"Billy Bonds used to XXX Trevor Brooking's *@?!"
So starts the Hammers vs Gillies antagonism in The Shouting Men, a 2010 film about a group of Gillingham fans who follow their side on a cup run that includes a trip up to St James Park to take on 'mighty' Newcastle United!
The most striking (and highly amusing) character is Barry, a wheelchair bound psychopath who uses his disability to draw people in before regularly exploding into comedic football hooliganism!
The film is a gem, full of very amusing scenes but also with some relatively serious themes around the nature of friendship, mental health and homophobia. Each of the characters have personal issues that emerge as they 'rampage' their way up the motorways of England. It's well worth a watch if you want a laugh and is readily available in 10 minute segments on Youtube.
As for today's visit to Priestfield, David Moyes has promised to field a strong side as he recognises the connection Hammers fans have with the cup (and his side need some confidence-boosting results!). While it will be nice to see some of our top players on show, it would be great to also get a look at the likes of Conor Coventry who is captain of our U23 side and has been hovering around the margins of the first team squad all year. Coventry signed a three year deal earlier this week that could in time prove to be our most important business during this transfer window.
The Hammers have not met Gillingham since 2005 where we completed a double over them during our promotion-winning season. The earlier game of that season (23rd October at Upton Park) saw a Hammers 3-1 victory as Master James Meagher (our occasional VWH columnist) was club mascot for the day. Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood and Hayden Mullins got the goals in an enjoyable victory.
So far in this season’s competition, Gillingham overcame Sundeland 1-0 (after an initial 1-1 draw) and then beat Doncaster Rovers 3-0 in the second round at Priestfield. They lie 12th in League one but have a decent home record and will certainly compete. Ex-Hammer Olly Lee is in midfield for Gillingham today. During the week Gills Boss Steve Evans has issued a give us your best shot challenge to David Moyes who has responded by promising a strong starting XI.
Kick off is at one minute after six pm with the minute in recognition of the ‘heads up’ campaign for mental health awareness – a recurring theme in The Shouting Men. Go watch it before the game!