‘There was a riot in the park as we were led back to the station’

KUMB editor Graeme Howlett on his personal highs and lows following the Irons

First West Ham game February 1976: West Ham Utd 1-2 Derby – Lyall’s side undone by the collective genius of Bruce Rioch and Charlie George. We ended the season as losing finalists in the European Cup Winners Cup.

Favourite West Ham game I still smile when recalling the crazy 1999 League Cup quarter final tie against Aston Villa which was subsequently struck from the records due to Manny Omoyinmi’s forgetfulness – and the cheers from our fans for Euro ‘96 fall guy Gareth Southgate as he stepped up to take a penalty in the shootout (which, naturally, he missed). I’ve rarely seen us play better than the Ince-inspired 4-1 Littlewoods Cup defeat of Liverpool in November 1988.

Worst West Ham game Impossible to pin it down to just the one – I’d like to nominate the entire Avram Grant season.

Favourite West Ham goal Keith Robson’s screamer against Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1976 ECWC semi final, second leg – given its importance at the time was sensational.

Favourite West Ham player of all time My idol, Sir Trevor Brooking CBE. I wore his number 10 replica shirt as a boy and was lucky enough to interview him at length many years later. A true gentlemen.

Favourite player from the current squad I’ve always liked Adrian as he personifies the club perfectly – often erratic, occasionally brilliant.

Best opposition player you’ve seen play against us We’ve been fortunate to watch many of the world’s best players at The Boleyn in recent years, it’s tough to pick one from those. Shevchenko maybe? Beckham? Henry perhaps? All amazing players. So I’ll plump instead for my guilty pleasure, the criminally-underrated George Boyd who’s plying his trade at Sheffield Wednesday today.

Best team you’ve ever seen play against us The stock answer here would probably be Dinamo Tbilisi for their performance in the first leg of our 3rd round ECWC tie in 1981, but that was a one-off (we even won the second leg). I think you’d have to go some to beat the all-conquering Liverpool team of the early 1980s that we took to a replay in the 1981 League Cup Final.

Favourite away day Away to Coventry, Highfield Road, November 1988. The game ended 0-0, thick fog restricted the view to the halfway line, one of our number got hit in the face by a steaming hot pie hurled from the home section and there was a riot in the nearby park as we were being marched back to the station post-match to meet the ‘football express’ (a shell of a train with broken windows). Glorious.

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