A decade of shame: from Mido to Sanchez

Where were you 10 years ago around this time? How much can you remember of a few days that has dogged West Ham and our fans ever since?

Yes, it was the month in 2010 that saw David Sullivan and David Gold take command of a club that was a basket case. Not much has changed, has it?

It's not quite a 9/11 or Kennedy moment, but for many West Ham supporters there are flashbacks of expectation and hope. Yes, I had all those, but there are painful family days too. OK,the next bit is going to be self-centred, personal stuff, so if you can't be bothered with it, look away now as they say.


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2010: Gold & Sullivan are confirmed as West Ham's new owners


West Ham is woven into our lives whether we like it or not. Mixed with births, marriages and deaths . The Gold/Sullivan takeover happened a day or so before I took early retirement and a (little) redundo so I could spend more time with the dad, who was very poorly. It turned out to be the day he passed away.

I am sure we all feel the same way about our fathers. He was my hero, my inspiration in life and the man who taught me what being West Ham was all about. He had seen them relegated in 1933, my grandad was at Wembley in '23 and his dad ran a boot shop on the Roman Road and, as legend says, used to watch Thames Ironworks. They were proper West Ham.

I have passed all this history on to my long-suffering son, who now and for the last ten years, has taken me to home matches and plenty of away ones too. We live in the north, and according to an annoying Twitter debate recently - which followed on from some folk talking at the Hammers United protest - we can't be West Ham and come from the north. I'm a Londoner, my lad isn't.

OK, got that off my chest. Not West Ham, you're having a laugh. I spent a lot of time thinking about all this, my dad, and how he would have reacted to today's circus, while travelling back north after the dreadful West Brom defeat. A Long train journey and not helped much by a patronising Leicester fan who wanted to talk, and talk, and talk.

I never got the chance to tell my dad about Gold and Sullivan, he was too ill. He would have been horrified. A very moral man, the thought of pornographers owning his club would have been too much. I wish he was still here now, obviously, but I wouldn't have wanted him to see the disgraceful situation West Ham are in now.


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A proper pitch invasion: West Ham face Bolton in the 1923 FA Cup Final, estimated attendance 300,000


A few days after his death I got a call from a good pal in Burnley's media department who had heard about dad. He thought I could do with a day out and a few beers, and Burnley were playing my lot, so there was a ticket on the gate for me. You don't forget gestures like that.

So there I was, standing by the players tunnel at Turf Moor, and David Gold walked out, shaking hands with our fans and acknowledging our away support as he walked down the touchline to his seat in the stand. Every bit the club's saviour. If only we knew then what we know now.

The sign of things to come were pretty obvious though. It was Benni McCarthy's debut, and when he was finally hauled off, Mido came on as a replacement. We lost. Says it all really of what was to follow. Both players brought in a day or two before the match by our new owners.

My old fella - he would have been 100 next month - didn't suffer fools that well, and he was fiercely proud of West Ham and our family tradition, having lived through the Blitz and been bombed out twice. Let's just say he would not have liked what is going on now and the clowns running the show. I doubt he would ever have set foot inside the London Stadium.

All these memories were in my mind on that train journey. Visiting Nan's old house in East Ham, those walks down Wakefield Street, leaving mum in the market while we went to queue for our prime spot on the Chicken Run.


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West Ham's former premises in Westfield


And what have we got now? Certainly not that local spirit, that family. Can you imagine that ever resurfacing at the LS, with all that perpetual building, the horrible concrete blocks, stop-go signs, a sterile area that has not an ounce of the 'feel' of Upton Park. Nothing would induce me to set foot in the monstrosity that is Westfield, or the car parks or fake pubs.

It has taken me a while to get to this point of thinking. I wanted the Olympic stadium to be a success, I never for a second fell for all that Champions League rubbish, but as the 18th richest club in the world I expected a bit more than this.

But what do we get? People saying we need ?40m this summer to 'stay afloat.' You mean what Seb Haller cost, or two-thirds of what we would get for Declan Rice? What over-dramatic tosh. The vast majority of Premier League clubs have US, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Russian or European investment. All we have is Tripp's ?10m, not repayable until the club is sold.

But we have a porn baron/property wheeler dealer calling the shots, his son playing at being director of football, a decent well organised manager who is being hung out to dry and doesn't seem to know who the owner is bidding for at any given moment.

We are facing relegation after winning only three of our last 17 league games, and four of the last 20 overall, culminating in yet another FA Cup exit to a lower division team. And we are expected to put up with all this while those utter imbeciles on Talk Sport keep telling us how lucky we are and what a good job their mates on the board are doing.


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No punches pulled: Joe Cole on BT Sport


No wonder Hammers United are making their stand, with Joe Cole saying it how it is and respected journalists like Matt Law slaughtering us on TV. With Oliver Holt from the Mail on Sunday asking on Twitter how Karren Brady, with all her business skills, is overseeing this shambles.

Ten years down the line, ten years since Gold glad-handed his way around Turf Moor, ten years since we were 'saved' by him and his mate. Ten years from McCarthy and Mido to Carlos Sanchez? I just wonder how my dear old dad and all his proper West Ham generation would think of us now?

I know, I know, I should stop making long train journeys! Sooner or later it may come to that.

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