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Athens Hammers in London
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3 new pictures added from the November trip (72-74), go to the photo section of the main website, before logging in here:
Only registered users can see links on this forum!
Register or Login on forum!



one more to be added soon from the February trip - Southampton home game

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

October trip booked: landing Wendesday October 10 - flying out Monday October 15, 117 Euros return

obviously stuff away from the football for this one but I arrranged them to be the first 2 full days, so the weekend's free for fun & games...hopefully in the Premier League Cool

Hoc expressed an interest for this one, details to be forwarded soon mate Wink

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

September trip moved to late August, most probably 24th to September 2.

the good news is it will now cover 2 weekends Razz Cool

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

getting ready to get 2 of the boys for their maiden trip at East London and West Ham, hope all goes well although according to reports the mood on the terraces is ugly and people are at each other's throats.

absolutely confident we're gonna do fine and the boys will prove themselves and carry on the amazing work they done till now.

it's gonna be quality, stay tuned for the customary trip report in Greek Easter weekend

C'MON YOU IRONS Exclamation

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Met the boys round 12:30 at the airport, who were waiting for almost an hour due to my delay. Customary pictures taken, farewells told with some present and off to the check in where the more anxiousĘs always bound to face most challenges…off to the duty free and the customary buys and finally to the departure gate where the real fun began, especially with the joker of the club. SomethingĘs strange then happened: one of the airport men approached us and asked us to escort his 60 year old wife who “couldnĘt speak any English” to Gatwick in order to meet there their student son!!!

Lots of laughs in the flight, set the tone rightly for the rest of the trip. Got Gatwick on time with our increasingly confident guest snubbing us – told them we should have left her on her own when she was waiting for her bags!

Took the train to London Bridge, passing by the New Den, and off to Stratford by Jubilee. Straight to the hotel after a bit of shopping essentials. On the way to Gatwick I had arranged a meet with our old friend The Collector at the Edward VII pub round 8pm.

Met our man there, introduced the new boys to him, had a couple of pints and as our man was up for more I suggested Canning Town. Instead of getting the Jubilee we just jumped on the 69 bus where I called our main London lad about the Friday travel arrangements. Going through Plaistow we saw a pub on our left that I hadnĘt seen before which in fact proved to be The Britannia, worldwide known from the Cass movie. Now, the reason I hadnĘt seen it before was that I donĘt think I passed that way when it was dark as the reason we saw it was the lights. The place is a typical low East End pub that canĘt be distinguished from the houses too easily.

Got off on a side street at the edge of Canning Town, some stories from Mr C about his old neighborhood, then off to Barking road to Bubbles Bar which was closed and boarded up – fuckinĘ gutted as I was there just a month and a half ago!!! Went to The Abbey for a couple more and lots of discussion including the Thatcher era. Parted company with Mr C, went up the road to the Greengate junction and got the bus back to the hotel in Stratford. Overall, nice first day – had a good time without getting too pissed and have problems at the Friday game.

Got picket up from our man from Canning Town as he drove to the hotel round 11 and after going around Stratford and the new Olympic complex from the other side of the town and I have to say they look good…but not “West Ham good”…

Drove up, chatting about the Olympics and the Euro where our man M is going once more as he follows England for donkeysĘ years, to the village in Hertfordshire where the Beckham mansion is to get one of the legendary West Ham fans of the 70s & early 80s, big R. Went to away games a few times with the man, the last one being Millwall this season but it was in this trip I realized what a legend he really is. Funniest thing of the whole trip was seeing a little town car in the village with added eyelids on top of the front lights…

Drove in the manĘs place, got in, met some of his family and had a right old laugh, certainly an eye opener for our 2 firsttimers!!! Moved soon in the M11 and got to north Essex where we met one of the founding members of our lot back in 2002, Mr B. Got to his car, as the situation in the other carĘs back seat was getting a bit crowded and had another good chat with the man about all things West Ham, England & Greece.

Had to make a stop as his missus car he was driving almost run out of oil – not for the first time apparently, so we lost a bit ground on the others. Calls to the younger firm on the way – them crazy ones been there at 11 for a 5:20 kick off!!

Eventually caught up with the other car round 3 at the cityĘs entrance and carried on together, drove to the ground and ended up parking in a closed gas station – converted to a 10 car parking for a fiver on match days! The Norf, eh?...

Pub opposite had the previous Barnsley sign (the smilling footballer bulldog), and personally I was itching to go in there but one of the others got a call from the young lot saying they moved from the pub they were in all day, as one of them who went outside for a fag wasnĘt let back in so the rest have to follow him to another gaff.

Although it didnĘt feel menacing there was a tension in the air from the side of the police and an urge to get as many as West Ham as possible in The Metrodrom – one of the funniest place I ever had the pleasure to have a drink at at football: It was like a converted closed basketball / hockey / concert place that they use to get all the away fans before kick off as it was just yards from the away end on the top of a little hill. Check out some nice pics in the picture section when they come up…

Good banter from our older lot to some bird Old Bill on the way (“guard this fence well darling”), but they took it well – and another eye opener for the first timers. Inside the Metrodrom was the biggest screen I ever watched football and a fuckinĘ disappointment as before our game Reading were playing Leeds at home, the Yorkies were hanging on with 10 men for most of the game we were listening to on the radio in the car, left it for 10 minutes and when we walked in it was two fuckinĘ nil!!!

Anyway, off to the bar and one more round, soon met the rest of the young crew – as we had already met a few of them on the way to the place. Good laugh about something that has to do with Greek football and a particular game a few years back!!

Went straight down the hill to the ground which was 3 sides modern and one of the sides (where the cameras are really really old, but wonderful) – again pictures to come up soon. Got the flag in the corner that the camera shows and although we were the last there we were lucky enough to get it to the best spot, as it was shown on the BBC League show the next night, it can be seen in the West Ham official website in the picture of Nolan celebrating (over his left shoulder) and certainly the locals saw the by now famous “30.07.1966”.

We had about 2,500 there, not too bad a following for a Good Friday televised late kick off but it could have been so much better with a 6,000 sell out had we not [CENSORED] it up the previous 6 weeks…Anyway, our fans were in good voice and it was probably the best West Ham performance IĘve seen, the 1st half: amazing pressure and clinical up front…as it should have been all year really… Second half we took our time and scored just one more but the party was in full flow with a 3 men conga dance that ended up a 300 conga dance – even some kids from the other end joined in doing their own little conga dance!!! Respect for doing that at 4-0, I have to say!!!

Their fans were frozen, as the team was clearly going through the worst spell of the season and they had around 9,000 there. At half time, also went outside to find somebody, said a few more hellos and I was once more amazed by the “quality” of our fan base!!! Also the Barnsley outdoors facilities are a throwback in the 70Ęs to say the least.

WasnĘt held back by the plod after and apart from a couple of verbals (“see you next year”, Barnsley fan – “fuck off”, me) we went to the car and were straight on the M1. Stopped at some Mc Donalds on the road for a bite and some more chat and off we were to the Herts village first to get our car, went by the Beckham mansion (amazingly wide place) and arrived in London just after 11 at night, straight to the hotel. FuckinĘ great day that was!!!

Saturday was shopping day and after breakfast we went straight to Stratford for a bit of business I had with an organization there, which I thought would take me 10 minutes but I ended up an hour and a half in there!! The others were just waiting outside after going about in the shops in the old mall, but were good as gold with it.

Finally got the central line to Holborn, then the picadilly to Covent Garden: Fred Perry, Doc Martins shops and the open market and a wander around to show the boys around – fuckinĘ nightmare though as it was half term and the kids with their parents were making it funny for everyone. Off to Tottenham Court Road, Oxford street all the way to Oxford Circus, Carnaby street, more Oxford street to Bond street, by which points they started moaning about the walk, so I left them in the DebenhamĘs caffe, went about to the other 3 big stores and finished at the old D to get them and get the train to Green Park. Walked & shopped all the way to Picadilly by which time they were on their last legs, literally, and I have to say I was feeling the strain as well.

Took the train back to Stratford and some well deserved Fish & Chips in the old place at Maryland corner – wasnĘt too sure weĘd find it open but the new owners seem to be much more happy to work than the previous ones!!! Only downside, they old owners apparently took all the old actors pictures from the walls.

Took the bus back to the hotel and we just got some much needed rest for a few hours. Back to the old pub crawl round 8 – took the bus to Plaistow and stopped at the Brittania pub. After some instructions from my part we walked in – amazing “patriotic”pub, flags °nĘ all, pool table and West Ham stuff all around. Not as rough a crowd as I feared and the landlady really knows her pool!!! Again, pictures to come up soon from this.

Got outside and carried on on another bus towards deep Plaistow to the Black Bull, the well known East End pub. Stayed there for a bit and the boys were well amazed – I think they liked this one and the Edward VII more than any other. Jumped in another bus back to Stratford, went to the Queens Head, now painted in claret & Blue outside, had another and walked to Maryland to the old rock place: the world famous Cart & Horses. Good crowd there and local rock band playing all the classic 70s / 80s tracks. Thankfully not many noisy eastern Europeans to spoil it for everybody. Walked back to the hotel – pissed as new, a great end to another perfect day.

Easter Sunday, with most shops closed, we had late breakfast and generally took it easy morning. Left round 11 to go sightseeing: Tower Bridge, Westminster, Buckingham Palace and back to Stratford for our customary Maryland fish & chips. Again, lots of laughs – the trademark of this trip.

Off to the hotel for a little bit of rest and at evening pub crawl #3 – the Whitechapel section. Got the central line, changed to district at Mile End and got off to Whitechapel. Walked to the famous Blind Beggar pub, had a pint with me explaining a bit about the history in the particular part of the East End. Next one was to be the Pride of Spitafields, which at this point I thought was just around the corner but after a bit of unsuccessful searching we gave up and jumped on the tube for Stepney Green for the White Horse. Got there and had another round and a chat about some domestic football matters which almost went the wrong way but I put a stop to it as itĘs against our “rules of play”…

Going out the pub one of the boys wanted to take a picture of the outside but with a busy Commercial road it took a while and we had a good laugh at him getting cross with the muggy students standing outside undecided whether to get fuckinĘ in!!! It was at this point when I realized the pub we were looking at Whitechapel was actually in Stepney Green, my excuse was it was effectively the same area, so we entered little Delhi – sorry the Brick Lane and after a bit we walked in there, had another round and more chat.

Next day was another football day and as we opted to walk the boys had a rest, while I went to Stratford for a bit of shopping mainly in the Westfield. Two things: the West Ham shop was closed down, didnĘt last fuckinĘ long did it? And the Fred Perry shop, next door, was still under construction. Got some more provisions from SainsburyĘs and walked back to the hotel – not the easiest task carrying quite a lot in one hand and the umbrella with the other. Yes, it was the famous London rain which was predicted to last all day and it dully did.

Left for the ground allowing plenty of time as we had many things to do there. Got there about 3 hours to kick off and went straight to the club shop, the plan being to get done with it before the crowds hit it – fat fuckinĘ chance!!! With Monday being Bank Holiday it was full of families and on top of that as it was the boysĘ first time there and they have stayed back from spending their pounds in the West End, they took their time I can tell you.

Plan was to go and eat pie & mash at NathanĘs, have a quick pint at the Boleyn and then go to M&MĘs to meet my lot and get the tickets. Well, again because of the Bank holiday thing, Nathan was packed and a 20 people queue had been formed, so that was out as was the Boleyn as by then my lot had already arrived way before their usual one our to kick off at M&MĘs.

Walked up Barking road to the pub, after taking pictures of the Boleyn pub, the ground and of course the statue. The pub had its usual crowd, only more “traditional”, probably because of the opposition. Another eye opener for the boys and again they have conducted themselves better than I expected – well impressed, I have to say. Actually there was a slightly unfortunate incident but it was partly my fault as I should have warned of some things that shouldnĘt be said. Anyway, no harm done.

After a couple of rounds, left the pub quite early for our standards and on the way out I noticed the main faces moving in towards the 2 entrances and heard “200 Brummies are coming down from the D.A.”. Although the quality in there was unrivaled, including our own big R, I have to say one particular face stood out. He is one of the men who I only see at the Den nowadays… Went in in time to put the flag up at its usual glass spot. They didnĘt had as many as I thought but the late kick off, the Bank Holiday and the television I guess offer some hints on why that was.

Said goodbye to our lot after the game, as nobody was too keen to carry on and walked straight to the hotel for some last minute packing. Next morning, had breakfast, left the hotel round 9, central line to Mile End, jumped on the district and off to Victoria. Got a Southampton train to Gatwick with plenty of time to spare.

Bit more shopping in the duty free, whisky of course, and guess who we met under the flights matrix??? Our old mother friend!!! This time we chatted a bit waiting at the exit gate but she soon cleared off as it appeared it was too much of a “boys own” situation. Funniest bit by far the sudden announcement, just as the door opened, that bags obtained at the duty free were considered “hand luggage” and had to be placed inside another bag!! Panic ensured as people were struggling with their stuff, thankfully one of us was carrying a huge bag from the club shop in which we threw our whisky bottles, but one Greek in front of us said something a bit sacrilegious which had us in tatters.

More laugh before the take off as one of the boys said something he came to regret honesty ainĘt the best way at all times mate!!!

No more incidents I can recall, landed on time where the father of one was waiting and gave us a lift. Generally one of the very very best trips for the club.

Athens Hammers – The story goes on: Year 8

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

right, after yesterday's draw we got amazing news:

August / September trip - fuckin' great news, as:
1st, we got three games in 10 days, one of them the League Cup second round - a potential exotic away day at a lower league club.

2nd, for me personally the only remaining Premier League ground I haven't visited, Swansea, is the very game we play on the first weekend of said trip. Second league game's Fulham at home, maybe a chance to meet after 9 years a Fulham lad I consider one of the best I met: Daniel mate if you're reading this get ready for some serious drinking competition of Jack Daniels v Gordon's...

October trip - no scheduled West Ham game but England playing San Marino at Wembley on Friday night, October 12th.


on future trips, I got a call earlier from one of our boys who came at the April trip and some of the west side boys apparently fance late November with Man U / Yids away, Chelsea home. I always come over before Christmas and some times late November so we'll see

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

November trip is planned as we speak, Thursday 22 - Wednesday 28, Tottenham & Man Utd both away.

we may struggle for tickets for the first as it seems I ain't going alone but we'll see...

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

booked another trip for November: Monday 26 - Monday December 3, Man U away on a Wednesday night, Chelsea at home Wink both tasty, although I'd been at Old Trafford 4 times, none of them was a night game...hope plod don't regret this Wink Cool

another member will come along for this, flight dead cheap at 85 euros, only downside is the 8am flight back from Gatwick which means we're gonna spend the night at the airport Rolling Eyes

major problems with booking accomodation for the August trip as they apparently changed the dates of the Special Olympics and they are now almost on the days of the trip which means almost all Stratford accomodation is booked Mad

the last rooms I was after but didn't manage to book, at Princess of Wales pub, were booked by Chinese and Ghanians Rolling Eyes

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hotel for August booked, after days of searching in Stratford and East London I had to make do with Gooners country - Finshbury Park it is then, could be worse I guess like dirty Tottenham High Street... Rolling Eyes for me by far and away and without a shadow of a doubt the dirtiest place in London and believe me I've been everywhere Rolling Eyes ...any gust of wind and it's flying fuckin' derbis Rolling Eyes

the other alternatives where South Acton (too far) and Harelsden (too fuckin' dangerous with all the black gangs and drunk paddies, ie Irish). I worked there and it's like some part of derelict central Athens in the morning, [CENSORED] knows how it is at night. Guess you need a firm around you to feel safe...who knows maybe next time 3 of us will come we're gonna try it Razz Wink

only joking of course, I'm gonna be in the West End in the morning and the East End at night as usual.

to be fair, I've also worked in Finsbury Park too and don't have many bad things to say about the place and the sales were booming there with lots of Greek / Cypriots.

anyhow, emails also sent for tickets, don't think it's gonna be a problem as the Swansea early kick off and TV coverage will hopefully stop many doing this and I can nick one ticket through my London / Essex lot.

my bird's a gooner funily enough, so she'll be well pleased I'll be staying there...although she's not coming Wink Wink Wink

as you can imagine the reason I didn't find a place in East London is the fuckin' Olympics. As a wanker I thought with them finishing on the 12th and me landing 2 weeks later I'll be alright, as I wrongly assumed the Special Olympics would take place straight after but of course they'll be almost during my stay. Bloody Olympics, I wonder where they came from...

back in Stratford October Sad

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YEEES Exclamation

Swansea ticket sorted - was getting a bit itchy about it, especially as it's the only Premier League ground I haven't visited...and I suspect I ain't the only one Wink

EEEEEEENGEEEEEERLAAAAAAAND Exclamation Exclamation (yes, I'm having a drink right now)

top marks to my lot who fixed me up once more - cheers boys Exclamation Exclamation Very Happy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FUCKIN' GREATEST NEWS EVER Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation

after a call I made to northern France where our main man (of the London lot) has emigrated it was confirmed he will be attending the festivities Cool Cool Cool ...which means surely the Fulham home game, hopefully the League Cup game too (draw takes place tonight).

if we're extremely lucky he may make the Wales trip to Swansea but we'll see.

I'm gonna talk to the man himself later today (didn't speak to him in the beforementioned call) and will try to talk him into it Wink

not too good news for the liver, though Razz Shocked

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spoke to our man in Bretagne yesterday - he'll be coming next Monday, staying in the outskirts of London and definetely going to Fulham...hope to persuade him for Crewe too.

Crazy days ahead... Cool

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tickets for the home games sorted, as is the Swansea travel

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, at last managed to finish the August trip report - long trip, long read...

Arrived at the airport a bit late and after a few problems solved we were in the air. Nothing remarkable on the flight, apart from the fact that I started to feel something on my throat, like a got a bug or something, not a good omen when you go abroad…

Got the train to Victoria, tube to Finshbury Park and finally the overground to Harringay where the hotel was. My heart sank when I saw that it was owned by Pakistanis, as I have more than one bad experiences of them as hotel landlords. Things didnĘt improve when I found out the TV wasnĘt working and their first attempts to fix it were unsuccessful. Things didnĘt improve when I felt something on the towel when I wiped my face, a womanĘs hair caught between my eyes – fuckinĘ disgusting. Very funny when things go wrong, people seem not to be able to understand what youĘre saying, too…

Anyway, left the place round 9 and walked to the anor Park tube, mainly in order to time the route as I had to get the first train on Saturday morning to be at WalthamstowĘs Goose pub by 6am in order to meet the main man from the London lot to drive up to meet the others.

Got the train to Walthamstow, then the bus to Stratford to have the first pint in the Edward VII. Great atmosphere as usual, but had one of the quickest pints ever, under 10 minutes in order to explore another route to the hotel: Central from Stratford to Liverpool Street, Circle to Kings Cross, Piccadilly to Manor House, then bus to the hotel.

Very little sleep, 4 hours, till the 4am wakeup, quick bite and off to the station where IĘve been told from the previous nigh the first train would be at 5:25. As time went by and the station remained closed I was considering other ways to get to Finshbury Park as from there I had to get the Victoria line to Walthamstow. So I crossed over to Seven Sisters road and got a night bus that took me to Finshbury Park, down the road.

Managed to get there in time, in the end, so we set off just 6. Good chat on the road, even music one as my Aussie mate is a big Green Day fan and a few days earlier attended a secret gig in Reading. After 45Ę we parked outside the Marriot hotel somewhere in north Essex to wait for the others, Essex lot. Got into their car and carried on north west. Great football chat as usual and half hour breakfast stop somewhere in the west Midlands. Some rugby fans in there, but overall pretty quite.
After crossing the bridge that connects England and Wales, we started to make phone calls to the rest of our boys who had been there from Friday night. Horror stories of booze, birds and sleepwalking emerged…

Got outside the ground two and a half hours before kick off and went over to the Harvester pub opposite the ground. Good mix of Swansea and West Ham with good banter. The fact that they didnĘt have a firm in there also helped, as we had some very “heavy” boys out. [CENSORED] service with only 2 bar staff trying to cope with the ever increasing demand. Ended up getting 2 rounds at once when we went to the bar for the second time. WasnĘt allowed to put my hands in my pockets for a round, either – cheers man!!

Stayed outside the pub, although throughout the journey it was rain start & stop and eventually we had to rush to the covered area as it poured down a couple of times. One thing IĘll say about the Welsh – although theyĘre much better than their Cardiff cousins, wouldnĘt be able to drink with them as we did with Swansea, some of them, quite old too, had this chavy attitude to get cans from the corner shop and drink them outside the pub…

Entered the ground with 15 minutes to spare and I went straight to put the flag up. Put it in the back of the stand, from where the top bit could be seen during the game. Another flag, Hemmel Hammers, was there too and funnily enough one of the older lot knew the flagĘs owner.

Most of the serious faces had turned up by us, this was definitely a game separating the men from the boys. The atmosphere was great and it predictably started with them singing the Wales anthem and us the usual redition of God Save the Queen (which later included the changed verse “long may she reign over YOU”), Rule Britannia and With Saint George in my Heart. Unlike Cardiff 9 years ago, though, this was no real hatred as they had a huge old style Union Jack in the stand on our left where all their singers were and rumours from the past suggest they ainĘt as antienglish as their northern cousins.

I have to say I was impressed with the atmosphere created by their fans. Obvoisly the fact that they played brilliantly and had started the season with a 5-0 away triumph helped but full credit to them if they keep it up like that for the rest of the season. Also heard that when they moved from the Vetch to Liberty, their singers occupied the same stand they had in the old ground – good call that.

Our fans were subdued after the first two goals. Many reasons I guess: [CENSORED] performance, lack of a good nightĘs sleep and the fact that we had more lads than usual, not renowned for their singing tendencies…

As they were in the mood they tried to provoke some reaction from us in the last minutes, through songs of course, but most didnĘt bite although a few did. The one good thing, I suppose, is the fact that there was no booing in the end. Never should be any in my opinion.

Went outside straight and mixed with them, by which time with adrenaline running high I decided to put the St George flat hat on – not the cleverest of ideas but nothing happened, just hope the others from my lot didnĘt get the hump. Of course as we were walking around the stadium towards the parking heavy rain began, resulting in us literally diving into the car as only one side was opening cause it was parked against the wall – wish I had a picture of this!!

The others were sleeping after a bit and I had a chat with my mate who was driving and the line of his work (immigration) that opened my eyes with similar issues we face over here. Meanwhile my state was worsening and I started feeling I had a bit of fever, especially as I started trembling uncontrollably when we stopped for a bit – thankfully a good old burger cures everything, for a while at least. Thankfully the others didnĘt notice. Also passed the 4 official coaches, 2 of them with England flags on the back – nice one boys, to get into the spirit of the game – and the naughty (H) coach was there too, as usual…

Left the Essex lot and carried on with the other car in unknown territory, as we heard on the radio the road we came from was closed due to an accident and although my mate new another way to East London, he didnĘt know another way through North London to Walthamstow. We turned right to Hertfordshire and all the little picturesque villages where we saw some chavs (!!!) hanging about in street corners – fuckinĘ hell the millionaires gaff has gone downhill I reckon!!!

Finally, through basic navigation by Edmonton way we managed to get closer to town and went through Tottenham territory where a few of their fans were still about after their unexpected draw v West Brom, so we had a little chuckle, but then we got really fucked as we got caught in post match / late shopping traffic and it took us more than an hour to get out of it. My state was going downhill once more, this time with itching eyes due to lack of sleep among other things. In order to overcome this I started telling stories about the Greek football scene of the 80s and 90s when I was involved – always a popular subject with my lot…

Finally got to Walthamstow round 9, took the train to Finshbury Park and from there an overground that took me to Harringay just opposite the hotel. That was a saviour as I was on my last legs by then and the sooner IĘd get into my room the better. Tried to watch Match of the Day but was in and out of sleep and after the show I couldnĘt sleep for an hour +, both because of the dayĘs tension and the little black kid next door who decided to rearrange the furniture at 1am. DidnĘt have the courage to get up, partly because of tiredness and partly because I wasnĘt sure about my reaction in the event I got any [CENSORED] from them…

Overall a very memorable and long day, that took me up to the limit.

Plan was to stay in Sunday till early afternoon to recover and fight any possible fever to which I could be susceptible due to tiredness and previous dayĘs exploits. Went down for breakfast quite early and apart from the fact that it was really poor, English breakfast consisting of eggs, beans and toast for fuckĘs sake (!), there was a dead insect on the knife in the opposite side of the table…maybe it was a cultural differentially custom???

I was also planning to use the Wi Fi facilities for things about work but after waiting for more than half hour for the “manager” to give me the codes, when he did they didnĘt work and when I got the laptop to his office it wouldnĘt even turn on. Maybe that was for the best as the dirty [CENSORED] wanted to try to fix it while minutes ago he was scratching his bare foot!!!...another cultural difference I guess…

Went to the local internet café as I was about to speak to my bird on Skype but after trying 4 different PCs I got no joy – I guess Allah doesnĘt look favourably white football lads…

Finally spoke to her on the phone and went off to the local pub, the Olde Ale Emporium, and killed some time drinking and watching Arsenal drawing at Stoke. Now this area is in the Arsenal / Tottenham border and I had the feeling that it would be mostly yidos but in this instance it was a mixed Arsenal / antiArsenal crowd, which of course didnĘt mean it was necessary Tottenham as for example the Irish land lord could be Man Utd.

Went back to the hotel for refreshment, dressed up and got the underground to Liverpool street and from there the 344 bus to South London as I was about to go to the Globe theatre for the final performance of Henry V. Although I had plenty of time, because of a diversion due to the Olympics, I ended up in Elephant & Castle where I was going round and around as somehow I couldnĘt find the Northern line entrance. Finally a black old dear, dressed colourfully – apparently on her way back from her church, took pity on me and showed me the way out of the fuckinĘ labyrinth…anybody being there would know what I mean.

Finally made it with minutes to spare, through London Bridge, Jubille line to Southwark and a bit of upwards walk. Thaknfully the performance was worth the hassle, as I knew it would, but a bit of a clueless crowd who returned the roses the actors threw to them after the directorĘs speech in the end of the play. Amazing beauty and a bloody good actress, Olivia Ross, who played the parts of Catherine and the boy – first theatre performance too, IĘm sure weĘll see more of her in the future. “For England, Harry and Saint George!!!” indeed…

Walked back to Southwark station and back in the local pub for a relaxing final pint – really great feeling listening to classic English pub songs like “Come On Eileen” ect.

Bank Holiday Monday, quick breakfast – no insect this time and off to Upton Park for some club shop shopping but as IĘve should have known everything was closed. Had a pint in the Boleyn. Got an Oyster card for the first time and I canĘt recommend it highly enough!! If only I knew you could issue it for a limited amount of time…

Jumped on the 104 bus to Stratford and went about the Westfield shopping centre. After a bit of looking and shopping I got the Central line to ShepherdĘs Bush to visit the local Westfield, which in my humble opinion is far bigger than the self styled “biggest shopping mall in Europe”, in our part of town. Got briefly caught up in the Notting Hill Carnival fuckinĘ crowds as well – better stay clear if you come across them – no good unwashed cunts, some of them looking for trouble too, although nothing came up in the wagon.
After a fair bit of another shopping walk I got back on the train just as a band started playing just outside the shopping centre. Back to Stratford for some serious pub crawl.

Started with the old pub just after the turn of the road opposite Maryland station Leytonstone way. This is now a Jamaican joint (excuse the punt) called Glitter Ball. Got some very funny looks in there, most of the crowd, all black, was by the bar and the DJ was playing some amazing reggae tunes. No ale, as expected, so got a Stella and sat by the front window facing them all as I was questioning my decision to stay there. A rather chubby woman sat at the table opposite me staring but was soon joined by a man. A few of them came over looking out the window – I guess hey thought I hadnĘt come alone. Overall great great music but donĘt felt particularly welcome in there.

Back to the Maryland turn I went to the Old Chevy Chase pub, now called The Thailander. Apparently when they closed the pub down they tried to turn the place into a restaurant but soon came to their senses and now itĘs half restaurant (totally empty when I visited) and half pub. Stayed there for a couple of pints, mixed crowd, but took an issue with the Chelsea scarf behind the bar. Now, this area is mostly populated by Eastern Europeans, mainly Romanians, which partly explained the scarf choice. At some point, though, I saw over the now closed fireplace to have a West Ham and an Arsenal sketch pictures. Asked the bird in the bar how this worked and I got the old sill bird “Oh, I donĘt know (IĘm just a foreign girl”). Last post of call Edward VII and back to the hotel round 10:45.

Tuesday, football League Cup day, early start for West End shopping. Covered the Oxford street bit between Oxford Circus and Bond street, some amazing street decorations. Train back to Oxford Circus and off to Carnaby street – just a note for one of my favourite shirts brands: Ben Sherman, the fuckinĘ Plectrum range, apart from the fact that itĘs massively overpriced itĘs only fit for unwashed unshaved fuckinĘ students!! And it was almost the only range available at the flagship store, FuckinĘ sort it out…

Back to the hotel early, round 1, watched a bit of an old western movie (R.Redford and P.Newman), and off to the ground round 3. Got to Upton Park nice and early an hour later and straight to NathanĘs for some pre-match pie & mash. Calls and texts started going to both the London and the Essex lot and off to the club shop for another bit of shopping. DidnĘt get to excited with the new range and was let down by the stop of the 2 for 20quid t-shirts offer that was going on the last two years. I guess another initiative “we can no longer afford as a club” (copyright Dave & Dave 2012). Another negative was the delayed arrival of the match programmes that had some old geezers waiting by the side of the tills…

Went to the Boleyn for a pint, usual crowd in the Green street bar, and then moved to the Barking road bar to have a closer look to the programme seller there, as I was after a programme myself. When I went out for a second to buy one, coming back to the bar I found our main Essex lad with his little girl waiting for me – they had recognised my shoulder bag with the flag!

Waited a bit outside the pub for a bit, saw a few of the old faces passing by, and soon they arrived carrying lots of stuff and a huge West Ham teddy bear that we named “Sheringham” (“teddy”, you got it?). Entered MMs, again pretty vacant and soon the London lot arrived. Had a good laugh and some pictures taken and the boys had a good look at the pictures in the facebook page…brought back more than a few memories, this.

Left the pub half hour or so before kick off, entered the ground early and put the flag up in its old place in the Bobby Moore lower, the rails in front of the executive boxes. Now, IĘve stopped doing that from the time when because of people standing in that part of the ground only the very upper of the flag was barely visible. As the particular stand was very scarcely populated I assume that it would be alright to leave it there and it would be seen. So, what happens? A little firm goes and stand just in front of it with hundreds of empty seats about…

Crewe had brought around 500+, a few England flags and made a bit of noise but nothing special. We couldnĘt got anything going in the Bobby lower but next to the Crewe fans the West Ham section made up for it to say the least.

Left straight and walked towards East Ham with the Essex lot as they had parked that way. Then I carried on on my own through the back streets towards East Ham High Street, a very dodgy place with barely a white face in sigh and gangs of blacks and mainly asian youths hanging about in the corners. Thankfully others had the same idea – to avoid waiting for half hour plus in the Upton Park tube station queues – and we kept an eye on each other so made it to the station easily.

Train to Mile End, Central line to Liverpool Street, Hammersmith & City line to Kings Cross and Piccadilly line to Manor House. West Ham everywhere throughout the journey and a very very well known West Ham face next to me in the last bit of the journey.

Wednesday, another day of West End shopping, Covent Garden – Royal Opera House shop that was turned into an Olympics souvenir shop for that time (birdĘs gift), Fred Perry shop, Open Market where some really funny t-shirts were on display (example: Sadam Hussein: tick, Osama Bin Laden: tick, Muamar Gadafi: tick, Justin Beiber: box!!!), Ben Sherman shop (thatĘs the new one, not in the square but by the road the other side of the tube station. Next bit was the Oxford Street bit between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus and back to the hotel by 1.

After a bit of a rest and refreshment I left for Southwark around 4 in order to meet one of the great friends of Athens Hammers, Mr K aka The Collector. Went to his work local pub and stayed there till about 8, or in beer time: 4 pints. Walked to London Bridge and took the tube back and as I was beered up I had an early return to the hotel around 9.

Thursday was another quick breakfast and off to the internet café opening time (10) as I had to send some things at work and speake to the bird on Skype, which finally worked. Left the place round 12:45 and went to Stratford. Some calls to my UK bank, as I had some problems with my card and off to the Queens Head for some lunch. Sausage & Mash this time, really good but nowhere near the quality of Edward VII. WasnĘt surprised, as old Eddie is absolutely superb, but I just wanted to check the other gaff out. They just started serving food as I understand, as IĘm going to the place for ages.

Left round 2 and got the Jubilee train to Green Park. Shopped and had a look at all the usual places going up Piccadilly towards the most photographed place in London. Went to the Barbour store in the end of Regent street there –good stuff as always I just didnĘt manage to find a particular jacket they had out a few years back.

Back in the hotel round 6, some rest and watching my favourite East Enders. Quality… Left the hotel after 8 for another pub crawl, wearing a “very sensitive” date wise pub t-shirt. Fancied a stroll down Commercial Road from Stepney Green towards Whitechapel. Just wanted to verify that no pubs remain in Stepney Green. Unfortunately I was right – the area is taking over by the fuckinĘ “teetotals” and I saw some amazing old pubs that had been turned into fuckinĘ exotic flavours restaurants. Thankfully, getting closer to Whitechapel I came across some pubs and funilly enough I went to the first I came across – the White Hart – at the Blind Beggar junction. The Liverpool – Hearts game was on and although I always go the the BB, this time I opted to support the other one and because it had a TV as BB hasnĘt. Nice game, although the sound was off as it was Quiz Night. The thing that kept me in the pub, apart from the football, was the large collection of ales…and I tried them all. Hurried back to the hotel as I had a few trains to change to get there and I really pushed it time wise this time.

Friday was the Essex top boyĘs wedding so I took it easy, got dressed up and got the overground to Barking and from there to Basildon where I landed at 11 and got picked up by one of the younger lot. Got driven to his place where his parents were getting ready, his dad being one of the original members of the older lot but is now semi retired, although he did turn up at Swansea.

Left Basildon round 11:30 and had a well funny ride to Saffron Walden, the picturesque medieval village where the wedding took place, and got there at 12:30. With plenty of time till the wedding we went to the lobby of the little hotel the others who had stayed over were and after some calls they started coming down and joining us for a drink. Was a bit of a weird feeling being by the bar with these people dressed up and not singing West Ham songs but there you go.

Went to the church where our old leader, whoĘs now in France, finally turned up! This man of mystery had told me he was coming Monday, then he called me Thursday afternoon to tell me he was driving up from Dover and as he wasnĘt answering his calls nobody knew what the story was. Big L of course couldnĘt be absent from the festivities and everybody from the football scene there was more than delighted to see him.

Nice service at the church, the first Protestant wedding I attended, just, only just, stopped myself from smiling as I realised most of the hymns we were singing had been transformed into football songs. It reminded me of a mate of mine from Greece who when he visited when I was still living in London he remarked after a visit to the Billiard Room of the Boleyn, how melodic the English footballĘs chants are in comparison with the Greek equivalents. Another great mystery solved, then!

The only downside that somehow my digital camera stopped working outside the church after the service so I went back to my mateĘs car to leave it. Went straight to the Town Hall for the reception. Amazing place, clearly medieval, with very high ceilings, and doors – clearly to accommodate the entrance of horsemen…on their horses. The square where the place was also seemed to be 1,500 years old or so.

A bit informal inside but in more than one ways I preferred it that way as it really reflects the groomĘs personality. Although most were expecting “tres haute cuisine” we got some absolutely fantastic English village food with 4 different kinds of pies, the only one I knew was the quiche, and some top sauces. A series of puddings for dessert and small bottles of bubbles every few seats that the older ones used to great effect. Speeches were nice, especially the grooms, as it was well funny and more importantly unpretentious.

Went briefly outside for some more official pictures, and in order to give the people there the chance to turn the banquet hall in to a disco. Some great pics taken, including one with the bride surrounded by a dozen of West Ham fans doing the old crossed hammers thing with their arms. I was “Mr Greek” of course, as the photographerĘs assistant insisted on keep calling me. Funniest bit by far, our main lad from Romford who turned up with his bird and kept shouting in Greek some naughty stuff. For those who havenĘt read reports from previous trips, heĘs the one who effectively grew up in Corfu, so he knows quite a bit of the language. He was also quite fond of the old “Come to the Grandpa” Greek song…

Back in we went as it was getting dark outside, off to the bar and the old school disco (70Ęs / 80Ęs). By then some more people, including certain old West Ham faces, had turned up and as time was going by more younger people from the village came round and it was one great crowd. Ideas by L about booking in were abandoned, as we all knew we would end up absolutely plastered and it was another early kick off next day. Personally I was getting agitated as I was afraid to be stuck in deep Essex or losing the last train from Barking, so although I had a dance with the best manĘs wife and old friend of mine and round 10 we were off.

DidnĘt say nothing in the car but I was beginning to get resigned from the fact that the chances of catching the last train were evaporating. That was mainly down to the fact that I wasnĘt sure about the times of the late trains from deep Essex to London. Thankfully my fears were unfounded – got left at Upminster and got the c2c train to Barking that didnĘt take long. I was there just before 11:30 and had 20 minutes to spare on the platform. I have to say I felt a bit edgy, as the area between Barking and Harringay can be considered gangland territory and I was standing there dressed to kill and with the digital camera hanging from my shoulder. Thankfully nothing came up again and was in round 12:30. Amazing day and top experience all around!! Many happy returns!!

Difficult wake up from THAT night, breakfast and ready for a proper football day. Got the usual train to Barking round 10 and the District to Upton Park, where it was heaving with people out for the football. Quick round of the stalls – some top badges bought, programme and Over Land & Sea fanzine got too. Another time, I have to mention gentleman Gary Firmanger (the fanzineĘs editor), who always asks for the situation in Greece, especially the trouble on the streets…

Got to the Boleyn for a double round in the Green Street bar, where the usual suspects had a very distinctive guest, and straight after half pint to the Billiard room when things soon got hotter with the usual chants. I have to say I felt a bit of a lump in the throat as I had almost forgotten the unique feeling of this particular part of the world: IĘve heard West Ham sing in lots of pubs both home and away but the feeling and the effect generated in the particular establishment cannot even be compared with ANYTHING else. Everyone, and I do mean everyone who I got to this place said that it was the best part of the match day experience by far. Long may it continue, as I saw a sign outside about a sale and asked one of the barmaids who said itĘs been there for ages and no interest shown. The place is listed, but that can count for little a only the exterior has to remain the same. LetĘs fuckinĘ hope that at least this pub will be saved in the nightmare scenario of us moving to Stratford. Needless to say the customary beer shower at “LetĘs Go FuckinĘ Mental”.

In the meantime I was texting my lot and got a call from the boys from Athens who were already gathering for the meet. DidnĘt bother with MMs as most of my lot there on matchdays were still recovering from the effects of the wedding in Saffron Walden. Heard horror stories later of drinking dry the bar and moving to a late pub till 2, still in their wedding clothes and the bride was downing shots!

Straight to the ground nice & early, 20 minutes before half time in order to put the flag before the place was packed. All the usual faces started coming in and although the groom was missing, the presence of our old leader made up for it quite a bit. Fulham again didnĘt take up their whole 3,000 allocation, there should be 2,000 of them there that day. Unfortunately my Fulham mate couldnĘt make it as he was working but weĘre definitely gonna meet in one of the future trips.
The team was amazing first half but the crowd wasnĘt rocking – a bit puzzled by that as we donĘt get many chances to party over at Upton Park, thatĘs for sure. Another early start, i.e. not enough drinking time, and the lack of hostility towards Fulham were the main factors I guess. Funniest chant by far was “Does your Butler Know youĘre Here?”, friendly banter and all that.

After the game the old leader and myself went to the Queens pub, by the Upton Park tube station, in order to meet the best man to give him the 2 season tickets we used for Bobby Moore lower, as heĘs sitting in the old West Stand. Packed place as usual, and as we walked in the Bubbles played on the deck followed by an amazing series of old ska and soul music – amazing stuff, form the time football was real football and not the corporate [CENSORED] it is today. Thankfully not so much at ours, for the time being at least. Met the best man and his mate and off I was to the bar for a round. A few foreign firms fuckinĘ stickers by the abandoned fireplace – Alkmaar, Berlin and Italian ones…

Took me a while there as the staff couldnĘt keep up with the demand and when I finally got back to them the best manĘs mate fucked off and left the old guard behind. DidnĘt speak much as the other two hadnĘt seen each other for ages and didnĘt have lot of time to catch up at the wedding either.

As most were knackered we didnĘt stick around for too long in the pub and as Upton Park tube was out of the questions with the queues once more, my initial idea of walking to East Ham tube was changed when the old leader proposed to walk with him to East Ham central park, where he had parked his French motor, and as he was going to Grays and was passing through Barking. In my mind was also the Tottenham fans coming out of their game v Norwich, but I still had an hour to spare didnĘt I?

DonĘt give a [CENSORED] about other clubsĘ fans, to be honest as for the last 8 years IĘm going casual, not wearing West Ham shirts and stuff – just a little badge, as is the “fashion” lately, which more often than not is the Athens Hammers badge. In this case though, I happened to wear a black polo I bought from the club shop before the Crewe game with the West Ham badge on the left, the Saint George flag on the right and the words “East London” across. Funnily enough when we heard that the yids (Tottenham fans) conceded in the last five minutes and drew to a “lesser” side again at home I was joking to my mate that IĘll go in the local pub like that to have a pint just to see their sorry mugs, but he told me not to as theyĘd probably feel brave in numbers and have a go. Now, when this man speaks about these things youĘd better fuckinĘ listen cause heĘs been there and done it from the late 60s. On top of that from personal experience at White Hart Lane and the roads around it that these cunts donĘt follow no rules, especially with us being their daddies for so long and fuckinĘ humiliate them for the last 30 years or so…

Why do I say all this? Cause when we reached the parking spot the car wasnĘt there and after asking a few people it turned out that the local authorities had imposed certain very strict parking conditions on the day because of the Paralympics and they had taken lots of vehicles away!! The fuckinĘ problem, of course, was that when people parked, on the day of the game, there was no sign on to warn them and we heard neither was thrown below the local doors either…

Walking a bit north though, we got lucky and came across 2 traffic wardens who were doing their things in the sidestreets too. They informed us on what happened and that the fine was 260 quid… Anyway we walked another 20 minutes to the East Ham depot and after a bit of paperwork done and hearing a few other stories from people arriving for their cars we finally got going. Of course by then the 3 oĘclock games had just finished and after been dropped at Barking open market and saying our goodbyes I got the overground train back to Harringay.

Quite few yidos came in the carriage at South Tottenham, the last stop before Harringay, but nothing happened. Funny as [CENSORED] hearing them fuckinĘ moaning though, I have to say… Back to the hotel to change shirt and straight to the pub to watch the late kick off games (Manchester City – QPR and Leicester City – Blackpool), which thankfully were both on simultaneously. Funny crowd once more: a crazy Blackpool fan, Mediterranean looking as it happens, and a few of his mates who kept on cursing at every missed chance of them, a few “arty farty old boys”, no fuckinĘ yids and of course: A PISSED UP WEST HAM LAD SITTING ON HIS OWN, HALF PINT IN FRONT OF HIM AND HIMSELF HAVING A NAP LEANING ON THE PILLAR!!! Made my day even more, this – East EndĘs All Around, indeed!!

Sunday, last full day, Greek cathedral in Bayswater in the morning and last minute West End shopping at Harrods and Selfridges. Back to the hotel around 3 and after a bit off to Stratford to take care of some future trip business. My plan was to book a room at the Princess of Wales pub, just of the Stratford Broadway, just to see what itĘs about, as IĘm coming on my own again on October 10 and if it was [CENSORED] at least noone else would suffer.

So I walk in, sports on TV – me as a [CENSORED] assuming the Southampton – Manchester United game was on, I order a pint and ask for the manager. Was told sheĘd be about in an hour so I stuck around only to realise some obscure rugby game was on that a few “mature” drinkers were watching… Thankfully we managed to watch most of the second half, would be even better if the Saints could hold on the fuckinĘ Mancs!!

A little West Ham firm playing darts in there too, had a right laugh. The game ended and still no sign of the manager – was told she was a bit unwell and was upstairs. Left my number (none called) and fucked off to my favourite Edward VII for the last pint of the trip. Really cool stuff in there, lazy Sunday afternoon indeed with well known 80Ęs classics played in relaxed jazz fashion…amazing… Back to the hotels, setting of bags and early night.

Last breakfast finished as it started – hole on the ceiling and water dripping on a lpant below!! DidnĘt know whether to laugh or cry!!! Crossed the road to Harringay train station, train to Finshbury Park and change to Victoria line for Victoria. Southampton train to Gatwick and back to everyday routine. Overall, it was definitely worth it, learned a few new things but itĘs gonna be strictly Stratford or at least East London from now on…as it was till now and as itĘll always will be

OH EAST LONDON – IS WONDERFUL…

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AthensHammers
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Joined: 02 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

October trip accomodation sorted - usual area (Stratford), different gaff.

had a bit of trouble after my initial booking got rejected for some bank card problems, but it's alright now Cool

San Marino ticket sorted, as well Razz

also the new boys coming in November didn't fancy being adventurous with the accomodation, so we opted for the usual place in deep Stratford. Only problem is their site is down at the moment and in the hotel search websites it seemed fully booked for the dates we want.

that is well weird, as when I last had a look in their website they had plenty of rooms and the time we go is not a popular one with tourists, which allows us to travel on the cheap.

anyway, although we found other options, I decided not to book before the October trip as we have plenty of time. I'll personally go to the usual gaff to see what's going down and if there's any kind of bother I'm booking elsewhere.

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