1992 to 2022 was a period like no other for West Ham United.

Taking in the rise of the Premier League, promotion, relegation, European nights and so much more, Daniel Hurley looks at key moments in West Ham’s recent history from a fan’s perspective, remembering joy and despair in equal measure along his journey as a football supporter from child to adult.

The Games That Made Us is the story of an unforgettable period in West Ham’s history told through the club’s 50 most important matches over the past 30 years, with each game put into context and the consequences examined.

From Dicks to Di Canio, Harewood to Antonio, Redknapp to Allardyce, The Games That Made Us tells tales of last-minute winners and last-second heartbreak, of trips to Cardiff, 5-4 victories and 4-2 defeats, plus more matches against Wimbledon than you would expect.

Find out how a former manager once gave Daniel a transfer exclusive, why his son’s first game was possibly the worst debut in history and why John Hartson ruined his 14th birthday.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. August 2022. Hardcover: 352 pages)


West Ham United: From East End Family to Globalised Fandom is the story of the evolution of West Ham. It charts how a works football team was transformed into a club that represented east London’s working classes, only to be transformed again in the late 20th and early 21st centuries into a global brand with supporters in every habitable place on Earth.

Starting as the Thames Ironworks Ltd works team, they changed their name to West Ham United in 1900, shortly before moving to the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park. For nearly a century they were supported by local working-class men from across the East End of London until a series of economic, social, cultural, geographical and technological changes brought the club a global fanbase.

Through surveying West Ham United fan groups across the world, this book attempts to explain this phenomenon and to get a sense of what the club means to those who originally came from the East End, as well as to those who have no biographical connection to the area.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. March 2022. Hardcover: 352 pages)

Book Review: John Lyall – A Life in Football by Dr. Phil Stevens

When John Lyall was appointed West Ham United manager in 1974, he was only the fifth incumbent in the role for the Hammers and stayed until his sacking in 1989. Football was a very different game back then, in an era prior to Sky, the Premier League, foreign imports and wall-to-wall coverage on social media.

And perhaps then, rather aptly, this book does reflect this and is written in a gentle style belonging to a different age. An age of managers who were as we look back at that time, considered gentlemen, and included the likes of Sir Bobby Robson, Ron Greenwood, and indeed the subject of this biography, John Lyall.

The book is very traditional in its chronological timeline, with chapters taking the reader through the childhood of the Ilford born Lyall, through his playing youth and professional career at West Ham and his later coaching and managerial jobs at Upton Park and Ipswich Town.

Given that Lyall spent 34 years at the club both as player and manager, it is no surprise that the book is dominated by his time with the Hammers. The young full-back had four years in the youth team between 1955 and 1959, before making his senior debut in April 1959. However, his career was to be blighted by a serious knee injury that meant that he had to retire from the game in 1963 with less than 40 first-team appearances to his name.

Lyall was offered the position of Youth Manager and after proving to be a success and then later working alongside the Upton Park boss Ron Greenwood, took over the Hammers at the back end of 1974. The West Ham faithful were rewarded with years which saw the club win the FA Cup on two occasions (1974/75 and 1979/80), reach the European Cup Winners Cup Final in 1975/76 and the League Cup Final in 1980/81, and a third-place finish in the top-flight in 1985/86. Along with the good times, there were inevitability some bad times with relegations in both 1977/78 and 1988/89, the later seeing Lyall leave under a cloud despite his years of service to the club.  He then stepped back into football in 1990, getting Ipswich Town promoted to the newly created Premier League at the end of the 1991/92 campaign. His stay at Portman Road lasted until December 1994, when Lyall walked away from football for good, to spend as he had promised, more time with his family. Tragically though, Lyall died of a heart attack in 2006 aged just 66.

There is no doubt that author Dr. Phil Stevens has invested time a great deal of time to research and chronicle the life of one of West Ham’s true legendary figures. However, as a reader it felt as if for a large section of the beginning of the book that it was a generic look at the club rather than Lyall himself. The book would also has benefitted from a more rigorous proofreading, as there was inconsistency around the format of quotes used throughout and also errors such as the detailing of ‘EUFA’ instead of ‘UEFA’ and referring to Nottingham Forest as Notts Forest.

With West Ham now residents at the London Stadium, the book will provide a link and look back to some of the best years that fans at Upton Park had, under one of the true ‘gents’ of the English game.


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