Friday, 6 June 2014

Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio ...

The deadline for renewing my season ticket has passed and my bank account is not £800 lighter. This means that for the first time in four years – the four years in which I have written this blog – I am no longer a West Ham season-ticket holder. As entertaining as the ramblings of an armchair supporter might be, I do not wish to be that person. Like Frank McAvennie, I want to go out on a high.

It was in the weeks after the previous World Cup that I scoured the internet trying to find a decent West Ham blog to follow. When my search proved fruitless, I decided to do it myself. I didn’t expect to last the season, let alone four years.

Since then, it feels like a week hasn’t passed without a new West Ham blog appearing. Some, but not many, are quite good. Iron Views is very innovative and I admire Liam’s entrepreneurship. By contrast, Love in the Time of Collison was always supposed to be a bit niche. It was aimed at those people who had the patience to read 1,000 words that they did not necessarily agree with. In this respect I like to think the blog retained a certain USP.

It is not that I ever played devil’s advocate, but I was determined to avoid stating the obvious, sitting on the fence or parroting what the rest of Twitter had to say. This was perhaps best exemplified by my refusal to participate in and promote a poll on Sam Allardyce which I deemed to be counter-productive.

What I will miss most is the pleasure of writing about my experience of following the club I love. Relegation in 2011 was hard but Avram’s incompetence gave me plenty of material. Life in the Championship reacquainted us with the sensation of success and of Wembley. Two years back in the Premier League has at times felt like a slog but it has produced some truly memorable moments. Some people scoff at the club producing a mug to commemorate three wins over Spurs in one season. I would argue a mug has never been made for a worthier cause.

And so to the thank yous.

Thanks to Steve Mawhinney, an early adopter who deemed my blog worthy of regularly sharing with his followers. It was a great source of encouragement to have people such as Steve and others from the real world of media – Jacob Steinberg, Piers Newbery, Nigel Morris, Ben Lyttleton, Kieran Long – following me.

Thanks to Sean Whetstone for sharing every blog with his 17,000 followers. This was vital in allowing my blog to gain traction.

Massive thanks to Chris, James and Graeme at KUMB for inviting me on to the KUMB podcast. We are lucky to have people in our ranks who can produce such quality output.

And thanks to these people for simply being great fun to interact with – Andi, Ben, Joe, Big George (aka @andilikesmash@twistandshout, @Joseph100200 and @SGFMann) and everyone else I have followed (of which there were not that many, so do feel honoured).

Someone I followed but who never followed back also deserves a thank you – David Gold. You only have to look at the worries of fans in Cardiff, Leeds and Hull to remember how murky the world of football ownership is. You don’t have to agree with everything your owners do to appreciate you’re luckier than most. I had the pleasure of meeting him once. He is sincere and a gentleman.

Special thanks to When Saturday Comes for publishing my work both online and in print.

Thank you to the Collison brigade – Alfie, Carly and co – for following. Your brother will be missed by everyone at West Ham.

But most of all thanks to everyone who enjoyed reading the blog.