Because less players equal more space to pass and move

West Ham won the World Cup

I’ve always had a soft spot for West Ham, but I’ve never really known why. It might be because I have a few friends who support them, or I enjoyed the book ‘Congratulations, you have just met the I.C.F’.

It could be because Russell Brand, Keira Knightley and John Cleese are all followers (however having quickly looked up West Ham’s celebrity fan base I did find this – or, as I like to call it, 101 reasons to dislike West Ham.)

It might be because of their emphasis on youth, and the English players they’ve helped produce or provided a solid home for – Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson and Bobby Zamora all came from West Ham United, and their current spine of Rob Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole have all settled there in recent years.

Their impact on English football history – it was West Ham that won the World Cup apparently – Moore, Peters and Hurst beating West Germany 4-2 without even a goalkeeper seems an unlikely story to me, but then The Prodigy had to get their album title ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’ from somewhere I guess.

Current manager Gianfranco Zola is another possible reason. Loved him as a player, he’s got The Irons trying to play football in the right spirit and with the ball on the floor. Admittedly it’s not gone brilliantly for him, but one glimpse of that cheeky smile and even Cass Pennant could find forgiveness.

Di Canio and Barthez's infamous failed taxi-hailing

Their foreign players persuade me to feel for the team in claret and blue. Two Italians: Paolo Di Canio (more on him at a later date) and his high talent:insanity ratio and Alessandro Diamanti with his complete disrespect for the shirt, and indeed the kit man, every time he misses a chance, endear me to them. The Egyptian Mido, a man so lazy he can’t even be bothered with the run up for a penalty and the Mexican Franco, a player one man I know described as ‘the worst player I’ve ever seen’, both provide comic relief even Lenny Henry couldn’t muster.

I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles – a timeless anthem and one easily made into a joke if Bubbles is a monkey; the fact they wore little claret squares covering the ‘XL’ sponsor on their shirts when they went bust; the Tevez and Mascherano transfer saga, all of these are reasons West Ham have something about them and make me really, really hope they survive the drop.

My affiliation could still stem from John Hartson kicking Eyal Berkovic in the head, Julian Dicks’ penalties, or that I really don’t like Millwall.

A club, team and institution that has not only an iconic history but also a history full of icons, yet I still can’t pinpoint the one that draws me to them.

And that’s why I love West Ham.