It’s that time of year when those Elves up in Lapland are put to task by the big man in the red suit to get presents ready for all you good boys and girls and maybe the odd naughty one. No doubt there just might be the temptation to put on that Santa list the odd West Ham related gift and there are plenty to choose from.
I come from an era where, if you were lucky, the old portacabins in front of the West Stand at the Boleyn had the odd bit of merchandise and if you were lucky it was in your size, extra small for me in those days. So which are the best buys and the worst? Let’s start with the ones to maybe avoid. First off is the West Ham official calendar.
I can never understand people buying this one as it almost immediately becomes “dated” in that by the time you reach half way through the year most of the players have already left the club or have not featured. Take last year’s calendar, the March pin-up of the month, Andre Ayew, had already left the club and if you have the 2018 version still up on your wall you will see a certain Winston Reid looking down on you, remember him?
So what has the 2019 version to offer, January starts off with Antonio and March with Chicharito both of whom are rumoured to be wearing different colours come the transfer window. No doubt a best seller will be an official game shirt. I remember the days when shirts changed every two years but not any more and at the extortionate price of around £70, a shirt it doesn’t come cheap.
I would suggest telling little Johnny and little Janet that the elves lost their thimbles to Thumbelina and are unable to sow those shirts together and then buy in March or April when invariably shirts are always reduced.
So why not buy that gold shiny Snake design make up bag for your loved one? I have a feeling that if I bought that for my other half there might be no Christmas lunch forthcoming!
Next up on my list is the gnomes but one in particular, I give you the flashing gnome. Well it might not be officially called that but it’s a gnome with-outstretched arms revealing what’s underneath his raincoat, thankfully it’s a West Ham kit. My final worst to first has to be around the written word, and it’s a real toss up between two publications.
The first is a subscription to the official West Ham programme. Now this is pretty expensive and will set you back in the region of £70, a bit pricey for a publication that is very much one that tows the company line.
The other is Baroness Brady’s autobiography ‘Strong Woman’ now published in paperback. Now I’ve read this one mainly in the hope I would change my opinion on our Karren with two R’s but sadly it did not, in fact it hardened my opinion.
So let’s get on to the good stuff. Now I love the written word and I know I might be slightly biased but a subscription to this publication would be a great gift for the self-confessed West Ham nut. And why not couple this with a few other publications from our very own Brian Williams (no relation).
His books Nearly Reach the Sky and Home from Home are certainly worth a read as is Robert Bank’s latest instalment Irrational Hatred of Everything.
So what else is there out there? Well a clear winner would be another stocking filler and that’s the West Ham sweet range at £3 a tub, from milk bottles to wine gums they are all available and a far better buy than the pick and mix at the London Stadium which at £2.20 per 100g is dearer than the price of fillet steak at your local supermarket. Those £3 tubs are a bargain in comparison to pick n mix that’s unless you like marshmallows which you get more for your money than if you chose boiled sweet.
Another great gift which may become really pricey is a collection of soccerstarz figurines, which are the mini plastic caricature figurines of various players.
A collection of these will result in hours of post Christmas lunch fun. All you need is a roll of tape to cover over the names and you can play guess the player as often they never quite look like the players they are made to represent. Alternatively, how about purchasing the board game Football Billionaire? This is quoted as being ‘the fast moving high football trading game’ where you can become ‘the wealthiest most successful football club owner ever’.
You too can become David Sullivan or David Gold. I can just imagine those two playing it in the board room on Boxing Day with the Baroness acting as banker, not for the faint hearted. And finally the moment you are all waiting for, if you have stuck with me, that final top five entry.
I have to admit it was a toss up between two items. The first was the Ultimate West Ham Stand which in all honesty may look impressive but I haven’t a clue what you do with it but in the end I plumped for the West Ham wooden Hammer. This is an actual hammer with the words West Ham printed on its wooden body. A must have for all those budding DIY enthusiasts out there, a gift that just keeps on giving.