Matt's Mission

Sky presenter Matthew Lorenzo is inculcating son James into the ways of West Ham - and so far he has liked what he has seen...

Eight year old James followed the family tradition begun by respected football writer, the late Peter Lorenzo, and went to the Upton Park press box last week, battered notebook in hand.

Matthew has fond memories of tagging along with Peter, and remembers:

"He used to take me to the Irons and I was deeply privileged that he took me to the press box; I don't remember having a ticket but I do remember him knowing all the commissionaires by their first names - and also their wives.

"He would ask after them as well, which I thought was a rather classy touch - and we swept in with no problem.

"I think the tag of family club, whilst it is difficult to maintain in these commercial times, survives.

"I have been lucky enough to be invited to the boardroom; it is a friendly club to be and I wouldn't criticise anyone there."

Whether Matthew knows the names of the West Ham staff's spouses remains to be seen, but the roles were reversed for him when he took James to the Reading match last week.

"I didn't force him, obviously; he just came out of the womb wearing claret and blue," says Matthew proudly.

"But it is difficult because we don't live on the east side any more, we live on the posh west side where you are Chelsea, which is terrible, or Fulham, which is sort of acceptable.

"But so far, so good, he wears his West Ham gear with pride - and a certain amount of bravery.

"He wants to be a footballer so he will probably end up being a reporter."

 James' version of events against Reading were - "written at feverish pace with scant regard to accuracy or grammar - should go far," jokes Matthew.

But how does Lorenzo senior see the new campaign?

"Funnily enough, I was more confident about this season than last; I thought after the plummet into the Nationwide that things would take a bit of pulling round, and so it proved," he says.

"But I rather hope we can get it together and steam on - like many thought we would do last season. I was happy with the three points against Reading; it is the sign of a good side if you play none too well and still get the points.

"But news of the Wigan result has brought me back to square one so I am a bit confused at the moment!

"You only have to step in that arena to know we shouldn't be where we are; people talk about Manchester United, and every game being a cup game and the same applies to West Ham in the division they find themselves in.

"Any team stepping into that arena is going to think "right - we'll show 'em" so it is probably one and a half times as hard for them."

Matthew is backing Alan Pardew to get West Ham into the Premiership - and keep them there - and he adds:

"I get the impression he was playing for the long term last season; Alan came in under awkward circumstances and it was going to be difficult for him to get anything done straight away. I believe that he has a long term plan, and he is applying his philosophies on all levels.

"Most bookies have said that the three that went up this year will be the three coming back down again.

"I can't escape my bias and think that even without the crown jewels we would escape that fate - and it does need that long term view as opposed to a short term one.

"Short of a Russian bloke flying over our ground and saying "that looks nice" I can't see it happening any other way!"