of English life.





At the start of the season, my friends all said don`t do it. But ever the optimist and idealist I renewed
my season ticket for the chicken run. Supporting the Hammers is thefootballing equivalent of
Waiting For Godot. The pages of the programme are haunted by the ghosts of the injury-prone
Alan Devonshire and Alvin Martin. Each week full colour features proclaim that they have
resumed light training and are about to make a first team comeback, yet somehow they never actually
emerge in bodily form onto the pitch. The only injury-free appearance the West Ham players have
made this season was when they appeared with Selina Scott on BBC`s The Clothes Show.
Lord Lucan is alive and well and has been hiding in the West Ham forward line. The rot set in when
the brilliant Frank Mcavennie lost heart and confidence and was sold to Celtic last October. Poor
little Tony Cottee was left all alone up front and could soon depart for Italy or Everton. Bobby Robson
even picked him for the England squad out of sympathy for his plight. (Overheard on the terraces
last season”don`t worry Cottee! Snow white and the other six will be coming soon!”)
Cottee was unsuccessfully partnered by Dickens (a good midfield player but his striking instincts
are as speedy as jis namesake's plots) Ince, Dolan and even wholehearted but limited utility player
Hilton. The ultimate ignominy for Hammers fans came with the on-off Kerry Dixon transfer fiasco.
Like a used-car salesman John Lyall offered both cash and a player exchange deal to Chelsea, such
was Hammers desperation for a striker. The Clubs agreed terms, but Dixon asked for a week to think
the transfer over, desperately hoping that someone other than the Hammers might bid. He left Lyall
hanging on the phone while Arsenal came in and opted for the Gunners. Then Chelsea Chairman
Ken Bates returned from his controversial cruise and vetoed the Arsenal deal. The Sun reported that
“Bates was worried that Dixon might rediscover his goal scoring form with Arsenal” Bates then
immediately agreed that Dixon could join West Ham, obviously on the grounds that there was no
chance of his rediscovering his goal scoring form there!
Dixon of course then turned down the 1-million pound move to West Ham preferring to stay with
crisis-torn Chelsea. Lyall was left to bemoan the fact that “you have to be patient while you are
pursuing quality” the Daily Mail reported that “West Ham are now the lepers of Football”.
Yes it's that time of year again. The Hammers have come down even before the Christmas
decorations. For fans reared on long painful years of donkey Whitton, John `Sick As A Parrot`
Radford, Mervyn `Cinderella` Day and Tommy `Where's The Ball?` Taylor it is all proving too much.
“Bring on the neighbours video!” cried one disenchanted fan during a particularly prosaic patch
in the draw against Portsmouth. “Stewart, it's that green thing with lines round it!” bawled another
as a West Ham full-back continued to pump the ball in the general direction of the French Coast.
Worse was to come during a stultifying score draw against Oxford. Suddenly in one of the most
electrifying moments seen at Upton Park for years, a frustrated fan raced onto the pitch and planted
a handsome shot passed a floundering McAlister, he was ambraced by a steward and then promptly
ejected by the Old Bill who no doubt assumed that a goal seen at Upton Park would inevitably lead
to scenes of mass public disorder. “We're letting them queue up shots” complained one fan. “Just
accept it, we're going down” mused is more philosophical mate. “What are you doing Hammers?
We don't play football here!” screamed an enraged season ticket holder when Tony Gale had the
audacity to beat an Oxford forward.
To be fair to manager John Lyall, he has previously guided West Ham to an FA Cup win, Second
Division Championship and best ever third place in the First Division. However, at present he is not
the most popular of figures at Upton Park.







“You effin**** Lyall!” raged a red faced chicken run regular “do something Lyall! Resign! Kill
Yourself! Anything!” for my companion, uninitiated into the miseries of Upton Park this season
it was a little baffling as each player from McAlister outards was systematically abused. “It's just
like walking into a room full of really bad tempered men”, She remarked.
But at the Watford game the fans were more bemused than ever. A ripple of disbelief went around the
ground as the Hammers emerged onto the pitch actually in possession of a new striker, one Leroy
Rosenior, newly signed from Fulham. “I feel sorry for him joining us it's like the lamb to the
slaughter,” remarked a man moving through the chicken run collecting signatures for a petition to
sack the Directors. But Leroy was looking sharp and the fans cheered wildly at the unprecedented
vision of a West Ham centre forward. What was more he even told the Mirror that unlike Kerry Dixon
and co he actually wanted to play for West Ham! Then in the second half with the game goalless, the
unthinkable happened. A long through ball found Rosenior racing through the Watford defence to
plant a powerful shot into the back of the net. There was a moment of stunned silence. Then the
ground erupted as if West Ham had just won the European Cup. It was more frenzied Hysteria than
simple elation. “WE'V SCORED! WE'V SCORED! WE'V SCORED!” screamed a fan doing a passable
imitation of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Grown men gyrated uncontrollably, lept up and down and
hugged and kissed each other. “It's only one” muttered the man with petition darkly bringing a
familiar note of Upton Park pessimism to the joyous scenes. The final whistle sounded and the
stunned fans trooped away grinning inanely. For long winter months they had schooled themselves
in the art of stoic acceptance of West Ham's frailties. Then all their diminished expectations had been
shattered by the appearance of a forward and the miracle of a Hammers goal. West Ham winning was
proving even more traumatic than West Ham losing.
Our society had seen many tragedies in the past year. But there is no counselling available to the
victims of West Ham United. No-one knows how widespread incidents of West Ham supporting are
in the community as a whole; many are scared to reveal their condition for fear of harassment or
ridicule. There are no outward symptoms; the quiet spoken family man at the next desk could be one
of those suffering from the Upton Park affliction. Nor have habits significantly changed. At least
16000 people are exposed to the virus every fortnight. One visit could affect you for the rest of your
life.

WEST HAM, you know the risks, the decision is yours.
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby westhamshares on Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:07 pm

Pretty sure the author of the piece Pete may will be at the Liverpool game seen him at quite a few northern games over the last couple of years

Will let him know his words of wisdom have resurfaced
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Alan Pardew's Dad on Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:11 pm

Remember those times very well. Funny how the passing of time lessons the pain :)
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Georgee Paris on Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:18 pm

I was nearly sick reading that - I thought I hadn’t done my geography homework and was supposed to be going to the dolphin in Romford at the weekend.
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Up the Junction on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:06 pm

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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby miles on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:20 pm

Supporting the Hammers is the footballing equivalent of Waiting For Godot.


:D
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Boooogers! on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:28 pm

[quote="Georgee Paris"...and was supposed to be going to the dolphin in Romford at the weekend.[/quote]


get proper ****ed up in the deep end by the wave machine, have a plate of chips afterwards then try and catch a goldfish from the pond out front before catchiung the 87 bus home... happy days!
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Gerblatz on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:31 pm

:lol: ...great read..being reminded while the reality was the same as it ever was...same as it ever was..and you may ask yourself, my God what have I done..! Being West Ham..it still brings a lump to my throat.

Wouldn’t change it for anything..we were never deluded, but always looking everywhere..and still are.
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby simon hammer on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:39 pm

"West ham winning was proving even more traumatic than West ham losing"...crying with laughter reading the whole piece, but that bit almost necessitated oxygen!
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Awooga_Iron on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:46 pm

Eamon Dolan , doesn't seem that long ago :D
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby e-20 on Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:00 pm

Geez that pretty much sums up the time when my true love for the game dissipated and the team were slowly but surely no longer ruling my life. Interesting how Lyle towads the end was so unpopular, that's certainly how I remembered it (it's just fond memories read on here that made me begin to doubt it) he was just so slow to react to anything on and off the pitch in the final years. Those lines about him waiting for the perfect player at the right price really hit home. McAvennie became crap and I remember thinking it was great business to get rid before other teams realised it, then after a slow desperate and ultimately futile search for a replacement we desperately brought him back around similar money. All too late and futile and surprise surprise, he was precctably useless mostly for reasons we knew well. That was the moment I remember when hope was expunged for me, everything about the club was amatuer hour and incompetent. Support since then has been somewhat half hearted though it has had its intense moments but overall the club was never again to be deeply root canalled into my life. Though in truth root canal is a pretty accurate description of what support has been most of the time since for the average fan.
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby kayahammer on Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:56 am

Awooga_Iron wrote:Eamon Dolan , doesn't seem that long ago :D


Didn't he invent the modern day 'alternative' goal celebration? Watching his jig from the South Bank was as cringe-worthy as his post match interview (bless him)
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Awooga_Iron on Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:27 am

little jig of delight by the Irishman

Rose tinted specs because I was a kid, but Stuart Slater seemed to have the potential to do anything. And that Dolan flick to Slater volley is still one of my favourite goals.
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby OohAahButler on Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:41 am

Great read. Leroy certainly was ‘next level’ at the time!
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Aceface on Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:51 am

Georgee Paris wrote:I was nearly sick reading that - I thought I hadn’t done my geography homework and was supposed to be going to the dolphin in Romford at the weekend.


Image
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby Adam 'The Smudge' on Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:59 am

Really enjoyed that!!
It is of course true. It is an infection of the mind that removes all logic and injects helplessness.
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby mushy on Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:06 am

I met Pete May and fellow author Brian Williams at Newham library last year.
They were both there to give talks about their latest books, both of which were about our departure from The Boleyn.
A couple of nicer blokes you couldn't wish to meet.
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby goa127 on Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:36 pm

That really sums up that period well. Small-mindedness finally undid us a few years later
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Re: Hammer Horror

Postby WestHamByTheSea on Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:04 pm

I vividly recall that very piece, in fact I still have it somewhere - I may well have scanned it up onto (ironically) the 'Good Old Days' thread of CH's on here a few years back.

Think it was in a London listings mag like 'Time Out' or something along those lines?

My auntie sent it to me in the post as I recall - she still sends old cuttings to me to this day, invariably after some humiliating defeat/GSB snafu/stadium fiasco. God knows why...
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