Blind Hammer recounts the adventures of a fellow Blind Hammer.
There are many Blind West Ham Supporters and a few who whom are Guide Dog owners.
Most of us enjoy the excellent support West Ham now offer from in-stadium audio commentary, accessible shuttle buses, toilet spending areas for Guide Dogs and generous space allocated for our dogs.
Life has not always been so easy. We owe a debt to trailblazing Blind Hammers.
I met one of these trailblazers as I was nursing my disappointment after the Manchester City game.
Chris, with his guide Dog colonel, joined me with my guide dog Nyle on the Accessibility Bus.
Chris, from Ilford, had a previous life as a chef. He still reckons he can dish up a mean meal. He described how his dog provides independence, Colonel even guiding Chris last year for a holiday in Cyprus.
Access for Chris in previous years was not straightforward. He started attending West Ham games with his first, much loved, Guide Dog Tiffany. They were a familiar pair, Standing at the Trevor Brooking end.
Chris recalled that not all clubs were as easy to attend as West Ham. He particularly recalls a visit to Spur’s White Hart Lane in 2006.
Chris, never short on confidence, arrived at the ground without a ticket only to be faced by nonplussed Spurs turnstile operators who could not see how Chris could be admitted with a Guide dog.
Chris persisted and was eventually transferred to the Main Spurs Offices. Here they agreed to let him and his dog in. Chris was delighted to find that nobody bothered to ask him for his ticket, ensuring he managed a free game.
Chris took his place with Tiffaney amongst fellow Hammers. At half time Tiffaney made it clear to Chris she needed to do what comes naturally to us all.
As this was long before the days of designated Dog Toilet areas Chris decided to take matters into his own hands and let Tiffaney Guide him onto the pitch.
Tiffaney made a beeline for the Corner flag and decided to water christen the flag in the way that only a Hammer’s dog would do.
Tiffaney’s achievement attracted a huge cheer from the Hammers faithful but attracted horrified attention from the Spurs Stewards, who scurried to confront Chris.
Quick-witted Chris played the Blind card to perfection. He said that he could not see, was confused and simply trying to find his way to the Bar for a drink!
So not just Tiffaney, but grateful Chris found relief, and to top it all his enjoyment was all at the expense of the Spuds!