Local beat writers and columnists always have an inside take on the club they cover. They know the players, management, and supporters better than anyone else. They have insights and opinions that national writers and pundits just don’t have access to.
That is certainly the case with Kirk Blows and his latest project, Hammer Blows: An Alternative Take on Twelve Turbulent Years at West Ham.
Blows takes the reader through the highs and lows of a roller coaster ride at West Ham, everything from big signings to busts and managerial changes and the joy of promotion paired with the threat of relegation. It is a great read, one that follows a unique format.
The reader is treated to various news stories from the time period of 2001-2013, with modern commentary attached to each. I found the “Kirk now says” feature to be the best part of the book, seeing the author reflect on the news of the time and what it means today. Blows is quick to critique and evaluate those decisions (both good and bad) in a conversational style that will engage every English football fan.
The author’s first-hand knowledge of West Ham automatically makes this a must-have. It gives you a nice view of the life of a sportswriter and their connection to the club. It also shows you how difficult it is to be objective when reporting on the news, especially when that news is so close to something you have worked with for years.
The author’s unique approach to the content and its historical context is a welcome addition to the genre.