My fellow WHU fans Matt and Nigel might call themselves groundhoppers, but they will struggle to match this. We have just visited the Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara, the national stadium of the Solomon Islands, and seen a schoolboy futsal tournament in the sports hall next door.
SI players are skilful, have plenty of dribbling ability and like a tackle. The best have moved on to play in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia and WHU could do worse than get a scout over to the Pacific. The greatest result in SI history was a 2-2 draw away to Australia in the World Cup qualifies of 2004, ensuring SI played Oz in an Oceania group play-off, resulting in huge parties back in Solo. This helped to unite the country after ethnic unrest had resulted in 200 deaths and the intervention of the the Australasian military peacekeeping force of RAMSI (Regional Assistance to the Solomon Islands).
There are already some West Ham links in the Solomons as we've discovered a school called Allardyce (long ball studies compulsory) on the island of Isabel.
There's even a West Ham fan in Honiara. Back in the early 1990s I took Arthur Wate, now number two on the Solomon Star, to West Ham versus Wimbledon. A 3-1 win and goals from Super Johnny Hartson and Eyal Berkovic made him a convert.
Indeed, Solomon pidgin seems particularly suited to discussing West Ham's fortunes. Avram Grant hem nomas good. Robbie Keane hem makem me karange for good now...
The Essex Liberation Front lives!
3 days ago