Ryder Cup-winning captain Paul McGinley has revealed why he has always been a passionate West Ham fan and admits he fears for their Premier League future when football resumes later this month.
Dublin-born McGinley stood out from the crowd as he grew up surrounding by Liverpool and Manchester United fans in his Irish homeland, but that did not deter him from being a passionate supporter of the Hammers.
Speaking ahead of his participation in a Paddy Power event on Friday, the 2014 Ryder Cup-winning skipper reflected on his first memory of watching the Hammers as they lifted the FA Cup in 1975.
“I was often slagged off for this West Ham affiliation and that merely made me more hardened to support them.
“My Dad used to come back from business trips to London every year with the latest West Ham jersey. I would use it at training sessions when I played Gaelic football and it used to get me a few strange looks.
He added: “The 1975 FA Cup final was the first match I can remember watching and it was also the first time I had ever seen a colour TV, West Ham v Fulham.
“A guy in our street four or five rows up for us was the only guy with a colour TV and we all piled into his house, kids sitting at the front. I just loved the colour of the West Ham shirts, that claret and blue, and it has been me ever since.
“I was a season ticket holder until they left Upton Park and still try and go to some matches. I would be concerned about them coming back because they are near the drop zone and it would be a worry for me.”
McGinley was credited with masterminding a perfect game plan to win the Ryder Cup for Europe six years ago and he when he looks forward to the restart of the Premier League on June 17th, it wasn’t players who he placed the pressure on.
Stating the importance of team management, McGinley believes the decisions made by the tacticians on the sidelines will impact how players adapt after a turbulent few months.
“So much of this is going to be mental for sportspeople when they come back,” he added. “The athletes will rely on the coaches and how they adjust their players to this new environment they are going to be facing.
“Preparing for competitive action having had three months of inactivity means they will be a huge onus on the managers and coaching staff to earn their stripes.
“A lot of the good performances we will see will come courtesy of outside of the box thinking and intelligent management from the sidelines.
“It will provide the platform for those guys to win matches.”
By Bobbi Hadgraft
The Paddy Power Golf Shootout is available to watch on Paddy Power’s YouTube channel from 12pm on Friday.