Saturday, May 19, 2007

One Day In September . . . (possibly a couple)

Maybe with the last post and a few others, I've been a bit harsh on West Ham (as I'm doing partial penance, I'll also throw in this, this, and this to be taken into consideration), but they really did get on my goat this year. (No jokes about Dynamo Tirana, please. The timing is all wrong.)

A Premier League investigation panel's - misled by Scudamore - refusal to dock them points, and West Ham's ready acceptance to accept the five and half million pound fine without seeking to appeal against the financial penalty all point to the fact that they got preferential treatment over their murky transfers dealings involving Tevez and Mascherano. If it had been Sheffield Utd or Wigan in the same set of circumstances, they would have been slaughtered.

At a bare minimum, West Ham should have been docked the three points plus a fine, and it was those precious three points that were all that was needed to relegate them to the are they calling it Premiership B, yet? Championship. Throw in that dodgy winning goal that never was by Zamora against Blackburn at Ewood Park with the fact that they signed the relegation king Nigel Quashie mid-season, and their supporters should have been singing that old hammers classic 'Marco Boogers Wonderland' on their winter travels to Glanford Park and their local derby with Colchester United next season.

However, I've decided to lay off West Ham for a bit 'cos I just discovered what may be the little known fact that September 1st 1904 is a shared date in the annals of history for both the SPGB and the Hammers.

Spotted this on the West Ham wiki page:

"Funded through local collections, sponsorship and breweries the club [West Ham] eventually constructed a 20,000 capacity stadium with 2000 seats. The stadium was eventually named The Boleyn Ground (in honour of being constructed upon the grounds of a former residence of Anne Boleyn, Green Street House) it is, however, generally known as Upton Park in popular media. Their first game in their new home was against local rivals Millwall F.C. (themselves an Ironworks team, albeit for a rival company) drawing a crowd of 10,000 and with West Ham running out 3-0 winners, and as the Daily Mirror wrote on September 2, 1904:

"Favoured by the weather turning fine after heavy rains of the morning, West Ham United began their season most auspiciously yesterday evening; when they beat Milwall by 3 goals to 0 on their new enclosure at Upton Park."

The report dates the match September 1st, which - hedging my bets here - was in all probability the same day that the first issue of the Socialist Standard appeared.

I wonder if they overlapped in any way? Paper sales outside the ground; impromptu propaganda meetings by the bovril stand at half time, where the Party speakers would denounce football in general as the modern opium of the masses, and West Ham in particular for employing a 1-2-7 formation (a formation revived by Ossie Ardiles ninety years later when he managed Tottenham Hotspur). In its very early days the Party had Branches in parts of East London such as West Ham, Stratford, Stepney, and further out, Romford. They would also organise outdoor public meetings in places such as Barking, East Ham and Whitechapel.

Christ, now that I think about it; it puts a whole new perspective on the W.B of Upton Park controversy that still divides Party members and supporters to this day. Surely it wasn't this 'W.B' of that 'Upton Park' ? I knew he was long in the tooth but I thought that back in 1910 he was still at Charlton Athletic?

I feel another whimsical 'Football & Socialism' post coming on.

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