Supporting West Ham is a family tradition for my family. My Dad was taken to a game as a child, and he was quick to introduce my Mum to the Boleyn Ground when they started courting. As such, she’s seen many players come and go.
Now, my mother isn’t one for hiding her feelings about players, even if they do play in the claret and lube. If she decides she doesn’t like someone, well that’s it, there isn’t much they can ever do to win her over. For example, she hated Ian Wright at Arsenal, absolutely hated him, and as such she never once celebrated one of his goals in a West Ham shirt. However, over the years a few select players have got through to her. Maybe not in quite the same way some other readers have appreciated them, but she definitely enjoyed watching them play.
The first player I can remember her discussing with Feature Mother Knows Best Words: Karen Mitchell some awe is Bobby Moore. Players have come and gone, rarely have they had the skill of our most famous son. However, according to my Mum, it was his legs that were the star turn. Even today she’ll let you know that she’s never seen a player with legs as good as Bobby.
It took many years for another player to come along that ranked alongside Bobby in my mother’s affections, but in the 1990s that wait ended with the signing of Tim Breacker. He was pretty much our first choice right back for most of that decade, but the appeal for Mum? His bum. Yep, his bum was decreed the best in a West Ham kit quite quickly, and I even purchased a mini figurine of Timmy just so Mum could have him in her kitchen (facing away from her of course).
You may already be regarding my mother as a woman of taste, or maybe a bit of an obsessive, but hey, long standing supporters sometimes need something to get through the 0-0 bore draws when it’s pouring down and you’re freezing to death. My Mum’s final, and some would say, all encompassing obsession didn’t appear until 1999, perhaps filling the void left by Timmy’s transfer to QPR. The one and only Paolo Di Canio. He sparked something quite scary in my Mum, she adored him when he played for us, and still does.
As she is no longer a season ticket holder, and due to the youngish age of our current squad, she doesn’t have a current favourite – she remains loyal to Paolo, and is probably waiting for him to return as manager, sooner rather than later.