WHO Poll
Q: 2023/24 Hopes & aspirations for this season
a. As Champions of Europe there's no reason we shouldn't be pushing for a top 7 spot & a run in the Cups
b. Last season was a trophy winning one and there's only one way to go after that, I expect a dull mid table bore fest of a season
c. Buy some f***ing players or we're in a battle to stay up & that's as good as it gets
d. Moyes out
e. New season you say, woohoo time to get the new kit and wear it it to the pub for all the big games, the wags down there call me Mr West Ham

Irish Hammer 2:40 Sun May 2
Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Nice behind the scenes piece.

One hour before Tony Carr’s testimonial began, an ex-player turned up unannounced and West Ham United’s former academy director was in desperate need of a favour.

The event took place in 2010 and Carr turned to a person who he knew would come to his rescue, someone who he took under his wing and whose name is unfamiliar to most supporters.

“With the testimonial, I felt so much pressure with making sure everyone was there,” Carr tells The Athletic. “I remember Terrell Forbes turning up on the night and I didn’t know he was coming. I messaged him prior and he hadn’t replied, so I just assumed he wasn’t coming. I didn’t have a shirt for him and I thought, ‘Oh no, I don’t know what to do. I don’t have your name down. I don’t think you can play’.

“So I went to Jamo and next thing you know, he has Terrell’s shirt with his number on the back. Another kit man could have easily said, ‘It’s too late. Sorry, I can’t do it’. Kick-off was at 7.30pm and this happened around 6.30pm. That just shows the type of person Jamo is.”

James Saban, commonly known as Jamo, is the kit manager at West Ham. He joined the club in October 2007, initially working with the under-18s before climbing up the ranks and becoming Pete Williams’ assistant. Williams retired at the end of the 2015-16 season and since then, Saban has gone on to become a popular figure behind the scenes — forming a close bond with Angelo Ogbonna.

“At the beginning, he was a little bit shy and quite overwhelmed with the workload,” says Carr. “But slowly, his personality started to come out more and we started to see his great sense of humour. Every club needs someone like Jamo. He helped me get the kit from Umbro for my testimonial. He was a massive help for me that day and after the game, I gave everyone a digital camera — because Canon sponsored the match — and I personally went up to Jamo to thank him. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

This season has seen West Ham labelled the band of brothers and staff behind the scenes have also played a huge role in fostering their team spirit. Edd Nicell is the head chef and in January, he cooked Tomas Soucek his favourite meal: potato salad. Josh Ewens and Dave Billows are the fitness coaches and can often be seen on the touchline. Ewens tends to hand water to the players and occasionally an energy supplement to Vladimir Coufal.

Jamie Osman, head of performance analysis, and Adam Crossley, sports scientist, have worked at the club for almost 10 years. Richard Collinge, head of medical, Dominic Rogan, head physiotherapist, and Craig Mazur, soft tissue specialist, have been tasked with aiding the recoveries of Declan Rice, Arthur Masuaku, Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell, all of whom are sidelined with injuries.

It is five and a half years since the video below was uploaded by Ogbonna but it gives us a rare glimpse into the camaraderie between the players and staff at West Ham. Williams is struggling to maintain his balance on a hoverboard, with Saban, former midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and those behind the camera laughing hysterically.

“Jamo and Pete were a very good pair,” says Matt Taylor, who played for the club between 2011-2014. “They both had brilliant personalities and they’re the type that will do anything for you. The dressing-room environment can be a bit daunting but that wasn’t the case for Jamo when he replaced Pete because all the players loved him.

“Jamo makes a decent cup of tea but I remember it being a builder’s tea. The teabag was left in a bit too long for me but all jokes aside, it’s important to have people like that behind the scenes. Jamo is the kit man but he’s also my mate. If you spoke to quite a lot of the ex or current players, they would say the same thing about him. He’s a loyal guy and that says a lot about him as a person.”

Matt Jarvis played alongside Taylor and can only echo his sentiments.

“When I think of Jamo, I just want to give him a big cuddle,” he says. “If we got spanked at the weekend, it would’ve been Jamo cheering us up on Monday morning. He would never get annoyed with you. If I finished training and wanted to do gym work, I’d ask him for a fresh kit. Most kit men would be annoyed but that wouldn’t bother Jamo at all. He’s up there in terms of kit men that I’ve had in my career but if he’s reading this, he’s number one!”

Hidden in the archives of Antonio’s Twitter page is a video of him scaring first-team kit man Andy Tyson. Similar to Saban, he is also popular with the players, having initially started with the academy. Tyson joined the club from Charlton Athletic in 2012 and former academy trainee Ben Marlow believes Tyson’s popularity is due to his affable personality.

“He’s full of life and a great person to be around,” says Marlow. “He has great charisma that’s why he gets on well with so many people. I enjoyed going to training because I got to see people like Andy. He’s probably the first person you see when you get to the training ground and that sets the tone for the day.

“I’ve seen him a few times since leaving West Ham and it’s just like old times. Some people wouldn’t stop to chat. Some would put their head down and walk straight past you but that’s not Andy. He always has time for you. He’s one of the lads and the players at West Ham will appreciate everything he does for them.”

It is not unusual for players to wind up a kit man and sometimes, members of the coaching staff get in on the act. When Julian Dicks returned to the club in 2014 as manager of the women’s team before transitioning to first-team coach under Slaven Bilic, he also enjoyed laughing at the kit man’s expense.

“The best thing about Jamo is you can have a laugh with him and take the piss out of him,” says Dicks. “He’s the type of person that you’ll like instantly but it’s a tough job being a kit man. It’s not as if Jamo turns up at 1.30pm on a Saturday, lays out the kit then heads home. He works really long hours and it’s hard work. Sometimes, I’ll text him at 9pm and he’s still at the ground. You have to love the job to keep doing it and remember, kit men don’t earn a fortune.

“But I had a soft spot for Jamo and I used to go in the boot room and make him jump. Whenever it was quiet, I would go in and shout. I used to scare him pretty much everyday and I loved doing it. It was so hilarious.”

In October 2022, it will be 15 years since Saban first began working at West Ham. There are a number of ex-players he is still in contact with, not least Joey O’Brien. It has been five years since the full-back, who now plays for Shamrock Rovers, left the club yet he has retained a close bond with Saban.

“Kit men tend to have great relationships with the players because they’re so connected to the dressing room,” says O’Brien. “The players know whatever they say to the kit man will never go back to the manager or his coaching staff, so you can speak honestly to them — and that’s certainly Jamo. He’s a trustworthy person and that’s why people speak so highly of him.

“There will be players at West Ham who have a stronger bond with Jamo than the coaching staff. I left the club a long time ago and there’s not many members of staff in my contacts list, but I’m still in touch with Jamo.

“He made our life so much easier and people think, ‘Oh, he’s a kit man, so he’s just laying out the kit’, but there’s so much more to it than that. Supporters only see the manager, coaching staff and players, but there’s people like Jamo behind the scenes who are also incredibly important and a key part of the team spirit.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

claret upstart 6:36 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Thanks Irish an interesting and personal read. Nice to know that not everything that went on at the club in the last 20 years was all corporate bollocks.

Westham67 12:12 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Thanks Irish a good read

Crassus 11:58 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Just picked this up, good read, thanks Irish

On The Ball 11:15 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
It'd be interesting to read a 'day in the life of' piece.

On The Ball 11:13 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Enjoyed that. The kind of job we all think we'd be able to do in our sleep, but in reality couldn't cope with in a million years.

jfk 11:10 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Nose one Irish.

Fortunes Hiding 11:05 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Good read that.

Dicks has got a great SOH; played the same joke on him every day 😳

Dandy Lyon 10:50 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Thanks for posting. Good read

Mex Martillo 7:18 Mon May 3
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
I liked that read as well.
Never thought about that side of the club.
Thanks Irish

jakehammer 11:12 Sun May 2
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
nice article Irish. thanks for that.

Hallerinthemorning 10:31 Sun May 2
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Finally the exwesthamemployee leak is shown.

goose 9:46 Sun May 2
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
I played in a lot of the same teams as Terrell Forbes growing up.

He was mustard.

Hallerinthemorning 9:41 Sun May 2
Re: Article on James Saban, aka Jamo - Our kitman.
Finally the exwesthamemployee leak is shown.

Irish Hammer 9:18 Sun May 2
Re: Article on James Saban, aka SPLATTO - Our kitman.
Yeah I should post on tv box sets, music or films it seems.

Sven Roeder 5:19 Sun May 2
Re: Article on James Saban, aka SPLATTO - Our kitman.

Copyright 2006 WHO.NET | Powered by: