Q&A: Aristocrats forever blowing bubbly

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The Independent Online
Q. Why are West Ham United sometimes referred to as "The Aristocrats" of English football.

A. This probably stems from the late Fifties and early Sixties when they were quick to embrace "continental" ideas, in the days before we were familiar with widespread European football. As a Second Division side in the late Fifties, captained by Malcolm Allison, they were among the first to use lightweight kit and continental boots and would even come on to the pitch before a game for a pre-match warm-up - unheard of in those days. This sophistication was continued into the Sixties by Ron Greenwood and they experimented tactically and played a strictly "ball on the ground" game. Greenwood encouraged his players to become qualified FA coaches and they were one of the first to go on extensive foreign tours. This skillful, intelligent way of playing attracted adjectives such as sophisticated or aristocratic?

Bill Groves, Wolverhampton

Answers please

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B Pope, London SE27

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If you know the answers to either of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.

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