I’d like to declare that the General Election, for me at least, is now over ladies and gentlemen. Any would be MP’s reading this column please take note that my vote is now cast and anything you say to try and entice my vote will make absolutely no difference whatsoever. With the Spanish Grand Prix taking place in the second week of May, I’ve been forced once again to apply for a postal vote and that vote was cast last week with my son Daniel acting as witness.
Daniel’s nearly 8 years old and I’m trying to get him a little bit interested in what the election is all about. Not the easiest of tasks of course until David Cameron let it slip that he was a West Ham fan.
“What? The Prime Minister supports West Ham?” he asked with more than a hint of surprise in his voice.
“Seems so”, I replied “Apparently he was a Villa fan but he hasn’t watched them in years and he’s getting a bit confused, what with all the pressure of running the country and all that”.
“Maybe Barack Obama told him to support West Ham?”
“Well he’s a West Ham fan and they’re mates, so maybe Barack Obama thought he should support a decent team, not Villa, and that’s why he’s now one of us?”
Which is a brilliant theory and the fact is that my boy, amidst a fair amount of pressure from his Chelsea and Arsenal supporting friends at school, can now claim that for all their Eden Hazards and Aaron Ramsey’s, West Ham have got the two most powerful men in the free world on their side. I have to admit, that does put a smile on my face.
So as a reward for his political patience and putting up with my attempts to get him to take an interest in the election - we even watched a repeat of the leaders debate, before I lost interest and switched back to SpongeBob Square Pants - I booked a couple of tickets for the Burnley game, which sadly will be my last live match of the season.
By the way, and a complete aside this, have you watched the latest SpongeBob movie? Loved it, always love SpongeBob. But if you have of course, you’ll know that at one stage in the film the absorbent, yellow and porous superhero if seen flying through the air catching cannonballs and as he does so ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ is playing in the background.
Which other club can claim to have had their song in a Hollywood movie? Even cooler than having the President of the United States as a celebrity fan, we’re in a SpongeBob film now and what made it even better is that Daniel and I watched the film en route to the Sunderland match, so we were wearing our West Ham shirts at the time. And as you’d expect, we were both singing along. Two West Ham fans at the back of the cinema, belting out ‘Bubbles’, much to the bemusement of those unfortunate kids who’s parents haven’t introduced them to The Hammers just yet.
But I digress, back to the tickets for the Burnley game. Kids For A Quid once more, a brilliant initiative from the club for those who want to bring their family to Upton Park and the reason I brought Daniel and his younger brother James to a match at the tender age of just three years old. What have you got to lose? They might not appreciate the significance of their first match at such a young age, but you’ve only spent a quid on the ticket so all is not lost.
All of us football supporting parents want to bring our kids as much as possible I’m sure, which is why ‘Kids For A Quid’ is a real help. But of course it’s expensive to go week in week out, especially as a family, which is why I’ve now put my name down on the season ticket waiting list for the season after next.
The club announced, to a decent fanfare and well deserved approval, last week, that season tickets for the new stadium for Under 16’s would be capped at £99. Brilliant news, just £99 to bring along the fans of the future. Meanwhile, the Mum’s and Dad’s bringing them along, can take advantage of reduced season ticket prices too. £289 for the cheapest Adult season ticket, £776 for a family of four to come along for the whole season. For me personally, it means that even if I can only make it to say 10 games a year because of my work commitments it still makes total sense to buy a season ticket, and I’m sure that I can persuade Daniel’s Grandads to take him if I can’t.
If I’m being honest, there’s a massive part of me that hates the fact that we’re moving away from Upton Park. So many memories from the first time I handed over my £5 to stand on the North Bank. But the move to the Olympic Stadium has so many benefits for all West Ham fans, and for the families, well this week, the club have given maximum encouragement, to bring along the fans of the future, week in, week out.
That gets my vote, without a doubt. Maybe the Obama's and the Cameron's have put their names on the waiting list too. In the age of austerity, its one luxury they can still afford.