Bubbles, Hammers and Dreams - the growth of West Ham United.
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The atmosphere is a mixture of anxious and surly, with very little singing by the home team. The lyrics, written by three Americans in , are filled with a telling pathos.
‘It’s soulless here’: why West Ham fans are in revolt | Football | The Guardian
Perhaps the only people who have been intimidated at the London Stadium this season are the owners, Sullivan and Gold. The pair acquired a controlling stake in the club in , buying out the previous owners — the rump of an Icelandic consortium that was bankrupted by the financial crisis. They had previously owned Birmingham City FC, where they proved to be less than popular. But it could be argued that they are well suited to West Ham.
Gold, the son of an East End criminal, actually grew up a few yards from the Boleyn Ground and even played for the West Ham youth team. As the protests showed, however, that counts for little with the fans.
She did not endear herself to the fans when she tweeted 15 minutes before the Stoke match that her new TV show was starting at 8pm — the same time as kick-off. Still, when all is said and done, at the time Sullivan and Gold bought the club it was in financial crisis. Following relegation, they guided it out of the Championship the second tier league and into mid-table Premiership security, and moved it into a brand-new stadium with good transport links in a part of London that is set to thrive. The old Boleyn Ground was not suited to expansion.
It has since been demolished and new Barratt Homes are going up in a development called Upton Gardens — more East End gentrification. Williams, for example, lives in Brighton, though his wife hails originally from the East End, and Girling is a west Londoner with family roots in the east London meat trade. Of half a dozen fans I spoke to at the Stoke game, none lived near the old ground.
Not that West Ham followers are exclusively white or working class.
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You do see different ethnicities, but nowhere like the make-up of either the West Ham team itself or Newham, the borough that contains Upton Park and some of the Olympic Park, which — at One such candidate might have been year-old Sami Sidhom from Forest Gate, a West Ham season ticket holder who was at the Stoke game. As they often say in football, such tragic events lend a sense of perspective. In truth, the London Stadium is not a ground best suited to watching football or generating an atmosphere of intense — or intimidating — togetherness.
A restless, resentful feeling swirled around the bowl until Stoke, against the run of play, scored a goal. Then something more urgent and angry kicked in.
Sunday, 12 July 2015
That might have produced a good chapter, except I don't know anything about opera. In the end I chose as my book Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. He finished it the previous year, but held it back, so its birth would be in And significant, so he hoped. It gave me the excuse to look at the history of psychoanalysis over the century, a topic which definitely has had a progression. It's now part of all our lives, and our language, even if many of Freud's theories are currently being rubbished.
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I then spent three happy hours looking through Rothman's, fingers crossed that I would turn up a half-decent club born in Rochdale was the first I found. Formed as Rochdale Town in , it went bust in , then was reborn as Rochdale. Could be interesting, if I'm stuck, following the progress of a third-rate club, but of no more national interest or even football interest than Carlisle United.
Then I noticed that West Ham Utd had been officially formed in Until then they had been an amateur team, under a different name. It seemed legitimate to include them as a Born 'er. I can make up my own rules.
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It is my book. And I struck lucky. Not a mega club, like Man Utd or Arsenal, about which we all know, but a big club with an interesting history. They were in the first Wembley Cup Final of , the famous one with the white horse, and provided three players for England's World Cup-winning team of So more to write about than Rochdale.
Or Carlisle. If you watch the goal again, it looks like I take it quite nonchalantly, but it felt almost like a training session the way it was backheeled to me by Yossi Benayoun and I took a touch and smashed it into the top corner. That win set us up very nicely and put us on the roll for the final three games, which we won against Wigan, Bolton and Manchester United. I had a really good understanding with Carlos Tevez and the winning goal came after a one-two between us and a little ricochet and he finished it really well.
We both had to do and had a really good understanding which made it a pleasure playing alongside him. But then we won, so everyone in the stadium was happy, so it was a mad vibe. It was a very special day.
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To be fair, the team done brilliant and obviously it went down to a penalty shootout. When we went there in April , though, we were desperate for a win. I always felt we could win every single game we played and this showed that.