Off to West Ham, or to be more accurate, Stratford.
It says a lot about modern football that when you buy a ticket to watch our hosts on Sunday you don’t contribute to the capitalistic fortune of the most horrible club owners in the Premier League. In fact, the way things are going they might soon be mid-table contenders. Not that they’ve cleaned up their act in any way. Perish the thought, they’ve just been overtaken by events.
Time was when travelling to West Ham’s friendly little Upton Park could be an interesting experience, always heightened by not knowing whether or not you’d be getting back in one piece. Now they’ve moved to the not very little at all London Stadium, fulfilling their owners’ long-held dream of having a ground that they didn’t have to pay for. They got a good deal on it, and how the Conservative peer Lady Brady managed to swing that with owners involving the Conservative minister Lord Coe and under the jurisdiction of Conservative mayor Boris Johnson, I couldn’t begin to guess. They’re looking to sell the club now, to avoid paying a share of the profits when they do go. Classy as always, the porn brothers & co.
At the moment the team they currently own are not doing badly. In fact, they’re doing much better than they’re used to, because despite some idea that West Ham are a Big Club, they’re not even the most successful one with a name starting with West. They’ll start sliding down the table sooner or later, and Sunday might as well be the time. Astonian Supermen FC (well, if other clubs can change their name when they feel like it so can we) have got a more or less full squad to pick from, so do we leave things unchanged, or bring in a pair of fresh legs or two? Time will tell, but it makes no difference to the result. We’re Aston Villa, they aren’t.