I was born in the nether estuary world that is part Essex, part London. It was Essex at the time of my birth but was annexed by the Cockneys in 1965 who have been in occupation ever since. Neither a Cockney nor an Essex boy.
My father hailed from Stratford (just a James Collins clearance away from the new Stadium) and by my 7th birthday I had been initiated into the life of disappointment that besets the long term Hammer’s supporter.
My first game was a defeat at home to the mighty Fulham which I watched from the old West Stand as a treat. More usual I was on my dad’s shoulders in the Western Enclosure. From there evolution took me to standing on the North Bank with school friends and then to a season ticket back where it had begun in the West Stand.
Although family and work commitments have interrupted my ability to go to live games, West Ham remains a large part of my life. In 2005, work took me out to live in Asia; firstly in Hong Kong and then to Vietnam where I live now. Last year there were only a handful of home and away games that I didn’t get to see live on TV.
“It’s not the despair. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand”
In the family tradition I indoctrinated my own son in all things West Ham at an early age as it is one of the most character building things that you can ever do for a young man in learning life’s harsh lessons.