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Wednesday, when the host Norwich City at Victoria Road, kick-off 7pm. of 2004, Hogan Ephraim, to play his year's competition for the u-18 side.

The fanz worst moments - caught in print

'NIGHTMARE on Green Street' is not yet another West Ham book. Hammers' fan in his deepest, darkest moments - caught in a horror film
\\esthamonline contributor Billy Blagg. aka Peter Thome, has taken the best 'Nightmare on Green Street'. Sitting alone, he types these words - better put
from the website and filtered out the spam. down on paper, than in the head, as inevitably they would only turn you insane.
When West Ham were last in this position in the league, fanzines were a sign Billy Blagg has been a prime contributor to westhamonline and here, his
of the times. Every Hammers fan was running one, to superb collection of dark memories are available for even the
vent their anger, express their views and tell the world computer illiterate. Dark they certainly are, as we haven't had
what was wrong with the club. much to celebrate for the last few seasons. They are memories
By the late 1990s, fanzines were dying. From the that were thoughts of the day, thoughts that most of us have tried
many that used to occupy the stalls down Upton Park's to block out.
Green Street, there is how a mere sole survivor - Over A prime example is the opening up of the old case, Manny-gate.
Land And Sea. The rest moved with the technical rev- Most West Ham fans can recall the debacle, but can you remem-
olution and every self-respecting Hammers fan joined ber your actual true feelings from the episode? Thorne must have
an online forum to post their application for the man- relived the nightmares as he collected his ramblings, and those of
ager's job. Now it's not just publishers that can express others, who have made the book a humorous must read.
their views, it's everyone. I can't wait for volume two, for as long as the team continues to
But there are things that are said in the heat of the perform abysmally, we'll be switching on the PC at 4am to rip
apart Blagg's comments on the net.
moment - after another home defeat or that rare trip
to Cardiff - which could be lost forever in the realms • Nightmare on Green Street is published by Football World, Wall
of cyber space. These words tell the story of a priced £6.99. NICOLA LAGZDINS

26 YEARS AGO: It was one for the real belting boys when West Ham went did so 4-2 to record a rare double over Manchester United... but only after
to Old Trafford on November 27,197S. They had not won an away game for conceding a first minute goal before missing a penalty!
a year. Their hosts had won one of seven home matches. Hammers gave a EIGHT YEARS AGO: Harry Redknapp probably still has nightmares when
debut to diminutive midfielder Anton Otulakowski, a recent signing who he thinks about Romanian Florin Raducioiu, the striker he persuaded West
had impressed in Barnsley's League Cup defeat at Upton Park earlier in Ham to fork out a club record £2.6 million for. Lee<
the season. The former British international gymnast - and a son of a In a pre-season friendly, at Torquay's Plainmoor ground, the player came
Polish soldier who stayed on after the war - Otulakowski enjoyed an excel- off complaining the opposition were kicking him. Things didn 'tget any bet-
lent first game for the visitors. ter, either. In the very few appearances he made, Raducioiu gleaned just Adi|
But a nervy home side were therefor the taking. Trevor Brooking's sec-
ond goal of the four gets the campaign for the Hammers on the way. Billy
three goals. His first came in a 1-1 home Coca-Cola Cup draw with hum-
ble Stockport County on November 27,1986. He was possibly surprised at
Jennings supplied the pass and it was 'JillyJ who wrapped it up four min- the raspberry Hammers got from their fans. advai
utes from time. Which may be why he opted to go shopping in Knightsbridge while
West Ham's jubilation was tempered by the subsequent realisation that Stockport were taking the replay 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals. Tic!
they were still propping up the table, even if it was only on goal difference. That was also the game in which Iain Dowie scored - in his own net!
As things worked out, they faced Manchester United at Upton Park in the Raducioiu or barmy Boogers? A real toss-up as to which of the two was nun
very last game of the season which they had to win to stay up. West Ham Harry's biggest howler ~-

Three perfect stocking fillers for West Ham fans this Christmas...


! By PeteT Thome (aka Billy Blagg)

Football WoTld, £6.99
By Martin Godleman
Boleyn Books, £6.99
By Kirk Blows and Ben Sharratt
Mainstream Publishing, £9.99

Books written by fans are nothing After spending more than a decade This softback edition follows swiftly
new - Hammers News columnist Rob on the 'other side of the camera' as on from the hardback original, but
Banks has penned three himself - West Ham's official commentator for not only the committed collectors
but Nightmare represents breaking video and DVD recordings, the will still be keen to add this
new ground in that it combines the author should be well placed to impressive volume to their shelf.
written word with the immediacy of provide an insight into behind the Apart from adding three new
the internet messageboards. scenes life at Upton Park. chapters on the latest first team
For in this thoroughly entertaining Godleman can certainly write as well players to have emerged from the
observation of life as a West Ham fan as he commentates, although he youth ranks - Stephen Bywater,
over the past five years, author clearly has little time for some of the Anton Ferdinand and Kevin Horlock -
Thorne allies his own very honest more celebrated TV mike-men of his the authors have updated and fully
and highly creditable views with profession. revised other chunks of the original,
those of the supporters who Relegation affects more than just including the chapters on Rio
contribute to the popular unofficial the obvious people and Godleman Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe
fan site, westhamonline.net was another who found his services Cole, three of the most celebrated
Thorne, in the guise of his cyberspace on the gantry curtailed by cutbacks. products of the famous 'Academy',
alter-ego Billy Blagg, takes us on a He cannot disguise his dismay at and Jermain Defoe whose move to
painful journey - from Mannygate how money is now such a ruling Spurs is also covered.
(Manny Omoyinmi's farcical influence on the game, on and off With eight glossy pages of pics to
appearance that led to Hammers the field. accompany 256 pages of quotes and
losing a Worthington Cup quarter- He continues to report from the candid conversations, this represents
final they had already won), via the press room and even during breaks great value and is certainly a very
sale of Rio Ferdinand, and the to Australia and USA, he found he worthy addition to any Hammers
sackings of Redknapp and Roeder, to could not get by without the latest fan's book collection.
last May's play-off debacle and an news of his beloved Hammers. The interesting question is, how
attempt at what the future holds. This diary of the 2003-04 season many other home-grown discoveries
He consistently hits the mark and shows that you don't have to attend will be produced at West Ham in
you'll find yourself nodding at games at Upton Park to experience future seasons to make even the
regular intervals as you turn most of the agony (and occasional ecstacy) of contemplation of a similar book a
the 240 totally absorbing pages. following the fortunes of West Ham. possibility? •