HERO TO VILLAIN

Fickle West Ham fans turn on cult hero

Pantsil doesn’t enjoy first match against former club

Fulham’s John Pantsil earned cult hero status at West Ham last season and before moving west in search of regular football the Ghanaian was one of the only things that kept fans singing over the final few games as the club took their foot off the gas.

The scene was set today for a romantic reunion. Pantsil was one of four former Hammers in the Fulham team alongside Paul Konchesky, Jimmy Bullard and Bobby Zamora. He spoke in the matchday programme about never forgetting the way West Ham’s fans treated him and the away support responded with an enthusiastic cheer when his name was read out and a hearty rendition of their ironic chant: “he comes from Africa, he’s better than Kaka”

But the relationship turned sour late in the first half when Pantsil challenged for the ball after Robert Green palmed away a Bullard free-kick and followed through on the West Ham keeper. A large percentage of incensed fans began chanting “f*** off Pantsil” before demonstrating the childishness of their sudden turn with a chant of “we don’t like you any more” before booing him every time he touched the ball for the rest of the match.

Admittedly, Pantsil didn’t react with the utmost concern for Green but surely the fact the shot-stopper recovered to complete the match and West Ham led 2-0 within fifteen minutes of the incident should have calmed the sudden rush of hatred? At full-time, Pantsil looked close to tears as he left the pitch to boos from fans who four months ago gave him raptuous applause when he did a one-man lap-of-honour after his final game for the club against Aston Villa.

Were the West Ham fans right to react in the malicious manner they did or was it just fickle behaviour? Is Pantsil the new Frank Lampard? Let us know with a comment below.


17 responses so far
  • Marleeeen depreciation society // September 27, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    he made it look almost intentional and knew what he’d done and didn’t seemed bothered that he’d hurt green. we loved him last year even though he’s not the greatest player who ever played for us. this wasn’t the fun loving nice guy we loved last year, what he did was nasty, goalkeepers are to be protected. i hope he apologises publicly. i think most fans were sorry to see him go but understand why he and bobby went and we’ve already missed bobby this year i think, proper west ham boy.

  • nelly the hammer // September 27, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Since when was Paintsil a cult hero? He was a complete waste of money and couldn’t hit a barn door from 3 yrds? Sorry, I thought the majority of west ham fans were glad to see the back of him.

  • Welly the Hammer // September 27, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Absolutley. He was NEVER NEVER a cult hero at West Ham. Just a fringe player.

    Bobby Zamora was and is a hero to many Hammers as his goals got us back into the premiership to start with and kept us up, not Tevez despite what QCs might think.

    this is just a peice of sensationalist rubbish written to get the page up on Newsnow so that people will look at it and then hopefully click on the advertising to get the writer some money!

  • Bill Oddie // September 27, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    What a load of rubbish. Fickle? Pantsil may have been a cult hero, but, in the same way Christian Dailly was – because he is not very good.

    He, Zamora and Bullard all got good receptions from us today but when Pantsil recklessly followed in on his ex-team mate Rob Green and kicked him in the head what did you expect from us ? Applause and adulation. Get a grip. He did not even show any concern for Rob Green or offer any sort of apology

    So before you start spouting your sensationalistic stories take a breath and think about what you are writing

  • Ben // September 27, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Does whoever wrote this article have any clue about anything. I fear not. “Cult Hero” don’t make me laugh

  • freddyfreddy // September 27, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    when west ham fans sing:

    “Oh Christian Dailly, you are the love of my life, oh Christian Dailly I’d let you…..”

    do you write sensationalist stories claiming west ham fans are madly in love with a curly haired scot?

    I think not.

    It’s banter.

    see cult hero is a bit rich, but nelly hammer i’m pretty sure that from a footballing perspective, most west ham fans didn’t careless whether he stayed…but from a personality perspective, the guy was a legend and most West Ham fans did want him to stay.

  • freddyfreddy // September 27, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    he’ll probably sue us now for harrassment

  • Dean Ashton's Pizza Provider // September 27, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    My fellow fans, let’s not be stupid and pretend that last season never happened. Were none of you at the Arsenal away game when every second-half chant was about John Pantsil? Were you not at the final game of the season when Pantsil did his lap of honour and got an insane round of applause? Were you not at any of the home games in the second half of the season where all anyone sang about was Pantsil? Were you not aware that the Kaka chant was pretty much our only new chant this season and that along with team of John Pantsils and Pantsil give us a wave it got unlimited use.

    Yes it was ironic just like it was with Dailly but that’s what being a cult hero means in essence. He replaced Dailly in that role and 80% of fans loved him. Some fans resented it because they didn’t think he was a good player and resented the fact that all anyone bother singing about was Pantsil but it’s stupid to say he was never a cult hero.

    There’s even a fecking ‘team of John Pantsils’ shirt that some fans wore to games last year!

    If you deny Pantsil was a cult hero then explain how before kick-off today when Pants waved at the fans he got a huge, huge, huge applause and yet Konchesky, who arguably did more at the club and is a lifelong West Ham fan, got nothing? And then we turned on the legendary Johnny Pants. Such a shame.

  • Roaring Repka // September 28, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I agree. I was at the game and thought it was poor form that our otherwise fantastic support just turned on him.

    It’s now being claimed that it was ironic but I don’t think so – I think some fans were resentful about his cult hero status last season and were delighted to have a chance to stick the boot in – then of course some sheep will join. Perhaps some people were doing it ironically but I refuse to believe most were.

    Either way, like Pantsil’s going to be able to tell it’s ironic – he didn’t realise that the Kaka chant was last season! I agree with what you put – it genuinely did look like he was going to cry at the end – it was quite hard to watch.

    I don’t think he challenged with intent, he just charged in with his usual enthusiam (the same kind that we encouraged last season when he made some questionable challenges against Man United and Arsenal) and unfortunately caught Green. Either way, no harm was done – Green played on and we won, so I thought it was a shame that Pantsil got the treatment that he did.

  • BAC // September 28, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Pantsil may have been a cult figure to many West Ham fans, but Robert Green is a genuine hero to most West Ham fans, so it’s hardly surprising they should not be very pleased with the former when he goes in a little too enthsiastically on the latter.

  • Martin // September 28, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Sensationalistic story? Damn, football fans are fucking stupid, it seems.

  • nelly the hammer // September 28, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Yeah, I was at a lot of those games last season and in my opinion, and the fans around me it was bloody ironic as paintsil was shit. Every game I went to and he played everyone was calling for him to be hauled off. Just like Carlton Cole, who now seems to be winning most of us over. What next. Boa Morte cult hero. I thought the lap of honour wa because he never complained, never asked for a transfer and always got on with it.

    Maybe I was wrong.

  • freddyfreddy // September 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Carlton cole aint winning me over mate!

  • nelly the hammer // September 28, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Could be worse, could be yid. Hope they get relegated.

    What the hell is happening with Appiah anyway? All gone cold.

  • Upminster Iron // September 29, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Won’t be too disappointed if we don’t land Appiah – it seems he’s only interested in the money and we’ve got Mullins, Bowyer and Collison in reserve (and Quashie!).

  • Upminster Iron // September 29, 2008 at 8:53 am

    “I am very sorry for what happened because I did not mean to do it. The West Ham fans were very good to me last season. I welcomed them to Fulham and I hope they can forget this. I still love them.”

    Such a legend – I don’t know of any other Premier League footballers who care so much about involving the fans and having a positive relationship with them. The Green challenge was accidental and I hope he gets a great reception on his return.

  • DaDon // September 29, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Christ almighty. Paintsil WAS a cult player (maybe hero is too strong a word) , not because he was a brilliant footballer but because every time he came on he gave 110%. It doesn’t matter now, but had he been given a chance at WHU I’m sure he would have done well for us.

    As for what happened Saturday, his challenge on Green was entirely accidental and watching MOTD just confirmed my view of it. Yeah there was banter but I saw it as a bit of a laugh and nothing more. I hope he’ll get a great reception at Upton Park, if not then I’m afraid that although we pride oursleves on thinking we’re different, we West Ham fans are just as shamefully ungrateful and myopic as the rest. I just can’t abide a short memory.

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