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August 19 , 2008

Hammers in the Heart

A Lifetime of Supporting West Ham


West Ham are back in the Premiership and, to celebrate, Pete May reflects on a lifetime of supporting the Irons. It's all here in Hammers in the Heart, from a full account of West Ham's triumph against Preston in the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final at Cardiff on 30 May 2005 to his early recollections of Bobby Moore, high-leg DM boots in the North Bank, Billy Bonds' pirate chic, obscene humour in the Chicken Run, Trevor Brooking's sideburns, the FA Cup triumphs of 1975 and 1980, promotions, relegations and sides invariably 'down to the bare bones'.

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With the dark humour necessary to be a Hammers fan, Pete May recalls Frank McAvennie's Neighbours mullet; Paolo Di Canio's walk-off against Bradford; 'Two Bob' Florin Raducioiu, who preferred shopping in Harvey Nichols to playing for West Ham; Iain Dowie's legendary own goal at Stockport; homeboy Joey Beauchamp; John Hartson attempting to kick off Eyal Berkovic's head in training; beating Bury 10-0 and signing their centre-half; chants of 'We want a new back four!' and relegation with the most talented side ever to go down; and, of course, the sublime skills of Brooking, Devonshire and Di Canio.

You'll laugh, you'll wince, you'll probably need a cup of Rosie Lea in Ken's Café after reading Hammers in the Heart, an epic tale of dreams that didn't always fade and die.

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