My worst moment as a West Ham fan

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Liverpool FA CupSupporting West Ham means one thing above all others…that there are going to be more disappointments than triumphs, and the sooner new Hammers fans get used to this and accept it, the easier things will be.

Even though poor performances and unhealthy league positions are a regular source of anger and regret, when all is said and done we are probably where we deserve to be in the football food chain, so what can you do? Until such time as a long lost billionaire Sheikh with roots in Canning Town or Plaistow surfaces, then the status quo will remain, and it’s life as usual.

There have been so many highs over the last 50 years, but the lows have been fairly regular and hard hitting; FA Cup defeats to the likes of Mansfield, losing 5-0 to Luton in the League Cup semi-final, the infamous defeat in the second reply to Stoke when Bobby Moore ended up in goal, and more recently, the appalling back to back defeats this year against Nottingham Forest and Manchester City which made us a laughing stock- the list is long and still painful!

Then we have the drain of young home produced talent that has blighted the club for the last ten years or so. To watch once in a lifetime players like Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and Frank Lampard leave for “bigger” and more ambitious clubs hurt, especially when you think of what could have been with this golden generation.

However, when all is said and done, and even worse than the relegations over the past 30 years or so, I would have to say the match that caused me most anguish was the last gasp defeat to Liverpool in the 2006 Cup Final at The Millenium Stadium. “Only at bloody West Ham” is a saying I use whenever things go belly up. You can be sure that if a team hasn’t had a home win for 8 months, it will be against us that the duck is broken! Any striker who hasn’t hit the nest for three seasons will always score against… The Hammers…it’s written in the damn stars I think.

Admittedly we had some luck in that final, said by some to be the best in living memory. I’m not convinced Paul Konchesky’s 63rd minute goal was meant but who cared, it hit the net and we were 3-2 up against a strong Liverpool side that had beaten us twice in the league that year. This was pay back time when it mattered most…wasn’t it?

The 90 minutes were up and it was just a case of looking after the ball until the final whistle. The fans around me were jumping up and down; singing, dancing, and I couldn’t wait to hit the Cardiff bars for a long night of celebration. I remember grabbing my old man, then in his late 70’s and feeling elated that he was about to witness another Hammers cup win so late in life, and some 60 years after he first passed through the Upton Park gates to watch his first ever home match

West Ham sportingly put the ball out to allow the injured Liverpool forward Cissé to be treated, and, in accordance with accepted protocol, even during a high profile match such as this, Liverpool’s throw-in returned the ball to West Ham deep in their defensive end. To this day, and I curse him every time I think of it, Lionel Scaloni, the Argentinian right back, punted an aimless looking ball into midfield instead of Row Z.  Row Z would have meant game set and match to West Ham and a very respectable 4th FA Cup victory.

Alan Wiley had looked again at his watch…the tension was now a health risk. Steven Gerrard, was cramping up and Liverpool had an air of defeat about them. The FA Cup was heading back down the M4 and a spontaneous chorus of Bubbles hit the air…..but back to the game……

The ball was high, and started to drift down into play. After an unsuccessful ball into the penalty area, the ball found its way to Gerrard. His first-time right-footed 35-yard strike flew past Shaka Hislop‘s right hand and into the net to level the scores.

Extra time came and went in a blur, and our awful penalty attempts meant runners up medals. Devastated doesn’t even come close to how we all felt at the end. A succession of disbelieving Scousers shaking our hands and saying we deserved the win just made things worse. We didn’t even feel up for a drink. Wearily boarding the coach for London, I sat down, turned to Dad and just said….”Only at bloody West Ham!”

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Plaistow born Spencer is a lifelong Hammer and having spent half-a century plus, enduring this lifelong obsession, along with every other West Ham supporter, knows exactly what it takes and what it means to wrap that Claret & Blue scarf round your neck every other Saturday and head off for the Boleyn !

A Chartered Surveyor by profession, Spencer, now 58, has played, coached and managed at semi-pro level within Essex for a number of clubs, and, simply unable to give up playing, currently turns out for the Iron Maiden Over 35’s side when he is not watching the Hammers, playing guitar in his Classic Rock covers band Gunrunner, or more probably, injured yet again!


  • Sam says:

    So glad to finally find someone else who lays all of the blame at the feet of Lionel scaloni, absolutely useless. Broke my 10 year old heart

    • spence55 says:

      Sam…im still throwing darts at pictures of Scaloni 8 years on !!!!!!

  • peter iron says:

    Yes ! i remember it well Spencer , but think about that great performance today eh , and what it must be like to be a Spurs fan tonight . They must cringe every time that advert comes on showing
    us getting beat at White Hart Lane yet again and the little old bloke with the walking stick ( i think he’s the Spurs fan !) shuffling home after the game after another routine win for the Spuds .Talk about poetic justice eh ! 3 out of 3 this season . Plus did you see Ravel in the dugout ? He is making a statement no mistake COYI .

    • spence55 says:

      Peter…its the days like that that make it all worthwhile mate !!!! COYI !!!!!

  • Besty says:

    Great result today, i have just returned from my local with my 12 year old daughter (where there were some spurs supporters) proudly wearing our claret & blue and, “Oh” how proud we both felt.
    Being a Hammer is not easy, but sometimes it makes it feel so good, the look on my daughters face is there for a life time.
    What more is there to say…………

    • spence55 says:

      Besty…top man for educating another young lady in the lifetime delight that is West Ham United. Heres hoping there are more ups than downs from hereon in for your daughter buddy !!!!

  • Alawrence HK says:

    I was heartbroken didn’t go for a drink after the game a got on a plane back to HK and I thought if Gerard can do what he did against us for England I might find it in my heart to cheer for him…I still can’t stand the site of the bugger whatever colour he wears!

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