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Athens Hammers in London
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Athens Hammers in London Reply with quote

this week!!

flying out Thursday afternoon, staying in Stratford.

Hoc and myself this time, going West Ham . Stratford . other East London drinking holes Thursday night.

Friday central London, then south London (no, not THAT yet Exclamation Wink ), but still close to theirs in the afternoon - meeting and drinking with one of our very own (Mr C). Gonna stick around myself, Hoc will most probably go in the north side of town. Meeting up in Stratford for major drinking till 2.

Saturday - the big day with our visit to bandit country of Millwall (spit) - plans not set yet, although I can guess the general outline but we have to coordinate all the different packs of our lot - just hope we all go together and have maximum fun.

It's gonna be a fuckin' eye opener for my friend Hoc, mine's gonna be the third time there, but I'm absolutely certain he'll pull through.

No idea where we'll end up after - East London, our home, definetely though...

Sunday - cool last day shopping west / central part of town again - back in the afternoon for more beers.

Early wake Monday morning - back in Athens in the afternoon

MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO HELP MAKE THIS POSSIBLE - A HUGE [CENSORED] OFF TO THE WANKERS WHO DIDN'T HAVE THE CURTOUSY TO REPLY TO A COUPLE OF EMAILS. YOU KNOW WHO YOU FUCKIN' ARE - IT'S ALL RIGHT THOUGH WE STILL MADE IT Exclamation Evil or Very Mad Arrow

watch this space for the trip's report and the previous reports that will appear next week
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHAT A TRIP!!!

landed Gatwick Thursday afternoon, off to Elephant & Castle to get the tube. Had a stroll around the area, Not too nice round the open market, but I got the chance to pass my friend Hoc a few tips about London streets.

got to Stratford round 7:30, huge crowds with the Westfield - instantly disliked the place - they even had to put traffic wardens to control the crowds crossing the road towards the Broadway Shocked

got the bus to the hotel, then met one of my our lot living near by who gave us the Millwall tickets and some other stuff.

left for an East London pub crawl - Mile End, Bethnal Green and back to Stratford - not too many beers but yours truly got the severest hangover of his life, lasting till Friday afternoon!!

off for a spot of shopping Friday morning in central / west London. Went back to Upton Park at the club shop, more shopping for our members back in Athens, beer in the Boleyn and pie & mash in Duncan's opposite the station. Back in Stratford early afternoon to drop the stuff at the hotel and off again to South London.

had a quick stroll in Westfield to see what's all about - well apart from the fact that the palce was crowded (not surprising as it was its first weekend open) I don't see how it could be "Europe's biggest shopping centre" - Westfield in Shepherd's Bush is at least twice the size...maybe they'll expand the one in Stratford who knows...

off to Liverpool street, then got a bus to Southwark bridge - got tickets for the evening performance at the Globe theatre and off to a nearby pub in order to meet our great friend Mr C (aka The Collector). had a good 2 hour drink in there, just at this point point out how quickly Hoc was downing his pints Shocked as Mr C rightly observed "he's in the army..."

afte the play we opted to go back to the hotel instead of carrying on drinking in Stratford - big day Saturday.

woke up early, quick breakfast then off to Stratford round 9:30. The meet was originally scheduled there at 11 but we thought of going there early to get the travelcards and check the situation out.

reaching the station I could see more and more verry familiar and well known older faces from West Ham. Waiting for the train tickets more geezers were coming through and some of them stopped and searched (even wallets were opened). Mainly the ones wearing the "gear", which for me for this kind of games ain't the best of ideas.

as usual paranoia was settling in and apart from delivering my lecture to Hoc, on the way to the train station to get the tickets, on how his behaviour should be I started getting worried of being found out with the tickets which of course were issued in different names. The solution I came out with was speaking Greek with Hoc when the police was close or looking at us.

went back to the hotel and texted our lot at West Ham and they texted back to meet at West Ham station at 10:45. Back to Stratford then and walking towards the station we came accross another lot of very very very well known West Ham. The other lot we've seen earlier had dissapeared from the front of the station - I thought they mixed with the shoppers at Westfield but later I heard they were in a pub.

met the others at West Ham and headed off to London Bridge - everyone in the train knew who we were, another young lot came in in Canary Wharf. Went straight in the South Bermondsey train at London Bridge, Few Millwall in there but younger ones. Made myself known at this point but then more Millwall entered the train as the doors closed (there was me thinking that the police would allow separate trains Rolling Eyes ) but not great hassle. They were a bit more than us but, without wishing to brag on about it, it was a case of MEN AGAINST BOYS, they were early 20s, us probably aged round 35 on average.

Anyway, it was a fine balance, went of to South Bermondsey and off to the road - silly me still thought that at least this station was only for West Ham carried on walking with the Millwall lot when one of our lot shouted for me to come back - cheers Ben Embarassed . Nice policeman greeting us with the "welcome to south London boys", then searched and in to the ground - an hour before kick off.

No beer in there, went straight to put the flag up (Block 22 - close to the Docker's Stand). Took some pictures and tried to arrange the flag so so it wouldn't be bothered by the wind. Nice stewards by the way, smiling and being polite. We were ordered to move away from the front of the stand eventually as it got closer to kick off.

Although it was a sell out the atmosphere was strangely quite, maybe the ban on beer in the stadium had something to do with it. The bit were their boys went, main stand lower tier's last block towards us was closed as was ours corners closer to them - so funnily enough the banter was from our side with teh Docker's Stand upper. Funny how some of their ugly birds were singning "no one likes us", hmmmm....

Would have been funny if Lansbury scored in the first second - their keeper unaware the game started went out of his goal to put the towel in the sidenetting and the shot was inches wide!! As the papers put it "it was the greatest score for the Metropolitan Police" - probably right as more than a few of ours were in their stands and if they scored the word was there would be a pitch invasion.

they had some flags - more notably a French one and a St George / Feyenord one in the other end. Can't get my head round this "brotherhoood" thing they have nowadays - rather gay if you ask me...pprobably I'm getting old, the younger ones seem to see it differently I guess. By the way we were offered a thing like that by some in Athens a few years ago but declined.

really nice to speak to some very respected West Ham on the stand - great to see some appreciation after all we've put through for West Ham all these years - thanks boys

as far as the violence is concerned there were a few coins going back and forth and some bottles in the end, but nothing of any note. Apparently the West Ham older lot turned up in a pub in Bermonsdey Friday night and after the game a few of theirs got smashed in Liverpool street - nice to see some things remain the same. Apparently there was an attempt to get at us before the game, as I heard a policeman telling his colleague on the train back.

lots of funny chants from us, like "millwall family tree" / "caravan" and of course the old chesnut "one man went to war"

for the match report please view the Millwall away thread

Announcements for us to wait after the final whistle ended up in verbal exchanges with the lot in the Docker's upper and a rendition of "Special Needs" for one of theirs who got a bit overexcited.

finally went outside to wait, dark clouds were gathering and I remarked to Hoc that he didn't bring a jacket with a hood as he had been advised - typically as we were ordered to move the skies opened Rolling Eyes

another wait on the platform, more rain, then on to a packed train to London Bridge with some not-so-happy co-travellers. Greeted by scores of police there with the alsatians and made to wait a bit more. Few chants and abuse to passing Millwall fans and then on to the Jubillee line back to East London. Police on the train, announcements on the way of "this train will not stop at this station on police request" - went straignt from London Bridge to Canning Town then on to Stratford.

Went for a couple of beers to Ye Olde Black Bull, Bobby Moore's old pub, where one of ours wasn't too happy with the fact that it was an Irish pub, especially with what happened with Rugby that morning Razz

went for some fish & chips after, Hoc and myself, then back to the hotel for some rest. Back to Stratford and Maryland pubs for more beers into the deep night. Back to the hotel on foot round 1.

great day overall but I'm fed up with this fixture - it was my third time there, showed the thing to Hoc, put the flag up - it ain't no fun, no drinking, too much hassle with the police and to be honest it was nothing like the first 2 visits I made there (2003, 2005). Rant over.

Sunday, more shopping, went to Westfield West Ham shop - bit of a dissapointment and out of the main shopping way, that's why we didn't find it in our previous visit there.

Went to the Queen's Head to watch the last hour or so from the Man Utd - Chelsea game, then back to the hotel to get the bags ready for the trip back.

Back to Stratford in the evening for more beers, in our favorite pub - Edward VII this time, stayed there a good while.

left early Monday morning, some last bit of business done in Stratford, then to Victoria, then to Gatwick. There nice & early just in time to see as we waited a father & son reading nothe=ing else than the Millwall programme Razz ...small world indeed.

overall a great trip - job done!!!

next one Derby home / Middlesbrough away late November
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ironhoc



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there

Well first of all a huge THANKS TO ALL THE COCKNEY BOYS(NOW WHO YOU ARE) FOR EVERYTHING.I must recite to you that i had a personal problem (S can you remember) at once so i didnt have much time to taken up a conversation Rolling Eyes .Alright was my mistake but via face......k everything seems to be much better right now..also Mr.C hope all the best with your family and baby girl too Exclamation

Personal expectation:Find a home or a job at Stratford's East-End cause this place is totaly amazing.Also hope more A.H. members come with us to an upcoming EAST-END trip...And do not forget EAST LONDON IS WONDERFUL believe me at this one.EAST-END FEELING.

IRONS IRONS IRONS

cheers Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello mate, great to hear from you - you ain't gonna believe what happened to me today, an absolutely amazing West Ham related meet in the unlikiest of places...as the Cockney Rejects used to say "EAST END'S ALL AROUND Exclamation "

more on the phone mate - stay lucky, and watch them birds Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

got the email I was waiting for from our new main man back in England:

tickets for Derby & Middlesbrough, plus Boro coaches all bought & wait to be delivered in one of the pubs.

cheers boys

next trip, on planning stage Friday-Tuesday, 1st weekend of April (Protestant Easter weekend): Barnsley away / Birmingham home, less than 120 Euros return - lovely Exclamation Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

flight booked - 126 Very Happy

buzzing - one of the very few grounds I haven't been to, Oakwell Cool

come on then Mr Hoc, get your act together Exclamation Wink Exclamation

hope one of the rest to join us, as it's a really good chance to get the complete West Ham experience: home and away in 3 days - only 4 nights stay in the hotel for 2 games, can't argue with that...

for other potential games (Bristol City away - Greek Easter weekend, always tricky...), last game of the season - both silly flight prices

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

watched the Millwall - Bristol City game on Sunday.

good to see the Docker's Stand last 2 upper tier blocks seasled off - wonder if our game had anything to do with it Question Wink Cool

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Met with Hoc at the airport, nice & early, flight on time. Nice laugh on the plane, just when we cooled off, happened to overhear a discussion just behind us from a small party of professional dancers (boys & girls) and learned wonderful new things like “cavaliers (sic) always have a problem with the turns during the ballet”…and yes, we contained ourselves.

Train journey from Gatwick to London was fun, this time cause of a toddler singing and shouting next to us. Highlight, when the ticket conductor walked in and the boy asked how far was London he answered “47 minutes”. Not “an hour”, not “3 quarters” – how more English can you get??

Got to the hotel in deep Stratford early evening and after settling in we hit the road. After some unsuccessful attempts to eat fish & chips at our favorite place in Maryland we went back to Broadway to good old Edward VII, a pub that serves almost all hours, and feeling adventurous we tried a local delicacy of “fish & cheddar”. WasnĘt too impressed to begin with, but after a while it was alright and more importantly it contained fish – the best food to hold the beer that was to follow.

Pub crawl started after, this time we went Leyton way (area between Stratford and the Leyton hill), the first area I saw as it was close to the student campus I lived back in 2001. Wheelers was closed due to the fact that it was “Indian club – members only”…Went up the road to The Eagle, always wandered if that had something to do with Crystal Palace as, apart from the bird, it was painted red & blue back in the day. Good mix of young and old in there with a game of darts being the centre of attention. Moved towards the hill to the old West Ham pub – The King Harold, and I say old as all the gear and the mirror have been off the wall. Of the old crowd, only the old black geezers were still there but the white lads were nowhere to be seen, being replaced by a few couples and loners. Hoc was about to try his luck with a couple of Eastern European birds next to us but before he made his move a couple of their lot sat and it was game over. Nice try from the karaoke man but it was time for us to move.

Took the bus to return to Stratford and went through the Olympic complex – lots of security, even at night, and before the new bus stop at the Westfield Mall a man walked in and checked the whole bus. By this time Hoc was moaning and groaning for a piss so we went to the Railway Tavern where there was a surprisingly good karaoke, some good looking birds, a young firm (I guess ours) and the “terror brothers” – a couple of huge skinheads who you wouldnĘt stare at too much. Went up the road to finish the night off at the Cart & Horses, from which we left after ten minutes as the beer was absolute shite, and the Eastern European “metal” band was not much better. Actually the beer wasnĘt shite itself, it was just as they hadnĘt bother to clean the beer pipes which reminded me of a horror story a girl I knew told me once: she worked as a barmaid in London pubs when she first arrived from Greece and I quote ”if you see whatĘs coming out of the pipes when we clean them you ainĘt gonna drink no beer again”…obviously I stopped her from telling me as I have no intention of cutting down the stuff.

Saturday was football day, but as the game was a late kick off, after breakfast we went Stratford and did a bit of shopping in both the old Mall and the Westfield. The main shopping centre I thought it would be expanded but it didnĘt look like it and I seriously doubt itĘs the “biggest in Europe”. Finally had some fish & chips in Maryland and then back to the hotel to leave the bags.

We set off for the ground round 1 as we wanted to be there early to beat the queues at the club shop. After a bit of shopping there we ended up in our beloved Boleyn pub for a few pints. Went round the stalls for a bit where we bumped into a few of our lot on their way to the ticket office, so we set our meet for later at M&MĘs.

Had a stroll down Barking road towards the Plaistow crossroads, in order to show to Hoc some pubs that way. In my festive state I acquired a pocket watch for 15 quid from a shop there, too!! On the way back to the ground we came across a very well known face, who once was a “youngster”.

Almost missed the kick off as we thought we had credited the tickets on our membership cards, which didnĘt work, but eventually realized that the envelope we were given contained, apart from a club letter the 2 paper tickets…the price of beer, eh?

No flag up this time as it was already packed when we walked in and it donĘt show anyway. There was a discussion with Hoc whether to have a smaller one with just the club badge for home games to put over one of the entrances but we may still get some grief from our wonderful football club…

Stood in the Bobby Lower with most of our lot – very enjoyable as usual especially with the young mob in front of us who I can see going to the X Factor with the range of songs they cover! Typical that the “Sammy Baldock – West HamĘs No 7” song would get him out on a stretcher…Other notable anthems: “ we hate Millwall – we love big tits”, “weĘre winning at home – how [CENSORED] must you be”.

Really good atmosphere, even at 1-0 down. Especially in the second half the place was rocking and it helped vastly in the turnaround on the pitch. Left the ground and went to the Queens with the London lot, as the Essex boys have left straight. Stayed there for a couple of pints and I have to say the atmosphere, helped by the excellent football music selected (Cockney RejectĘs bubbles included), was top notch. Some other overseas fans there too had a time to remember. Just to note 1 of the silliest “fans” speaking to us wearing something he was the last person to deserve to wear after what he did in Palermo

Walked back to the hotel in order to recover before another pub crawl but one of us couldnĘt take it and had to doz off. The other one watched Match of the Day and the Football League Show.

Sunday was shopping day in the West End, back to Stratford to the Queens Head to watch Liverpool – Man City, a few City fans in there but were alright and gave us respect. Back to the hotel to have some rest and leave the bags before the East London pub crawl.

Wanted to show Hoc a really great Canning Town pub – the Hashville Tavern, went there although I was a bit agitated as IĘve only been there once before in the daylight and now it was dark and the area is a bit scary. Anyway went in there only to be greeted by the old landlord saying that they close at 8 cause he needs an early night but we could continue over the road at his daughtersĘ…another pub that is!! Got a pint anyway and heard the last of the Soul Karaoke the DJ was playing – great cockney stuff!

The other pub, the Streetie, was alright, bit crowded and had a fishtank as had the Hashville too. Back to the station and to Stratford, went towards the bridge to Mile End to drink in the pub I was going as a student, The BuilderĘs Arms, but it was closed. Back to good old Edward VII were we really got beered up.

Monday, last day of shopping, back to Stratford and the anxiety as whether the BuilderĘs was closed for good went away as we had a pint in the afternoon before returning to the hotel. Had a lovely sausage & mash there and off we went for the Canning Town pub crawl part 2.

Going out the train we came across a little mob of PAOK Salonica fans from Cyprus who were getting the train from the other platform going west. Bit of a funny one this, as their game at Tottenham was 2 days away but I guess they were visiting relatives in the large North London Cypriot community. In the station I laughed at HocĘs amazement as I showed him the huge sculpted thing about the Thames Ironworks & West Ham – pictures of it in the photo section.

The plan was to start from the bottom of Barking Road and have one in each pub, get to the Greengate crossroads and get a bus to the hotel from there. Gave the first pub a miss as thereĘre some strange rumours about it and it was too modern for our taste anyhow.

First pub was Princess Alexandra, East Enders on TV – transfixed barmaid and lots of horse stuff around. The other people that were there left after a while so we ended up having a drink in an empty pub…Next in line was the Red House, probably the cheapest place to stay but also the stinkiest – played with the flies while listening to American country music and trying to protect our beers from the ones with suicidal tendencies and fucked off. Next one was the Abbey, on the other side of the road – really good crowd in there, loud soul music and some serious looking geezers amongst them.

By this time my left leg was killing me from some strange nervous pain that was taking control after sitting down!! Got the bus to Stratford and Edward VII for another pint and another very drunken conversation. Also bought a bottle of a quality cherry beer they have in there – very strong stuff.

Tuesday, we set up for the ground just after 9, drinking BoddingtonĘs cans on the way. Got there round 10:30, Hoc went in the club shop, I sat outside finishing my beer and wondering how it would be when all this is over (moving away from the Boleyn). Got a few FishermanĘs Friend as even if you smell of beer you may get grief from the club official on the coaches and got our seats.

Few protests when Guy RichieĘs Sherlock Holmes went on the dvd, as apparently it was shown in the last 4 away games!!! FuckinĘ typical West Ham or what? Then the bloke beside me got a bunch of dvds from his bag and I thought “they ainĘt gonna put that on”, but ladies and gentlemen they did put Cass on!!! Had some laughs listening to some of the comments from people, I can tell you! Stopped for something to eat then off on our way again and the very funny “Mrs Brown & Her Boys” on the dvd while texting my mate who was coming from Milton Keynes.

Got to the Riverside with 1 Ĺ hour to spare. Followed some West Ham in order to find a pub but when they went towards some alleyways I wasnĘt sure they were going for a beer (if you know what I mean) and went on our own on the major road towards the city. We passed the 2 pubs (Lord Byron, Boro) and went under the bridge towards the station. Found a pub that looked like one from the ghost town next to the station but decided against it – apparently the trains from London with our boys havenĘt arrived yet. There were a couple of others from ours who were looking for a place to drink but we decided to go our own way. Not as cold as I feared, by the way!

Personally, I wasnĘt very eager to get deeper into their city, so we headed back and went in the Lord Byron. Few student looking types in there some ordinary West Ham, then a young mob of Boro walks in and sits next to us looking a little bit over. Now, we werenĘt wearing West Ham shirts but the colours of our clothes definetely showed who we were. Some other serious looking chap was looking over too but it proved he just was West Ham on his own and was trying to keep an eye contact just in case. Anyway, the Boro youth left, we finished our pints and left a bit early as I wanted to meet my mate who was coming up from Milton Keynes and some others under the stand.

A bit of police outside the pub by the time we left, walked to the ground, spoke to Gary Firmanger of the OLAS outside – was a bit interested about the situation in Greece and all the trouble on the streets of Athens. Had another pint in the ground and put the flag up. Something we had to do we didnĘt, although we got the chance, but hopefully itĘs gonna be done at Barnsley in April.

Quite a few Northern / Scottish West Ham in the top of the stand, where we ended up to do some singing, although I didnĘt see the “face from Glasgow”. Funny as when the Boro on our right called us “soft southern [CENSORED] s” we had to retort to the old “you dirty northern [CENSORED] s” thing – not very polite for the northern West Ham but there you go. By the way it seems Boro have become more European after their last tour there – songs, huge flags ect – not good if you ask me. Their main flag had their name on too: “The Mad Boys” ho ho ho!!!

Left straight after, without a stop, trying to get some sleep on the coach and got to Upton Park round 2:15 and took the walk to the hotel getting there round 3. Cup of tea and something to eat as we dared not sleep as we had to set off at 4:30 to get the first tube to Victoria as we had to get the 9:00 flight and we only had a 30-40 minute cushion. Delays in Stratford meant that 20 minutes were lost but all other stuff went well and we made it.

All in all absolutely fantastic trip – hope the next one is even better

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2 of our newer members are almost in for the April trip - will most probably know next week.

booked a trip for September myself, for a social occasion, from the 14th to the 19th (Friday to Wednesday). Saturday is off, so if we play Sunday, Monday or Tuesday then fine, if not tough Cool

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great news!

1. yesterday booked 2 of our members for the April trip (Barnsley away - Birmingham home). It's the best turnout we ever had Exclamation Cool

2. also booked for the title decider - Southapton at home: landing Monday February 13, leaving Thursday the 16th.

have some business in London around the time and I arranged it to be around the game (Tuesday 14th).

Hoc will most probably come to this one too Cool

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hotel sorted out for the April trip - still to arrange for the February one as I wait for Hoc to arrange his flight

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hotel / Southampton ticket sortred for February trip - going alone this time, "just like the old days"... Wink

buzin' Cool

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sky fuckin' sport fucked us up with the April trip with the Barnsley game moved for Friday, our arrival date.

changed my flight for Thursday (paying ONLY 80% of the original ticket's value for the fuckin' privilege Mad Evil or Very Mad )

the other 2 gonna change it tomorrow so then we're gonna add the extra night in the hotel.

on the plus side, one extra day in London (Saturday) with the shops open as well (Easter weekend for Europe) and more time for the boys to see the city...(also the chance for me for a little bit of unfinished business from last week in Stratford)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

flights all changed now and hotel notified for the extra night

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feb 2012 Trip

Trip started with a rare sight of APOEL fans in the Athens airport, waiting for their flight to France for the Champions League game. Quite lot this…

Another rare sight was that of the snow filled fields in the south of London, around Gatwick. The terrible weather of late in England had just started to decrease but there were still signs like the gathered snow in the middle of the train platforms.

Got the train to London Bridge, then jumped on the Jubilee line to Stratford – quite apt route that reminded me of a trip back from a certain South London football ground…

Checked in the usual hotel, amazing room by the way, watched the customary episode of the East Enders – almost fell over laughing at the spectacle of the fat bird getting ready to marry!!!

Back to the station and off to Canning Town to cover one pub Hoc & myself didnĘt go to back in November: The Bubbles BarĘs the name. Really good place, called a bar as it looks newly built and has a small front but also has depth. Painted claret & blue all over inside, lots & lots of West Ham photos & drawing on the wall, most notably a huge Popeye the Sailor Man in claret & blue of course!! End of the bar, were the little karaoke stage is usually was a great big mirror with the West Ham crest and the name of the pub. Nice touch that – IĘm always in favor of customized stuff.

Being a Monday night I was a bit sad but not too surprised to see only 2 people in there. Had 1 pint, then planned to go to The Abbey, up the road, as it had the best Canning Town atmosphere but was getting a bit worried about the time so walked to the Greengate crossroads and took the Plaistow bus to Stratford.

Ended up to one of my two favorite pubs in the world, Edward VII, the other being of course The Boleyn, where I had a couple more pints the second of which was an American bottled beer called The Blue Moon that was made of wheat instead of hops. Was prepared for a shock to the old stomach but it wasnĘt too bad actually – not historic, but alright.

After achieving a level of alcohol satisfaction without feeling the bad side effects I took the 10 minutes walk back to the hotel. I mentioned this because some council estates are in between and a lone white man could face “challenges”. I could of course take the bus, but the considerable wait may prove an even worse idea than taking the walk. Nothing happened of course at any time, but generally itĘs best to have your wits about you…

Tuesday morning at the dining room, came across a huge West Ham fan, old skinhead, old school tattoos and all who was staying there with a Southampton friend of his both over for the game. Had a chat and a laugh, even about Italian politics!!! The boys were out on a jolly odd around the game going to the same places as me for shopping funnily enough in the West End. Went to a place in Stratford for some bit of business I had that morning, not concluded – second half in April, then on the Central line for the big shopping spree.

Havoc in the underground as it was Half Term and all the kids were out with their parents acting silly – funniest dad hands down one wearing a quality Stone Island jacket!!! Looking for a ruck going out with a couple of kids??? Before anyone says it was just a coincidence, a look at his face would tell you what heĘs doing every Saturday at 3…

Back to the shopping, covered Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and a bit of the west side of Oxford Street, around Bond Street station. Back to the hotel round 2:30 for a coffee and a bit of relax – even managed to watched DickinsonĘs antique show on ITV.

Bumped into the 2 new friends of mine on the hotelĘs stairs as I was coming out of the game, them returning from their shopping – funny bit was seeing the Southampton fan wearing a claret Burberry shirt and claret & blue Addidas Gazelles, to which point I couldnĘt resist a pat on the back and a “wearing the right colours mate”!!!

Had to wait for fuckinĘ ages for the bleeding buses to the ground (104/238) and when one arrived I couldnĘt get in cause of the crowd!! Sneaked in the second one from the backdoor – good job the driver wasnĘt in the mood for formalities cause I started getting the right hump by then. Usual everyday “local” crowd in the bus apart from one old lady who was going to the game on her own…

Because of some reason the bus had to change root, as Green Street was closed, o we took the right turn, went through Plaistow, turned at Greengate and went up Barking Road. Got off just before the Boleyn and went into NathanĘs to try their Pie & Mash – great stuff, now officially our pre-match grub venue, only thing is whoever wearing glasses they got steamed up straight after walking in!

Went to the club shop before getting too busy and on the way had a little chat with Gary F, the OLAS boss who once more asked about the situation in Greece, nice tattoo that!! Then off to the Boleyn for a couple of pints n my own, texts to my lot and reading the programme. Just before I entered I bumped into a little Southampton firm having a talk with the bouncer at the corner gate of the pub, as they wanted in and the geezer was having none of it as itĘs a home supporters only pub. They were saying stuff that one of theirs was in there and they wanted to get him, eventually one of them was briefly escorted in. DonĘt get me wrong they werenĘt exactly wearing the “gear”, nor were they made themselves known but they were firm nonetheless.

Usual crowd in the Boleyn, only downside the girly decorations and [CENSORED] music but the “happy birthday” signs were a giveaway answer as to why. Left the pub just after 6pm and after a brief second look at the West Ham stalls, went up Barking road to the MMs were my lot were by then drinking. All the usual faces there, good laugh and another pint till 7:30 when we left for the ground.

I had a ticket in the usual spot in the Bobbby lower (Chicken Run corner). The ground was almost full, bar the usual by now top West Stand empty corners, bit disappointed there as I was expecting a sell out for this, even now that things have changed a bit.

The Saints had a sell out crowd and good atmosphere. Our atmosphere on the other hand was mostly disappointing to say he least. After the 3 penalties and the sending off incidents in the first 18 minutes most of our support was concentrating on the referee, something that ainĘt gonna help the team... Another reason for the poor atmosphere by us I guess was the combination of the night been St. ValentineĘs and the Half Term which had more kids & birds than usual so the men were kind of sulking as most IĘm sure got grief spend the Love Night at the football in East London!!!

As crowds cleared at half time I saw a fuckinĘ brilliant West Ham banner hang on the screws of the glass in the edge of the stand: the Jolly Roger flag with hammers instead of bones. I put our flag up next to it but because of the length between the screws only half of it (the date bit) was shown. Took a picture of it with my mobile, check out the Photos section of the website soon for it.

Left the ground and went on my own in the Queens but decided against it and took the long walk back to Stratford. Walked almost all the distance with a couple of other hammers and ended up in Edward VII after almost an hour, by which time I could barely feel my feet: not only was it a great walk but I was standing for the duration of the game and a couple of hours before that in the pubs!! To top it all I was wearing my new DMs that I bought in the November trip and anyone who wears them knows how painful it is for them to “break” – very comfortable after but the first 5 days are hell…

Wednesday was shopping day part 2, again had a chat with my friends at breakfast, then hit town to cover the rest: Picadilly, Oxford Street and StratfordĘs Westfield. This was done in 2 bits as I came back in Edward VII at 12:30 to have lunch with our old friend Mr C (aka The Collector). Great times as usual, a couple of pints and some grub: fish & chips for him, a fuckinĘ great salad with leaves, goat cheese and some fruit (grapes and all!) for me. Brilliant!!!

Back to the hotel to leave the morningĘs bags and have some much needed coffee, then back on the bus, the train, West End. On the way back I went over to a new “pub” on Romford Road that I had clocked in one previous trip: Live & Let Live is the name. Walked in there just after 6, the place didnĘt look like a pub, more like a run down American bar. Well, I found out it was a black peopleĘs meeting place, got some funny looks from the black barmaid when I ordered – she had to look at the only one other (black) “customer” to get a nod to serve me a Stella, as of course they didnĘt have no ale / bitter. Got no problem with black people by the way, had quite a few friends when I was living there 10 years ago, but I wouldnĘt recommend the place – looked a bit dodgy and I hope the name of the place ainĘt no wish for whatĘs going on in there on a weekend night…

Got one of the Ilford / Romford busses and got back to the Broadway and this time the QueenĘs Head pub, one of the few that show football games to watch Arsenal getting done 4-0 at Milan. Bit of a funny crowd in there and I use the term crowd literally as it was only about 10 of us – no goners though. Funniest bit was as the music was playing all the modern stuff then out of the blue they played the “Angelwitch” song, by which time I started wondering whether I should control the beer flow in me!!!

That was it really, back to the hotel, breakfast next morning, tube to Victoria, train to Gatwick, plane to Athens. Another quality trip, cheers to all I met, next one April – buzzinĘ already!!!

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WE ARE THOSE [CENSORED] S IN CLARET & BLUE!!!
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