The past dozen years have provided an unprecedented rollercoaster ride for West Ham United, both on and off the pitch, and Kirk Blows tells the tale in his new book Hammer Blows.
Since 2001, the Hammers have recruited six managers, had four different owners, played in three winner-takes-all play-off finals, enjoyed two promotions (having endured two relegations) and starred in an all-time classic FA Cup final – and that only begins to tell the dramatic story of life at Upton Park over recent years, which has been a real East End soap opera.
There’s rarely been a dull moment, with the Hammers fighting to retain their place among football’s elite while experiencing fluctuating financial fortunes – not least due to the collapse of chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson’s banking empire and the controversial Carlos Tevez saga – before current owners David Sullivan and David Gold saved the club from going bust, won the keys to play at the Olympic Stadium from 2016 and returned the team to the Premier League at the first attempt under manager Sam Allardyce.
Former Hammers News editor Blows has been there every step of the way as a weekly columnist for the East London Advertiser and Barking & Dagenham Post newspapers, offering hard-hitting, opinionated analysis of events, while both campaigning and complaining on all the topical issues with an obligatory gallows humour.
Supplemented by reflections and observations from the present day and a foreword by former West Ham star Julian Dick, these columns now offer an alternative recent history of the club.
Looking back on the managerial reigns of Allardyce, Avram Grant, Gianfranco Zola, Alan Curbishley, Alan Pardew and Glenn Roeder as well as the contributions made by star players such as Tevez and Paolo Di Canio, Hammer Blows pulls no punches.
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