Last nights game marked the 20th Anniversary of the passing of hammers legend Bobby Moore who lost his life to bowel cancer and the young age of just 51.
544 games for the Hammers, 1 FA Cup, 1 ECWC, 1 World Cup with England – and the only Englishman – to date – to lift the trophy for the country.
A huge wave of emotion swept over the Boleyn – scarves tied, shirts hung with the retired number 6 on the back. Many tell of how they saw him play standing on the terraces, and how he was just the most majestic footballer that graced Upton Park. Tributes everywhere, from FIFA to those posted on Farcebook.
As much as I have claret and blue running through me, I just cannot relate to the player at all. I only started properly attending the Boleyn from 1993 onwards, and was not brought up as a Hammer – so in effect I am the first generation Hammer from my family.
Therefore, I was brought up watching the likes of Dicks, Di Canio, Hartson, Pearce, Rio, JC, Fat Frank, Kanoute, Wanchope – the list could go on…..I can relate to all these players – I have seen them at some stage at the Boleyn up front. I can relate to the wins and for some, I give legend status – the likes of PDC and Stuart Pearce I have HUGE regard and respect for as I saw what they did for the club.
Of course, Bobby Moore did the same and helped win silverware and propel West Ham on to the world stage. For that piece of history, I acknowledge and fully respect his part of what he did. No question or doubt there.
But I never got to see him play – I never was given the history of the Hammers and what his role was, so therefore I cannot relate to the emotion and sentiment that comes with each anniversary. It is just the loss of a great Hammer for me to a horrible disease.
And it would be the same for any past Hammers prior to the time that I started watching them – the personal connection is not there so thus hard to relate to.
I am sure that my little one would feel exactly the same in 20 years time – he will have never seen PDC play, yet his old man (me) will rave on about the 5-4 victory against Bradford, his madness and how Harry Redknapp turned him from maverick nutjob at Sheff Weds into my legend at West Ham. There will be new heroes for him to revere, but I believe it will be my duty to tell him as well about the legends of old – Vic Watson, Geoff Hurst, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking – and of course, Bobby Moore and their contribution to the Hammers cause.
I know that this might be a bit of a controversial post, and people say I am not 100% Hammer. Far from it. Each generation has their own legends. Yesterday was a day for celebrating the life and achievement of one Bobby Moore who gave so much to the club. Yet, I just cannot relate or feel passionate about it. Don’t ask me why.