West Ham United 4 AEK Larnaca 0 (Aggregate 6-0) Europa Conference League Round of 16 2nd Leg Thursday 16th March 2023

Bowen Brace Sends Hammers Comfortably Through to ECL Quarter Finals

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Life is always throwing curve balls, some you can duck others catch you square on the chin and you step back and try to find your footing before moving on. My recent curve ball was the mediation meeting between us residents of Clare House, heartlessly decanted in such a chaotic and deliberately careless way that the impact has had a lasting mental and physical impact, and Clarion Housing who seem to have gotten away with treating its residents with contempt. 

I am bound by confidentiality clause to reveal any details of the process, but suffice to say we won a pyrrhic victory with compensation but not a real apology for how Clarion’s behaviour, not just in the decant, but before and since that many residents have said has actually changed them as a people. I have been supporting residents as best I can and prepared a long and detailed statement for the start of the mediation  meeting that laid bare what Clarion had done followed by residents own stories – absolutely harrowing stories that show how the whole process has affected us.

The reason I mention all of this is both cathartic and a realisation how difficult it has been to get back to some normality. I’m just finding it hard to be motivated like I used to be and those things I enjoyed before have been difficult to maintain. I’m grateful to have hobbies that occupy my time when I need a distraction, but its been a struggle to maintain some of that routine during these curve ball moments. But I finally managed to sit and edit the photos from our comfortable victory against AEK and to reflect that things will get better over time. I can see little sprouts of hope for the future to show that a new Spring is dawning for me and my family. Timely really.

So, to the match and it was a strange evening, the atmosphere reflected by the fact that attendance was low, the train drivers strike probably kept quite a few fans away. But to be honest it was quite a boring match! Imagine saying that after thumping the visitors 4-0! As the first half progressed it felt as if it was going to be one of those nights where we just mange to get the job done. As it happens, we are now favourites to win a competition that has provided us with some welcome distraction from our poor league form.

Bowen’s brace at the beginning of the second half should not over shadow Scamacca’s scoring our first goal on the night, bringing his total for the season so far to 8, with help from Larnaca’s Bosnian keeper Piric letting the ball roll under him into the net. The game needed a goal and this was followed by a disallowed goal from Scamacca and for the visitors before Gustavo Ledes was shown a red card for a very poor challenge on Fornals, after the VAR check upgraded the original yellow card.

We went into the break 1-0 and with AEK down to 10 men, surely Moyes would say to the team ‘There’s no way back for them now – just go and play and enjoy the match’ And enjoy the match Bowen did with two great goals less than 5 mins after the restart. Scamacca’s shot, parried by Piric, fell to Bowen to drive home. Then his wonderful looping header from Cresswell’s cross to take the tie beyond the struggling visitors. Bowen admits he hasn’t done enough to get into the England squad for the upcoming Euro ’24 qualifiers, but says “It’s not about getting in squads, it’s about playing my ‘A’ game, finishing strongly and going again next season.” Definitely and more of what he showed here please to help us lift our way out of the relegation zone in the coming weeks.

Cue some earlier than expected substitutions with Bowen, Paqueta and surprisingly Scamacca making way for Mubama, Cornet and Ings. Rumours have been circulating about Scamacca and a possible move away from the London Stadium this summer but he was certainly in a a good mood, no doubt boosted by his goal and assist, as he came off and chatted away on the bench to Benrahma. 

And what a treat to see the young local lad Divin Mubama scoring his first goal in only his third senior appearance. Divin, 18 years old, has been with the club since he was 8 and it was wonderful to see him do well. A great opportunity to show what we can expect from him in seasons to come.

Two more prospects in Laing and Potts, who has been compared to Rice, who is son of legendary Hammers defender Steve, made their appearance as the Hammers comfortably saw out the victory to send us through to the next round where we meet KAA Gent, who sit fourth in the Belgian Pro League. 

Clearly pleased to be able to play some of our academy players Moyes said “It’s great when you give players the opportunity to play,” 

“Becoming a professional player is really difficult and you’ve dedicated your career since eight or nine years old to get to this level.”

“Divin, with his energy and running, excites every time and Levi [Laing] and Pottsy [Freddie Potts] also came on.”

“Hopefully it inspires the rest of the academy that if you’re good enough you will get your chance.”

Let’s hope so too. The U18’s are on the verge of winning U18 Premier League South Division as well as a FA Semi Final against Southampton in the Youth Cup. Exciting times ahead for the club? Well, let’s see the senior team get out of the relegation zone then maybe we can see some hope for the future, although a Europa League Final wouldn’t be bad shout either. As long as we don’t get anymore curve balls coming our way to derail us even more. Relegation? No, we got this. Spring is here and hope is in the air.

Take care everyone and hope you enjoy my photos from the match.


West Ham United 4 Nottingham Forest 0 25th February 2023

Ings Brace Helps Hammers Sink Toothless Forest at London Stadium

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all safe and well.

Apologies for the delay in posting this up, I have had a difficult week with my health which has had me hitting the sack much early in the evening than normal. Getting back to myself but still feeling winded as if I’ve done battle with Kang the Conquerer! 

What a match at the London Stadium we were treated to and I was really looking forward to it, hoping we would send Lingard packing with a thrashing, who was given the reception he deserved before and after coming on to replace Wood in the later stages of the match.

I was told this before the game that someone had recently given up their season ticket and instead take their son to watch Grays Athletic play in Isthmian League North Division and play at Parkside in nearby Aveley – they don’t even have their own ground! I am familiar with both Grass and Averley as I used to play at their grounds myself in a youth team back in the day. Well. I’m sure they were checking this result out!

After a forgettable first half Ings was the difference between the sides in just 3 second half minutes where we were treated to 2 cracking goals and surely shows us what we have been missing this season up front. At half time one fan was screaming this was the worst team he has seen play for a generation shouting out how rubbish we are. Well, whatever they put in the half time drink put wind in our sails and there was only one team in it once Ings scored his two goals. Worth every penny of the £15m transfer fee from Villa.

To be fair, Forest have been woeful away from home with only 3 gaols all season, and you can see why. They offered very little throughout the match and apart from a stunning finger tip save from Areola, our keepers were rarely troubled.

The pressure we applied in the second half showed as Ings passed to Bowen and ran into the area to get a foot onto the wingers pass into the net and send the crowd into full voice. Relief was palpable and expectation high as we continued to apply pressure and Forest buckled again. Said Benrahma’s ball into the box was bundled over by the predatory Ings to lift the crowd further and raise the roof. This was unexpected but welcomed and the mood in the house was celebratory – songs of ‘Jessie, what’s the score?’ taunted Lingered as he warmed up only to get on the filed and see a stunning goal by Rice a few minutes later from the edge of the box – victory assured.

Antonio, Lanzini and Fornals came on to replace MOM Ings, Paqueta and Benrahma to see out the game along with Antonio scoring his first goal since October. The party atmosphere swept around the stadium and the team had finally showed what they can achieve on the pitch and have us dreaming of bubbles flying high again.

Lets hope for more of the same in the League so we can finally breath a bit. Its never easy following the Hammers, but give up my season ticket I will not! You never know what you will get and that’s a bit exciting. 

Enjoy my photos from the match as we look forward to hosting Villa on the 12th March before taking on AEK Larnaca in the round of 16 second leg of Europa Conference League. Much better that watching Grays Athletic!

Take care 


West Ham United 1 Chelsea 1 Saturday 11th February 2023

Hammers Battle For Another Draw to Frustrate Chelsea

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Well that was a game and half to watch! One we could have lost in the first 30mins but ended up nearly winning in the end. And surely Soucek’s handball in the area was fortunate not to be given to the visitors to seal an undeserved win.

Talk surely divides between continued injuries to key players with both Paqueta and Aguerd and whether we have finally turned a corner. And what’s with this totally switched off style of play at the start of matches? Chelsea had the lions share of the play at the start of the game and were almost out of touch within the opening minutes – it felt like the Newcastle game all over again. 

Joao Felix scored after having a previous goal ruled out for offside before Kai Havertz had doubled Chelsea’s lead until it was ruled out again! VAR and linesman saving the day but serious concerns with how easy it has been for teams to get at us in the opening stages of matches.

As with the Newcastle game previously, we grew into the match and despite Chelsea having a massive 72% we still looked in the game with some excellent performances from Emerson, who was a good shout for man of the match, and Rice in midfield. Indeed it was Emerson who popped up to score the equaliser after Coufal’s excellent cross was headed on by Bowen. Emerson didn’t celebrate scoring against his old club where he spent 4 years.

Fabianski was excellent in goal pulling off some great saves and commanding his box and Bowen was also lively down the right and around the area working well with Coufal, who seems to have found some form and looking more like his old self.

Paqueta had put in one of his better performances until he was substituted with a shoulder injury. He clearly looked in pain and was finally taken off after slumping to the ground. It’s so frustrating seeing so many new signing taking to the treatment room when we need to be battling our way out of the relegation zone. We now have an anxious wait for when these players are likely to return.

We still have a lot to look forward to with FA Cup and Europa Conference League matches to come, but our climb away from the relegation zone is likely to be a stuttering one, and we will always be looking for results from those teams around us. Not an ideal situation, but the last two games have shown we have players who are prepared to fight. 

It was touching to see Jack Leslie’s family and members of the Jack Leslie Campaign receive a bronze maquette of his statue that stands outside Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park Stadium and celebrate Jack’s induction into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame. The FA has awarded Jack a posthumous honorary England cap, 97 years after his original call up. The Jack Leslie Campaign was set up by Plymouth fans Matt Tiller and Greg Foxsworth in 2020 to celebrate Jacks career that spanned 14 seasons at Argyle. Jack also played for Barking Town scoring more than 250 goals and helping them to win the Essex Senior Cup in 1920. Jack retired in 1935 and became a member of the backroom staff at West Ham when he was offered he job by Ron Greenwood.

Take care everyone and I hope you enjoy my photos of the match.


Back to the Future Part 4

West Ham United 2 Sevilla 0 (Aggregate 2-1) Europa League Round of 16

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Holding on as we did against an in form Newcastle on Saturday 4th February felt as if the tide has turned with some excellent performances across the pitch. 1-0 within the first few minutes after a shocking lapse of concentration felt like a punch in the gut but the team rallied and grew into the match and held on despite some late pressure.

Well, let’s buckle up take our Delorean time machine back to Thursday 17th March 2022 when we hosted Sevilla in the last 16 of the Europa League, 1-0 down front he first leg, a mountain to climb it seemed, but the atmosphere was perfect for a most famous comeback.

My focus in the photos below is that fantastic goal scored by Yarmolenko after Fornals had shot from the edge of the box and Sevilla’s goalkeeper Bono spilled the ball into the path of Yarmolenko who, cool as you like, taps the ball into the net deep into extra time.

The noise and shear emotion of the crowd and the team going wild once the ball stretched the back of the net to secure a 2-0 victory was breathtaking. Yarmolenko had returned the week before from compassionate leave to score against Aston Villa and topped it off by sending us into the next round of the Europa League.

Our form was starting to falter a little, but who would have wanted to be drawn against us in the Quarter Finals? We had attacked this competition and deserved our place after struggling away in the first leg. 

“We were massive,” Moyes said. “We played with great passion. It’s not just Yarmolenko. It was the team. His message and his name will be heard all round Europe. But the story is not just about Yarmolenko. The story was about West Ham.”

And what a team performance, Antonio tirelessly running channels, Rice imperious in midfield, Zouma and Dawson massive in defence and Johnson who kept Antony Martial quiet before he was taken off at half time.

Soucek’s headed goal set up for a tense second half and just when you thought the game would go to penalties in extra time, Yarmolenko was there to send the Hammers through and round off one of the most amazing nights under the lights at London Stadium.

Enjoy the photos and memories from the match.

Take care


West Ham United 2 Everton 0 21st January 2023

Bowen celebrates expecting twins with two goals to lift Hammers out of relegation zone

Hope everyone is safe and well. 

Well, just when I was thinking I’ll need to keep up with my Back to the Future series, Bowen hits some form with two well taken goals that pile pressure on Lampard and keeps the Toffees 19th in the Premier League. On this form, and given their lack of goals relegation is looking increasingly likely for the beleaguered club.

Everton fans showed their anger at the end of the match with banners saying To Hell With Kenwright and Moshiri – who attended his first game for 14 months with the other directors, after they were advised to miss the previous match due to fears for their safety. And despite their possession, Everton never looked like scoring and the players frustration was visible at the end of the match.

West Ham said farewell to David Gold, a life long Hammer, with a respectful tribute to the joint chairman who was born in the shadow of Upton Park and even played for the youth team as a promising youngster between the ages of 13 and 16. Mark Noble, newly appointed sporting director, laid a wreath with Gold’s daughters as fans watched a video of David Gold talking about his life.

It was a fitting farewell, received with applause from a packed stadium before a match that was set up to decide the futures of two managers and the tension was there as the teams ran out onto the pitch – honestly I couldn’t call which way this game was going to go. 

In early exchanges the crowd were unforgiving demanding a reaction for the Hammers from last weeks hugely disappointing result, and what they wanted was a team fighting for the ball, digging in and going all out for a win. Movement, passing and probing forward to get into those spaces and whip in balls to set up chances to score. 

Defensively the team were determined and held their nerve as the Toffees had the lion’s share of possession but with very little to show for it. Then we have two wonderful goals to feast on to give the Hammers their first league win in 3 months. Despite a VAR check for offside, Bowen’s first goal came from a Kurt Zouma header that knocked the ball past Jordan Pickford for Bowen to put home his first goal in 12 games. Cue celebrations from the stands as Bowen grabs the ball and puts it up his shirt as he runs to the crowd with both thumbs in his mouth.

7 minutes later we have another as Antonio races down the right wing, through Tarkowski’s diving tackle to deliver a low cross for the advancing Bowen to hit home from close range. Alex Iwobi came close later on in the half to pulling one back, but the Hammers had chances of their own to increase the lead, most tantalising being Declan Rice’s shot rolling inches outside of the post in the later stages of the game. 

The Hammers were in no mood to give in and held out for a well deserved win, with Moyes highlighting “The only difference between this and the other performances was scoring two goals.” Let’s hope this is the start of a run of form that sees us climb up the table and away from the drop zone, because we are not out of danger yet. The win sees Moyes back to work this week, but the jury is still out regarding whether we need to change managers as yet. Time is running out on that but with this performance we may start to see some positive results in the coming weeks.

Enjoy the photos from the game.

Take care everyone