What a pleasure it is to bring you a good news story this morning, something uplifting. On Saturday afternoon, West Ham entertained Manchester City, but a substantial number of City’s ticket allocation was not taken up. So the West Ham board, which includes the lovely Karen Brady, decided to give the spare tickets, free of charge, to some “locals” who were not usually habituated to visiting the ground each week. The “locals” took up the offer and came along to Upton Park where they dutifully cheered for Manchester City and entertained regular supporters by dropping to their knees for prayers at half time. You can only imagine how delighted the West Ham supporters were by this show of generosity and indeed the way in which it was repaid. They, of course, paid extortionate sums for their own tickets, much as they have been for 120 years. (Well, actually, you don’t really need to imagine – they’ve been talking about it on their fan forum message boards all morning and their joy is so effusive I thought it might all be a little too much to quote here).
I put “locals” in quotation marks but this was probably wrong of me; because let’s face it, they are the locals in that particular neck of the woods (as supporters of my own team, Millwall, respectfully point out whenever we play them, in words which might not entirely be in keeping with the spirit of the “Kick It Out” campaign). So perhaps Ms Brady et al should do more to embrace these neophyte Irons – prayer mats and halal pies would be a start. I wonder what my mate and colleague Jeremy Clarke, an Iron himself, thinks of this idea?