West Ham United Book Review - A Unique Insight into a Crazy Club

‘There’s Only One Stevie Bacon’ By Steve Bacon with Kirk Blows (Biteback Publishing) Available at all bookshops and at Amazon.co.uk – Hardcover �11.19 or on Kindle at �10.07

Through thick and mainly thin; over 30 years of triumphs, tears and tantrums at West Ham, there was one constant among those Hammers that came and went – club photographer Steve Bacon.

The unmistakeable figure of our Recorder snapper covering West Ham all over the world has given us chants of his name, a cartoon character and even a burger named after him!

What it also provides us with is a unique insider’s view on what has gone on at West Ham – if it happened, chances are Steve Bacon saw it.

From the inside track on the bust up between Billy Bonds and Harry Redknapp; the bizarre antics of Lou Macari; the flying fears of Paolo Di Canio, right through to the arrogance of Alan Pardew and the ignorance of Avram Grant, it is all in this new autobiography of a man who has been described by many as a ‘legend’ of the club.

Taken on by John Lyall as the club photographer in 1980, the Recorder snapper was allowed to travel with the team all over the globe and it is amazing just how much the trusted snapper was confided in by players and managers alike.

He met footballers who have become lifelong friends, others who he took an instant dislike to and he has the inside track on every boss since Lyall to take the West Ham hot-seat.

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Nobody could accuse Bacon of pulling his punches. He lays into Pardew with a ferociousness that the Newcastle boss perhaps didn’t quite merit, though you can judge for yourself.

What this book primarily shows is just how much football has changed in the time Steve has been covering the club.

Travelling on the team coach and having such incredible access to managers and players alike is something that today’s journalists and photographers can only dream about.

As the book goes on, you can witness that access being eroded for Steve.

It was Pardew who stopped him travelling with the team and along with his serious illness it does have an effect on the last chapters as they are largely just a chronicle of events that happened with Steve’s opinions on them.

That is a small point though and doesn’t detract from the gems that are concealed within this book.

Think of those bizarre fly-on-the-wall football documentaries, most recently on QPR and the revelations that they unveiled and you will get some idea of what is revealed over 30 years down at the Hammers.

It is simply a must-read for all West Ham fans and I am not saying that just because Steve sits next to me in the office!

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