Your Team In The Media: Number 20 - West Ham

A classic manager from the old skool and fans who idolise Danny Dyer and have 'Insanity Beast' tattooed on their foreheads. One even threatened to poo on our editor's head...

Last Updated: 14/11/13 at 11:15 Post Comment

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What do the papers, the TV, and fans of other clubs think about your team? In this series, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at the stereotypes, coverage and media agendas for each team in the Premier League. And hey kids, just because they're pointing them out, it don't mean they're endorsing them. So last, but by no means least, it's West Ham.

Ex-player pundit presence
You don't see much of legendary fence-sitter Trevor Brooking any more, perhaps his measured "on the one hand..." approach is out of step with today's hyper-opinionated football world. Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final, but doesn't like to talk about it. Moving on to the non-Knighted Hammers faves, Tony Cottee is a regular presence, less so Frank McAvennie these days, but we've no doubt he's doing good business on the after-dinner circuit. Tony Gale is on Sky and Alvin Martin plies his trade here and there. One would imagine that there's a sturdy Sky Sports chair with Frank Lampard's name on it whenever he wants; someday soon surely there will be a Fwank-'Arry-TopTop trifecta in a studio.


Celebrity followers
Anarcho-manslut Russell Brand, the two fine comic actors James Corden and Richard E Grant, self-parody Brit acting great Ray Winstone, literary heavy-hitter Sebastian Faulks, twinkly rock uncle David Essex, boxing palooka Frank Bruno, Strictly Come Dancing's Len Goodman, any number of fictional 'ooligans in books and on screen, including their most famous fan of all, Alf Garnett who, it is worth remembering, was hailed by many as a working class hero. Hammers fans also claim Matt Damon and, brilliantly, Barack Obama and The Queen.


Back Page Leaders
A succession of interesting managers (Grant, Zola, Pardew and back to Redknapp, Bonds, Macari et al) has always ensured plenty of coverage, as have the club's colourful owners (from the Icelandic circus through to Sullivan and Gold). People from Essex and East London being over-represented in football journalism has ensured at least a fair share of coverage for the Hammers.


Gaffer's media skills
With his mixture of English aggression, laughing in the face of a cheating foreign fancy dan, matey bonhomie and good old fashioned paranoia, Sam Allardyce is a classic football manager from the old skool. Plays dumber than he is, which is often a clever tactic. Feels like a bit of a dinosaur alongside the urbane technicians of the AVB and Laudrup stripe, but well-liked by the press for 1970s style Bigness, decent quotes and not being a foreigner. Famously argued that he would be managing one of the top four if he was called "Allardici". Maybe, maybe not: but one could equally wonder if he would be so talked up by his media pals if he was from Bari, not Dudley.


Vox pop cliché fan
Thug. Tattooed, but not fashionably. Likely to have 'Insanity Beast' written on his forehead. Bemoans the loss of the great days of Inter City hoolification of football. Probably got a drink on him and feeling very brave as a result. Young 'uns respect Danny Dyer as a role model. No doorway left un-wetted on match day. Also a few middle-class tourists taking a walk on the wild side. For some reason they're also popular with Cockney ex-pats in California who seem to see the 'ammers as symbolic of the land they left behind in a pie n mash, jellied eels, I'll smash yer face in with a brick you 'orrible bastard, kind of way, weeping into their beer in bars on Santa Monica Boulevard .


Keyboard Warrior Ferocity
High. Not afraid to, ahem, employ politically-incorrect language to make a point. One once threatened to poo on our editor Sarah Winterburn's head. Seem to go to war quite quickly and with maximum shock and awe tactics.


Club's brand
Bobby Moore, West Ham won the World Cup, the Academy, exciting, attractive football. An intergenerational club, the flame of correct football and working class London roots passed on from father to son.


Outsider's view
Generally happy to get away from Upton Park without having building materials extracted from head. Fans likely to sing bad things, or do something proper naughty to someone or something with the first thing that comes to hand. Feeling that WHU have produced some great players without ever really doing much with them. Generally their football has been well-liked, although nobody relishes watching an Allardyce team unless injecting peyote into their eyes while doing so.


Archetypal news stories
'Hammers supporters have most protruding neck veins of any fans'

'Players unhappy after Allardyce eats all their pre-match meals'

'Karren Brady on women in sport and/or business'

'Olympic Stadium thing drags on and on.'

'Minority of idiots do xyz'

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

See extracts from Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here.

Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here

Alan on The Ashes and more here.

Follow Alan on Twitter here or Johnny here.

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