Ilan – West Ham’s Brazilian moon landing


Tom Victor looks back at an arrival that made history at The Boleyn Ground…

It might not have the gravity of the moon landing or the Kennedy assassination, but I remember exactly where I was when I learned that West Ham were set to sign Ilan.

I was with a group of friends at the Old Arcade pub in Cardiff, watching the first ever Sky 3D game, consoling my friend Rob, an Arsenal supporter, after his team was soundly beaten by Manchester United in one of those matches you knew was a big game because Sir Alex Ferguson had recalled Park Ji-Sung.

While reflecting on one of many blows to Arsenal’s title challenge that year, the TV in the background brought news of West Ham signing an unknown Brazilian called Ilan, deemed surplus to requirements at Saint-Étienne. Compared to Arsenal’s, ahem, arsenal up front – van Persie, Eduardo, a still-competent Andrey Arshavin – West Ham’s January transfer window business was an example of throwing a load of shit at a wall and hoping some of it stuck. Continue reading