Poems tagged ‘a West Ham fan through and through.’

The old days at Upton Park.

In the old days when we paid
Homage to the claret and blue
Amid the stamp and clip-clop
Of the noble horses
Where the savoury perfume
Of hot dogs
And hamburgers
Fell around our sensitive
Taste buds,
Lingering for a while
Where the cacophony
Of ear-splitting shouting,
Yelling, blistering noises
Cut through the tone of
The day
An uplifting concerto
Or maybe an overture
To West Ham at their
Most classical, the finished
Glowing in technicolour
Upton Park when
A kindred spirit
Joined us together
For song and music
Where once our grandparents
Taught us so well, then
You gravitate
Towards the creaking
Turnstiles, stubborn
And moody at times
But then you settled into
The plush accommodation
Of the South Bank terraces,
Where the full-time residents
Who paid their mortgage
To their season ticket duration
For years and decades
There can be no turning back
So you plant your arms
On the pristine claret
And blue. The upholstery
We’d always known
And suddenly the resounding
Blast of brass, raucous,
Joyful trumpets and trombones
Blaring fruitfully along the Barking
Road, rather like our souls
We can hear them so clearly
From afar
Come on you Irons
In the distance the tunnel
From which our heroes
Shortly emerge for confrontations
Against opponents of steel.
The band plays on towards
A hearty conclusion an hour
Before the first whistle of the
Then we glance thoughtfully
Around the tempest
And the overwhelming
Tumult of events
Of our times
Rumbling like the trains
And buses
That transported our
Fondest wishes
On the match day
Of Saturday
We assumed it
Will always be
That way
Engraved on our
Around the Upton
Park pitch, bags
Of monkey nuts
In sacks of snacks
For prodigious
Meanwhile men
Displaying their
Finest badges
And scarves,
Their declaration
Of intent, slapping
Each other’s back
With immediate
Gallows humour
Floods of
Pouring from
Mouths of blue
But fear not
These are our friends
Our Saturday spiritual
Mates, gatherings
Of similar claret and blue
Sentiments, fretful and
Worried, staring at pools of
Onions and ketchup
Haute cuisine
A gastronomic feast
Our days of wheat and
Yeast to keep our
Hopes at bay
Appetites satisfied
But prepared for now
So on cold wintry
November evenings,
And fables left
Us broken and bereft
Stamping our feet
For warmth
Then there was
The fortnightly ritual
Of seething tribalism
Pushing, shoving, jostling
Huddling together
For security and intimacy
The South Bank surged
Forward like banks
Of birds swarming
For all their worth
A huge throng of
Vocal solidarity
Then voices perfectly
Oiled obscenities
Spurs or Chelsea
Were the subject
Of salty insults
Hate-filled vituperation
West Ham
Hated Spurs and
Chelsea and still do
But Upton Park
Was their Speakers
Corner, a place
To express
And hostile
Chants from
The distance of
Years, shivering
And trembling down
The ages
But still you
Can hear the mid
Week-night matches
Of year
When the Chicken
Run would greet
The away side
Like sworn enemies
In the heat of battle
Heads down
Away we go
And finally the floodlights
In North Bank unison
And stylish synchronicity
Would yell from the rooftops
We shall not be moved.

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FA Cup again- Hammers v Leeds 3rd Round

West Ham
Against Leeds United
In the third round
Of the FA Cup
Still the one trophy
Where parched thirsts
Can never be satisfied
Since this is the one
They crave, hunger
After, like men
In the desert
Seeking drops of water
Over the rainbow
Where the rains have
Washed away dreams
In winter’s icy chill
But we’ll believe
That May, the FA Cup
Could be ours again
Now 42 years later
But not the summer
Of 42,
So wicked and spiteful
It’s a conspiracy,
West Ham have never
Even so much as
Seen the
Chink of light
Away from the
Wembley arches
Or underneath them
But over the weekend
The claret and blue
Men will dust themselves
Down, again
Fondly recalling the hazy
Mists of 1980 when
The Gunners were
Beaten fair and square
On the cusp of that warm
May day, early summer calling
When the sun rippled and
Shimmered on claret and blue
Shields of honour
Bubbles effervescent
Witty East End badinage
Jokes and banners in full
Spate, spreading around
Terraces of foolhardy
Wishful thinking, then
Recognising that fate
Could be on our side
When the court jesters
Of medieval times
Danced on wobbly
Tables, then North
Fair green acres,
Awaited expectation
On its front door
When the old Wembley
Wept with joy
For East End
Conquests of fear
But Leeds now stand
In the way of
Of another East End
Pub fuelled
If only West Ham
Could witness
Another magisterial
Sir Trevor Brooking
Parade of jewels
The header on knees
Seemingly falling back
Into fields of glory
The winner against
Rather like the
Most graceful
Ballet, a stunning day
Now for Leeds though
The team once demolished
By a claret and blue
Bulldozer, when a wrecking
Ball smashed Don Revie’s
Strolling swaggerers
In the nursery of
Their ebullient youth
Bremner, the tiger
With a snarl and
Customary bite
Lorimer with the
A shot born
Of bloodthirsty
Ferocious feeling
A clap of thunder
In the Upton Park
Mid week furnace
Then Johnny Giles
Swaying, gliding
In the gluepot
Of Upton Park
Could only sit back
And admire the
Hammers seven
In the old League Cup
Its severity, its cruelty
The savagery of its
Power and direction
From remarkable
Unapologetic as
The missile of fire
And so West Ham
Go head to head
With Leeds
Remembering the
Night of the seven
When Sealey and
Brabrook, Hurst
And Peters carved
For a living the meat
And then the bones
Of the decaying corpse
That was Leeds
White as a sheet
Shocked to the core
Then traumatised
On the final blast
Of the referee’s
Whistle in the dark
But David Moyes
Will hope that this
Year is his to savour
And revel in the victory
That always slipped
Tantalisingly away
From him at Preston’s
Once Invincibles
Then the Bank of England
Of Everton found a currency
Of their own
But never under David
Moyes, but then Manchester
United summoned a successor
To Sir Alex’s paradise years
And found nothing but the charred
Remains and smoking debris
Of a burnt out United
On Sunday though
Moyes will assume an
East End hue
Claret and blue
Fencing swords with
Bielsa’s Leeds
Cavaliers, certainly
Not Roundheads
Oh what we’d give
For another Stratford
Concert of resounding
Trombones, tinkling
Of the ivories, glistening
Guitars of an FA Cup
Yes, there
Was Sir Trevor’s head
In 1980
When Dev revved,
Pike scampered
Like a terrier
And Pat Holland
Like a whippet
Hurrying here and there
To distances untold
Rolled down socks
With plenty to spare
Stamina personified
We can only hope
That the bridge of
42 years will be
Not become that
Daunting journey
From hell as well
So let’s just
Pull away from
And the Cup will
Be ours,
For John Lyall
Read David Moyes
A trophy in the
London Stadium
We can only hope
You never know

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Hornets stung by the Hammers.

Within the space
Of two days
Contrasting shades
And moods
Of claret and blue
On Boxing Day
The Saints were
Spreading virtue
And goodwill
Then it all came
For the team
Once known as
Thames Ironworks
Tumbled to defeat
To the Southampton
Chorale of saintly
Voices, who sung
For free on post
Christmas left
Overs, triumphing
In East London skies
Of wintry chills but
Returning naturally to
Snug homes in Solent
Bars of heady brews
Of winning away
But today the Hammers
Found joyous afternoons
Across the Watford
West Ham preached
The gospel at Vicarage
Road, but not
The Honeysuckle scented
Rectory, where Sunday
Sermons drift across
The lush lands of Hertfordshire
Today West Ham left
Behind their own
Victorious verses
Stronger than Watford
Who once boasted
The grandeur of Ross
Jenkins, Luther Blissett,
Nigel Callaghan and the
Peerless excellence
Of Graham Taylor
Defiantly long ball
But playing the game
In some thought to
Be monochrome ways
Effective though, punishing
Sleepy defences, then
Graham Taylor
Once led his England
And coached in his
Way, his mannerisms
But then in Hollland
And World Cup qualifiers
It all unravelled in grotesque
Channel 4
Caught out his anger
Those sharp words
Of rebuke and lecturing
Of linesmen
But Graham was fired up
A gentleman, through
And through
Galvanised, ready to
Present his England team
Until World Cup 1994
Became an American
Nightmare, no apple
Pie dreams in LA
Or New York skyscrapers
For Taylor’s wandering
And yet today
Claudio Ranieri
Who once lifted
The Premier League
Trophy for Leicester
Now finds himself
In troubled corners
And dark rooms
Sinister shadows
Of relegation but
If anybody can do
It, Ranieri can
Slowly but surely
Watford will
Reveal their peacock
Feathers and climb
To safety
Today though
Soucek, certainly
No Czech mate
Benrahma, with
Velvety touches,
Noble, ageless from
The penalty spot
And finally Vlasic
At the end, the
Rousing signature
Underlining the
Win in broad capitals
Among the Vicarage
The Irons
Settled the formalities
With the fourth
Those Hammers have
Ended the year
With their heads in the
Clouds, dancing the
Foxtrot to the early dawn
Nothing won yet
But trust in David
Moyes for he
Was the one
Who turned
Everything around
When others thought
Not, revolution
Incomplete, but labour
Of love, work in progress
Claret and blue be patient
It can still happen
We think

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Out of the Carabao Cup – but who cares?

The claret and blue regiment
West Ham with rather less
In the way of footballing
Once again bundled out of
The Carabao Cup
By the old enemy or
But still amusingly so
From across the northern
Waters of London’s
Geographical divide
Or the Littlewoods Cup,
The Milk Cup, the Marks
And Sparks, Poundland,
Tesco, Morrisons Cup
Whatever your choice
Of commercial emporium
A product of our times
And still a highly valued
Marketable commodity
Around the world
But no longer associated
With the old League Cup
Or perhaps that should read
The Alan Hardaker Cup
For he was the brainchild
The catalyst of this ludicrous
Anachronism, out of date
No longer applicable to
Anything as far as we
May be concerned
Just a pointless trophy
With little to recommend
To anybody in particular
Still the FA Cup’s distant
Cousin but not nearly as
Cherished, rather like
The consolation prize
And gold fish at the fair
But tonight West Ham
Bade farewell to
The League Cup
A meaningless reward
For hearty endeavours
And a place in Europe
We will certainly not lose
Any sleepless nights,
It’s a sham, an impostor
A fraud, nothing to write
Home about
No more than
A substitute for the real
Thing, a Wembley
date in March but
Still a trophy that
May only be mentioned
Fleetingly when the balance
Sheet at the end of the season
Registers your name
Carved for posterity
But lacking in value,
Or recognition by
Premier League
Bourgeoisie, the upper
Classes sniff and sneer
Disdainfully at its so
Called irrelevance
When compared to their
Their lofty station
At the top of the
Premier League
This after all was
The Cup that began
With Rochdale in the Final
When the Sixties began to
But then Liverpool, Man Utd
City, Spurs and the big
Hitters brought perspective
And reality to the table
And yet the Carabao Cup
It is a Thai energy drink
But intoxicating
Nonetheless for all
Its critics and sceptics
An alcoholic incentive
A day for dizzy, giddy
Heights in springtime
For social gadabouts
And roustabouts
Well oiled throats drink
From the foaming inebriation
In late March, a pint of your
Best, be it Spurs, Arsenal or
Chelsea to lift that precious
Piece of silverware
Be sure that West Ham
Have more pressing engagements
Europa Leagues and quite possibly
FA Cups to attend to, in the well
Heated cauldrons of the Premier
League’s business end
The Hammers are modest
Guests at more important
Parties, still impartial
Observers at the moment
Fifth on Boxing Day
In the Premier League’s
Highest tiers, a richly
Deserved position
In the pecking order
A notable achievement
So far
But the League Cup
Still has some way
To go
Before we
Its place in
The hierarchical sun

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Goal-less draw at Burnley for the Hammers

Oh for the gnashing of teeth
Claret and blue meet in
Identical colours
Turfmoor torture, though
For the London Stadium
Academy, where
Artistry and erudition
Remain the West Ham
But Burnley
They, at the
Heart of the game’s
The Industrial Revolution
When the belching smoke
Of chimneys and Lowry’s
Noisy factories
Joined forces with the
Striking cotton mills
Against charcoal skies
But today Burnley
Ground out the hard
Metal of a goal-less
Draw against the high fliers
Of East End who
Apparently should have
Won by a Lancashire country
Mile so that nearby Bolton,
Blackburn and Oldham
Should have heard the
Bubbles refrain,
Effervescent as the
Festive Jingle Bells
Roar from the assembled
Throng at the other end
Of Turfmoor
So we settle for the point
Although it could have been
More, woe but oh grateful
For small mercies
But Burnley
No longer the irresistible
Force of Leighton James,
Ray Hankin, Brian Flynn
and the sweet guile of Martin
Dobson, Andy Lochhead
All bulldog spirit, grit, greasy
Rags and oily cloths
That once painted a grey sky
Blue as the day when
They once won the old
First Division with that famous
1960s year of sugar and spice
Of football from planets
Far away, precise engineering
Without fault
But the Hammers are still fourth
With the right kind of tools,
Implements and instruments
Chisels and saws
That cut like butter
Through the Burnley
Brick wall that simply
Dulled the threat of
An East End foray
That might have
Poured its fragrant
Liquid into
A pot of gold
That Burnley simply
Stopped at source
A blank day at Turfmoor
But if only the claret and
Blue of London’s East End
Had soured the taste of claret
Of bullish Burnley
With its Lowry memories
Of old
March forward West Ham

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