West Ham offer chance to exchange tops instead of counselling

Joshua Byers

The phrase ‘snake’ is whipped out of football fans’ mouths faster than Billy the Kid could draw his gun as soon as a player decides they want a switch, and the latest to be tagged in this way is former West Ham hero, Dimitri Payet.

We can’t help but think the slur doesn’t really suit Payet given his physique – perhaps ‘snake who’s just eaten an adult goat’ would be better – but nevertheless this is how he’s being referred to by Hammers bitterly discussing the Frenchman like he’s the girl that turned them down that they obviously never liked anyway.

So how have the club responded to this ire? By seeing it as a chance to make money, of course. The East London outfit have offered fans the opportunity to trade in official merchandise bearing the midfielder’s name alongside twenty five English pounds in exchange for a brand new top that isn’t tainted by his surname – a beautiful act of charity if you overlook the fact that it costs the club far, far less than that to produce the tops, and that they’ll soon be on sale for less than that anyway.

This sounds like a good idea, we suppose, but wouldn’t the adults doing so be better off putting that money towards therapy, in order to find out why they feel the need to wear another grown-up’s name on their back?

For the kids it makes sense; we all ran around our back garden pretending to be Robbie Fowler or Dennis Bergkamp or Ronnie Wallwork at one stage growing up, but surely it isn’t healthy for an adult to be walking around wearing another adult’s name as though they’re still living that illusion?

Buying the latest top is one thing, but going down to the shop and asking a teenage sales clerk to print your favourite player’s name on the back is another altogether. Seriously, what even is that thought process? The idea of a 40-year-old sitting at home sipping a glass of red wine and debating which player they love the most and therefore deserves to be carried around on their back that year is in a way quite scary. Especially when talking about West Ham – these are probably burly men whose favourite hobbies are both beating the shit out of people and “blowing pretty bubbles in the air”.

So despite the lovely gesture from the typically benevolent Messrs Sullivan and Gold, we think the money could be better spent. A quick Google search shows a psychologist with a five-star rating (albeit from four voters) just a 23-minute walk from the beautifully named London Stadium. Go and spend that 25 quid finding out why you haven’t learned to grow up.

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