Sunday, June 03, 2007

Well if Reo-Coker wants to leave then…… oh hello there, long time no speak. Bet I explain why there has been such a long gap between posts on this here neglected blog. I felt it was best if I 100% focused on my dissertation rather then typing little bits here and there on here when it deserves more attention then that. Also I have to admit I got a bit lazy after the ol’ 8000+ word dissertation was handed in but now here I am, reporting for duty.

Well there’s been quite a lot since I last posted and to be a little bit lazy I will only focus on the one club and that obviously will be West Ham. Dead and buried I said we were after the Watford home loss. I lamented the side for being gutless, heartless and sorry sacks of shit. Well best thing to do now is to pick up where I left off on Tuesday 10th of April.

Dagenham and Redbridge had just won promotion to the Football League and Rob Green had saved the three points for West Ham away to Arsenal. As I noted it was the first weekend of results in a long time that all the results had gone West Hams way and I could no longer think we were down for sure as we finally putting in some really gutsy performances. That following weekend was an away trip to Sheffield United, the side who were down the bottom with us and out of form. They had been 10 points clear of us previously but now would they crack under pressure of three straight wins from the boys in claret and blue? Well no as they thumped the very lethargic Hammers 3-0. So much hope and aspiration had been sapped in the space of 7 days and I have to admit I once more started to look up Scunthorpe and Colchester in reference for away days the following season. No matter, the rearranged Chelsea game was up next and my worry that a moving of the game would work against us proved correct. 4-1. Well at least in this run Tevez is scoring be it win or lose. Also at least Mark Noble was being given a run in the side but there was something else. Plenty of fans left the ground early but those who stayed chanted and cheered the side on all the way till the final whistle. When the whistle went no one booed. It was warm applause as there was an acknowledgement (in my opinion) that obviously we were always going to struggle against the champions so the loss was always on the cards and we tried out best, regardless of the score line.

Alan Curbishley spoke all the time of a 38 point target. Mostly for a sound byte but also to give the impression we had not thrown the towel in yet but after three wins in a row, there had now been two losses with 1 goal for and 7 against. Little time to pick ourselves up as we had to play the Saturday of that week (with the Chelsea game being the Wednesday) at home to Everton. The crowd attempted to repeat the level of support shown at Wednesday’s game and through a spectacular Zamora goal we had three more points. We were playing fluently and with confidence, despite the previous results. Lucas Neill had gotten over his injury problems and was now effective as a leader on the field and balance had been achieved across the back four. Next came the two defining moments of the season. THE two most important moments in which if either of the two had gone the other way then I would be typing this as a fan of a Championship side.

Thursday the 26th of April and Friday the 27th, an independent commission set up by the Premier League in accordance with the rules agreed by all member clubs of the Premier League (remember that bit for later) gathered to rule over the charges levelled against West Ham with regards to the contracts of Tevez and Mascherano. I noted in a previous post that the trend of fines handed out to other sides had been reduced and more lenient then previously thought and that proved the case here. West Ham on the day before the most important game of the season away to Wigan were handed a 35.5 million pound fine over breaking Premier League rules with regards to third party ownership and for not acting in good faith towards the league. No points off. The panel ruled that whilst West Ham were in the wrong and admitted their guilt, it was the previous board who were to blame for the affair and that any points off now would be unfair to the club. There are other reasons given but if you want to look then take yourself over to the Premier Leagues website

I regret not posting around these parts during this whole affair as there is nothing on screen to chart my mood through out this period but whenever I think back to Saturday the 28th of April, a smile breaks out on my face. Me and my brother travelled up to Wigan on one of the free busses laid on by the club and the 5000+ visiting fans were in fine voice, taking over all the local boozers and restaurants. Before the game had even begun you got the feeling it was the West Ham fans, 3 points adrift of Wigan going into the game who were up for it. The Wigan fans were subdued all through the match and their side’s performance reflected the apparent mood in the home stands. West Ham had a spring in their step and was getting themselves in and around the Wigan defenders. Boa Morte (I really don’t like his attitude, well saying that I don’t like too many of our players at the moment) got the goal that put us one up. I have not celebrated that hard in a long time (well since going 2-0 up at home to Spurs) but the shear jubilation among the fans will be hard to forget. Wigan came out for the second half and shook off their sluggish first half by coming out strong and threatening from the set piece. Then we hit them on the counter attack and the game was effectively done. Time for one more and we won 3-0! Could goal difference come into it at the final reckoning? Who knew but what a glorious feeling it was, staring up at the clouds on a grass verge waiting for my coach with thoughts of survival floating through my mind.

And typing that reminded me of the Charlton fans. Operation Ewood (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA) was a creation of that football club to take loads of fans up to Blackburn. On the way up there, there was a little bit of banter between coaches with the Charlton lot mooning the coach I was on, going down signs exchanged and so on. Nothing too threatening from a club which steals fans from Gillingham. In the service stations on the way up there was noting from the Charlton fans, not a peep. Well on hearing news of a 4-1 drubbing up at Ewood Park, I could not help but laugh. The way back the Charlton coaches were like a ghost town and the service stations were filled with the sounds of Bubbles and twist and shout. Good day that one.

Bolton at home next and with Fulham needing a win against Liverpool to ensure their survival and them wining 1-0, it was all down to the inform Hammers to get a win by any means and hope Sheffield and Wigan fail to win. Well both those things happened and guess what? West Ham won! We won convincingly with one of our best performances of the season, if not our best first half of the season as we went in with a 3-0 lead. Tevez with a brace and a beautiful (Tevez set it up) Noble volley we ended up winning 3-1. We played for one another and showed the spirit that had seen us finish so high up the table last time round. This is the time when I am meant to say why we couldn’t play like that before. Well I wont and do not feel like that. I am grateful for those shit results. The loss against Spurs (shudder), the 4-0 away defeat to Charlton and other crap results as it is those that got us into this situation and it was the new found commitment and drive to get out of that position that saw us climb back from the brink and show people like me who had us down and condemned already that we could do it. We could survive. Well soon I will type up about the final day of the season. More then likely tomorrow when its confirmed Scott Parker is the first man through the door at Chadwell Heath with so many on the way out. Reo-Coker? That’s for another day.

Little Rant about Sheffield United

The only possible punishment is points off apparently (according to the ramblings of one Mr McCabe). Well stop me if I am wrong but there was a wide range of punishments on offer and the commission gave their reasons as to why a fine was only imposed. Go and read the ruling again and then come back with an argument that is not just full of Sky Sports News loving sound bytes and sensationalist rubbish. Apparently Sheffield United has conducted themselves with the proper manner? Looking after your own but the blades have become a laughing stock in my opinion. Anybody with a brain cell in their head can deduce from the ruling and statement from the commission and the Premier League themselves, they are more then happy to have dealt out the punishment and that the club (West Ham) have complied with the ruling. Also what has transpired is something that has never come to light before from the Premier League. Any points off before had all been about player’s registration, rather then contracts for players with third parties and contracts was the problem this time round. The section of the contracts of the Argentineans that was called into question was the part that stated that MSI had the right to sell the player without West Hams permission in the January transfer window gone. The other rule broken was the failure to disclose this clause to the Premier League. Nothing there about registration of the players and that was never in question. Anyone who says Tevez or Mascherano were illegal players is an idiot. Plus Sheffield think they will be reinstated in a 21 side Premier League. This first surfaced two weeks ago and then the Football League point blank turned it down. McCabe in his “wisdom” mentioned it again today. Moron.

18th and 19th of June are the dates for this Sheffield United called for arbitration panel. Good luck Sheffield as you are going to get sweet fuck all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The dust has settled and time has been taken to reflect on what’s happened but the only thing that comes to mind when thinking about Saturday is


Sorry about that, I will try and regain some composure. I am not made of money so £48 to see West Ham play at Arsenal was never on the cards so instead I glory hunted Dagenham & Redbridge at home to Aldershot in which they won the match and gained promotion to the football league for the first time ever. Well done to them. In the first half they played with fluency and speed that you would expect from a side that had confidence flowing through them and the knowledge that they would be champions with the win. After scoring the second goal they became nervous and after Aldershot pulled a goal back the nerves did really jangle for 10 or so minutes. After riding that storm Aldershot had nothing else to offer and the fans knew that the game was effectively up when extra time came about. Cue a pitch invasion at the final whistle and the Daggers are up.

Obviously I could only hear about it but from the texts I was being sent by my father I was being told that Arsenal was all over West Ham and that Robert Green was playing the game of his life in goal for us. MOTD confirmed this with Green pulling off some wonderful saves and if the side do get relegated (unfortunately I cannot type an obituary as the club has pulled itself back from the brink) they must do all they can to keep Green. He will want to be in the England squad and rightfully so but James was picked from the Fizzy Pop by Sven for England so could lightning strike twice? Being honest, Arsenal should have won by a country mile on Saturday but they did not and West Ham smashed and grabbed a goal which was the winner. I have had a smile from ear to ear since hearing Sheffield United and Wigan both lost. That Saturday was the best round of results for West Ham in this end stretch and the only disappointing thing I can think of is that we did not play Chelsea straight away as with the confidence we would have got from the Arsenal result I think that would have carried us a long was in a home match against the champions.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sepp Blatter has been returned as the head of FIFA unopposed by anyone else. Great, rent-a-quote is back for the next four or so years. In his time in charge of the Football authority, the game has seen stupid changes to the offside rule, stupid yellow card rulings and constant little digs at England or anyone else making the news at the time. You can tell that I like him don’t you?

BBC Radio Five Live the other week reported that West Ham will only suffer a massive fine and up to 3 points fine for the problems with the signings of the two Argentineans. At the moment it’s the season for letting people off when it comes to problem players and their registration. The astronomical and unfair punishment that was levelled against AFC Wimbledon (18 points!!!!) was reduced to 3. Accrington Stanley got a fine and a warning about future conduct for fielding two ineligible players. Who knows what’s going to happen to West Ham but if these cases are anything to go by then its not as bad as first feared but its all too little too late.

Speaking of which, the game at home to Middlesbrough. The best home performance of the season. Boro were poor and their manager admitted such but the crisp passing, interplay, commitment and sheer will to win was easily on show to see from Mark Noble, Tevez and Collins. These three played a blinder and not forgetting Neill and McCartney the defence looked a lot more settled but being honest, Boro were toothless.

To end and what a surprise, the G14 (that wonderful group that do so much to further the game of football for one and all) are going to appose a change to the cash cow that is the “Champions” League. UEFA head honcho Michel Platini has suggested that to limit the amount of teams that come from the bigger European Leagues there will be a lowest-placed qualifiers playoff between those from England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal. The G14 says “That is going to be strongly resisted”. Seconds out, round one.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Inept, woeful and unacceptable. For once it’s not West Ham getting a kicking from fans and the press but its England. Two very important qualifying matches have come and gone and the end result is 4 points. You might think that 4 points if a good return from two away matches but what the problem is, is the performances and who they were against.

Let’s go back to the start and Saturday’s game against Israel. The “left sided problem” has been long standing for England and when Jose Mourinho started to play Joe Cole on the left hand side of his Chelsea team, something clicked. The boy once labelled the “English Maradona” became a man and came of age at the world cup as one of the only players to come away from that tournament with his head held high. Unfortunately for him and for England he has suffered two big injuries this season which have limited the time he has spent on football field. With Bridge and Ashley Cole injured or suspended there was two gaps on the left side of England so the chance was there for naturally left footed, inform players to be given their chances. Therefore who do you pick for the left of midfield and at left back? Lucky for England Barry at Villa has hit some real form this season, Baines at Wigan has gone from strength to strength and Shorey at Reading has been playing well enough for the newly promoted side to perhaps be given a chance. Jamie Carragher and Lennon played on the left against Israel. Both good players but right footed, naturally out of position and limited by what they could do on the pitch by being played on the left. Anyway onto the other things that went wrong. The front two of Rooney and Johnson battled and worked hard to position themselves and try and fashion chances but the service was poor and neither player looked like having a cutting edge that was needed against a side that packed everyone back into their own half. You have to beat what’s in front of you and what was in front of England this game was a defence of 10 men. Conditions cannot be blamed; a culture of fear as you step out onto the itch in Israel cannot be blamed. The blame for me lies with the manager. Good leaders always admit that the buck stops with them and form McClarens comments that all the respected coaches in the world were calling him and saying England were brilliant and al that tosh, well that’s the sign of a man not excepting his share of the blame when things go wrong. Plus Phil Neville at right back? Oy Veh. There’s plenty more to be going into but for the sake of staying calm before I type something about the Andorra I wont.

This bit was typed after the Andorra match on Thursday. Reports in today’s papers are Lampard was dropped from the team rather then “injured” with a limp wrist. Well either way it was brilliant news he was dropped. Martin Peters earned the nickname of ghost for the way he would appear in the box or anywhere around the pitch unexpected and with maximum effect, through a goal or an important tackle. Lampard ghosts through matches but not in a Peter’s way, more in a have a million greedy shots and take a million deflections for it go in and take all the glory for his fat self. Personally I would rather he was dropped for being piss poor then an injury so if the papers are correct with this report then good.

About a World Cup too late but them the brakes. Over 10,000 England fans had made the journey to Barcelona to see England play against a side that in all honesty will struggle against the teams that play on Hackney Marshes on a weekend. 0-0 at half time. Now once again England was confronted with a side that packed their own half and never showed any interest at all in trying to get a goal. It took Paul Robinson 28 or so minutes to have a touch of the ball and that was to retrieve a wayward free kick that I think counted for Andorrans only chance on goal all match. Anyway chances were few and far between which is unacceptable for this side against such poor opposition. Gerrard was the first to test the goalkeeper after 20 minutes. 20 minutes to have a shot on target? A decent Downing chance was wasted and at half time the crowd really turned the screw on McClaren and his England flops. The second half performance was as controlled as the first and two quality finishes from Gerrard dug us out of a big hole. The telling thing was that after every goal and for long periods of time some of the crowd chanted “Still want McClaren out”. This I think has been born out of the obvious and what everyone can see is that McClaren is a man full of hot air and not many ideas. Middlesboro fans were in large glad to be rid of him and that says a lot. We could not break down Andorra as they packed their half as I said and we failed to get Lennon involved in the gamer. To try and get him on the ball he was bought more infield and it nearly paid off straight away but then he drifted out of the game again. Why? Cause at times the service was not good enough. The BBC pundits were right to point out that why do you need to have so many back against this side? Lennon and Downing should have been told that they are not allowed into the England half unless to defend a free kick or corner. Push them up and get the balls into them to run at the much weaker opposition. Why sit Gerrard and Hargreaves back so far at times? It’s Andorra for pity’s sake. I can understand Gerrard collecting the ball to start a move or drive forward but it looked to be t times he was a holding midfielder. In the first half some fans chanted for David Beckham. He will never be bought back by the inept manager in charge of the national team but you could see why he was chanted for. His delivery and ability at times to ratchet up a game and take it by the scruff of the neck was what was needed that first half. Richards looked impressive until he went off injured and the injury he picked up might have ended his season, along with the other injury he has been carrying for some while now according to reports.

Funny how Gerrard has a bigger influence on a match when he plays in the middle. A position that according to Jamie “I’m Lampards cousin” Redknapp is one that the Liverpool manager has “Brainwashed” the country into thinking he cannot play in. Management calls for big decisions and McClaren and most pundits have fudged the issue of Gerrard and Lampard. Alan Hansen last night on Match of the Day said that they can play together and they are both similar players. Ok then in that case for the sake of the team you go for the player who is more technically gifted, a bigger leader o the pitch and someone that is 100% regarded as a threat wherever he is on the pitch. Better order a reinforced bench as Lampard is going to get splinters. Well that’s if we had a manager with sense in charge.

Also well done to David Nugent for two reasons. For stealing Defoe’s goal and for the example set to championship players. If you are in form and there is a spate of injuries then you will get a chance. Take not please Dean Ashton, for the love of God please use this as an example that you can play in the championship for West Ham and still be in the England frame.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ripped off and treated like an idiot, that's the Wembley experience for you. Being at the match was good but at times it felt like you were being talked down to and told to applaud flags being carrid onto the pitch and bollocks like that. Anyway:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Once more I start with “It’s been a while”. I really should post more here but….. well no excuse I should. Anyway an away win for West Ham? What’s the world coming to? Obvious comments of the second goal was not a goal and we were very lucky are true and we have come away from Ewood Park with 3 points. Damn this club for giving people a false sense of hope when it’s too late.

Ol’ Eggy has been making comments to the Newham Recorder about a number of things relating to West Ham. He has reconfirmed his commitment to the club and talked about building the club into European contenders. Fat chance and will only believe it when I see it. He also mentioned that two goal hero Tevez is not under the clubs control (no shit) and that his masters will decide where he goes in the summer. 200th year anniversary of the abolishment of slavery this year eh? He also talks about moving the club to a ground that could hold 60,000. Once more I will only believe it when I see it when we fill such a ground. On the other hand the Barking development on the river should add a lot of houses to the area; then again the development of the Mardyke without anyone being told will add houses as well.

The argument for reserve teams in the football league has crept up again and my arguments from before remain the same.

With that dealt with I have some good news, I am going to Wembley! Two tickets to the Under 21 match and 9 rows from the front. I don’t care about the result cause all I care about is I am going Wembley! Watching the younger England players (were a few are already living the lifestyle of a person who has too much too young) will still be more enjoyable then the team the joker of a national manager will be sending out to face Israel. I have not come across anyone who has a hope of us beating them. They are below us in the world rankings (which are a joke in itself) and have a number of players who still play within Israel but still with a no hoper manager and players who are either injured or miss-firing, I can see a battling side scrapping for every ball upsetting the so called “stars” of England. 2-0 Israel.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It’s been a while. Lots of different circumstances, work and such have come together in a way that has made me unable to post something “meaningful” on this blog of mine. Anyway onto a matter that has popped up today:

The Football League Board is looking into getting rid of draws and having sides face a penalty shoot out to determine a winner. Being completely honest, I don’t see where this one has come from. I mean that in a way of where has the outcry to scrap draws been? Who has felt that draws have hindered the game? I think this has come about because the league wants the amount if games limited. Cup games would no longer be two legged affairs and no replays permitted. To me it is the fault of those behind the Champions league and other such competitions for the extra amount of games being played. The UEFA cup format was messed about with to add a group round, just like the Champions league was in the early 90’s for the sole purpose of more matches equal more money. Domestically teams who are away too much stronger opponents play for the draw in most cases to try and get home advantage in a replay. Some of these games can be negative but the tradition of the FA Cup should be respected and failure of a side to beat another is part of the game. With regards to the league I just think the idea is not a good one. Would there be a jump straight away to penalties or would there be extra time? If there as extra time players would “burn out” quicker which would give people like Wenger more excuses to blame the French national side. I don’t see draws as a problem; I see the plans to further cut the league numbers down to 18, potentially 16 as a bigger problem. If rent-a-quote Sepp Blatter got his way only the biggest and best teams would be in the leagues of Europe. And when I say Europe I mean Italy, England, Spain and Germany (and a few from other countries throw in).

Now a non football related paragraph (!!!!!!!!). The Cricket World Cup has started and my pick for the tournament is………not Scotland that’s for sure. It’s Australia. That’s no shock really but I feel that the Aussies will be more determined to show everyone how good they are after England success down under (and that was a pleasant surprise) and the 3-0 series whitewash against New Zealand. Speaking of which I have a sneaking feeling that New Zealand will go far and make the Semi Finals at least, even possibly the Final.