Dublin Hammers Trip - Wolverhampton Wanderers - Saturday 1st October 2022

West Ham United 2 vs Wolves 0

I’ll start by saying that this was my first trip to the London Stadium to see West Ham since October 2018! A very long time indeed. Anyway I headed to the airport to meet the lads in the bar where discussions on tactics and the quality of the Guinness were already in full swing. Our flight was due to depart at 8.20am and true to their word Ryanair has us queueing up for that time, as ever though, they were 20 minutes late in departing, not as bad as the lads travelling from Knock airport who were delayed for 90 minutes!

We landed safe and sound after a very quiet flight (by our standards) and made our way to the private coach (no expense spared in this club!) that was to take us to the Olde Bull in Stratford. The original arrangement was to go straight to the hotel in Romford to drop our bags, but due to the rail strike in London it was decided to head straight to Stratford instead.

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This turned out to be the first roadblock of the day as the Olde Bull was closed due to technical problems. However, Joan the owner very kindly took our bags for storage and said she hoped they’d be back up and running after the game.

It was decided at breakfast, taken in the 'Best Meza & Grill Café' (formerly known as Stratford’s Best Café!!) that we should try 'The King Edward', which admittedly had the best viewing window since the Sports Bar.

So as the lads headed to the pub a few of us took a wander down towards the stadium to search for Dessie’s 60th birthday present, a plaque on the walkway... we think we found it, but the wording was different from what he had told us.

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Back at the King Edward the party was getting going as they turned on (and up) the music, pints were sunk, friends of the dublin hammers joined us and a bit of a singsong ensued. Then it was time to head to the ground for the game. With West Ham's poor start to the season we all felt that this was a real 6 pointer of a game and you could feel that tension in the stadium.

We didn’t start well and looked like we were struggling to find any rhythm and were probably lucky that Wolves are unable to score as they had the best chances early on. The away fans were very vociferous as they questioned who we were and why we were so quiet.

Then, against the run of play we score, a half cleared ball fell to Scamacca who took a touch and buried it from the edge of the area. This changed the game completely as Wolves started to lose the confidence they had earlier. The goal had Gerry Nolan shouting “Yam Yam” at them, the away fans fell silent from that moment on?

The second half was a more even game as both sides created chances, but it was another slice of luck that went the Hammers way. A shot from Kehrer deflected into the path of Bowen and he did really well to get the ball under control before shooting low to the bottom corner. Cue more Nolan abuse of the away fans along with a few loons who wanted to take them all on – no hope of that with all the security but we had a good laugh at their false bravado!

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After the game we headed back to the reopened Olde Bull. It was at this point that the enormity of a train strike in London took hold, there were no taxis available for hours, the overground trains had stopped running at 5.00pm and the 86 bus would take an hour and a quarter to get back to Romford! Discussions at senior committee level were had and we decided to take the 86 bus option. So after a quick pint we headed across the road for the bus, when it arrived it was jammers... time for plan B. We headed for the train station planning to get the tube out of Stratford. On the way we spotted an empty 86 bus heading to the first stop... so we legged it. Unfortunately, the first stop resembled the last day in Saigon as everyone tried to get out of Dodge! Discussions were had with the bedraggled bus rep who advised us to get the 25 bus to Ilford and catch an 86 bus there.

The 25 arrived and Liam (Club Owner and Control Freak) was the only one who managed to get on. We managed to get the next one which was only two minutes behind. By now it was 9.30pm and we were getting hungry, but thankfully not ratty, despite the fact that we didn’t really know what we were up to. But in times of trouble and stress they only thing to do is... sing, mind you I wasn’t sure “Doe a Deer” from the Sound of Music was what everyone expected, but it certainly got a laugh.

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The bus arrives in Ilford and we head to look for the 86 stop and meet Liam our owner. A few minutes later and success the bus arrives and we all pile on. There were strange looks from those on the bus as they realised they were in for about 45 minutes of bizarre entertainment from us lot!

We arrive in Romford and Martin “Bad News” Brennan led the way to our town centre hotel ,which according to Google Maps recommended that we walk on the main road at a very busy junction, thankfully and earlier drinks had completely worn off at this stage so there were no injuries.

With the bags and lads checked in it was off to grab a bite to eat and a beer or more. McDonalds was the only option open to us followed by a quick drink in the 'Golden Lion' after which I headed for home. A number of the lads headed to the 'Worlds Inn' which was staying open late and had a great night celebrating someone’s 60th. Gerry Nolan argued with the bar staff when they would only charge him £4.90 for two pints – clearly Gerry feels that low prices should not be tolerated in London.

Next day breakfast was had in the 'Worlds Inn' followed by drinks – where Dessie told us the story of him “buying two tickets for Roger Waters” which confused Gary who politely asked did he not buy one for himself!! A few of us headed to the shop in Romford to spend more hard earned cash on West Ham merchandise.

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As the pub wasn’t showing the City vs United game we headed instead to 'The Bull 'in the square and lodged ourselves in front of the TV to enjoy City bashing United – the poor lad at the table behind us suffered dogs abuse for wearing his United top, but he managed to see the funny side of it in fairness to him. Half time saw us head to get our bus and head back to Stanstead. There was no beer on the bus but songs were sung, Jake got his first listen to “Half Pint” Liamo singing “Billy” and may never be the same again.

In the airport bar a few pints and some cordon bleu cooking were enjoyed, somemembers decided to follow the “Seagulls on Grafton Street” plan and scooped on a plate of chips that some punter had left behind. Before long we headed to the gate and the flight home – Plans were hatched for when we landed and the crew that were heading for Brannigans for the last few of the evening – I headed home, tired but happy and looking forward to the next trip.

"Hello" goes out to Hayley and Steve – it was great to catch up with you and also Jason who we hope survived his stag do!

I’ve been on a number of trips over the years and every single one seems to be better than the last. Thanks lads for a great weekend!!

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Thanks go to Gerry Murtagh for the report and Tom the Travel Sec. The photos are from everyone!

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