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The most important of unimportant things?

Filed: Wednesday, 7th March 2018
By: Casey H. Moore

Now, I started watching football at a young-ish age. Early teenage years when all you could watch on in the states was Man United and had to work to pay my parents the $35 a month to get the Fox Soccer Channel. Then I started reading more and more about this funny old game where 22 men run around a pitch and at the end of the day to the Germanís go the spoils.

I educated myself on everything that had to do with football. I read Wilsonís 'Inverting the Pyramid', I read Winnerís 'Brilliant Orange', I read about the exploits of the ICF and Cass Pennant and 'Among the Thugs' by the amazing Bill Buford. It became much more than something to have a drink over and act loutish with my friends. It became my life and became the greatest love affair I have ever been a part of.

West Ham made sense to me. I liked a bit of old punk music like the Rejects. My last name is Moore. And the cultural significance of the East End of London mesmerised me. The more I read the more romanticised it all was in my head.

As I researched and wrote paper after paper it wasnít until I saw Cass speak on the classic TV doc ďHooliganĒ that I was hooked on West Ham. As he recited his belief that it was at West Ham where he felt accepted (even by those on the far right that were around the ICF in those days) I found home. The idea that people fought (literally and figuratively) for what they saw as their community, their style, and their club fascinated me.

But then I learned more and more about the club and its working class roots and saw myself in it. I come from a working class, blue collar background. Father, uneducated and wary of education. Mother supportive and pushing me to dig into a book. It was the combination that gave me a strong work ethic and a keen eye to pursue what my passion was in life.

Part of that passion was West Ham United Football Club. For all the misery of the í06 Cup Final and the relegation that soon followed there were days like the play-off Final. I still look back at that day and consider one of the greatest days of my life. About 10 of my closes mates who came together all because we supported West Ham from 3,539 miles away in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

Many, many drinks were had over the years watching the same club fade and die week in and week out. However, the thing about supporting West Ham is the losing you get used to. But the wins? Priceless. It is pretty much how the British feel about sunny days. Because you hardly ever get them they are that much sweeter. (Hence why 75% of the male population of Britain go shirtless, with a couple of tins in the park whenever the clouds part. I feel like there is a strange ESP type thing happening where as soon as the sun comes out everyone gets an alert.)

I've spent thousands of dollars spent following a poxy football club around a dreary island - donít get me wrong, not a slight; I absolutely love England and would move back sharpish if visa restrictions werenít my downfall - since my first trip in 2008. I love this club even though sometimes it feels like it doesnít love me back. And that is where the point of this small piece comes in.

Right now, fans are threating fans, marches are being planned and cancelled, venom is being spewed on the forums, social media and most likely in the pubs (I havenít been back since the Watford away loss and the 1-1 draw with Leicester in November). This isnít going to be a plea for everyone to calm down, or a ďthink of the children!" moment but it is just trying to be a slight reminder about what this is. Itís football.

Many people use a throwaway quote from Bill Shankly to talk about the importance of football. Shankly stated, ďSome people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, itís much more important than that.Ē However, most people that use it to prove a point and take it literally when, from most accounts, it was tongue-in-cheek.

I prefer to look at football through the lens of a phrase by the great South American-based football journalist Tim Vickey, ďFootball is the most important of unimportant things.Ē My life, my career, my friendships, my travels and my weekly routine would be forever changed if not for West Ham United Football Club. I thank Graeme here at KUMB and every single supporter of the club that goes week-in and week-out because you make all this what it is.

We are currently a club divided. My thoughts on the board are simple, the board is not the club. We will be here forever. We will outlive them. Because without us there is no club. I am not here to tell people whether to march in protest or not. The only thing I wish impart is that we are still one under the banner of West Ham United.

No matter how many disagreements / divisions / supporters' groups / firms there are, we are still the club. How do I know that? Because come 3pm on a Saturday, no matter where are playing, if Marky Noble scores from the spot or Declan Rice puts in a crunching tackle, we will all be lifted, we will all be cheering. It may be followed by swears as we concede within the next five minutes but for that one fleeting moment, we are together.

However, we deserve better. I guess I keep dreaming that the day will come where I see the dream come to reality rather than fading and dying. But until that day, sometimes we need to remember that this is just the most important of unimportant things.

P.S. A big thank you to Graeme here at KUMB, Jim at the H List for always providing a level-headed look at the club when I canít be bothered, the Chicago Hammers and Philadelphia Irons for being some of the greatest people to watch football with. Plus my mates Iain and Jack, who take me in whenever I am back over to watch football.

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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