West Ham Book Review: ‘An Irrational Hatred of Everything’ by Robert Banks

PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:48 28 March 2019

West Ham Book cover

West Ham Book cover


Hammers fan Robert Banks gives us the latest instalment of his ‘Irrational’ series

You know what you are getting with a Robert Banks book on the Hammers.

These tomes are not just an account of how the Hammers got on over the years, they are a journal of what happens in the life of someone who happens to be a Hammer.

The latest effort from Banks – An Irrational Hatred of Everything – covers 2003-18, about the same time I have been covering the club.

It starts with an emotional account of watching a match on TV with his dying father, stricken by dementia and cancer.

It chronicles the ongoing battle between himself and his soon to be ex-wife, as well as his meeting with a new Brazilian wife and the problems they encountered with visas and the like.

In the words of Banks himself: “My books are not just about West Ham, but about perspectives.

“About the role West Ham plays in everyone’s lives. How you remember things that happen in your life through West Ham games and recall matches using memories from your personal life.”

This is exactly what the author does so skilfully. I would have liked more about his failing marriage and his new love, rather than accounts of games he did not attend while living up north for so many years.

Those sorts of things bring the book to life in a unique way. It shows the agony of private affairs, of illness and personal tragedy all amid the backdrop of a West Ham defeat on the road.

I wanted to know the details of his failed marriage, but perhaps I am just too nosy.

By the end of the book, he is back in the West Ham fold and though critical of so many things, including the board, protesters and new stadium, he does have heartfelt opinions that are entertaining and worth a read.

His descriptions of Avram Grant and Sam Allardyce are relentless and hilarious, while his indictment of the world of social media and the problems that it creates are pretty near the mark.

If you are a West Ham fan, I recommend giving this book a go. I am off to read the others in the series.

‘An Irrational Hatred Of Everything’ by Robert Banks Biteback Publications £12.99

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