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KUMBing of age

Filed: Thursday, 30th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

18 years ago this month Knees up Mother Brown - the online West Ham fanzine, as it was then known - took its first tentative steps on the World Wide Web.

And in order to celebrate the website's coming of age, we decided to look back at some of KUMB's highlights over the years - which we bring you in chronological order.

We are ITK (2000)

KUMB.com has long been known as THE primary source for West Ham United-based insider transfer news, thanks to our network of 'ITKs'. However the very first transfer story we broke came way back in December 2000 when on the morning of West Ham's trip to Everton, we received a call from a KUMB member who claimed that he had been talking to Harry Redknapp in the team hotel prior to the match. Redknapp, never one to keep a secret happily told our man that Camara was arriving imminently - and so KUMB had its first scoop.

Of course, sensitive information can come from many strange and unusual sources as well as the regular channels. "I was fitting a couple of bathrooms in Ray Lewington's house when his son Dean came home with two of his Wimbledon team mates," recalled one KUMB source. "Dean thought it would be funny to introduce me to the two of the three lads about to join West Ham [Adam Nowland and Nigel Reo-Coker], which was a very funny chat."

(Loosely related) link: http://www.kumb.com/article.php?id=2646

KUMB invents social media (2003)

Facebook was founded in 2004, Twitter in 2006. But a year before Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard College roommates effectively invented social media, KUMB had devised an ingenious way to report (tweet?) live from West Ham United's AGM.

Actually, it was fairly low-tech in truth; one of our number, one of many to take advantage of the single share offer was in the 150-strong audience for the annual AGM. At considerable cost (mobile phone tariffs were ridiculously expensive 12 years ago) he called KUMB's Editor and left the phone on his lap as the meeting took place - allowing KUMB to post live updates from the AGM. This didn't exactly go down too well with (luddite) Chairman Brown who forced a halt in proceedings to threaten KUMB with legal action, should we continue to publish the highlights...

Link: http://www.kumb.com/story.php?id=10220

Going down? (2007)

For some reason that still remains unexplained, in January 2007 KUMB were approached by SkySports with view to recording a piece about West Ham's chances of avoiding relegation from the Premeirship.

Recorded in the back bar of the Earl of Wakefield (RIP), KUMB Forum Moderator Romford was the only site member present to say he thought we had a cat-in-Hell's chance of avoiding the drop - which just goes to show that the rest of us probably know absolutely nothing.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PH0Exr3jZw

Eggy says all West Ham fans earn £60k - or does he? (2007)

In March 2007, KUMB Editor Graeme Howlett met West Ham United's then-Chairman Eggert Magnusson for a one-to-one armed with a string of KUMB readers' questions - plus one or two of his own. Convinced that West Ham would survive the drop, Magnusson had high hopes for the club but it was an off-the-cuff quote about the earning potential of West Ham supporters that long outlived his brief spell at the club.

When asked by Howlett about the possibility of providing "affordable" football, Magnusson replied: "Yes ... But the average salary of a West Ham supporter who comes to the games here is second highest in the league - it's just below Chelsea, and I think it's around £60,000 per year" - a passage of text often misquoted in the years since.

Link: http://www.kumb.com/qa.php?id=10

Banned (2007)

One day in October 2007, completely out of the blue, KUMB's staff were banned from attending media gatherings at the Boleyn Ground with immediate effect by West Ham United's former media officer Miranda Nagalingam. Ms Nagalingam, who had been introduced to West Ham by Alan Pardew some months earlier claimed this was due to a number of reasons, none of which held water.

Justice was served when, following a backlash from fans and several appeals from our staff, KUMB was once again granted permission to attend media events a few weeks later. As for Ms Nagalingam? She got suspended (and subsequently given the boot) following a pre-season tour of the USA less than a year later.

Link: http://www.kumb.com/story.php?id=122835

Duckers on Tevez (2009)

History hasn't exactly been kind to West Ham's former CEO Scott Duxbury, who was pilloried by Hammers fans and cast as an egregious liar by the Premier League following the Carlos Tevez scandal. Keen to get the inside track on the whole affair, KUMB's Graeme Howlett and Gordon Thrower met Duxbury at the Boleyn in June 2009, where he went to town on the Premier League's key figures and, most scathingly, the league's Chief Executive Richard Scudamore.

Much of that interview we are still unable to publish although following a revision last year (August 2014), KUMB decided that it was right to publish at least some of the previously-wthheld material.

Link: http://www.kumb.com/story.php?id=127755

The season ticket discount row/s (2012)

In May 2012, West Ham angered many thousands of its supporters by reneging on a 20% season ticket discount pledge made by the club's previous administrators. Over the course of the following few days KUMB.com drove a successful supporters' campaign to force the club to reinstate the discount. Little more than a week later the club buckled and agreed to honour the promises made by former CEO Scott Duxbury following a show of fans' strength, the likes of which hadn't been seen for many years.

A similar campaign weeks later also persuaded West Ham United FC to reduce a planned 100 per cent season ticket price increase for disabled supporters to 50 per cent.

Link: http://www.kumb.com/story.php?id=126272

Billy Bonds breaks his silence (2013)

19 years had passed since Billy Bonds left West Ham United after falling out with his former pal Harry Redknapp. Bill, a private man who believes in doing his business behind closed doors had refused to speak about the incident publicly - until the KUMB Podcast's Chris Scull and James Longman finally persuaded him to reveal what actually happened way back in 1994.

The Podcast's interview was carried by several tabloids in the ensuing days and led the Daily Mirror's back page the day after the interview was published.

Link: http://www.kumb.com/story.php?id=127094

The KUMB Forum - a REAL community (1999-)

At many times the KUMB Forums - like most football forums - can be a difficult place to inhabit, with angry supporters clashing over everything from the Olympic Stadium move to the price of a cup of half-time tea. However, on the rare occasion, something magical happens and supporters come together selflessly to help out of their fellow fans.

This was never more evident than when one of our number revealed that he'd never been able to visit the Boleyn Ground as he suffered with Agoraphobia - a particular problem now as his young son was begging his father to take him. Within hours of the revelation, a string of fellow fans had come forward to help out and the Forum member and his son were eventually accompanied to and from the ground whilst being looked after throughout the game.

KUMB's readers have also helped raise many thousands of pounds for charity over the years including the Bobby Moore Fund and the Heartlink Charity, an organisation very close to KUMB Forum members' hearts due to the trials and tribulations of KUMB member Iain Page and his baby daughter Willow (who we're happy to report is doing great now).

Link: http://www.kumb.com/story.php?id=127341

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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