Article for West Ham fanzine Over Land & Sea... 5 Live Political pundit Iain Dale says the BBC is riddled with Hammers fans and the media can’t get enough of us.
We West Ham fans are a bit like the Tories - we think everyone's against us. We even think the media's biased in favour of everyone but us. Wrong. You'd be amazed at how many of our national newspaper journalists are Hammers fans. I present the odd programme on Radio 5 Live and you can rest assured that their sportsroom is riddled with West Ham nuts. Fi Glover, who presents the Late Night Show is a regular at Upton Park as is her Sports co-presenter David Croft. The producers of Nicky Campbell and Sunday Service are both season ticket holders. I've brought Breakfast Show presenter Shelagh Fogarty along to a few games and despite her support for Liverpool she readily admits we deserved to thrash them. She's now adopted us as her second team. She used to come to ogle Stuart Pearce’s thighs rather than enjoy the quality of our passing game. But she has grown strangely addicted to listening to the comments of "Shouting Boy" whose screaming commentary in Row G of the Upper East Stand we shall now miss as we move over to the delights of the new West Stand. "Oi, Keown, why do you look like a f**cking money?" is by one of the more treasured we shall take with us.
I also remember fondly the first time Juliette Morris (ex of BBC Breakfast Time) presented Sunday Service and accused Charlie Whelan of being a West Ham fan. For once the ex New Labour spin doctor and Tottscum addict was lost for words. But she got her come-uppance. The next week I was co-presenting with her and Charlie so I presented her with a West Ham garter. To her credit she slipped it up her leg and flashed in front of the webcam. The nation has never been the same since. And now Times journalist and Sunday Service regular Andrew Pierce, who knows nothing about football and hates it even more, has pledged to go to a Premiership game in 2002. I make it my mission to convert people to the Upton Park cause, so I need to get him here before Charlie Whelan lures him to the devil’s sanctuary of White Hart Lane.
In fact, West Ham’s support in the current affairs world is far higher than many might expect. Britain’s most eminent political academic, Professor Peter Hennessy is a Bobby Moore Season Ticket holder as is The Independent’s political correspondent Nigel Morris in the East Upper. LBC presenter Steve Jones is a long time fan and we hardly need reminding that Jeremy Nicholas of Talk Sport is our stadium DJ. Matt Lorenzo of Sky, Jim Munro of the Sunday Times and Rob Shepherd of the Star are all West Ham affcionados. Former BBC Political Editor John Cole is ‘hondootedly’ a Hammers fan as is the political editor of the Mail on Sunday Simon Walters. Even in the House of Commons West Ham have a number of followers, including Labour’s Frank Dobson and Mike Gapes.
So we’re not alone. It only seems like it sometimes.