My Team & I: West Ham Utd

By Stuart Fuller

Twitter: @theballisround


Why West Ham United?

I come from a family of West Ham and Charlton Athletic fans so I wanted to be different and started supporting Arsenal. Now this wasn’t the silky smooth, score the perfect goal Arsenal. This was the Arsenal of Willie Young dropping his shorts to expose his unflattering pants to the North Bank, Clive Allen joining for a few days and Pat Rice. I used to make my Dad drop my brother off at Upton Park for a goal fest featuring Brooking, Devonshire, Cross, Bonds and Martin and then take me to stand on the North Bank where Arsenal would grind down the opposition for a draw.

Enough was enough when in 1980 Arsenal and West Ham were due to meet in the FA Cup Final. “If Arsenal win”, my Dad said the day before the final, “I will never moan again about taking you to Highbury. But lose and you will have to be a West Ham fan”. 24 hours later when Sir Trevor headed the ball home my life changed completely.

Sure the next 12 months were fine. West Ham broke every record going to win the old Second division, and we reached the Quarter Finals of the European Cup Winners Cup and I was taken to all but a handful of games. As for Arsenal? Well they were nowhere.

Today my Dad wheels out this story to all who will listen. Oh how I laugh when I think of Arsenal’s 17 trophies since…but at least West Ham have won the Intertoto Cup – more than you Gunners have ever done, so who is laughing now eh?

Favourite Player?

Of the current squad there is only one player – Scottie Parker. One player who has lifted the team on a number of occasions, doing the job that the clueless Avram Grant should have been doing. He is a god and no doubt next season will be off to Arsenal/Spurs/Chelsea (again) where he will come back to Upton Park, score a goal but refuse to celebrate.

It’s more difficult to look in the past. I grew up with such stars as Alan Devonshire, Billy Bonds and Frank McAvennie. Meeting Devo for the first time when I went to see his Hampton & Richmond Borough side play was a great honour especially as he loves to talk about the “good old days”. Martin Allen is very much into his Twitter and always responds to banter so he is also a semi-hero of mine.

Favourite Game?

Two stand out for me more than anything. March 1981 European Cup Winner Cup Quarter Final. The mighty Dynamo Kiev came to town and ripped apart a West Ham team who had been virtually unbeaten all season and had just drawn with Liverpool at Wembley in the League Cup final. They murdered West Ham on the night, scoring four majestic goals and giving everyone in England a masterclass on how to attack. (I wrote about that period recently here).

The second game was the 2006 FA Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff where West Ham lost on penalties to Liverpool. To this day I say this game was a draw. We let a poor Liverpool team win the cup. We were within seconds of beating them when a botched clearance fell to Gerrard and the rest is history. We also had a golden chance in extra time when Marlon Harewood completely missed the ball three yards out when it was easier to score. However, it was a great weekend in Swansea and Cardiff and it will always be remembered for that and not just the result.

Favourite Strip?

1985-86 Season – Adidas. Just a claret home shirt with feint white horizontal pinstripes and a reverse for the away shirt. This was the season we came within 3 points of winning the league and I still have my McAvennie shirt.

Worst Thing About Being A West Ham Fan?

Constantly hearing our current owners telling everyone how great they are and how unfairly the club are treated. Oh, and always picking crap managers to save money.

Funniest Moment?

During the protests in the early 1990’s about the potential introduction of the “Bond” scheme – essentially a Debenture fans would buy to allow then to then buy a season ticket. Protests such as turning up late, sitting down on the terraces and staying silent all took place but in one game a fan walked on front the corner of the pitch, picked up the corner flag and firmly planted it in the middle of the pitch and sat down. Nobody really knew what to do, so after a few minutes the police came on and removed him. As soon as he left the pitch another fan did exactly the same. And then again.


Also seeing John Moncur being sent off whilst being carried off on a stretcher was amusing, especially as soon after West Ham had a shout for a penalty and he jumped up causing the stretcher to tip him off.

Favourite Moment?

Everton away in the mid 1990’s and Ludek Miklosko is sent off early in the game. With no substitute keeper on the bench Julian Dicks goes in goal and concedes three goals. As back then Sky Sport’s Man of The Match vote is done via phone in Dicks is awarded Man of the Match. And then in the next game votes continue to pour in for Dicks, despite the fact West Ham weren’t even playing. Even to this day I cannot help myself when asked to vote for someone writing Julian Dicks down.


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