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NENE everything you need to know ~ LADIES plot Super League assault

Five men who could replace Big Sam as boss

Cresswell’s battle for an England spot

We consider the main candidates for the job

Left-back must be in the squad

MARCH 2015




Stephanie Moore on how West Ham’s greatest ever player has helped save thousands in the fight against cancer

WELCOME EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: David Blackmore MANAGING EDITOR: Simon Osborn CONTRIBUTORS: Kwame Boakye, David Bowden, Julian Dicks, Ben Hawshaw, Danny Rust, Liam Newman, Emily Pulham, Matt Santer, Julian Shea, Brian Williams, Bianca Westwood, Lucy Woolford PHOTOGRAPHER: Nicky Hayes EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES: editor@blowing- ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: WHERE YOU CAN READ IT: Blowing Bubbles is available to buy and is also available to read on your PC, Mac, Tablet or Mobile. Blowing Bubbles is published by Fanatic Media. Blowing Bubbles is a completely independent publication. The views expressed within Blowing Bubbles are not necessarily those of the publishers. Opinions expressed by companies and individuals appearing within the magazine are not that of Blowing Bubbles or the publisher. The publisher accepts no liability from any action raised in response to any such opinions. Readers are strongly advised that although we take every care to ensure prices and content, etc, are up to date, it is the responsibility to check with the advertiser before purchasing or travelling to view products. No reproduction, either in part or whole of the magazine is allowed unless written consent is obtained from the publisher. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any actions arising from articles or features or advertisements within this magazine. Readers are advised to pay by credit card when ordering goods as these are regulated under the Consumer Act 1974. Debit and charge cards are not. (c) Blowing Bubbles

Together West Ham fans can help confine cancer to history I can vividly picture the first time I became aware of the Bobby Moore Fund and the wonderful work they do. It was early 2009, I was standing in the Trevor Brooking lower and Stephanie Moore was collecting a cheque before the start of the game. I was trying to listen to what the announcer was saying over the tannoy but I couldn’t quite make it all out so I asked the person standing next to me and it turned out he had done quite a bit of fundraising for the Fund. The next thing I knew I had signed up to join

Stephanie, George Parris, Luther Blissett and 30+ volunteers out in South Africa on an international project that not only raised money for the charity but also helped revitalise a school. The experience was life-changing. Not only was it incredible to be able to give joy, laughter and hope to children in remote Sandberg but it was amazing/saddening to hear some of the stories about how and why others had ended up on the project. Some had fought off cancer, others had family members who had beaten cancer and there

were a few who had lost someone to cancer but we were all united in raising as much money as we could for the Bobby Moore Fund. But I’m hoping we can raise more than I have ever done before through the Blowing Bubbles for Bobby campaign, which launches this month. We’ve not set a target because we don’t want to limit how much we might be able to raise. Please help us to raise as much money as we can. Together we will beat cancer.


The big interview - Stephanie Moore

‘It makes me so proud people still really care about Bobby’ The widow of West Ham legend Bobby Moore on how his legacy is now allowing others to win the battle that claimed his life in 1993 In his name: Bobby Moore was one of West Ham’s best ever players




n east London, the statue of him on Green Street is 16 feet high and over the other side of town at Wembley, it measures 20 feet in height. Twenty-two years after his death from bowel cancer at the age of just 51, the legend that is Bobby Moore still casts a long shadow over all those who follow in his footsteps and attempt to emulate his feats in the colours of either West Ham or England. The Irons have done their bit to ensure Moore’s memory endures by retiring his number six shirt and naming a stand after him, but in the wider world it is the Bobby Moore Fund, set up by his widow Stephanie in partnership with Cancer Research UK, that keeps

the legend alive. And she never ceases to be amazed at where the support comes from. ‘I’ve had letters from as far away as Tanzania and Goa – it’s incredible how far his name and reputation spread – everyone around the world has heard of Bobby Moore,’ she told Blowing Bubbles. ‘Fans always used to come up and want to

shake his hand and talk to him, which was nice as it seemed that so much of the game had ignored him, but even despite having had lots of experience of that, I could never have anticipated the massive public interest there would be after his death. ‘I didn’t want loads of people who were nothing to do with him cashing in and that’s

why we decided to set up the charity, to keep his memory alive for some public good. Twenty-two years of fundraising and helping save lives later, I’m very glad that we did.’ Never one to court publicity unnecessarily, Moore only went public with his illness a matter of days before he died. ‘In those days, bowel cancer was a disease that wasn’t talked about – it was hard to diagnose and even harder to treat,” Stephanie explained. ‘More people get it now – it’s the second highest cause of cancer death in the UK – but at the same time, more people survive it than did in Bobby’s day. ‘There’s still loads to be done, but since we set up the charity, massive strides have been made. We’re only responsible for a tiny part of that, but even then, the difference we’ve made has been enormous.’ To be precise, the difference the charity has made during the course of its 22-year existence is to raise more than £22m

towards research and understanding of the disease. ‘To put that in perspective, though, Cancer Research UK spends over £33m every year on bowel cancer alone. That shows how serious the problem remains,” she added. One grim irony of Moore’s death is that the wave of fundraising and donations it provoked have helped bring about such advances in treatment that, were he to be diagnosed today, the result would have been very different. ‘Most likely he would survive,’ Stephanie admitted. ‘Probably the biggest advance the Fund has brought about is the introduction of a national bowel cancer screening programme – if we’d had one back then, it could have saved his life. It’s no longer something people are ashamed to talk about, and vitally, we’ve raised public awareness of the symptoms – that’s hugely important, as early diagnosis can make all the difference.’ With Moore’s name, likeness and story so permanently associated with the club, there are probably few football fans as familiar with the work of the Fund as West Ham’s. But even amongst their ranks, there is one who stands out head and shoulders above the rest – or rather he would do, if he wasn’t still 13 years old; cancer fundraiser

All smiles: Stephanie Moore with England manager Roy Hodgson

extraordinaire Jonjo Heuerman, who spent his spring half term completing an 800 mile bike ride around all 20 Premier League clubs, in aid of the Bobby Moore Fund. Stephanie is in awe of his work. ‘Jonjo is a remarkable human being,’ she said. ‘He is an exemplary role model to the youth of today – what he has

achieved in his five years of fundraising is nothing short of astonishing. He’s brought in over £200,000. ‘He’ll never know how many lives he has saved. We’ve had support from fans all over the country, and I’m hugely grateful for every donation that’s been made, no matter how small, but for obvious reasons, West Ham

fans have always been incredibly generous. ‘The Fund is kept going by the extreme hard work of a small but dedicated group of people, so every penny donated makes a difference, and it makes me very proud that people still care so much about Bobby.’ Although Jonjo’s round the grounds trek may be at an end, the fund-

United: The charity has helped with several projects in Africa

Red card to cancer: Stephanie Moore in full swing at an event

Backing: John Barnes shows his support for the vital cause raising events continue – and one of the next ones lined up is Blowing Bubbles for Bobby, an ice bucket-challenge style bubble-blowing chain event, dreamed up by Blowing Bubbles magazine’s own David Blackmore. ‘I’m really looking forward to how it turns out,’ said Stephanie. ‘It will be great to see pictures of so many West Ham fans coming together and uniting in memory

of Bobby as they blow their bubbles, and I hope we’ll also see plenty of claret and blue shirts for our Football Shirt Friday event on April 17th.’ With the 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup win just over a year away, Moore’s legend is only going to receive more attention, and with it, the work and resources of the Fund are sure to grow. One headline-grabbing fund-raising event that is

already being arranged is an England v Rest of the World match to take place at Everest Base Camp - the highest football match ever played - on what would have been Moore’s 75th birthday. And the woman who knew him best says the man himself would definitely approve of what was being done in his name. ‘Bobby would be very touched and extremely proud,’ Stephanie

explained. ‘He may have come across in public as a very reserved character, but he was brought up very properly and always had time for people. ‘I never saw him give a fan short shrift or refuse an autograph – football is all about the fans - so the thought that so many of them are so respectful of his memory and keen to help keep it alive is a really comforting thought.’ BBM

FOOTBALL SHIRT FRIDAY Our only opposition is bowel cancer

Give ÂŁ2 and wear your football colours on Friday 17th April

MAKE BOBBY PROUD, the BOBBY MOORE FUND and its logo are all registered trademarks of Cancer Research UK. Cancer Research UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1089464), Scotland (SC041666) and the Isle of Man (1103).


Blowing Bubbles’ campaign

Help the Bobby Moore Fund save lives with our campaign Blow some bubbles and donate today to join the fight against cancer


angnam Style. Charity wrist bands. The ice bucket challenge. Simple ideas that went viral and ended up – for a while – taking over the world. And, hopefully, joining that list soon will be Blowing Bubbles for Bobby. The idea for the scheme, run in aid of the Bobby Moore Fund, is very simple – film yourself blowing bubbles in an imaginative or unlikely place, make a financial pledge by texting BBFB66 £3 to 70070, call

out five friends to do the same, and upload it to your Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account and help spread the news about this fund-raising drive.

Appropriately enough, given what it involves, the scheme is the brainchild of the editor of the Blowing Bubbles Magazine, David Blackmore. David’s connection to

the cause is not just the obvious claret and blue one – he has previously volunteered for the Bobby Moore Fund on school building projects in South Africa (2010) and Namibia (2011). ‘The success of the ice bucket challenge was astonishing – there can’t have been a single person in the country last summer who hadn’t heard about it, and it raised a huge amount of money and awareness for motor neurone disease,’ David explained.

‘Because of my club and personal connections to the Bobby Moore Fund, I’ve been looking for a way to do something similar for them, and what more Bobby-friendly way could there be than blowing bubbles in honour of West Ham’s greatest ever player? ‘The club has fans all over the world, and people love to wear their colours in far-flung places so that there’s a corner of a foreign field that is forever claret and blue. ‘Add to that the England angle, and the status in which Bobby is held in other countries – Franz Beckenbauer called him the best defender in the history of the game, and Pele said he was the most difficult defender he ever played against – and I think Blowing Bubbles for Bobby could really take off – no pun intended!’ The Bobby Moore Fund has given Blowing Bubbles for Bobby its blessing, and there are hopes it could be another big viral fundraising success for the organisation, hot on the heels of 14-yearold Jonjo Heuerman’s remarkable bike ride around all 20 Premier League grounds, which has become a word of mouth and social media sensation despite minimal mainstream media coverage. ‘Jonjo’s an example to

How you can help the battle against cancer

Helping the Bobby Moore Fund is now fun and really easy. Simply pick an imaginative or unlikely location and get a friend to film you blowing some bubbles.

anyone wanting to raise awareness for a cause – his work is amazing, but mercifully the bubble blowing idea is a bit less strenuous and easier for everyone to do,’ joked David. ‘It’s also a great example of how social media can be used to build momentum. We’re contributing to the same cause as him, so if we can emulate what he’s done, we’ll be really pleased, and we’ll

You could be at your school or work, on the tube or even on the beach while soaking up some winter sun in Barbados. Then upload the footage onto

also raise a very decent amount for a deserving cause.’ As well as wanting to pay tribute to the former West Ham great 22 years after his passing, David said his personal involvement with the Fund, and the effect its work had, made him all the more determined to make a difference. ‘I’ve got first-hand experience of the work the Bobby Moore Fund does, and how it can ut-

Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and challenge five mates to do the same. Then all you have to do is text BBFB66 £3 to 70070 to give £3 to the charity.

terly transform people’s lives, and give them an opportunity which they might never get otherwise,’ he explained. ‘Bobby left an unparalleled legacy at West Ham, and also with England. By taking part in Blowing Bubbles for Bobby, this is your chance to leave a lasting legacy too – by changing the lives of other people, and helping bring about an end to the curse of cancer.’ BBM

*** To donate £3 today simply text BBFB66 £3 to 70070 ***

Jonjo Heuerman

‘After a really long day riding I was still cycling in my sleep’

Charity hero Jonjo Heuerman tells Julian Shea about his motivation


ext time you hear a manager say his players are tired, point him in the direction of Jonjo Heuerman. The 13-year-old West Ham fan from Kent recently completed an 800-mile bike ride round all 20 Premier League grounds as the latest of a string of challenges which have seen him raise £207,000 for the Bobby Moore Fund in just three years. And as his mum Donna told Blowing Bubbles, it started with a mistake. ‘When Jonjo was nine, his gran died of cancer, and his sister spent the next year fund-raising as a form of therapy, bringing in £10,000,’ she explained. ‘When she finished, he said he wanted to do something and suggested a Wembley to West Ham sponsored walk. I thought ‘They’re both in London, they must be close’ – but it was 27 miles! I’d said yes, though, and couldn’t change my mind, and that’s how it began.’ By journey’s end, having set himself a target of beating his sister’s £10,000, Jonjo had raised £22,000, much of it

East End stars: Jonjo with some of his biggest supporters through angel donations – cancer victims remembered by their families - on his shirt. The money and names kept on coming in, so the challenges continued. What began as a oneoff is now a way of life. ‘He always does them in spring half-term, which is when Bobby

Moore’s and his gran’s anniversaries are,’ Donna explained. ‘We don’t encourage him to take time off school to do them – this year was the first time – so we have to plan routes around the time we have and his physical capabilities. ‘This year a West Ham

fan donated a support vehicle, so I didn’t have to ride with him, but he’s only 13, and watching him out there cycling up to 11 hours a day in all kinds of weather can be hard for a mother to do. ‘Fortunately we had lots of people sign up to ride stretches with him, and when we got to Hull,

three off-duty police officers turned up to join him. They put the word round the force, and for the rest of the way he always had a police escort.’ The end-of-challenge sponsored walk to the Bobby Moore statue near the Boleyn Ground is now a tradition and a chance for Jonjo’s backers to join him, as well as a warm-down after such huge physical exertion. And once the challenge is over, it’s back to the usual business of being 13. ‘His school is very understanding - they regard it as part of his education,’ Donna said. ‘He likes to keep school and charity work separate, though. Once he went to 10 Downing Street after being nominated for an award – and forgot to mention it at school!’ During his latest trek Jonjo received a letter from David Cameron, which he said was one of his most rewarding moments so far. ‘That was a huge surprise,’ he said. ‘I’d met him before when I went to Number 10 but I was incredibly shy and didn’t have a souvenir of it – this reminds me of what he said, and how encouraging he was.’ Although Jonjo describes his on-going total of £207,000 as being ‘more than I ever thought I’d get’, he has no plans to stop until a cure for cancer is discovered – and as he has already demonstrated in

On your bike: Jonjo cycled more than 800 miles for charity bizarre circumstances, he certainly can keep on going. ‘After a day’s riding I was cycling in my sleep,’ he revealed. ‘One time mum had to wake me up because I was kicking her so hard!’ Jonjo said the most enjoyable part of his challenges is the walk to the West Ham World Cup winners’ statue, as so many backers get to join in, but no sooner is one challenge done than preparation starts for the

next. ‘Organisation is a year-round operation,’ said Donna. ‘Next year’s 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup is definitely in our minds. One idea is some sort of Berlin to Wembley event - nothing’s definite yet, though.’ One thing that is certain, though, is that in just under 12 months’ time, Britain’s most remarkable teenager will be undertaking another challenge, because, as he puts it, ‘since I started

doing this, I’ve heard more good news than bad, which means we’re winning, but there’s still some bad news, and I don’t like to hear that.’ For all his ambitions, however, there is no chance of this 13-yearold getting ideas above his station. ‘The day after the walk finished, I woke up thinking I had to do my fundraising then realised I didn’t’, he said. ‘I had homework to do instead’. BBM

Your shout


Who cares if a player is gay as long as he gives his all? Your interview with Thomas Hitzlsperger made interesting reading. Although injuries meant he failed to make much of an impact during his one season with West Ham it was fascinating to hear about his off-field struggles while at the club. It can’t have been an easy decision to come out as gay and I’m not surprised that he waited until his playing career was over before going public. However, I don’t feel gay players should worry too much about the reaction they would get if they came out. While there would always be a few idiots who would see it as an opportunity to go on the wind up I think most fans couldn’t give two

hoots about a footballer’s private life. All supporters really care about is how a player performs on the pitch. If he puts in 100 per cent effort while wearing

the shirt fans will love him and if he is lazy fans will give him abuse whatever his sexuality. In 2015 there are more important things to worry about. Mark Matthews

Time to give Big Sam a big slice of credit Am I alone in thinking West Ham would be mad to sack Sam Allardyce? Despite a rough period of form the club are still 10th in the table and have one of the youngest and most exciting squads in recent memory. Big Sam isn’t perfect, but however you look at it the club are in a much

better position now than when he took over. When he arrived the club had just been relegated to the Championship but he took us straight back up and has since then kept us up and put us on course for our best league finish since 2008-09. How about gratitude? Kevin Wise

Why not trust the children? I don’t have anything against Nene personally but I can’t help feeling West Ham have missed a trick by signing the former PSG striker. He clearly has a lot of quality but, given the fact the club are safe from relegation and unlikely to qualify for Europe, wouldn’t this have been the perfect opportunity to blood a few youngsters? I’m sure the likes of Elliot Lee and Jaanai Gordon would have learnt loads by playing a few games in the Premier League and, who knows, they may even have grabbed their chance and established themselves in the side for years to come. Katie Taylor

Julian is wrong about Millwall Julian Dicks’ column is one of my favourite things about the magazine and I always look forward to reading his views each month. However, he is wrong when he says Tottenham are West Ham’s biggest rivals. Now, I dislike Spurs as much as the next man but Millwall will always have been and always will be our true nemesis. Richard Gibbs




It is time we sent off the cheats who ruin our game Only a straight red will end this nasty trend in football


lot has been made of the way the Chelsea players surrounded the ref during their game against PSG in the Champions League but as far as I’m concerned there was nothing new. Players today all do the same if things aren’t going right, and I’m including West Ham in this. I’ve seen us surround the referee at times this season and it seems that ranting and raving at the ref is part of football today. When I played, you could have a laugh and a joke with the ref. You’d ask about a decision and he’d turn around and say you’re having a mare, worry about your own game. We had a respect for them and we got respect back but today, you just

can’t have any banter with them like we used to. I think there just needs to be a bit more common sense out there. That said, the players really don’t do themselves any favours with the diving of course and some of the tumbles we’ve seen this season would make Tom Daley proud! This needs to stop and I think if a referee believes a player has dived, they should be sent off. If he is absolutely sure that player was diving, he should go. No question. That would stop it from happening because as things stand, it’s getting worse and I worry about the impact this kind of behaviour has on youngsters who look up to the players in the Premier League.

You wouldn’t find me out with a cut toe like Valencia Poor Enner Valencia missed the game with Arsenal after cutting his toe after breaking something in the kitchen. I can’t remember any players in my day missing a match after hurting themselves at home - and I can just imagine Big Sam’s face when he heard the news! It just seems like when things aren’t going your way, everything goes against you. We were very lucky with injuries earlier in the season but now we are picking up a few. It’s one of those things really. You can’t go around worrying that something might happen as you’d never do anything. No disrespect to him, and I don’t know how bad his toe was, but if I had cut my toe, I would have been playing against Arsenal.

Dear Sam, Brian Williams pens his monthly letter to the gaffer Dear Sam, Not long to go now mate. A couple more months and you’ll be as free as a bird. Retirement, eh? Bet you can’t wait! Have you given any thought to what you’re going to do with all that spare time when they don’t renew your contract? If you haven’t, I’ve got a cracking idea. Apparently there’s a general election taking place in May – and I reckon you ought to throw your hat in the ring. Let’s face it, anyone can lead a political party these days. Look at the jokers we’ve got at the moment: I wouldn’t give any one of them the steam off my kettle, let alone vote for them. But I’d put my cross against your name, Sam. Your party would need a policy, of course. You know the sort of thing: kick out the Romanians or make it illegal to drive a car – it doesn’t have to make sense, you just need something to get a place on one of the televised debates.

Qualified: Could Paolo Di Canio shine in the foreign office? Then, with your easy-going communication skills, you could charm the nation (although you might want to spit out the chewing gum first). I think you should go for the 60-plus vote. You’re one of our own now mate, so you know the hardships we have to put up with. You could start by extending the free television licence idea

to include satellite and cable subscriptions. Now you’ve got to pay for BT as well as Sky, it costs more to watch football on the telly than it does to get a season ticket these days. Something should be done, my friend! Free bus passes is another area where there’s room for improvement. Have you ever tried using public transport at 8.15 because you need to

be at the pitch-and-putt course by 9? Not only do they make you pay half-fare round my way, the bus is full of people with briefcases and suchlike taking up all the priority seats. Sort that one out and you’re well on your way to No 10. Of course, I’m not saying it’s only the over-60s who should get free stuff. The National Health Service has to remain buckshee, everyone knows that. We could even go back to the good old days when anyone could get free glasses on the NHS. Particularly if they happened to be the lino who failed to spot Eden Hazard was so far offside he should have been charged for a seat in the third row of the Bobby Moore Lower. If you do get to be Prime Minister you’d need to be able to appoint a cabinet a bit sharpish, so it might be worth making a few calls now to see who will be free in May. I know it’s tempting to go for Harry Redknapp

as Chancellor of the Exchequer now he’s no longer got a job, but I reckon I can top that. Take my advice and find out what Terry Brown is up to these days. Trust me Sam, anyone who can dream up a scheme which persuades supporters to part with the thick end of £1,000 for the privilege of simply being allowed to buy a ticket is going to have no trouble dealing with dodgy bankers who refuse to pay their income tax. For your Home Secretary you will want someone who knows what it’s like dealing with the police force and possesses an intimate knowledge of illicit recreational substances. Look no further than former West Ham favourite Mark Ward. He comes with the added bonus of being familiar with conditions inside Her Majesty’s correctional facilities, another of the Home Secretary’s areas of responsibility. Foreign Secretary is somewhat harder. I can see why you’d be tempted to go for Paolo Di Canio, but I’m not entirely sure this is the right option while the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe is at such a delicate stage. An in-out referendum is one thing: a column of jack-booted infantry emerging from the Eurostar at Paris and then marching all the way to Greece simply to prove a point is something

Direct: Surely there would be less spin if Sam Allardyce was running the country

else entirely. Sir Trevor Brooking would be a safer bet. Education is always a poisoned chalice. That’s a job which requires someone who isn’t going to be browbeaten by parents who think their children should all go to a grammar school even though they can barely read – and who can also stand up to long-haired hippie teachers who are forever bleating about only getting 12 weeks holiday a year and

sometimes having to stay as late as half-past three. Julian Dicks wouldn’t let you down. The Health job fills itself – there can’t be a man in the country who’s had more experience of medical establishments than Andy Carroll over the past 18 months. Transport is not so easy: but as a man who has parked the bus many times during your distinguished career you barely need any advice

from me about that. Finally, I suggest you adopt a tactic that is highly popular in the US and appoint a deputy who is so scary that no one dare assassinate you for fear of them getting the top job. I’m sure Avram Grant could be persuaded to leave Ghana. BFS for PM! Your mate behind the goal Armitage Shanks (name changed by deed poll) BBM

Sack Sam? Hammers need to be careful what they wish for


e’ve had a few bad results in recent weeks and, sure enough, the ‘SAM OUT BRIGADE’ have crawled out of the woodwork. It’s time to make a change, they say. Sam Allardyce doesn’t know what he is doing and, if West Ham replace their manager in the summer, we’ll get Champions League football and play in a really attractive style. The noise is becoming deafening. It’s classless and, I’m sorry to say, most of the fans who are calling for his head are mostly clueless. Allardyce has his faults, I’m not denying that. He can be stubborn and inflexible and resistant to change. His insistence on regularly using a player that perhaps no longer serves the best interests of the team isn’t helping his cause. He isn’t worried about being best buddies with

Going? Sam Allardyce is out of contract at the end of the season the fans, he doesn’t feel the need to rekindle or foster strong relationships with them which, if he does go, could prove to be his downfall. Sometimes you have to play the game, Sam. Having said all that, he has, season on season,

fulfilled his objectives and hit his targets. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he took us up and he’s kept us up. We had a sticky patch last year but we survived. We hit some heights this season and played some incredible football.

Did we really expect to be able to sustain that long-term? Results have levelled off, injuries have ravaged the team and form has dipped. It must be time for a revolution! We want it all, and we want it now. And while you’re at it we want it to look nice too! As far as I’m concerned that view is deluded. He’ll never be forgiven for being Sam Allardyce. And that is basically the long and the short of it. Whether he goes, whether he stays, I’ll still sleep at night. I’m not his biggest fan nor am I calling for his head but I do appreciate what he has achieved during his time with us. It’s a dangerous road at times. We need to tread very carefully going into the final season at the Boleyn. If the decision is made to change manager then there really is no room for error. It is cause for

serious concern and I’m getting slightly anxious just thinking about it. Those who are demanding change need to realise that it isn’t a case of anyone but Allardyce. They need to realise that someone else will have to come in and between you and me I can’t see Pep Guardiola sending in his CV. David Moyes has been heavily linked with the job. Moyes, really? Now I have a massive amount of respect for David Moyes. I felt he was unfairly treated by Manchester United. Louis van Gaal is discovering for himself just how difficult that role actually is post Ferguson. Moyes did a good, decent job at Everton, he is loyal, well-

liked in the game, he’s a tireless worker. Will he bring sexy back to West Ham? Of course not! He is no different from Sam in that regard. Slaven Bilic would be the romantic choice and probably the fans’ favourite but he is completely untested in the Premier League. I’d take Frank De Boer like a shot but he’d be a gamble as he has only managed in Europe. Michael Laudrup is another big name and was an immediate success at Swansea, but I know there were no desperately sad faces following his departure, make of that what you will. The grass isn’t always greener so be careful what you wish for. BBM

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Abuse in football

When does banter cross the line and become a problem?

It’s often just a laugh but how far should you go to wind up your rivals? Unfair: Chelsea’s Eva Carneiro has overcome sexism to work in football

LUCY WOOLFORD @lucy_whufc


ootball fans across the country are currently under more scrutiny than ever for various discriminative chanting, and it’s quite rightly becoming something that discussions are opening up about. It’s hard to watch the news now without one of the headlines being about fans, generally of Premier League clubs, being tracked down because the nature of their ‘banter’ is sexist, racist, homophobic or discriminative in some other way. The big question is; when does ‘banter’ become offensive? The short answer is probably that simple banter is nearly always offensive, even if the parties involved are neither trying to offend or invite offence. The subsequent questions are; how do we

stop it? Is it causing any damage? Should we report it? Can we actually make a difference? The list goes on. I’m going to make my personal stance clear here, before I examine a few examples. I never take part in chanting that I deem to be inappropriate. It would just make me feel uncomfortable. I believe that every

action I take represents my personality and traits, and if I wouldn’t be comfortable saying something in a one-onone conversation, why would I shout it in a crowd? However, and this is the bit I always feel slightly guilty about, I can’t help but chuckle when I hear something that could easily be deemed offensive by

either an individual or a group of people. That might make me a bad person, but I also know it’s because I’m not too easily offended, and should I ever be on the receiving end of some juvenile words, I’d like to think I could laugh it off and give back as good as I got. There lies the part of the ‘banter versus offence’ argument where things can get a little sticky. Often, the blame for any trouble caused or media attention attracted is put on to the offended party and there are calls for people not to be so sensitive. I have read several great pieces of journalism recently surrounding the issue of sexism in football, the most high profile case involving chanting aimed at Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro, most stating that this is a highly intelligent woman who has studied hard to get to where she is, only to be seen as a bit of eye-candy for the lads. You’ve probably all seen the videos of the disgusting songs she has been victim of in recent months, and it makes me feel really

uncomfortable. Yes, it’s probably because, as a woman, this strikes a chord with me, so is that the issue here? Banter and offence is so open to interpretation due to personal circumstances, that it can never be ruled totally insulting. Because if you were to ask me about chants aimed at someone with ginger hair, I’d probably say I found them to be more amusing than personal and rude, regardless of the fact that I don’t agree with the sentiments. Fans do need to be more proactive when it comes to reporting serious incidents that involve discrimination, but I personally don’t think that there is anything that can be done to stop offence being caused here, not for many years. I say years, because there are big generational changes that have occurred over the years, and will continue to do. So many people have grandparents that are ‘a little bit racist’ or ‘don’t agree with being gay’, but we see it as okay for them to have those views because of the age gap. Well, those strong views are constantly being diluted, and as youngsters living in a diverse country in terms of race, religion and sexuality, not to mention a closing gender equality gap, there will be less acceptance for the odd round of offensive singing for entertainment values.

Banter? West Ham fans gave Spurs striker Harry Kane a rough time

Unfortunately, when researching the news archives, West Ham United is mentioned in all too many bad headlines. Our fans might feel singled out, but the reality is that our fans have sung the chants being highlighted. There’s no room for playground talk here and ‘he started it’, the fact is that offence has been caused. If this were a case of one fan talking to one person and relaying the ‘banter’ to their faces, how would the situation roll out? As with so many topics I write about for Blowing

Bubbles, this one has really got me thinking about my personal opinions and how I feel about it all, and the honest answer is that I don’t really know, I’m getting so many splinters from sitting on this fence that I’d give Falcao a run for his money. That makes me wonder if I’m fuelling the fire as much as anyone by failing to report incidences of inappropriate banter, whether it be from one fan or ten thousand fans. The way I see it in my heart, is that I trust most of the fans I am surrounded by on match

days, and I never get the sense that anyone really means what they’re saying. That doesn’t make it right, but just because these words come out of their mouths, it doesn’t mean that they genuinely hate a group of people. Ultimately, good banter is what keeps the spirits up when things are down, perhaps it’s just about time to be more creative and imaginative with banter, and consider how our words or actions will actually make some people feel on a human level. BBM

FROZEN IN TIME SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2015: Diafra Sakho celebrates scoring West Ham’s second goal against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. The Hammers led 2-0 but could only manage a point after Harry Kane scored a late penalty.

Aaron Cresswell

Cresswell deserves a chance to prove he’s England’s finest West Ham’s left-back should be included in Hodgson’s next squad

Choice: Can Roy Hodgson really pick Luke Shaw ahead of Aaron Cresswell?




aron Cresswell is living, breathing proof that quality can be found in the lower leagues of this land if you know where to look. Unless you happen to be a connoisseur of all things Championship, I think it’s safe to assume not too many of us knew too much about him before he signed. But with the majority of the season gone and with an England squad to announce soon, Cresswell’s name must surely be on the collective minds of the national team hierarchy. It’s remarkable that in his debut season at the top level Cresswell has consistently out-performed the status quo of England’s left backs. It’s not as if there’s a lack of quality in that position either. Leighton Baines, Kieran Gibbs and Luke Shaw are

quality players in their own right. But out of the aforementioned it’s only Baines’ stats that are more impressive than our Aaron’s. But with Cresswell having five years on Baines, it seems a certainty that our young full back will usurp one or two of the underperforming contingent for the upcoming fixtures against Lithuania and Italy. It’s not a surprise in the slightest that a side with

Man City’s finances, aspirations and ambitions are now being linked with Cresswell. He does possess everything you would want in a modern day full back. He’s quick, gets forward at every opportunity and his wand of a left foot has a knack for picking out strikers at posts near and far. Indeed Aaron’s four assists thus far are quite impressive and his latest for Cheikhou Kouyate’s

opener at the Lane was perfection. At 25, his best years are very much ahead of him, and the fact that he rarely misses a game is also incredibly appealing. It’s amazing to think we picked him up for next to nothing in today’s market. His value, however, is soaring with each and every game. Is Aaron one of the best in his position in the league? I personally think so. When you think of

In-form: Aaron Cresswell has had a superb first season with West Ham

The rivals to become England’s left-back Leighton Baines The Everton defender is the most attacking option England have. Baines strikes an excellent dead ball and is one of the coolest penalty takers around. However, his form has dipped since the World Cup and he is thought to be a reluctant traveller. At 30 time is not on his side. Kieran Gibbs The Arsenal defender is one of the most under-rated players around and the 25-year-old is entering his peak years. However, his injury record is not good and may spend too long on the side-lines to ever fully establish himself as a Three Lions regular.

the best left back’s in the Premier League you immediately think of Azpilicueta, Baines, Gibbs, Shaw, Clichy etc. Would we trade Aaron for any of them? I don’t think so. Perhaps the success of Aaron Cresswell will encourage more clubs to delve into the lower leagues of this country and look at domestic

talent because clearly there are some gems out there waiting to be discovered. As for Aaron’s England credentials, he’s certainly got time to develop, a tonne of potential and a bucket load of talent. In the past Roy Hodgson has certainly been guilty of over-looking individuals who don’t play for a select band of clubs

and favouring those who do regardless of form. How many England caps would Tom Cleverley, for example, have if he’d been plying his trade with Stoke City over the years? But Aaron surely is about to buck this particular trend because when you’re as good as he is, you simply cannot be ignored. BBM

Luke Shaw The Manchester United youngster seemed to have the world at his feet last summer after signing on at Old Trafford after his £30million move from Southampton. Went to the World Cup instead of Ashley Cole but has lacked form this term with Louis van Gaal criticising his fitness.

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Anderson Luiz de Carvalho

Five things you didn’t know about new-boy striker Nene

David Bowden spills the beans on our latest South American import


ur striker crisis deepened when Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole both went down injured in a matter of weeks but we moved quickly to secure the services of Brazilian forward Anderson Luiz de Carvalho commonly known as ‘Nene’. The Jundiaí-born man joins a long list of South Americans to ply their trade at the Boleyn including Ilan, Franco, and, of course, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. Here are five things you may not know about our new number 12. 1) He is a bit of a journey man. Having started his career in 1999, Nene has represented no fewer than 11 clubs all around the world including stints in Spain, Brazil, France and even Qatar before signing on the dotted line in east London. His most successful spell was at one of the world’s biggest clubs having bagged 36 goals in 79 games for Paris Saint-Germain during a fruitful stint at the Parc des Princes. 2) He is known for

pions and he finished the season after as the highest goal scorer in Ligue 1.

All smiles: Nene has joined on a short-term contract his free kicks. The winger has a wicked left foot, which has left fans around the world branding him as a bit of specialist from dead ball situations. Something that will leave the Hammers faithful purring, no more awful Mark Noble corners and those floaty free kicks that go straight down the goalkeeper’s throat. A quick YouTube search will show that the left winger can pop up at vital times with last ditch

pingers into the top corner, here is hoping he can produce some magic moments in claret and blue. 3) He won best foreign player of 2010. During one of the best spells in his career the winger claimed the best foreigner award in France in 2010 after a successful stints with Monaco and PSG. He continued to shine during his time with the French Cham-

4) He is pretty famous on FIFA. Now the first thing most people do when a shiny new signing pitches up at Upton Park is look at his stats and skills on either Football Manager or FIFA. A quick look on YouTube will show plenty of videos of free kicks on the well-known console game. The Brazilian was also named as an ambassador on the game in 2013 edition, as well as claiming an in-form and team of the year card in the same edition. 5) He is a pretty top guy outside of football too. Born in the same neighbourhood as world class Brazilian superstar Neymar, the new Hammers star teams up with the Barcelona man once a year in his birth place to hold a charity match. The duo bring a number of superstars together to raise money for hungry and needy families in Jundiai. The clash last season ended in a thrilling 5-4 victory for Team Neymar. BBM

Managerial contenders

From Bilic to Moyes: the men who could replace Allardyce

Danny Rust considers who could step into Big Sam’s shoes next year


am Allardyce is yet to be offered a new contract at the club and, although he insists a new deal will be offered to him at the end of the season, speculation of a new manager coming in has been rife. Here are five possible candidates for the job, should David Gold and David Sullivan decide it is time for a change at the helm. Slaven Bilic Bilic would be a popular choice for many due to his West Ham links. The former defender moved to Upton Park in 1996, and he went on to make 48 Premier League appearances for the Hammers. During his managerial career, he is best known for leading the Croatian international side to an infamous win over England, which led to the Three Lions failing to qualify for Euro 2008. His record at the helm was impressive, with Croatia being on the losing side only eight times in six years. He was also highly regarded in a brief stint with Hajduk Split. However, Bilic’s spell in Russia

Experienced: David Moyes with Lokomotiv Moscow was cut short. At Besiktas, where he is currently in charge of former Hammer Demba Ba, he is doing reasonably well and he recently knocked Liverpool out of the Europa League. Despite his success with Croatia, it would probably be too soon to appoint Bilic and the owners could be put off by how often he is sent to the stands. Frank Rijkaard The Dutchman is widely

regarded as one of the best footballers to come out of his homeland, and he went on to play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Ajax and AC Milan. Rijkaard began his managerial career as the boss of the Netherlands, but that turned out to be quite brief as he only won eight in 22 matches. Another short stint followed at Sparta Rotterdam but he went on to bigger and better things at Barcelona. In his five years at the

Nou Camp, Barcelona won 160 of Rijkaard’s 273 La Liga games. Some may argue that with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and, of course, Lionel Messi at his disposal that wouldn’t be too difficult. But you cannot overlook the fact Barcelona won the Champions League, two La Liga titles and two Supercopa de España’s under his guidance. Having departed the Nou Camp, he took over at Galatasaray. In Turkey, he enjoyed another productive spell as he won 55 per cent of the matches he was at the helm for. His most recent job, as the Saudi Arabia national team head coach, did not go so well but Rijkaard has shown from his spell at Barcelona, he could be a fantastic appointment for the club. His wages may be a stumbling block though, and he has also been out of the game for two years. Eddie Howe Eddie Howe is one of the most impressive young British managers in the game at the moment.

He has worked wonders at Bournemouth, and the Cherries now have a very good chance of winning promotion to the top flight. But that could work against Davids Gold and Sullivan if they are looking to bring Howe in to replace Allardyce. Howe was as impressive in his first spell in charge of Bournemouth and that led to interest from Burnley in 2011. But his year in charge of the Clarets was disappointing, with many Burnley fans not taking to the new boss and, most importantly, he failed to get results. Howe would be an exciting appointment, and someone who could be at the club for a prolonged period. But the club’s owners will probably decide against him due to his managerial inexperience and the possibility of having to pay a compensation fee to gain his services. Michael Laudrup The former Swansea City manager has been heavily linked with taking over at Upton Park should the Hammers part company with Big Sam. But then again, Laudrup has also been one of the favourites for the Queens Park Rangers post recently. Laudrup would be a good appointment in the eyes of many. He led Swansea to their first ever major trophy, the League Cup.

Former Hammer: Could Slaven Bilic be tempted to return to the club as boss?

Laudrup’s sides also play an attractive style of play and he would be well liked by the Hammers faithful. There is no getting around the fact that the Dane had a fantastic playing career, which saw him play for some of the biggest clubs in world football. He has, so far, taken his experience from his playing days into his managerial career, and he has been reasonably successful so far. Laudrup is currently in Qatar with Lekhwiya. It looks as though they will win the title this year, but the former Mallorca manager’s contract

ends at the end of the season. That would be an extra attraction for the owners as that means the club would not have to pay a compensation fee to get their man. David Moyes The Scot’s reputation was tarnished by his ten months in charge of Manchester United last season. Moyes couldn’t find his best team at Old Trafford and he also failed to get the players onside. Former Hammer Rio Ferdinand, in particular, has spoken out against Moyes’ time in charge of the Red Devils.

But his record at Everton was truly impressive, as he managed to lead the Toffees to European qualification numerous times on a small budget. The one criticism of his time at Goodison Park was that he failed to win a trophy. Moyes was also admired during his time as boss of Preston North End. His good record led to his move to Everton. Moyes is currently manager of Real Sociedad and he has got off to a good start in La Liga. Gold and Sullivan would have to work hard to persuade him to leave Spain for a return to the Premier League. BBM

Cheikhou Kouyate Running man: Cheikhou Kouyate has proved himself to be a real powerhouse in the West Ham midfield

‘Wile E’ Kouyate is turning into our biggest star of the season The indefatigable midfielder is simply getting better by the game




heikhou Kouyaté has been an outstanding addition to West Ham’s squad this year. He defends, attacks, adds dominance to our

midfield and has even managed to score three goals and set up two assists in the league so far this season. The 25-year-old has been a mainstay in the Hammers team, and has missed just seven games through injury or international duty. Of the other 21 league games in which he’s featured, he’s played the full 90 minutes on nearly every occasion. Normally, the above would be enough to

guarantee a player to be West Ham’s signing of the season, but in a year where we’ve brought a tremendous amount of talent to Upton Park, will Kouyaté end up being the best of the summer signings? He certainly has the potential to be. Kouyaté settled into the squad straight away, and has been influential in West Ham starting the season as well as they did. He brings strength to midfield, and

performs extremely well under pressure. The Senegalese midfielder always looks composed, and can be counted on to make both key tackles and strong passes. According to, 79.5 per cent of Kouyaté’s passes have been successful (and 90 per cent of his passes whilst he was playing in the African Cup of Nations.) He’s an extremely versatile player, which

has been a major benefit to the Hammers this season. Kouyaté is able to play at professional level as both a defender and a midfielder. West Ham have largely utilised him as a midfielder, but when a defensive crisis struck our centre-backs, Kouyaté easily slid into defence and put in outstanding performances whilst in the back four. It was almost a disappointment to see him move back to midfield, where it not for the gaping Kouyaté-shaped hole that opened up there in his absence. He’s also scored goals for West Ham, and none more beautiful to me than his absolute cracker against Manchester United at Upton Park. There’s no contesting the impact he has on the pitch and equally important is that he comes across as a valuable part of a good team atmosphere at Upton Park. His online social media accounts are peppered with pictures of him and his teammates socialising (especially selfies of him and his fellow countryman and BFF Diafra Sakho.) There’s no reported drama with Kouyaté; he does his job, does it well, and we’re lucky to have him as part of our squad. He’s a certain fan favourite, and he recently won the fan-voted Player of the Month and Goal of the Month for his excellent performances in February.

Hero: Kouyate scored against Arsenal at Upton Park

Hammers must add depth in summer By Ben Harshaw

He’s certainly a strong contender to be our best signing of the season. There are only two things that could hold him back from the accolade – the top-notch performances from some of his other new teammates, and that awkward moment where he went missing after AFCON and had to be dragged back to England to play for West Ham. That was, admittedly,

a bit strange. After all, this has been a season of smart signings for West Ham. Messers Aaron Cresswell, Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia have also been outstanding this season – but should Cheikhou Kouyaté finish the season playing the same football he’s played thus far, the crown for being our best signing should fit snugly on his head. BBM

West Ham have enjoyed a good season but for the club to progress to the next level it is vital they strengthen again this summer. Gone are the days when we should be looking to bring on the likes of Joey O’Brien, Matt Jarvis and Carlton Cole from the bench. They simply are not up to the task at this level. Last summer proved to be extremely fruitful in the transfer market thanks to some shrewd business by the owners. But now is the time to add to the squad with more upand-coming young players. It is no coincidence that the results have stopped when the games have come thick and fast because we are relying on the same players week in week out. We must have cover for each position that we know will go out there and be able to produce the same quality as the man they are replacing and that is just not the case for us currently.

Diego Poyet

It is time Big Sam gave Diego Poyet his big chance to shine Gus’s son should feature now Irons’ dream of Europe is slipping away

LIAM NEWMAN @ThatLiamNewman


f you’d looked at this month’s clash with Sunderland at the start of the season you might have expected it to be all about the Poyet’s. However, things don’t always turn out how you think they will as Gus has just been sacked by the Black Cats and his son Diego is unlikely to be involved in the West Ham side. Signed in the summer, Diego Poyet has been largely resigned to the shadows. Nonetheless, there is still an aura of positivity surrounding the 19-yearold’s future with the club – a view that the player also shares. After what has, on a personal level, been a difficult maiden campaign at the Boleyn, the former Charlton Athletic star would love to underline his worth between now

Under-pressure: Gus Poyet was sacked by Sunderland after a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa and the season’s end. With a mid-table finish virtually guaranteed, the youngster might just get his wish over the coming weeks. Poyet was brilliant at Charlton last term and was named the Championship club’s Player of the Year but by his own admission, the step up in quality has been difficult and the

already enormous task of cementing a regular position has been made even harder by a severe lack of playing time. The midfielder’s firstteam opportunities have been restricted to just five appearances but he has recently declared himself happy and seems willing to wait in the peripherals of Allardyce’s plans until the time is

right. Meanwhile, Poyet’s appreciation of training alongside the likes of Alex Song additionally highlights a level of maturity well beyond his years. In spite of limited chances, the hype surrounding Poyet’s future has remained at a consistently high level. This sentiment was personified towards the end of 2014 as both England and Uruguay battled for the player’s international commitment before the youngster eventually pledged his allegiances to the South Americans. He also showed promise during a brief stint on-loan at Huddersfield Town, whilst also performing well when selected for the West Ham Development Squad. Progress has been steady since joining this summer but this has been the case with hundreds of young players over the years. Unfortunately for Poyet, though, the spotlight will forever be intensified as large sections will naturally draw comparisons to father Gus, who was of course in charge of

Premier League rivals Sunderland. Whereas other developing talent up and down the country will be allowed to quietly finetune their skill, there will be vultures ready to pounce should the young West Ham star fail to deliver. Thankfully, the astute teenager doesn’t seem fazed by that scrutiny and is fully focused on the task at hand. When analysing the lack of playing time afforded by Big Sam, it’s quite easy to understand the manager’s decision. Breaking into a central midfield role would be a big challenge for any upcoming midfielder, especially when you’ve got the likes of Song and Mark Noble sitting higher in the pecking order. The middle of the park can be an unforgiving position where costly mistakes will be hammered by the media and perhaps Allardyce is right to protect his young prodigy. You only need look at on-loan defender Carl Jenkinson’s early Arsenal career for verification that one bad game can halt a young player’s progress. There is no definitive answer but bedding Poyet in slowly appears to be a shrewd move for both the player and team’s fortunes, particularly at the beginning of the campaign when the much-changed Hammers were stepping into the unknown.

Talent: Diego Poyet starred in pre-season for West Ham United Now that Europa League football seems unattainable, it could be the perfect timing to give Poyet a more prominent role within the squad. Falling away from the European challenge has seen the limelight fade, which could be beneficial for any young players afforded more playing time over the coming weeks. The fact there is no threat of relegation means that they can also express themselves on the pitch without fear of repercussions should an error be committed. Of all the promising

youngsters at West Ham, the former Charlton man has to be front of the queue. Another point for Allardyce to consider is that Song’s long-term future may not be secure. The on-loan Barcelona star has made a huge impact at Upton Park and would be a welcomed permanent addition, but contingencies have to be established in case that outcome doesn’t materialise. Rather than risking money on another signing, it has to be worth testing the waters with Poyet – especially

while the pressure is off. Anyone that followed Poyet at Charlton will confirm that the player has bags of potential and the player himself has additionally voiced his firm belief that this year has been a great learning curve. Additionally, West Ham boasts a rich history of discovering young talent and there is no doubt that Chadwell Heath remains the best place for nurturing future stars. Perhaps the coming weeks will uncover the birth of yet another after all. BBM

Book review

A sweeping love letter that will resonate with everyone

Brian Williams’ journey will touch the heart of all true West Ham fans


nd now, the end is near. The final season of football at the Boleyn is no longer a distant prospect on the horizon, but a visible landmark casting a shadow over the hearts and minds of all West Ham fans. The topic of the move to the Olympic Stadium has divided opinion amongst supporters, but like it or not, E13’s very own field of dreams’ days are numbered, and after the final final whistle is blown, even the most evangelical of Stratford evangelists will have a tear in their eye and a lump in their throat as a lifetime of matches are consigned to the time capsule of memory. With this in mind, Guardian journalist, Blowing Bubbles columnist and West Ham fan of 50 years’ torment Brian Williams has got in ahead of the crowd, compressing his own lifetime’s worth of claret and blue cheers and tears into ‘Nearly Reach the Sky’, lovingly poring over every detail of his life as a fan, and the Upton Park matchday experience. -Anyone familiar

with his regular ‘Dear Sam’ letters in Blowing Bubbles should know what to expect – a fullon, passionate broadside, full of dreaming and despairing in equal parts – the voice of all West Ham fans, in fact, just with the added benefit of a lifetime as a professional writer helping him put those feelings onto the page. Heroes

and horror shows – he’s seen it all, and it’s in his book. Almost inevitably, any fan memoir draws comparisons with Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. But whereas that has only retrospectively gained its real foothold by being a snapshot of the increasingly distant pre-Premier League world, Williams’s book is

much more direct. His story of his relationship with his club is written in the full knowledge that seismic change is about to come. Memories of repainting Subbuteo players’ kits, favourite player nicknames, most loved and loathed players, and the uniquely football experience that is enjoying hating your rivals as much as you love your own team – Williams covers it all. Every West Ham fan is living with the sad knowledge that – whether or not they know it at the time – one day soon, they will all make their final visit to the Boleyn. Williams is just one supporter in that crowd, with his own lifetime of memories wrapped up in the place. But the good news for us is that, whilst he has already lived through those memories, we have them all to enjoy in his book. * Nearly Reach the Sky: A Farewell to Upton Park by Brian Williams is published by Biteback Publishing - Enter BUBBLESBW for a discount. BBM

Supporters’ club of the month

#2: Indonesian Hammers BBM: When, how and why was group founded? Gregah Nurikhsani: It’s not easy to answer when the group was founded because originally the Hammers group were regional ones, such as Jakarta Hammers, Malang Hammers, Solo Hammers, Bandung Hammers and other cities. The itself is created to cover and link (we hope) all West Ham fan bases in Indonesia. We are a media for hammers in Indonesia to get connected with others, get information about West Ham related in Bahasa Indonesia, integrate and unite all of us. How many members in your group today? How quickly has that membership risen since you founded? It varies. Every city has its own members. If all of them calculated, we

Joy: The gang show how much it means to them

can have more than 5000 West Ham fans. It’s a lot of numbers as Indonesia is the 4th largest country, and the 3rd biggest social media user compared to all nations. Where do you watch games? We usually gather up in certain meet point,

Good times: Enjoying the game in the pub

probably a pub, coffee shop, café, etc. Every city/region has its own. If possible, we invite other fan bases, football related, to watch the games together. How many times do members travel to games? Do you travel just to Upton Park or do you travel to away games too? Quite rarely because we live far east in Indonesia. Living in South East Asia makes it hard to watch the games in Upton Park. But nothing is impossible. Some of us has been to London and watched West Ham at

the stadium which was an amazing experience. What have been your most memorable days as a supporters’ club? We’re still waiting to have the most memorable moment! But the best one so far was when we all gathered up in one place, watching the playoff final between West Ham United against Blackpool. We all can’t forget it, can we? What are the benefits of being part of your group? Being in a hammers group in our city/country surely gives a lot of benefits. For a fan living

OLAS and supporting West Ham in a city/ country that doesn’t have so much hammers sometimes makes us hard to even watch the game. So when we are united, we have that what-so-called ‘IRONS’. What is your website address? What’s your Twitter handle? Are you on Facebook? The website is www. indonesian-hammers. com. How can people get in touch with your club? They can get the information which regional they want to get in touch in the website. We provide information about every regions hammers. So if they are in a current city at the time being, just follow it.

Party time: The Hammers fans pose with one of their many flags after a victory

Tel 01733 370500

West Ham Ladies

‘We want to take this club into the Women’s Super League’ New chairmen tell David Blackmore about their very exciting plans


hey came, they saw and now West Ham Ladies’ new co-chairmen hope to drive the Hammers forwards to conquer women’s football in England. The club announced the appointment of John Hunt and Stephen Hunt earlier this month and both have told Blowing Bubbles of their bold vision for the Hammers. ‘We want to have fun and we want everyone involved in the club to have fun too,’ Stephen said. ‘The Ladies are an important part of the West Ham United family and, with the move to the Olympic Stadium to look forward to, there are plenty of exciting times ahead. ‘There is plenty of work for us to do to achieve my dream of the Ladies becoming professional and we are focused on reviewing every aspect of the club so that next season all of our teams at every level benefits from improvement. ‘We want to build a club that is strong, well-run, well-structured, ethically run and we want to get into the

Ambitious: West Ham captain Stacey Little could have a big role to play in the future

Women’s Super League soon. I don’t think we will be in a position to get into the League next season – our focus right now is getting everything in place, winning games, winning trophies and winning the league. ‘From our point of view, one of our main

priorities is to get more West Ham fans along to our games. In the men’s game, Premier League clubs get billions from TV revenue and some clubs get millions from involvement in European competitions but in the women’s game, the more fans who turn up to watch you play, the

more money your club has, the more chance you have of bringing in quality players and inevitably, the higher up in the league you are. ‘There clearly is support out there for the Ladies - you just need to look at how many people are following them on Twitter but we need to harness this support. When I was growing up, when West Ham played away people went to see another local club play – I don’t see why West Ham fans can’t come along to watch to Ladies play on a Sunday if the men are away on the Saturday.’ Asked how they plan to increase the gate at Ladies home games, he continued: ‘West Ham is the biggest club in Essex and we need to be feeding these fans with more content about the Ladies, more pictures, and more videos. ‘We need to overhaul the website and celebrate the club’s history and just make sure we are putting out what fans expect to see when following a brand. ‘We aren’t aiming at any particular group

but I think fathers and their daughters are a key market for us to tap into. We want to encourage them to come along to a few matches and if the Ladies put in good performances and their afternoon at the football is a thoroughly enjoyable experience then hopefully they will be hooked and keep returning and encourage their friends to come along too.’ As for how both men decided to apply for their new roles, Hunt continued: ‘I’ve been following the West Ham Ladies for a while now and was keeping up-todate with how they were doing on Twitter. ‘My father and I had been looking around to get involved in some sort of project but we weren’t

sure what and then we saw the club announce they wanted a new chairman and I knew this was for us. ‘My Dad is semi-retired now and between us we felt we could really help the club move forward. We both admit we don’t know much about running a football club but we’ve got a few friends who do and we’re asking questions of these people to help us get up to speed quickly. ‘Our original idea was to bring the commercial muscle to this club but already we can see our role is going to be much deeper than that. Our appointment is being seen as a chance to change direction, redouble efforts and push onto higher levels.’ BBM

On the run: Emma Sherwood makes a break down the wing

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The last word

Why laughing at Chelsea still has some unexpected benefits Blues bashing could be good for the Irons in the long-term after all


ands up who has had a good old laugh at the English teams in the Champions League over the last few weeks? West Ham fans have been treated to a feast of mediocrity from the Premier League’s representatives in Europe, with Manchester City being humbled by Barcelona and Arsenal and Chelsea embarrassing themselves against Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain respectively. It’s truly been a blast and, for the East End faithful, offices all over London have been a little more pleasant as the noisy neighbours have been reduced to quivering wrecks. But are we right to gloat? Or is our schadenfreude just a little short-sighted? There is, of course, a school of thought that says English teams failing on the continent could be bad news for the Hammers. The theory is based upon Uefa’s coefficient - which is the ranking system that determines how many spots each

Gone: Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris St-Germain

country has in the their competitions. There is a lot of maths involved but essentially the worse the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool perform in the Champions League the more likely it would be that England could drop from four teams to three. This would be bad as, while it is just conceivable that the Olympic Stadium-based Hammers could one day pinch fourth, a third placed finish would be even

harder to achieve and probably beyond them. However, there would be one distinct advantage of the Premier League being stripped of a place. With less qualifying positions available it would be far harder for teams to guarantee a place at Europe’s top table. While Manchester City and Chelsea would be pretty confident of finishing in the top three every year the likes of

Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool would have to be pretty brave to include the Champions League income in their budgets. If they cut their cloth along more modest lines the gap between the rich and the poor would be cut – and West Ham would be competing with their more illustrious rivals on a more level playing field. Perhaps there is yet another reason to laugh at Chelsea after all. BBM

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Blowing Bubbles #46  

In this issue: *Stephanie Moore on how West Ham’s greatest ever player has helped save thousands in the fight against cancer *Blowing Bubble...

Blowing Bubbles #46  

In this issue: *Stephanie Moore on how West Ham’s greatest ever player has helped save thousands in the fight against cancer *Blowing Bubble...