Filed: Monday, 9th July 2012
By: Staff Writer
15 years ago this month, KUMB.com - then known simply as 'Knees up Mother Brown' - took it's first tentative steps on an embryonic world wide web. To celebrate this inauspicious occasion we will be reproducing some of the most memorable articles we've published over the years, ahead of the new 2012/13 Premier League campaign.
For our latest dip into the KUMB archive we're going back to our fourth season in business, the 2000/01 campaign.
In January 2001, Paolo DI Canio's 76th minute strike at Old Trafford against the all-conquering Manchester United was enough to send the home side tumbling out of the FA Cup against all the odds. We reflect on the build-up to the game with Tross, before recalling a momentous win with Rob Stavely...
Free at last, Free at last!
First published 23rd January 2001
Dear One and All,
I am happy to join with you on Sunday at 2pm, in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our national game.
Five and five score years ago, a great vision was realised and our great club was born, and it is the majestic name of it that we will be defending on Sunday.
We are the great beacon light of hope to millions of football fans, who have been seared in the flames of the media's withering injustice. It will be as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
However, one hundred and five years on from our birth, and we are no longer free. A century later, the life of the football fan is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination, that everyday society has come to know as Manchester United Football Club.
One hundred years on, the football fan lives on a lonely island of poverty, in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the football fan is still languished in the corners of our society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So on Sunday we go to dramatise and put right this shameful condition.
In a sense we will go into the Hades that is Old Trafford to cash a cheque.
When the great architects of our past designed and then formed our beautiful game, they were signing a promissory note to which every future generation of fans was to become heir. This note was a promise that all supporters and teams will have an equal chance in the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that the football association and the media have defaulted on this promissory note insofar as the fans that refuse to support the Red Menace are concerned.
Instead of honouring this sacred obligation, they have given the ordinary fan a bad cheque, a cheque which has come back marked "insufficient funds". But we refuse to believe that the bank of soccer justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this cheque. A cheque that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice in the face of this corruption.
We will also go to Hades and remind the powers that be of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquillising drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of equality. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of justice.
Now is the time to lift our game from the quicksands of injustice to the solid rock of soccer equality. Now is the time to make justice a reality for every one of God's football fans. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This cold winter of discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating spring of freedom and equality.
As we go into the first Year of New Millennium, there is hope. This is a new beginning.
Those who hope that the football fan needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if things continue as business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquillity in England until the Football fan is granted his rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold that leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow the performance of our magnificent team to go unnoticed as we degenerate into physical violence.
Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting their physical threat with our god given voices, and the power of your soul. The marvellous militancy which is the travelling support of West Ham United will engulf their Hades. There is only one outcome.
Many of us have passion overflowing in our hearts. It must not lead us into a total distrust of the media and the football association. For many of our opposing supporters at other clubs as evidenced by their presence on our site, have come to realise that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realise that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of the beautiful game, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the football fan is treated like the infidel in his own land.
Subjected to the propaganda and the false promise that is Manchester United Football Club. We can never be satisfied while the referees treat the players of our clubs differently because of the colour of their shirt, or the crest of their club.
We can never be satisfied while the child in a playground in the South has his mind polluted that his local side is void of worth. While a child from the North is told that he has no option but to bow to the peer presure to support a team with which he has no ties.
We will not be satisfied while the parents of those children feel obliged to turn their backs on their roots for the sake of their children's future and status. No, no; we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you will arrive at Old Trafford after much trial and tribulation. Some of you have come fresh with the thought of New Year's Day. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of Red Menance persecutions and staggered by the winds of media brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Know that when you go back to Upton Park, Stratford, Canning Town, or to Barking, Dagenham, Romford or Hornchurch. Those from The Ockendons and Aveley, the Essex Towns of Chelmsford and Colchester, those forced into rellocation because of demographical change. Those who are from further afield, go back to the small houses and bad weather of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation will be changed.
On Sunday we shall rise up from the valley of despair. I still have a dream. It is dream deeply rooted in every football fan's dream. I have a dream that on Sunday we will rise up and live out the true meaning of football. I have a dream that on Sunday, on the red hills of Manchester, the brave players of West Ham United will be victorious in the very face of the devil himself.
I have a dream, that on Sunday one United voice, so loud the followers of the red menace will think they are facing God himself on this judgement day, will be heard across this great land singing the sweetest of melodies that only victory will allow. I have a dream, that our three children will boss that midfield, and sweat blood while oozing character, showing an experience and hunger beyond their tender years.
I have a dream that the great Italian wizard will perform his magic; that the fantastic Frenchman will weave in and out of their defence like only he can. That the defence will be like a rock, upon which we can build our most glorious of victories. I have a dream!
I have a dream that Fans of Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle will shake our hands in eternal gratitude for stopping the red menace.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go north with on Sunday morning. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood, knowing that by 4.00pm we will be free.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of Harry's children will be able to sing with new meaning "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles". And so let the journey begin.
From the Coaches at the Boleyn. From the Coaches at Barking Station. From The Train and Tube stations of London From the garages of those who can afford them We do not come to just make up the numbers. We do not come just to be the whooping boys.
Let it be known in every hill and mountainside, in every town, village and hamlet across the land. Let it be known that we are the same West Ham United who stopped them before from winning the Premiership crown and we are today the very same WEST HAM UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB WHO WILL PUT THEM OUT OF THE FA CUP!
And when it is done, and only when it is done.....we will finally be free at last, Free at last!
A Day To Remember
By Rob Stavely
First published 29th January 2001
I went to this historic game with my younger brother. He had only been to one match before with me and we won that one. Was something special on the cards because of his presence? My brother is not a Hammer and is not into football, but he’s a top lad , he knows how I love them and he was with us totally in spirit.
We had a fry-up in town for breakfast - that went down rather well - before taking the tram from Piccadilly (and never got asked for a fare, so that was ok of them as well). Walking down Sir Matt Busby Way, my brother said to me "look at this human form - it looks like they are on a mission". I thought it was somewhat strange that he said this, as he's not some kind of phrasemonger. He leaves that to me! I replied, "for 10,000 of us today, this is a mission".
And it was. And he understood.
We walked past the 1958 clock and looked at the memorial. I don't care too much for Man Utd but I always feel a bit saddened when I see that clock because great young footballers died that day for nothing.
We then stopped to take a look at the Busby statue. A great manager who controlled and loved Man U when they were a football club and not the arrogant, commercial monstrosity they became. Just below that statue is the 'Megastore' that is flooded with plastic people and gloryhunters, most of whom have never heard of Duncan Edwards. Says it all about how the game has changed.
We weren't wearing colours because we had our tickets in Man U's North Bank. There was no alternative to this and I WAS NOT missing this game. We saw a few groups of Hammers and I smiled at them whenever they looked over. I gave some the thumbs up.
The time had come. It was about 1.15pm and I wanted to get into the ground so much. We had a great view in that stand and watched the monumental build up of the West Ham contingent. That UNITED WE STAND flag was magnificent.
As the Hammers fans flooded in to fill our sections, I swear I saw the areas we were in get PHYSICALLY larger and far more imposing. It was when those stands finally filled that I suddenly thought this WAS historic and we were there. No matter what happened this WAS historic. The West Ham fans took over, created the atmosphere and started to CHANGE things right then. The noise of those great fans will live with me forever.
Paolo Di Canio came out and did that warm-up routine running in front of the 18-yard box. It was the first time my brother had seen Paolo live and he said, "I like the way he runs". He said that a few times during the game.
I was sat next to the most horrible specimen of a 'football fan' I had ever seen. He was a lanky streak of piss, wearing a long Man Utd scarf and, worst of all, he had a VERY annoying penchant for singing along in a very squeaky manner to the nauseating songs the Stretford End occasionally came out with.
A song he kept singing along to was the one about Jaap Stam. "Jaap Stam is a big Dutch man, Try and beat him if you f**cking can", blah blah blah. More of that song later. Heehee.
The time to do or die arrived…
It soon became apparent that we were up for it. The defence looked solid and the midfield was really working hard. Freddie [Kanoute] and Paolo looked OK and I was happy. However I was really worried about Shaka [Hislop]. I thought he would be our undoing and when he sliced a clearance almost into our net I was cringing.
My next-door neighbour was starting to bug me. In reply to our roar of "You're supposed to be at home", he said, "Who the f*ck are they? All mouth they are". It was hilarious because the North Bank end that he, my brother and I were sat in was definitely not all mouth - it was the quietest place I have ever sat in.
At various points I looked around the North Bank trying to spot some other Hammers. We knew we were not alone. Some seemed very evident to me. There was just something about them. I felt safer for seeing them.
West Ham played very well in that first half and I was well pleased. I was totally elated actually. At that point I had a vision that we would win this game. My head said no but me heart was saying YES!
We left our seats at half time to get some drinks and I pulled my brother over into a fairly quiet corner and said, "This is a fantastic performance. This is the best we have played here since I've been a Hammer". He reminded me that maybe he was our lucky charm.
I heard the announcer talking to a new Coronation Street actor over the tannoy. The actor said he was enjoying the game and then said, "This won't make me very popular but I'M A HAMMER". I laughed out loud at that; the announcer must have felt a right idiot for managing to find the only Coronation Street actor who supported West Ham. Quality!
Everything was going right and maybe this was going to be our day.
The players were soon back on the field. The first half was basically a containment operation but our attitude now seemed to be "let's go for it". Our play from the back all the way through the field was superb. This was no reargaurd action. We were up for this game and I was really, really getting excited. Whenever we did something of note, I would tap my bruv's leg with my knee. I was doing this every two minutes it seemed.
The Man U fan next to me looked just a bit anxious because somebody had nicked the script he had been reading from since the draw for this game was made. We had not only nicked the script, but we were about to tear it to shreds right before his eyes.
And then the moment came that every Hammer fan was born to see. I have to confess I can't remember the build-up to the goal. I just remember Kanoute slipping the ball into Di Canio who looked ONSIDE from when we were. I don't remember seeing Barthez with his arm up; I just remember Di Canio running a few yards with that ball and hitting it past the 'keeper into the net.
And it was not until that net bulged did I accept that we had scored. I leapt up and said, "What's going on! Di Canio has just scored..." Some stewards looked at me and I tried to looked worried, but I don't think I was very convincing. The stewards were looking all over that end for any sign of celebration. But it was as silent as before and any Hammers in there kept their composure beautifully. I should have kept mine.
But WE had scored and the sight of 10,000 Hammers going mental in the away end was glorious. I felt a great need to be with my fellow fans, but I also saw at first hand what those magnificent fans could not see: THEMSELVES! It was as if the wholeof Old Trafford was shaking!
At the same time we were building up to the goal, I once again heard the "You'll never beat Jaap Stam" song. Watching a replay of the game later I noted it was the "Big Dutchman" who ballsed up the offside trap like the rest of his defence and that Di Canio had indeed "beaten the Big Dutchman". The Man U fan, the Big Dutchman and his little ditty ceased from that moment.
And that moment was truly historic. We were at Old Trafford and we were rubbing Man U's noses in it big, big time. We weren't making up the number on or off the field. We were winning and this was our time.
Man Utd threw the kitchen sink at us but kept missing chance after chance and after a few more misses I thought "we really are going to win this". I was sure 90 minutes were up but my heart sunk when my nemesis said to his mate: "There are still seven minutes to go and we always get about five minutes extra".
After 90 minutes were up we survived yet more pressure in stoppage time. The ball was bouncing around in our area and would not leave it. I could see a Man U goal coming yet I also knew that this was OUR DAY.
I have to admit to some tears at this point. They just came and I let them go. After being a Hammer for 20 years, I wanted this so much. Every crappy lower-league Cup defeat was being obliterated right here, right now. This was our time - and we were taking what was ours at last.
Then, suddenly, the game was over. I just buried head in my hands - and smiled. No-one could see my face, but it was a face of utter elation. I was in a dream and did not want to wake up. The Hammers fans erupted in a sea of celebration and as someone had memorably said before the game, we were FREE AT LAST! Free at last ...
I put my arm around my brother and hugged him. There was nothing else to do except watch our heroic, victorious team make their way towards the heroic, victorious fans. It was a beautiful moment to witness my nemesis and his brethren exit the stadium shaking their heads. They were beaten. Their arrogant, selfish mindsets could not bring themselves to applaud us but THEY KNEW they had been well and truly beaten by a better side, with better fans.
Once outside, we just wanted to get into town and get Hammered! I saw some other Hammers outside the ground and they looked overcome with emotion. I went over to some and said I had been in the North Bank, could I please get a picture with them? They obliged; I put my arm around a couple and we got the pictures. I think they were on coach 48.
We arrived in town and got off the tram at the Library. I literally ran off and for the first time let the emotion flood out. I just screamed "Yeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss" and hugged 'our kid' again.
We headed for the first pub, which was The Shakespeare. We'd been in there for about 30 minutes when I saw some people at the bar looking at the TV. They were smiling; me and me bruv shot up and saw Sheringham's miss, then Paolo's goal. We all cheered rather loudly; I think the others were Man City fans.
Just a pub full of City fans, celebrating with us, laughing at Man Utd. We got steadily drunk and everything was complete for me. Nothing more needed to be said or done, because we were FREE AT LAST...
2000/01 Fact File
Manager: Harry Redknapp
Final Position: 15th
Record: Won 10, Drew 12, Lost 16
Goals: For 45, Against 50 (GD -5)
FA Cup: Sixth Round - lost 3-2 to Tottenham (h)
League Cup: Fourth Round - lost 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday (h)
Biggest Win: West Ham Utd 5-0 Charlton (December 2000)
Biggest Defeat: Liverpool 3-0 West Ham Utd (February 2001)
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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