Thursday, 4 February 2016


Still don't know what I was waiting' for, And my time was running' wild
A million dead end streets and, Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet, So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse of, How the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes, Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes,Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes, Just gonna have to be a different ma


Bowies starting Lyrics to Changes perhaps point out to not only the club, but myself as well.
Football is changing, no, actually football has changed whether for the better is a different argument but for those of us over 40 we possibly spend too long arguing its not for the better. As football has changed/modernised so to survive have the clubs, and none more so than those at the top, and West Ham is a top team so it has to change and modernise and conform if it wants to stay a top team.

The changes though for some are hard to take, and for me, feel like a bitter pill to swallow, everything now seems more about pushing out the Brand rather than just running a football club. The badge change is perfect example of Brand taking over the football thinking. The removal of the castle as it symbolised the old club, the Boleyn ground soon to be no more, the addition of the word London, not contentious for many, but for those like me it is another nail in the coffin of the Old West Ham. The club in its presentation before the decision was rubberstamped by the fans said that a majority of overseas football fans had failed to say where west ham was by looking at its badge and its name. Basically they didn’t realise West Ham was a London Club, for a marketing guru like Brady, that would alarm her. London is apparently already a top brand when used in marketing, associate yourself with London and the fans abroad may suddenly decide, West Ham is the team to support. To an middle age East Ender who don’t even holiday abroad as he thinks this country has plenty to offer, that is barmy, to change the clubs Badge just to identify itself to fans who have no connection with the area of London the club is supposed to represent.

Problem is nowadays the foreign money can be bigger than the income raised from the match attending support, just look at the next Foreign TV contract for the premier league and the income each of the 20 Shareholders of the Premier league gets to see why clubs now are wanting to project themselves abroad. Football is big business and I have to change with it, or it will leave me behind.

The club no longer is here to represent the local area, it represents anyone from anywhere, fans now come from far and wide, and with the advent of the internet you can now watch every hammers game round the world, instead of fanzines like this being a staple of the supporter its the chat forums where fans around the world can chat daily. At first I struggled with this concept, and at times I still do, mainly as reading Germans bleat on about Charlton fans complaining about the OS Deal just make me bang my head against a wall and scream, WTF has it got to do with you, but the mad thing is with this new Media explosion of the last 10 years ive made so many new friends, from the Moore than just a podcast gang or the Surrey Mockney Hammers as I like to call them to Dave from New York who writes the match reports on Westhamtillidie web site.
Years ago the very thought of someone from New York watching the game on TV being able to write a match report would have had me screaming, the worlds gone mad, but I’ve changed, I actually enjoys Dave’s reports, thing is, on TV you get to see everything so you can comment with authority, you don’t have to be at the game. See, just there, im embracing change, many may not believe it but its true, thing is I have to change I realise that now otherwise the hatred will eat you up. It seems ive spent the past 5 years arguing with the club over this over that, having a tainted love affair. There is a phrase that there is a thin line between love and hate and it was if that line was close to being crossed, almost like a couple in throws of breaking up creating arguments just for the sake of it to hasten their eventual Divorce. Luckily though ive realised that nothing becomes of the constant haranguing, the club has changed, it will never be what I thought it was while I won’t just sit back and enjoy the ride, with the new dawn arriving next season I want to enjoy the football, as that is after all what we are about, Football.

Don’t get me wrong though, I will never accept the move is right for the club, everything they want to achieve they could of achieved at the Boleyn, but the ground will change in August and unless I want to be consumed by hatred for those that run the club I have to change.
It may take time but change I will.

Time may change me, but I can’t change time.

A few things from the recent SAB meeting that took place at the ground.
The club have only not taken the full away ticket allocation only once, against Swansea, and that was because it was the weekend before Christmas and generally in the past its not the best attended fixture. Many have moaned about why the club only took 3,000 off Liverpool for Saturdays cup game, but after STH priority points they had only sold 1,500 add to the fact we sent back 500 tickets for the August game and the late KO leaving returning by train virtually un-doable it seems the club got that right.
Ive complained recently of High match day ticket prices and I got an explanation on why. It seems it stems from the fact that this season we have 5,000 more season ticket holders than last, with STH getting discounted game by game price that would leave a drop in match day income, thus to rebalance the income they need to raise it from match day ticket sales. Like it or not, that is the clubs take on it.
The club can move the statue to Stratford, but they failed to say the Newham have only agreed to that as long as it is replaced, luckily I knew this and pointed it out to them, in fact I said why not leave Bobby is situ and put a new statue at the stadium, so watch this space.
For long time Disabled fans were treated differently from the general fans and not always for the better, well it seems they have in migrating the Disabled fans treated them exactly the same way as general STH, and that is disgracefully and that was the Disabled fans take on it not mine.
Standing will not be permitted at the OS and if someone stands in front of you, tell a steward who has to deal with it, and lastly, no running on the pitch on the last game of the season V Swansea though it seems that could be Man United as if either of us make the FA cup semi’s the our game will need to be played later, except there may not be enough time to arrange before the official Boleyn farewell, in which case all festivities for Swansea will move to the United game.
One other thing, there are 400 ex hammers still alive and the club hope that by end of the season everyone would have been invited to a game, this im pleased with as I did ask of this at a farewell Boleyn SAB meeting a couple of years ago.
The club listening to fans, now that is a good change.


Six years ago this very week this club was facing the prospect of implosion, our chairmen of the time, the second richest man in Icelandic was bankrupt, the club had been past to a bank, that was also bankrupt, as a sort of debt repayment but to get their money they had to sell, as so, ridding in like white knights on their Steeds, messers Sullivan and Gold came to the clubs rescue.
I can't argue, nor will I, that the club is in a better shape than it was six years ago in those dark days but let's be honest, could it of been much worse, Well it could of, and it did get worse.
Those that inhabit the twilight world of Facebook or Twitter would of seen stream after stream of supporters declaring their thanks and undying love to the Daves, those that don't apparently are not true fans according to some and Wo betide any fan that dare sing from a different hymn sheet.
Problem I find that while I can understand those emotions, I just don't share them, and I feel inclined more often to remind everyone they have not only done good things, they have also overseen a regime that has in my eyes, totally removed any club to fan loyalty.
Time after time the club has stiffed match attending fans in different ways, season ticket holder discount was firstly tried to be avoided, then they finally admitted it, but offered an alternative way but then Gold virtually accused all those taking the 20% of impacting on that seasons transfer budget. Classy that, then Disabled ticket holders were given a 100% price rise, but when this broke they thankfully back tracked to just a 50% price rise. Clever really, because if they did the 50% first imagine the outcry would of been just as loud, but they made it look like they were listening by back tracking. When they had their partnership with Viagogo, the club regularly disposed of unsold tickets at cheaper than face value prices, a good thing you may think, but not when the undercut those that had bought in advance or again the season ticket holders.

The OS CONsultation, The badge change that was pushed through in a close season and done without a real majority of fans backing, but they wanted it, so they manipulated it.
They way they sacked Zola after constant undermining him, appointment of Avram Grant, a manager so so poor that it meant Sam Allardyce, a manager whose culture was so alien to this club was welcomed as a new Hero by some.
They love a buzzword, or strap sentence "Moore than a football club" is one, another the club have is is Affordable football for all, Yet ticket prices have steadily risen through the seasons they have been here to the point that tickets for today's visitors, Man City, are face value a fiver short of £100. Still at least no need to advertise to "come see city's superstars" for this game nor I bet will any tickets be given to community groups for a fiver as they did a couple of years ago, when unable to sell them at the £55 price many others paid that night.

Then we fast forward to the OS migration policy that totally ignored a fans service except it was done on who payed the most money in season 2015-16,not who had been attending for the longest time.
How is that loyalty to fans, not just any fans but those that for the past how ever many years have kept coming, kept paying.
I'll tell you who I thank for saving this club, the fans that stood bye West Ham during the 17 years they were funding another club.
I will though say that David Sullivan has probably assembled the best premier league squad we've ever had and it seems that our success will continue into the new franchise next season, Payet is a joy to watch, Lanzini will be a big Star are just two of the whole squad that have put the pride back into the club. On the pitch, which is the main reason we are here the club is finally on the up and I have faith in him that it will continue. Just seems a shame that West Ham as we once loved it has been buried on the way.

It seems to be a bad time to be a musician in your late 60's as there dropping like 9 pins this year, but none more so than David Bowie. I know he's not a West Ham fan but I'm sure Many of you out there liked or even loved his music. Personally I liked his stuff in the very early 80s as I grew up, but then from my late teens, mainly from some of the clubs I was frequenting like the Marquee club on the Charing Cross Road I grew to love his early output, suffragette city, man who sold the world, changes, Ziggy Stardust, but my personal favourite was Life on Mars, and in keeping with my strange habit of rewriting songs I thought I'd have a crack at that song, though rather than look at the Hammers I thought better to look at our Friends from the North (London).
So with Life on Mars tune in your head, I hope you can all sing along to0. Hear Bowies here

It's a god-awful cross to bare
With fans in constant despair
Their family are telling them "No"
And their wives have told them to go
All their friends are nowhere to be seen
As they go to watch their broken team
takes the seat with the clearest view
But they watch on a giant screen
And the game is a saddening bore
For they've lived it ten times or more
As they sit in their seats so still
And they attempt to focus on

See Spurs losing to the West Ham
Oh man!
Look at those stupid men go
Their the freakiest show
Listen to the Spurs Fans ringing up the radio show
Wonder if they'll ever know
Their support is a joke
Is there life at SPURS

Their history is but a dream
Should be Mickey Mouse on the ball
Now the fans are crying again
'Cause bale won't come back to them
Like mice in their lily-white shirts
From Edmonton to the Norfolk Broads
The Y word is out of bounds
As they act like a bunch of clowns
But the club is a saddening bore
'Cause we've seen it ten times or more
It's about to be heard again
As all we can focus on

See Spurs losing to the West Ham
Oh man!
Look at those stupid men go
Their the freakiest show
Listen to the Spurs Fans ringing up the radio show
Wonder if they'll ever know
Their Club is a joke
Is there life at SPURS

OLAS V Liverpool. The minds eye

There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends
I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life Ive loved them all

Close your eyes and think about the Boleyn ground, what does the mind’s eye see, is it your first visit, the first time you walked in to see the pitch. is it great games you have attended, do you remember the loved ones that brought you to the games but are no longer around or the players that you have loved or worshipped. Perhaps it is the journey you used to make or the friends you have made.
For me, if I close my eyes I can see back to when as a Nine year old, my mum used to stand over me and tie my scarf round my neck, “mind the roads and use the crossings” as i left our flat in Tinto Road, round into Hayday then across to Ingal Road where at the end I was on the Barking Road, there I would walk with the crowds that were also going to the game marching west wards as back then it was safe for children to walk the streets and my mum was not that worried either as so many were walking up from West Ham’s heartland of Canning Town,she assumed I would be looked after on the route. The Barking Road is like the major vein that carries my life blood through me as not only was it my route to the football ground, it is a big part of my life. At its beginning lies Rathbone Market, where as a child I would sit on my Grandads stall, bagging up Peanuts before collecting my Pie mash as a reward. Further up just passed Ingal Road where on a match day I join the Road ist the Abbey Arms junction, Moody’s pie mash shop next to a Dry Cleaners on the corner of Jutland Road was a favourite of mine. I continued my Journey carrying on walking up past my Youth Club, next to the church I attended, just before the bus stop I met my future wife when we were both teenagers and then we married in that same church 6 years later. Walking on towards the Greengate area, above the William Hills, is where I worked after school as a teenager sorting the post for Duthie Hart and Duthie solicitors, dropping off the bags at the Post office across the roads, Next to Chris and Pete’s hairdressers, who cut my hair, washed by the Saturday girl who at the time looked a lot like Gloria Estefan.
On we travel, crossing Prince Regent Lane walking past the Castle Pub, where as a kid I couldn’t see in but you could hear what was going on, now sadly another bookmakers. Crossing Tunmarsh Lane, and past the old Blooms factory which I think made cooked meats or something like that, past the parade of shops starting with what I think was tailors that seemed forever to have Fred Perry T-shirts in the window, they were next to the Toy shop that housed the best assortment of Airfix model planes in the back corner and where my Subbuteo set came from. Sadly no West Ham team for me, just the stock Red or Blue teams which were mainly held together with blue tac. The last shop in this parade was a security shop, in fact it is still there just not as large, it was here I finished my apprenticeship as a Locksmith, very handy as id quit my first employers as they made me work a Saturday missing the Orient FA Cup game at Brisbane Road in the January of 1987. By the time the game was replayed at the Boleyn I was now working at this shop on the Barking Road and so working on a Saturday wasn’t much of a problem just 5 minutes from the ground. The shops disappear with the last being the old Wine Bar before the Esso petrol station. Cross New City Road, with the school at the other end being where my daughter and my Mum both started their education, Walking on we come to Inniskilling Road with the Sweet Shop on the corner. That same shop my Nan and Grandad traded from long before I was born but it was just 4 doors from the House they brought my mum up in after the war, the ground is now in sight with the Floodlights rising from the roof of the South Bank, past the dry cleaners, Coral Bookmakers and now we have the Best Turkish Kebab Shop, where I took my wife for something to eat the night I met her. Cant say for sure when the kebab shop opened but it is at least 30 years now. Crossing the road in front of what was Barclays Bank with the toilet block outside which now is overlooked by the world cup winners statue. For those that know it now days and think Barclays is on the other side of the road, well that was the Gas Board shop, the Book shop was there in the same place as the furniture shop on the corner. I walked along Green Street now, but I wasn’t allowed to cross in front of the Boleyn Pub, I had to walk down to opposite the gates, past what was the Bobby Moore shop and stop outside the gates and there I would meet my Uncle who had secured our season tickets in 1977 after a 3 year wait apparently.
Once I was across the road I was dispatched to Dicks office, this was under the West Stand next to the players entrance, Dick must have been a friend of my uncle and it was Dicks job to give out the comp tickets stuffed into little brown envelopes with their names on. As a kid it was great as sometimes you would have old players collecting or managers of other teams, even famous Journalists. I remember getting Bryon Butler’s autograph, he was the top BBC radio commentator of the day, and Dick called me over to the little window where Bryon obliged my request. My uncle would collect me just as the game kicked off and on we go, through the turnstile, up the staircase on the left into Block A which was right in the corner of the concourse, we climbed the stairs to our Row U seats on the left by the corrugated wall of the stand and from there I witnessed relegation, cup runs and finally promotion.

So my mind’s eye is as vivid today of that Journey as it was back as a kid, though half that walk I still do today so its still fresh in my head, but though the Boleyn will go I only have to close my eyes. I hope you have enjoyed my walk down my personal memory lane, and a journey in a way through a big part of my life just by walking down the Barking Road.
Perhaps if you want to share your Memories feel free to email them to me and I will gladly reproduce them in here. I can be contacted at


I saw a song posted on the internet and discovered quite a few others under the title, Claret and blue songs. Track 1 resonates for today as it covers our cup run in 1980. So to the tune of An Actors life for me, click HERE to Listen

Ill sing you a song, a west ham united song,
We beat the Villa we beat West Brom,
orient the Swans and Ever-ton,
but most of all, we beat the Arse-en-nal,
we like to sing, Trevor Brooking is the King,
he dummies he jinks he shakes his arse,
He beats the fullback and plays the pass,
Crossy runs in and does the goalie in.

It then finishes with a short but sweet

There’ll always be a West ham, and west ham shall be free, if West Ham means as much to you as west ham means to me

Further down track 5 is a what could be described as a West Ham United Folk song, click HERE to listen

Let me tell you the story of a poor boy
Sent away far away from his home
To fight for his king and country
And also the old folks back home

So they put him in a London battalion
Sent away to a far foreign land
Where the flies swarm around in their thousands
And there is nothing to see but the sand

And the battle it started next morning
Under a Libyan sun
We remember an East London Tommy
Shot to death by an old German Gun

And as he lay on the Battle field dying
With the blood rushing out of his head
As he laid on the battle field dying
Oh these were the last words he said

Oh West Ham United are my true love
I have followed them home and away
On the North Bank The Shed and the Paxton
Until now its my dying day
May the claret and blue be triumphant
Win the league win the cup be the best
Beat the Arsenal the Chelsea and the Tottenham
The Scousers the mancs and the rest
May the North bank and South bank keep singing
And the chicken Run sway side to side
And the West Side keep those bells a Ringing

And with that the brave Cockney Died

May the North bank and South bank keep singing
And the chicken Run sway side to side
And the West Side keep those bells a ringing

And with that the brave Cockney Died

Just reading these words do not do the songs justice but hopefully it may make you seek them out, trust me it is worth it.