Saturday, 17 February 2007

Hammers Impervious To Gerbils And Mysticism

Losing toes and supporting Wigan are all worthwhile sacrifices in return for West Ham's Premiership survival
By Russell Brand

In the book Fever Pitch Nick Hornby articulates the commonly held belief that there is some mystical corollary between the events in a football fan's life and the fortunes of the club that they follow. Most football fans will have at some time in their life bartered with an indifferent God over the outcome of a match; offering to trade opportunities or endure penance if only their team can get a result in return. I know I have. I would have merrily snuffed out the wiggly existence of every gerbil I owned to prolong either of Frank McAvennie's twin tenures at West Ham.

Last season whilst quivering with girly nerves in Cardiff as the Hammers played penalty-spot lotto with Liverpool in the Cup final I contemplated what I'd be prepared to relinquish, in that moment, if only Anton Ferdinand could score. I were quite prepared to forgo saucy encounters and flattery for a month, I bargained if the ball were true and our Cup adventure were not ignobly curtailed I'd even relinquish a toe. Yes, a little toe from either foot. They look like they're being phased out by evolution anyway so it'd be an honour to swap one in return for a West Ham triumph in the Cup with a benevolent yet barmy God. Reina saved it. My toe remains, and the celestial white elephant stall where the spoils from these preposterous trades must end up was robbed of a bit of futile toot.

To people who don't follow football this twittish creed must seem right daft and I suppose it is, to force a relation-ship in your tiny mind betwixt your own life and the utterly abstract transpirings of 11 fellas in a field is loopy. Loopy, but forgivable when in a heightened emo-tional state you make these dizzy pleas, surrounded by others all willing for the same outcome, perhaps offering up dig-its of their own. Under those conditions 'tis understandable. But when last week I read in the Observer, scratched out by the inky talons of some irrelevant nerd that I, me, Russell were culpable for the dim fortunes of West Ham I was simultaneously both baffled and cross.

The nit in question suggested that West Ham's dwindling form and shameful results and my own recent success were oddly entwined, like I were a gluttonous conjoined twin to the club sucking up its nourishment to better present digital TV shows. Obviously, a simile this colourful was not employed to convey the vindictive point; the snickering hack just cobbled together clich├ęs and puns and scurried off back to his nest to feast upon his own grunts and coax another voyeuristic squirt from his busy nib. As I'm a spiritual man (I say Hare Krishna as often as possible, sometimes even when I'm not being filmed) I'll offer the chap naught but love and consider returning to a life of self-destruction on the off chance that he's right and my ascendance is compromising West Ham's dwindling chance of survival.

West Ham lost to Watford perhaps not because of the tangible lack of good will between Alan Curbishley and senior players but because a few days later I was to host the Brits without any bother. Maybe Ferdinand's Bentley's window wasn't smashed out of impotent frustration by a misguided fan but because I myself on the very same day happened upon a shiny, new sixpence whilst shovelling snow.

The article, a review of the West Ham v Watford game, also implied that I should transfer allegiance to Wigan in order to avert this imagined phenomenon. Though my claret is tinged with blue I'll make the switch if it keeps us up. I'll worship Paul Jewell and stalk Emile Heskey whilst reading Orwell and guzzling pies, I'll do whatever it takes to avoid a Championship tour.

There are still 33 points to be had starting with three at The Valley as we take on Pards' Charlton next week and I've still got 10 toes. I'll do the voodoo if that'll help, what'll you do?

Guardian column

1 comment:

westhamlet said...

Wigan Athletic 1 - 0 Newcastle United

Could it get any worse?


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