Who are you? We’re West Ham (1)


Gordon Thrower*, known as Gnome at Knees Up Mother Brown, the West Ham fan site he co-edits, has his hair cut by the same barber used by our own Michael Turner. We’re sure his hairdresser is careful with the scissors, but Gordon should have had a sore head when answering our questions: it was the day after his own leaving do.
Any chance he’ll be wanting to drown his sorrows again on Saturday night after West Ham v Sunderland? Whatever the outcome, Gordon is mightily welcome back here after his epic contribution a couple of seasons ago, Great answers so we’ll spread them over two days …

Salut! Sunderland: What on earth has gone wrong at your place?

How long have you got!? Lack of money meant a lack of squad depth which cost us dearly when the inevitable injuries happened. Then, once the club finally got sold, or half sold anyway, a lot of players showed an alarming loss of form all at the same time. Worryingly, this includes those players charged with the responsibility of creating and scoring goals.

Will you get out of it?

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve changed my answer to this question from “probably” to “possibly” (Gordon declined an invitation to update his response after the creditable 2-2 draw at Goodison – ed). Curiously, our goal difference is better than most around us and I have a hunch that that will be vital. But we’ll have to pull our fingers out and start grafting a point or two.

Are the new owners villains or potential heroes? It seemed to start well and then go pear-shaped after the pay cuts row. Should they have got rid of Zola immediately?

Villains? Well they do like to act as pantomime baddies don’t they! The pay cut row was a bit of a red herring really. Frankly, I think the results would have been identical whether SuGo (as we call the owners) had threatend pay cuts, withdrawal of privileges or the slaughter of players’ first-born. As for getting rid of Zola, rumour has it that the terms of the sale prevent them from dismissing him until the end of the season at the earliest. I’m not sure how true that is but, given that there seems to be little love lost between Zola and SuGo, it would make some sense I suppose.

Let us assume the worst, that West Ham do go down. Will you do a Newcastle or would you be in for a longer haul?

Should we go down I our decent players will be off and we’ll end up with a squad full of Championship journeymen on SuGo-pleasing wages. We’ll be lucky to become a yo-yo club under those circumstances. If we stay up, the club can blossom but it’ll need sensible investment – something that will be difficult given the finances.

And at the start of this season, where did you think you’d end up? And us? Has our appalling run surprised you?

I thought we would be comfortably mid-table – maybe not exactly pushing for Europe – but well above where we are at the moment. I figured you’d be in a similar position. I wouldn’t say I was surprised at your recent run – not because I expected it as such but more because there is usually one club in your position that goes through such a run.

We had a lot of crack here, with quite a lot of Hammers fans joining in, after the Herita Ilunga/Kenwyne Jones episode. Was it something from which no one emerged smelling of roses, or was Bruce completely out of order?

Well you know when Bruce is talking rubbish – his lips move. He’s a rather bitter little man who can’t quite forgive us for messing up Man Utd’s title chances when he was a player so he rarely misses an opportunitey to slag us off. Having said that, Jones had to go, though Ilunga made the most of it in embarrassing fashion. Jones was walking anyway so Cheri’s reaction was pointless. It was notable that Bruce remained silent on Malbranque’s rather outrageous dive and Cana’s succession of two-footed challenges that merited sanction. I believe the condition is known as “Wenger’s Syndrome”!

And what will be the top four, in orderr, and the bottom three?

1) Man Utd, 2) Chelsea, 3)Arsenal, 4) Man City

18) Wigan, 19) Burnley, 20) Portsmouth. Do I win a prize if I get Pompey’s position right?!

*** TO BE CONTINUED (with memories of a day we’d rather forget) … ***

* Gordon Thrower on “Gnome”, pictured in 2007 next to the Porsche owned by the woman who drove him to matches after he ruptured an Achilles tendon playing for the Hammers supporters’ team.
I’ve just become an unemployed employment tax specialist (oh the irony!). Available for further work in the same field almost immediately if anyone useful is reading this! Became a Hammer at 6.55am on 8 April 1961 – spent my earliest years within walking distance of the ground and there were many connections between my Dad’s old school in Plaistow and the club. Our former club secretary Eddie Chapman was an Old Plaistovian and his son Barry was a school mate of my Dad’s. In short, the chances of me supporting anyone else were about as slim as my completing one of your questionnaires without mentioning a certain day in October 1968. Several times!
As for kumb.com, my title is co-editor. This means that I get to fill out questionnaires like this, and have people come up to me in pubs and say how much they like the site, whilst Graeme Howlett – the site owner and fellow co-editor – does all the real hard work.

Interview by Colin Randall

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