web analytics

The weekend starts here…Ashby…Boogers and silver linings

The Gooners are out. The Scousers are out and Chelski are out. The 2022/23 FA
Cup is starting to open up a little, and this raises the question of which other Premier
League clubs might be able to exploit this.
Since the turn of the century, these three clubs alone have won the trophy 16 times
out of 22.
Could West Ham United find an unexpected silver lining in the second half of this
season, following a first half that was unexpectedly weaker than expected? History
would certainly seem to be on our side.
After all, the plucky Hammers have long found success in the cup competitions when
things haven’t been necessarily going so well in the league.
Their FA Cup wins in 1964 and 1975 came against the backdrop of 14th and 13th-
placed finishes in the First Division respectively, while their 1980 win came from the
Second Division.
And that history looks like repeating itself this season. While we have not pulled any
trees up in the league, in fact we have been pretty poor – the recent win against
Everton was our first in the league since October 24! – the cups have been West
Ham’s happy place. We have won eight out of eight in the Europa Conference
League, winning their group by a somewhat jaw-dropping ten points..
But instead of a nice, relaxing tie against a lower league side, once again (for the
umpteenth time) we have drawn Manchester United.
But the Hammers are also undergoing a little resurgence of their own, and whisper it
quietly, we might be turning the corner.
This season’s FA Cup might not have opened up for us with the fifth-round draw, but
our cup form this season has given grounds for optimism both the club and the
beleaguered Moyes certainly won’t be lacking in motivation to go to Old Trafford and
make a game of it.


Marco Boogers. You must remember him. Odd shaped head. Came from Holland.
And now in the Pantheon of Infamy as probably one of the Premier League’s worst
signings. Which came to a car crash ending in a game against Manchester United

“He’s not that sort of lad, it’s totally out of character,” said an ashen faced Harry
Redknapp as he stood in front of the TV cameras at Old Trafford in late August
We had just suffered our second consecutive defeat of the season (no change there
then) and sat comfortably in the bottom three, having narrowly avoided relegation the
previous season .To make matters worse, Harry`s big summer signing had just been
sent off for nearly killing England’s resident right-back. Things weren’t going well.
But then again, he shouldn’t have been surprised…
His 1998 autobiography revealed the full extent of his research into his new signing:
“Someone sent me a tape of Boogers and urged me to watch it. I was very
In the world of football scouting, there’s an unwritten rule. Never give a lift to a Spurs
supporter and never, ever sign a player off a video/YouTube/ Tik Tok etc. But our
bold Harry had other ideas.
So, despite knowing better, and based on such flimsy research, £800,000 of his
already swindling transfer kitty was spent.
From the start of the pre-season training, it clearly evident that the Hammers’ new
striker did not live up to the player on the video. Boogers arrived with the sort of
physique not to give Charles Hawtrey (ask your Gran) sleepless nights. He looked
like he’d spent the summer on hunger strike, far from ready for the hurly-burly of
Premier League football.
The West Ham medical, presumably undertaken using equipment supplied by Toys
R Us, failed to reveal that the Dutchman’s knee was held together by a piece of
Meccano (ask your Grandad) and a piece of string.
He failed to make a good impression on the training pitch. “Lazy” and “amongst the
stragglers at the back”, according to Harry – and hadn’t come even close to troubling
the score sheet in any of the friendlies.
The coffers now empty and unable to get in a loan. Harry was forced to start the
season with Tony Cottee up front on his own rather than subjecting the paying public
to the decidedly unimpressive Dutchman.
West Ham started the season at home to Leeds, The Boogers came on for the last
15 minutes and his leaden footed display did not endear him to the Upton Park
It must have affected him as he was no doubt anxious to make an impact in his next
game at Old Trafford, and when we went 2-1 down Boogers got the nod and entered
the fray.

If you ever have watched a David Attenborough programme, you know the ones with
big animals eating small animals, well the incident was not dissimilar. The United full-
back was set to curl a gentle ball forward then Boogers arrived from 10 yards out of
shot, like an Exocet missile and crunching him at ankle height and launching him into
the smog ridden Manchester air.
The events afterwards were worthy of Quentin Tarantino film. A young David
Beckham – all perfect skin, sarongs and Brylcreem – and Steve Bruce – well Steve
Bruce, steamed into Boogers looking for immediate retribution.
Enter The Guardian of the Universe: Mr Julian Andrew Dicks. West Ham’s skipper
didn’t particularly care for Boogers, nor (surprise, surprise) was he a willing adherent
of the disciplinary rules of association football, but he certainly enjoyed a touch of
fisticuffs. So when he saw Beckham and Bruce getting menacing, he piled right into
The United pair retreated. Roy Keane entered the fray, leading to a tense,
testosterone fuelled stand- off . It could have all ended in tears – for Keane that is.
And all the while Neville lay prone on the turf, eyes closed, hands clinging to his
ankles just in case they fell off
The Flying Dutchman received a four-match ban and would make only two further
appearances in West Ham colours due to a combination of his Meccano induced
knee injuries and his heavily-pregnant wife’s chronic homesickness.
At one stage a friendly doctor signed him off due to stress, and in the New Year he
and his new family (his wife gave birth during his absence) returned home for good
when the striker signed for Groningen on loan. The story does not end there
It appeared that through a miscommunication West Ham’s official ClubCall reporter,
who said the family had travelled back to Holland “by car again”, and a tabloid
journalist who misheard led to the infamous Sun headline ‘BARMY BOOGERS
A quick phone call would have revealed that Boogers was neither (i) mentally
unstable, nor (ii) living in a caravan- just a rubbish footballer
But never let the truth get in the way of a good story !


There appears to be more fallout over yet another Academy prospect leaving the
club, Harrison Ashby
Ashby has made seven appearances for the Hammers but made it clear that he
would not sign a new contract after his chances were few and far between in east
“It was the boy’s decision,” Moyes told the press after our 4 th round win over Derby.
“The boy didn’t want to stay and he only had six months left on his contract. We had
an offer from Newcastle in the summer and he wanted to go then.
“But we chose not to in the hope that we could get him to stay but he’d made his
mind up so that was the reason why.”
Ashby has made only two first-team appearances this season for the Hammers –
both in Europe – and has not even made it as far as the bench in the Premier
League since August.
As a club rightly famed for its “Academy of Football”, it is another sign of Moyes lack
of interest or incompetence. What is the point of developing talent and then letting
them leave for pennies to other clubs?


I thought we would finish with a “Harryism”. On being asked about the new emphasis on clean living and special diets for professional footballers Harry snapped: “If you can`t pass a ball properly, a bowl of pasta`s not going to make much
difference “

Click Here for Comments >

About Gonzo

Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose

2 comments on “The weekend starts here…Ashby…Boogers and silver linings

  1. Entertaining as always Simon. Love the Harryisms.

  2. Love the ‘Harryism’! More please?

Comments are closed.