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15 years of KUMB: 1998/99

Filed: Thursday, 5th July 2012
By: Staff Writer

15 years ago this month, KUMB.com - then known simply as 'Knees up Mother Brown' - took it's first tentative steps on an embryonic world wide web. 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.

For our second dip into the past, we're going back to October 1998 with former columnist Dan O'Rourke who reflects on a very public spat between John Hartson and Eyal Berkovic...

Know What I Mean, Harry?

So here I am again for round three. It seems everything imaginable has happened at our beloved club since I last put fingers to keys (that is other than a West Ham win).

Firstly, there was the Hartson/Berkovic incident at Chadwell Heath and I am so glad that I had just written when this incident occurred, then grew and grew until it snowballed into a media frenzy. I mean the kick was even shown on Channel 4 news, where I'm sure 90 per cent of the viewers there don't even know where West Ham/Upton Park is, let alone know it has a football team.

To briefly add my thoughts here on KUMB, I was appalled as I think everyone else was. It was a really bizarre incident and the way Berko ran away from Hartson after scoring at Charlton (more of that later) I think he, like us, will take a long time to forgive SJH (yes, that is stupid).

I don't know about anyone else but I find it really odd to see West Ham on the telly these days (even on Match of The Day), so yet again to find my team (our team) a talking point over morning tea in the office was somewhat of a surprise. I tried my best to keep a low profile due to the embarrassment of it all, but I failed miserably.

Which brings us on nicely to Blackburn. For some reason can't think of the last time we beat Blackburn in the league, and along with Liverpool and Newcastle I look to these away weekends with the "oh well, there go the three points then" attitude. So what a pleasant surprise last year was, with a super goal from Stan, and the beating of Blackburn on penalties of all things.

With a sound 3-0 stuffing under the belt and a god awful performance from everyone I got back on with normal life, knowing that the next weekend brought the league leaders - and with them girlfriend beater - to Fortress Upton Park. The day of the Villa game was also my Birthday and I was joined in the Green Man by several Internet Irons and friends alike, we had a few beers before the game (and I was taught a lesson at table football by "super striker" Don Peretta).

Two hours after leaving the Green Man, another 0-0, and again I think we were lucky to get away with it. The highlight of the afternoon for me was seeing the IIFC in the match day program . I can't remember who pointed it out but the picture featured the Internet Irons (winners of a football tournament the weekend earlier) and the runners up, Coventry, with both teams singing (with some energy I might add) "Sh*t on the Villa (below)". We proved to be very fast learners and sung several verses in the bar with them later on.

The rest of the Villa game for me was yet again an anti-climax, with some very surprising substitutions from our illustrious manager. Berko and Wright off yet again - I don't know about anyone else , but this is really beginning to concern and confuse me. I think there were 20-odd thousand people in the Boleyn Ground who knew who should have come off (he used to be ginger and likes fighting things considerably smaller than he, ie. plant pots and small Israelies).

My first week of being the grand old age of 25 passed relatively quietly (I don't think I could have managed anymore beer). That is until the Thursday night, when I was joined by your web site host for an evening of bands and beer here in Cambridge. I did exactly the same drunken thing on Friday, going to the same club for the second time in my life (Thursday being the first in my 25 years), only upon leaving the club this time I fell in an amazing comedy fashion down some stairs as the result of slipping in some one else's (dropped) chips and Mayonnaise.

So whilst many of you were upright listening to the Charlton game (or even there getting soaked) I was prostrate on the floor for the whole of Saturday. What a terrible result, again terrible substitutions and perhaps player choice. Most of the topic of conversation in the West Ham world this week has been concerned with everyone's hero, Julian Dicks. What is he doing playing left wing-back? Is it his choice, Harry's choice, Hobson's bloody choice? I don't know and I think if you asked Harry I don't think he would know either.

Julian was murdered again down the left by a total unknown outside of Charlton circles. He can't play there, he just can't, whether he is fit or not (if not, why is he in the side?). He shouldn't be playing wing-back, for Christ's sake he doesn't train, he hasn't even got real legs anymore. What frustrates me is that Julian is an idol at this club, I don't want his memory to be tainted by this new, well position in his career. If I was Harry which I'm not (thank God as I think my daughter-in-law would get the right hump with my advances upon her) I couldn't and wouldn't play Julian there, especially when we bought Keller to play exactly this wing back role (and the times I have seen him this season, wing back or not he has looked ok).

Julian should either be rested or moved inside, because he is not, was not, and never will be a wing back.

To make matters worse for us Tottenham are now on the up with George Graham at the helm, a move I find most bizarre. Graham must be a very bitter man; to have almost bled Arsenal all his football life to then join the Totts is quite a turn around. I can only wish him, er well. Okay, I hope they go down, will that do?

Lastly (ok, almost lastly) a big shout to Cambridge United, their players and supporters for a fantastic game played at the sh*tty ground in the Coca Cola Cup on Tuesday night (anyone remember what that is then?). Well done Tottenham, only time I'll probably say that, just like the Murphy's I am.

I went along as I mentioned in my last article and what value for money I got. Unlike our visit to the sh*tty ground where I forgot everyone I was with's tickets (but thatĎs another story) for twelve quid I got over two hours of entertainment all at the expense of the F'worders. Cambridge were 3-0 down with about 20 minutes to go and managed to pull it back to three-all. I haven't seen such a come back, even if it was against poor opposition. They (Cambridge) did lower league football proud, only going out on penalties, but it was a great night none the less.

Newcastle this Saturday and I am not hopeful. I'm going to Upton Park to watch the game in the Thames Lounge (don't you know). I have to say I'm looking forward to the company of friends more than the game as I think we could be in for another away defeat; here's hoping when we speak again I'm proved wrong.

1998/99 Fact File

League: Premiership
Manager: Harry Redknapp
Final Position: 5th

Points: 57
Record: Won 16, Drew 9, Lost 13
Goals: For 46, Against 53 (GD -7)

FA Cup: Third Round - lost 1-0 to Swansea (a)
League Cup: Second Round - lost 2-0 to Northampton (a)

Biggest Win: West Ham Utd 5-1 Derby County (April 1999)
Biggest Defeat: Everton 6-0 West Ham Utd (May 1999)

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.

Your Comments

by Daniel O'Rourke
07:16PM 5th Jul 2012
''You should have signed this chap up. He's witty, erudite and very handsome.''

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