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In Review: The Black Hammers

Filed: Wednesday, 1st November 2006
By: Matthew O'Greel

Pennant Books
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Prolific United writer Brian Belton's latest book takes a look at every black player ever to don the famous claret and blue of West Ham United.

From John Charles (1963) right through to current youth-team starlet Kyel Reid each player is given a chapter in which their contribution to the club - both on and off the field - is discussed at length.

The book contains a number of exclusive interviews conducted by author Belton and others, and gives a fascinating insight into some of the problems experienced by the players -especially in the 60s and 70s when racism on the terraces was rife.

The visiting team had a few black players ... this guy right in front of me started saying 'you black this' and 'you black that' then turns round and says to me 'oh, not you mate, you're alright, it's just these ones, they get right on my nerves ..."
Rio Ferdinand

Most of the players featured in the book will be familiar to most United fans, although there will no doubt be one or two that you have long since forgotten about - from this writers' perspective, I give you Dale Banton and Bernard Lama (the French goalkeeper whose brush with the law and class C drugs was famously celebrated in a ridiculously funny Hammers' terrace chant).

With forewords by Clyde Best and Kriss Akabusi MBE 'The Black Hammers' is a great read that runs to nearly 350 pages (hardback edition). At the time of writing it is available on special offer at Amazon for just 11.99; click on the link below to pick your copy up in time for Christmas.

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