In 2015, I started up The West Ham Way with little clue as to what I was doing and where it would all lead to. From the initial website, we now have a YouTube channel, our patreon, our podcast and our events amongst many other things.
One of the podcasts we do is called our Extra Time Show and we have recorded 101 of these shows. It is on this show that we interview ex-players, coaches and celebrity fans. Our first ever one was with Trevor Brooking and we have interviewed the likes of James Collins, Alan Taylor, Harry Redknapp, Alessandro Diamanti, Valon Behrami and Sebastian Schemmel amongst many others.
We have also hosted 63 pre-match events with ex-players too. This is one of my favourite parts of doing what I do, getting to know the ex-players and chatting to them about their careers. Sometimes it doesn’t all go plain sailing. I’ve still got 25 prepared questions for three players written out that have not turned up for scheduled interviews including one player who has stood us up three times now.
Although if I told you who the player was, his record at West Ham would suggest this is a trait of his. There is also a lot of chasing of players that has to happen sometimes and also a lot of time goes into the research of the questions.
The majority of players are so willing to do it and the whole process is very smooth, but there are some that are hard work and don’t communicate back and there are others that just seem to have vanished from the face of the earth and are untraceable.
One such player is Danny Williamson. I would love to interview him. One of the first players I can remember breaking through the Academy and scorer of one great goal away at Bolton.
Last evidence of existence, according to Wikipedia, is that he ran a property company in Brentwood. I’ve asked around but no ex-players seem to have a contact for him either. Of course there are players like Di Canio and Billy Bonds who I would love to interview and haven’t yet but sometimes the players who are not as high profile tell the greatest stories.
Take Samassi Abou for example. I think his story and reaction to that chant would be interesting. Rumours suggest he is a taxi driver in London now but I think they have since been denied. I think Manny Omoyinmi would also be interesting. To hear his take on the whole cup fiasco, when he was cup tied and shouldn’t have played but did.
He also scored two goals in a game away at Palace but didn’t achieve much else in his career. I have searched the usual places and there is no trace to be found of this player either. I’ve been very close to tracking Marc Rieper down, mostly down to our Conference League games in Denmark this year. The Great Dane apparently runs a bar in Aarhus, where we stayed but we never did quite track him down but I don’t think we are far off.
We have had contact with Nigel Reo Coker but never managed to convince him to do a podcast either. I think he would offer a great insight into that time at the club and his relationship with the fans.
We have interviewed pretty much all of that FA Cup Final team aside from him, Bobby Zamora and, dare I say it, Scaloni but as Argentina’s current manager, I don’t think our chances are great. One player though who would surely be the most bizarre to interview is our former German under 20 international Savio, signed for a club record fee, played 10 games, staged his own kidnap where he tried to get a ransom out of his own family, is still 33 and playing football back in Germany.
There are so many players that are still out there to track down and interview. If anyone has any contacts they could provide, please get in touch at Twitter. If you wish to hear any of these previous interviews then please sign up for our patreon where all 101 our available to listen to. Matthew Upson is our latest one where he talks very openly about his time at the club.