Friday, December 29, 2006

Its been a while since I typed something for this blog but hey, its Christmas. Got some decent presents etc blah blah. Got that out the way I can now type about some events that have taken place over the period. Firstly West Ham.

We played well in the first half against Fulham but then became nervous and Fulham started to gain the upper hand. Being in the stand behind the goal West Ham defended for the 2nd half gave me a great view of the “red card”. Konchesky won the ball and then Routledge went over. Shocking decision that was compounded by the linesman refusal to assist the ref and instruct him as to what happened. That was topped off with the news yesterday that the FA has rejected the appeal. Well at least McCartney will now start but on principle the red card should have been wiped clean. A point is better then none but you get the nagging feeling that we should have got a win in the face of an injury crisis at Fulham and players playing out of position. Oh well.

Then came Portsmouth.

I cannot add anything more beyond what has been said and typed on other websites but it was a very very poor first half performance. Such a change about from the Man Utd and Fulham games. The second half saw a massive improvement in commitment and defending but not enough for victory. Three big points dropped. Because of the bad results piling up, we need victory against Man City more then anything. The even bigger added pressure the losses have mounted on the shoulders of the players has increased after Boxing Day and now one point will basically be a disaster. My team would be:

Green

McCartney
Gabbidon
Ferdinand
Spector (Just about)

Etherington
Mullins
Mascherano
Benayoun

Sheringham
Tevez

Subs: Carroll, Collins, Bowyer, Harewood, Noble


But that’s just me. It would be a massive surprise to see Mascherano in the match day 16.

Now some tidbits. From reports the sacked former Hearts captain Steve Pressley has had a medical at Charlton. He would be a good signing for them and their new manager, the recently sacked West Ham manager Alan Pardew. Good luck to him in his new job (unless it hurts West Ham). Anyway, Charlton need a pick me up and players who will roll their sleeves up and get on with the job and Pressley fits the bill.

I just turned on BBC Ceefax as I was typing this and have read that Pressley has agreed to sign for Celtic. That’s a big blow to Charlton for the reasons I have already stated (well you could reverse them and say they need someone like I said).

Speaking of Hearts, the Scottish international Craig Gordon was dropped for a few games and excuses started to come out that insisted the decision was nothing to do with discipline matters relating to the statement that got Pressley sacked. Now as there is no proof nothing can be reported as fact but I am willing to wager that he was dropped as punishment for flanking Pressley, rather then tactical decisions. Great example to any club as to how you do not conduct yourself after a takeover.

Lastly, love him or hate him (and I choose hate) but Cristiano Ronaldo is on fire at the moment. The Mirror can forget the diving antics against the likes of Middlesborough but I wont. With so much talent comes a cheating streak. But the world is not black and white on this and the excuse of “being clever” is used. What is clever is his skill on the ball; the falling over at the drop of a hat is not.

Anyway a Happy New Year to the one person who reads this blog and a Happy Birthday… to me!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Well sorry for the inactivity, shopping and the like has put the breaks on having time to create a blog post. Good to see the matter between Chelsea and Everton has been resolved and that the thing is over. Would have made a very unnecessary legal battle, which would have resulted in negative press for both sides.

Tomorrow West Ham play away to Fulham. Officially there will be 5000 Hammers at Craven Cottage. Unofficially rumour has it at somewhere between 7000 and 9000! Would be great to see so many there as Fulham have advertised tickets for sale at 6 tickets at a time to anyone. On the pitch, Fulham have injuries to Boa Morte, John and Diop among others which really hurts them and means they will have to relay more on the squad. West Ham wont risk Gabbidon from the looks of it but Shawn Newton is back after the drugs ban. Curbishley will know him well from the time they spent together at Charlton but will that be enough to see him stay? Unsure really. Anyway tomorrow is a great opportunity with the problems Fulham have injury wise and West Ham coming off the back of a win against Man Utd for West Ham to get a win. Well because of the situation we have got ourselves into we have to win this one really. That extra pressure does not help.

One last thing, the Reo-Coker letter. The person who sent the letter (and if they meant it) has a screw loose. However what’s to stop me sending a letter to Chelsea warning Jose not to say anything bad about Everton again or he will be hurt and signing it from an Evertonian? Well apart from it being a criminal act when you send a letter threatening someone it is serious but with no evidence of who sent it, the blame cannot be laid on any set of fans.

Anyway to the one or two who read this Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It’s taken a while to let it all sink in but yes, we did beat Man Utd on Sunday 1-0. I would have happily taken a loss as long as we played with commitment and passion but to steal a victory when our performance deserved a draw was unfathomable. When you’re team, the one that has been under so much pressure and is staring relegation in the face, scores the go 1-0, words cannot describe the jubilation and release of so much anguish. Hugging, jumping up and down and shouting as loud as you can. Those moments live with you and I for one am glad I was at Upton Park. Our win owed a big part to Robert Green. The 2nd half save from Ronaldo was very instinctive and strong to push the ball round the post. Collins, Anton, Spector and Konchesky looked a totally different animal then the one that whimpered and died at Bolton. At times they did back off Ronaldo and Giggs and Rooney when they had the ball at their feet’s but strong in the tackle and decisive in the pass made for great defensive work. The midfield however was a bit of a problem. Reo-Coker was making runs but Mullins was not as tight to Scholes as he should have been and that allowed Scholes time on the ball to play it where he wanted. Bowyer is not a natural width player so at times he kept drifting inside, leaving Spector exposed to balls over the top for Ronaldo to control and star this routine of step overs. Upfront, Zamora is shot of confidence and Harewood for all his challenging and hustle & bustle did not look like a man in form.

Enough of the negativity. The side played well as a collective unit. Some of the one touch football was crisp and full of confidence. Shame it took the sacking of a manager to get them going. To follow on from a point I made in my previous post, this is now the forth game against one of the big four sides that the side have upped their game. Shame the bread and butter matches of Reading and Wigan were losses. Fulham away is coming up this Saturday and me and my brother will be taking our seats (well standing in front of them) in the “Neutral End” with a bit more hope but my brother has not seen us win in person since Bradford at home in the last match of Sir Trevor Brooking’s second caretaker spell at the club and that was 2003!

Some other bits and pieces have been floating about.
Arsenal have banned all national flags from their ground after one man flew a Turkish Cypriot flag at the Emirates stadium. I can perfectly understand why that particular flag was banned but to blanket ban all flags is a massive knee jerk reaction. Would be great to see one set of away fans at the Emirates wearing cross of St. George t-shirts.Also Everton have demanded an apology from Chelseaover Jose Mourinho's comments about Andy Johnson. Involve the police? Desperately sad to do that. All you have to do is discredit what he said and let people make their minds up.


Oh and one last thing:



Is the Santa suit lucky? We will see at Fulham.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sorry that I have spent some time away from posting on the blog and what not but finishing off work before Christmas for Uni takes priority. Now that is out of the way I can get back to doing what I do… well best or worse, who knows? Anyway Chelsea in the days following the game with Arsenal, up to the Newcastle game and afterwards, someone must have been putting pound after pound into the meter at Stamford Bridge, as they became rent a quote. So many press releases from Jose, Terry, Lumplard all saying basically the same thing. “Points gap closing in”, “Man Utd can’t last”, “We are yet to hit our prime” over and over and over to the point it was getting boring.

Anyway West Ham has gone through another turbulent week. I was at my works Christmas dinner when I got a text from my good mate and fellow season ticket holder Adam that Pardew had been sacked. Well that took a shit right on my undercooked nut roast so after some frantic calling and consulting the internet on my phone, it was true and the nature of the way we had played in defeats to Wigan and away to Bolton was to blame, rather then Pardew himself. Curbishley came in and that itself has raised questions of its own. Is this a temporary measure to avoid relegation? Can Curbishley hack it at a bigger club? Will the players be shock up or will things mostly stay the same? Being honest, how am I meant to know? After seeing West Ham play the way they have this season (which was the way I was expecting us to play last season to a degree) I do not know what is going to happen now. So inconsistent but against the big teams in Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal we have played well. Man Utd for the nature of our position and the opposition is THE biggest game of the season bar none. Because of previous results we have to get at least one point from this but this extra pressure is something the players have heaped upon themselves and it is the players alone who must address this. It’s been a let down so far this season; Sunday is not the day to continue the way we have been playing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It’s been a while since I mentioned Hearts but in the mean time, club captain Steve Presley has left the Scottish side by mutual consent. After being left out of the side for a string of games, he was allowed to go. The Save Hearts group might just be reforming.

But onto West Ham and we have a new manager in Alan Curbishley. That puts paid to the bit in my previous post about his employment. Anyway I wish him all the best and that leads to this Sundays match against Manchester United. When ever Man Utd come to Upton Park, the fans are really up for it but this game will be a bit more special. Reading the forums of KUMB.com and Westhamonline.net, people have been debating about a fitting tribute to Alan Pardew. The popular votes are to sing one last time for Pardew and to chant for Curbishley and say nothing on Pardew. Me personally I will chant for the new manager. I hold no grudge with Pardew but the guy has not died, despite the couple of “Pardew the legend” movies that have appeared on Youtube.com. Most likely a piss take though when you get bits like this from this movie:



I love that bit of the movie. Anyway, Nigel Reo-Coker today has said that he feels shocked by Pardews leaving and that people are unfairly blaming him for Pardew getting the sack. At least the opinions of some have got back to him. What our captain has said can be taken as one of two things. It is either a way to try and start positioning himself to leave the club by citing unrest and disharmony or it could be Reo-Coker trying to quell the unrest. I personally am very sceptical. He has mentioned unrest and used the line that people do not know what has taken place “behind closed doors”. It was put to me on the Waffleon forums that as club captain he is not in a position to mention any particulars. My response was to say that if a love triangle was taking place between one woman and two players then fair enough but to use a blanket expression like behind closed doors is a cop out in my opinion. If he was to say, “My form has not been much cop but I will do my best to improve it” or something along those lines then I would be placated. As said before the Bolton game, I have resisted the chance to insult the captain but his performances over the last couple of months and comments like this to the sun have put my nose out of joint.

Man Utd on Sunday…… Come on you Irons!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A post all about the weekend’s action and events (Quickly summing it up, two wonder goals from Matthew Taylor and Essien. Zara Phillips winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year wrongly in my opinion) has gone out the window with the news of Alan Pardews departure from West Ham.

It was wrong to dispense of Pardew. This seasons struggle was more to do with underpeforming players rather then a lack of tactical nouse. You can argue it is the manager’s job to motivate players but that lack of motivation was not present when we played Arsenal or Blackburn or even at the start of the season away to Liverpool. Something had obviously gone badly wrong and for me that is mostly down to the players. A number of who have let their egos inflate and play at a level that is unacceptable. A comfort zone. Last season was an unknown for some and an F.A Cup final followed. Could the likes of Reo-Coker and Konchesky have believed the hype and played the season with a negative attitude? Hypothetical of course but I can only type about what I have seen and from what I have seen, the players have let Pardew down.

What now? Alan Curbishley has been touted as the front-runner but I am not too sure. Eggert Magnusson has said he is a footballing man and that he loves English football etc. However, how much does he really know about Curbishley? Unless he has an adviser or one of the board members pipe up about Curbishley, I do not think he will become manager. Obviously that means on the continent. However who is out there as well?
The names that have been touted:

Hoddle? Hell no
Graham? No!
Sven? He has already distanced himself from the job.
O’Leary? No.

Funny enough, on KUMB.com on Sunday night I posted that Pardew should be given the season to turn things round. That is still my opinion now but he is no longer in charge so I say good luck to him and thank you for his time managing West Ham. He carried himself with a lot of dignity, especially today in his press statement after losing his job. I have posted about this on the two forums I visit so can't be arsed to go into this much more.

Oh and Stuart Pearce has a lot more respect from me regarding his comments about one of his players diving in the Manchester derby.

BBC's report of Pardews sacking. Some good qoutes from Julian Dicks and Lampard Snr.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A subject that has seemed to creep into media reports as of…. well today is the quote from Jose Mourinho to do with reserve sides. Jose said that reserve sides should play at a higher level, just like they do in Spain.

Since the first time I read that, Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger have both come out to support the idea. On the other hand, Birmingham chairman
David Gold has come out against the proposed idea. Now an obvious point to make here is the three men who support the idea are obviously not English. Their experiences (particularly Rafa and Jose) are of European countries that do indeed follow this structure of professional reserve/feeder clubs. Now using Spain as an example, they have many sides (Barcelona “B”, Castilla etc) in division two and lower who are a breeding ground for youngster on the verge of the first team or squad players who are not getting a game. David Gold made a very good point in his argument against this reserve structure being implemented in this country. Gold said it is Chelsea’s fault that all their squad players cannot play in the first team and what is to stop Chelsea signing every single promising player in the country. Obviously not every single player would be on the books of Chelsea but I can see something along those lines happening. What’s to stop Chelsea signing Ashley Young, Kevin Doyle and Anton Ferdinand (as examples) for x amount of money and then sticking them in Chelsea “B”, to stop rivals having decent players and to have access to those players to call up for one or two games when needed and then drop them back down. However that also depends on the rules if this system is bought in. Teams in Spain have to register players for teams at the start of the season and then they can change this in January. Would that happen here or would it be a free flow of players between squads like we have now for first teams and reserve teams?

David Gold also made the point that the implementation of professional reserve sides would be disrespectful to the football league and he is correct. Chelsea and any other premiership club who make such a team are not going to accept a side starting off right at the bottom of the football pyramid, just like any other new club (AFC Wimbledon, FC United of Manchester) have had to play at. Shawn Wright Phillips and Obi Mikel in the league below the Rymans? Wont happen.

Going back to the point about signing up all the top players around, Barcelona is a good example here. Because they have a “B” and “C” side (the “C” side effectively a youth team) they could go out and splash the cash on promising players such as Maxi Lopez and Javier Saviola. The pair were either shipped off on loan or (in Lopez’s case) a cameo role in the champions league, were he scored against Chelsea. Is it a case of getting them to settle into the Spanish way of life before they fulfil their potentials or a case of signing them to stop Real Madrid getting their mitts on them? I don’t know but Seville is a winner out of this (having had Saviola on loan for a season or two). However having these professional reserve teams does have benefits like Mourinho has pointed out. Exposure to more competitive football can help develop a player. Recently it has helped Leo Messi. A product of the “C” and “B” side before making the step up to the full Barca side, he has stated before in interviews that playing regularly aided his development etc blah blah.

However I cannot get around the idea of seeing Chelsea “B” top the Championship but not being able to be promoted to the Premiership. Would make a hollow victory for the 2nd placed side gaining automatic promotion being “the top side”. Plus where do you fit these teams in? 46 games is plenty so what happens? Premiership “B”? If that was to happen, you know it would be so powerful and would have a TV deal tied in with Sky coverage and all that comes with so what then for the football league in that case? A downward spiral is what I predict. The top teams buy the best and those who aren’t the best at that moment in time play for the “B” side. The reserves would still be worth watching with such good players on display. Also with fixture build up (seeing as the G14 held UEFA to ransom over Champions League reforms) because of the increased amounts of games in European competitions, where do you put the reserve games in relation to those competitions? Also if say Reading have a “B” side and Reading proper get relegated from the Premiership and say Southampton get promoted and do not have a “B” side, do Reading “B” get relegated from the other Premiership? This is confusing and I do not see it working at all, as the whole nature of the football league would be at risk. Plus do you stage the games at the home grounds or the reserve grounds as they are at the moment? Most likely it would be as they’re at the moment but as said above, this whole idea I don’t agree with in principle. I would need to see a lot more to be swayed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The other day I was told to just watch football and enjoy it, rather then speak my mind. How can you enjoy a game of football if you saw last nights game? Anyway:

I’ve slept on this to make sure I don’t post some knee jerk reaction to last nights “performance” against Wigan. The last time we played Wigan it was one of the worse performances from West Ham in the modern era. Last night, in the second half it was just as bad. For the first 20 minutes Wigan played the better football but from the 20th minute till half time, West Ham came back into the game and started to play some good football. That bought about a few boo’s from the crowd, which I felt was harsh. 0-0 at halftime is not the end of the world and obviously there is plenty of time in the game to win.

That did not prove to be the case. In the first 5minutes Tevez had a shot that hit the bottom of the post. The shot was at the centenary end and for the life of me I thought I saw the net ripple. That got me starting to celebrate a goal when in fact it had gone back out into the field without passing the goal line. That’s when Wigan scored. Counter attack, good finish and our heads dropped. James Collins was beaten way to easily by Kevin Kilbane and the other defenders were sold a dummy way to easily for Dave Cotterill to get a good shot in. Previously some of our players had not played particularly well and had given the ball away easily or been poor in their crossing but after going a goal down it got even worse for Nigel Reo-Coker, Paul Konchesky and Jonathan Spector. Speaking of Spector he cannot be held totally at fault for the own goal but the shot was going wide in the first place. The second goal was a dagger to the heart as our body language was terrible. We never looked like getting back into the game with 30 minutes to go. Speaking of going, that’s what half the crowd did. Those who stayed (me included) were left wondering why. We were short in the tackle, punting the ball long (which drew a chant of “On the floor” from the angered Bobby Moore Lower) and being beaten to headers. Also Wigan “scored” a third goal, which was ruled out for a foul or offside, I do not know and don’t care really. I ended up reading my match day program for a couple of minutes, as our performance was so turgid. It was all perfectly summed up by a Sheringham free kick that nearly made it into the Centenary Upper. The 200 or so Wigan fans did support their team throughout but they were mostly silent. Poor following from them. The last 3 minutes of the game bought about a couple of interesting chants. “Do-do-do Fuck off Reo-Coker” and a chant for Mark Noble.

I have resisted the temptation up till now to seriously Reo-Coker’s place in the team but that isn’t the case anymore. He needs a spell on the sidelines, to show him that he is droppable and that poor form will not be tolerated. He is fast becoming the Frank Lampard of our team (undropable, no matter the turgid performances) and Alan Pardew has to make sure a message is sent. Who should replace him if dropped? Mark Noble. Noble always commits 100% and could provide the forward runs from midfield that have been lacking at times. Plus he can pass to one of our team in the final 3rd. Also Paul Konchesky. His place looks to be saved for the moment seeing as Anton Ferdinand limped out of the game but if Anton was fit for this Saturday’s game away to Bolton then I would have liked to have seen George McCartney start. Every time I have seen McCartney play he has been good in the tackle, assured on the ball and like Konchesky, not afraid to go forward. Anyone else for the chop? For Bolton I really do feel we need to play defensively and get a draw. That’s a really sad thing to be typing but because of the situation we are in we need points, be they 1 or 3. My team would be:


Green (at no fault for the Wigan defeat)

Jonathan Spector (Shaky at times and needs to improve)
James Collins (Needs to be more assured in the tackle)
George McCartney (Has played well any time he had to fill in)
Paul Konchesky (Because we do not have another left back)

John Paintsil (If he is fit)
Lee Bowyer (Was on the bench Wednesday, need to add grit to midfield)
Hayden Mullins (Let Wigan filter through the midfield too easy)
Mark Noble (I am bias I admit but you have to give him a chance)
Matthew Etherington (Who else is going to play on the left?)

Marlon Harewood (Better at leading the line then Zamora)

Subs:
Carroll, Tevez, Reo-Coker, Benayoun, Dailly.

Tevez played all right against Wigan but I have dropped him to the bench for tactical reasons. Bolton away is tough so we need all the help we can get to get something out of this one.

One piece of good news, Shawn Newton will be back from suspension for the Fulham away game on the 23rd. Hurrah.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

After Cristiano Ronaldo failed to stay on his feet and dived towin a penalty atthe weekend I was going to go on a "Its wrong. The world is black and white blah blah" kind of rant. I was on YouTube.com to find a movie of the dives but came across

This.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just a quick thought. If the FA are
going to charge John Terry about what he said then what action is the FA going to take over El-Hadji Diouf's comments?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Was reading the comments page on BBC ceefax page 359 today and a good suggestion for a special mention at the BBC sports personality of the year awards was made.

Tells you what you need to know here over at the BBC

Great example of sportsmanship.

And just to add to my previous posts about refs and about a Mr Rennie:

The Football Association are to look into the Preston stadium announcer's comments about referee Uriah Rennie.

It has been claimed that Deepdale announcer Adam Catterall said "welcome to the second half of the Uriah Rennie show" as Preston and Crystal Palace took the pitch after half time on Saturday.

It is unclear what action could be taken but The FA have confirmed they will speak to Preston about the incident.

"We are aware of the situation and we will be contacting Preston for more information on what happened," said an FA spokesman.

Preston, who drew the match with Crystal palace 0-0, have so far refused to comment on the matter.

Taken from here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hot media topic of the week: The Ref.

The Tuesday of this week, the ref was announced for today’s game between Man Utd and Chelsea at Old Trafford. Howard Webb was chosen as the official in the middle of the park and Sky Sports News greeted the news by “reminding” people of Webb’s past decisions, meaning red cards and individual “mistakes”. To me, SSN is at times like a tabloid paper with its own TV channel (considering SKY and The Sun are owned by Rupert Murdoch) and this focus on the refs past decisions are just an indication of the amount of scrutiny officials are under. Saying the ref got something wrong and going through the chant of “You don’t know what you’re doing” is one thing but to try and systematically undermine the guy in the press before the match has even kicked off is a dangerous step. However on the flipside of saying that, there are refs out there who seek the limelight and canter round the pitch as if they are a show pony (Hint: Uriah Rennie). Refs that try and make a spectacle of themselves deserve criticism. It is however those refs that go about their duty and then when they are given a match are criticised or have the attention of the media thrust upon them, then there is a problem. Even up to kick off today, the question was put to players and managers about Howard Webb. What do you think? Will he be able to cope?

While watching BBC London’s news broadcast on Friday, they showed a press conference from Frank Lampard. He was asked the question about the ref. He said that the ref should not be disrespected and that he was there to do a job. He then went on to say that Webb was not a good ref and he would prefer someone else. Thanks for the contradiction. Even his other manager, Steve McClaren said before kick off that Webb was a good official.

This is not a rant posting against Lampard so getting off that point, the game today was not the cleanest of games and in my opinion but the ref handled the game well. Tension never boiled over in mass pushing and the ref made sure players never crowded him by sending away those who were not involved in incidents. Speaking of crowding the ref, in yesterday’s game between Sheffield United and West Ham (have to add, Sheffield’s lack of a cutting edge saved us at times), a decision went against Sheffield in the second half. The players were not too happy and four players started to approach the ref. He blew his whistle straight away and booked the two players closest to him. It was not a straight away thing and the ref let the players come to him rather then him approaching the players. Now I think he dealt with the matter in the correct way and I don’t type that because I am a West Ham fan. This is the way it should be every time.


It’s a shame really refs have become a centre of attention again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Some small bites today rather then one long rant like the last couple of times. First off the Ashes starts tonight. In my time of following cricket (I am not going to pretend I have followed it 100% in my life but I do keep an interest in Essex and England and know a little about Essex in particular but as I said, I am not 100% upon my knowledge) this is the biggest test series that I have personally known. The pressure on both sides is immense with an Australian nation expecting to regain the Ashes on home soil and the raised expectations on England after winning the Ashes in the summer of 2005. The injuries and withdrawals of players from the England side have hindered preparation but the mindset that the England side will be in is one of complete focus on the task at hand. Last Ashes series in Australia, England lost but it was the series were Michael Vaughan really came to the fore with three 150+ knocks. This series many people have tipped Monty Panesar to be the one who ups his game but for me it will have to be a collective effort from everyone. This whole post has been clich├ęs and sound bytes but I think they ring true. Bell and Cook have a lot of pressure and expectation to handle high up the order and Anderson with the ball could be a real star if he remains consistent. However I feel that with such a partisan crowd and the strength of depth they have available to them, I think Australia will regain the ashes but not without a fight.

Next up, the Olympics. The whole thing is 6 years away but the whole process of delivering the games has got completely bogged down in politics and spin. London’s esteemed mayor has already dismissed the spiralling cost of the games while the Culture sectary Tessa Jowell has said to a committee of MP's that the cost of the Olympics set to go up by 40%. The euphoria of winning the Olympics dried up a long time ago and now Londoners and Londoners alone that are facing an even higher council tax bill. The money sure as hell is not going to come from the lottery as diverting lottery fund money into the Olympics will take away from the other causes it donates money to. People who said the Olympics would overrun when we won were dismissed as pessimists but that particular view has rung true. However this is not the time to point fingers of blame, nor is it the time to hide behind the fact of winning the Olympics is a wonderful thing like politicians have tended to do. Now is the time to be straight up with people and to show exactly what costs are incurred where and if there is any potential for any more major increases in cost.

Now onto West Ham news. Anton Ferdinand has been arrested on charges of assault leading to ABH and violent disorder. The charges stem from an incident outside an Ilford nightclub. In hindsight, it was a good thing that I kept the original article from when Anton was involved in the incident. It’s from the London Lite newspaper on the 3rd of October. It reads:

“West Ham footballer Anton Ferdinand was caught up in a nightclub brawl after someone tried to steal his £10,000 watch. The 21-year-old defender, younger brother of England and Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand was at Faces nightclub in Ilford when a clubber made a grab for his Jacob & Co watch, sparking a fight involving up to 20 people. Ferdinand, who was still sporting a bruised lip yesterday, was questioned at the scene by police as a potential witness or victim. No arrests were made.”

Now if that report from the 3rd of October was proved to be wrong previously then I apologise but if someone makes a grab for your property then you have a right to defend it, don’t you? Anyway, Hayden Mullins has signed a new contract until 2010. I am very pleased for him as he has had to overcome a lot of stick from the fans (mostly for being played out of position) and was pivotal last season in a top half of the league finish. Also Alan Pardew today has said that he wants West Ham back in Europe by the end of the season through either a good cup run or a strong league finish as he put it. Well we have already lost out on our best chance of getting into Europe (The Carling Cup) so to me it’s basically impossible.

To end, if Gary Neville knew Saha was going to miss the penalty against Celtic Tuesday night (according to Neil Lennon) then why didn’t he pipe up and say something to his manager or his team-mates?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

To Eggert Magnusson

Hello. Congratulations on taking over West Ham United Football Club. Note the last two words of the previous sentence, football club. I am in no doubt that you have purchased this East London club with the intention of improving on field fortunes but obviously you have to make some money out of it all. However I do hope that your wage from the club will not be as high as Terrance Brown’s (don’t forget he deferred payments after relegation and then paid himself in full while being one of the highest paid chairmen in the topflight) was but that’s most likely wishful thinking from me.

I have read that in you’re statement on taking control of the club you said that you want to preserve the tradition and style of West Ham play. Good. Keep to this and you will not go wrong with a lot of the fans. I am however unsettled by talk of the Olympic stadium. The heart and soul of the club is at the Bolyen Ground. It is the ground I want to take my children to (if I do have them) so that they can continue the legacy of supporting West Ham. I do not want to go to a new ground that will for the most part be devoid of an atmosphere and its own history. Also retractable seats that will go over the running track and then be moved back afterwards to me does not sit well. I hope the £100 million that was quoted by a government minister about changing plans to the Olympic stadium is true. No malicious intentions however towards the new regime.

I would also like to be assured of transfer funds for the future. The quote I have been reading is that Alan Pardew will have money to spend but how much? I would like to know the rough ballpark figure but that’s a long shot as you would not want rival clubs knowing your business.

Speaking of Alan Pardew, I am pleased to know that his services are being retained and that as you have said you have full confidence in him. I do hope that this proves to be true.

In conclusion, welcome to East London but make sure the club is run in a way in keeping with our tradition. Do not hike ticket prices and do not turn us into another Chelsea.

Thank You.

Paul

(P.S – Please sack the Public Announcer)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fighting for the Hearts and soul of a football club.

Boom boom on the on the pun there. Updating the site seems to take place everyday but the next couple of days I really have to get on with my uni work so will leave off the long-winded pieces here.

Anyway as you would have already read/heard the Icelandic takeover of West Ham is one step closer as the period of due diligence is over and the monies are being counted after a look at the finances. £75 million to buy the club and the promise to take on the reported £22.5 million worth of debts (loan taken out to build the Rio Stand among other things). Now back on the 1st of September after the transfer window had closed and two players from Argentina players had unexpectedly turned up on the doorsteps of the Bolyen Ground, the news came that West Ham were in takeover talks for the second time with a Mr Kia Joorabchian.

Now my head was still trying to get around the new arrivals but then an announcement to the stock exchange? Things were getting very interesting. Palermo fans on their main website were conducting a poll which resulted in them thinking the upcoming games against us in the UEFA Cup were going to be very tough indeed, due to the signings. Optimism was very high. And then we could not buy a win. Playing well in patches was all right but in a lot of those games during that consecutive run of losses, the side never looked like it would get back into any game once it had gone 1-0 down. Fingers started to point. Was it Pardew? Was it the players? The two Argies? Was it the extended takeover talk and speculation?

No, yes, yes and yes.

Alan Pardew was not blamed due to the simple fact that by sticking with him, he had got the club to heights in the previous season that was not expected at all. The players were blamed due to a perceived lack of interest and the lack of quality in their play. The two Argentineans were labelled as a negative influence on a squad that was tight. The takeover was protracted and uncertainty grew about the short-term direction and long-term future of the club. Kia Joorabchian turned up to many of the home games and was making the news as much as results and play on the pitch were. And then news of a second potential take over came from Iceland. The posters of West Ham fan forum KUMB.com based in Iceland and the Scandinavian countries broke the news (and translated websites and newspaper reports) that a Mr Eggert Magnusson, the president of the Icelandic FA and a member of UEFA’s executive committee was the figurehead of the second approach. This is getting a bit long winded so to cut the story short, Kia was given first glance at the books and Eggert was given short shrift, apparently over a lack of funds. After a West Ham imposed deadline passed on Kia’s group making a formal bid, attention turned back to Eggert was given permission to commit due diligence.

And we are now in the situation were people are now coming out and promoting the guy and saying how much of a nice bloke he is and how impressed the fans should be with his words. Now consider the takeover a done deal and Magnusson is the new chairman, replacing Mr Brown (for everyone that went on the Brown out protests and handed out flyers and raised questions at the shareholder meetings in which fan groups were banned and threatened with court action this is a moment they have been waiting a very long time for) then where do you want West Ham to go? Obviously you want to win something once in a blue moon but how do you want West Ham to go about business?

One way I do not want things to go at all is the way of Heart of Midlothian.

Brief background provided by Wikipedia.

Yes it was a bit lazy by me but I have to get this done quicker then I am doing it in. In the time period since being taken over, Hearts have had 5 Different managers in 2 years. This, coupled with a massive influx of players being bought in from former Eastern Block countries and the interference of the chairman in which he selects the team from time to time (and cost one manager his job when he raised the question of who picks the team) and the fans have got to a stage where they can not take anymore. The catalyst has been the recent dropping at first from then squad and then to a place on the bench of popular player Paul Hartley. Paul’s crime? To question the chopping and changing of managers and the ethos of the club. Hence his dropping and an outcry from the Edinburgh club’s fans. After this past Sundays 1-0 home loss to Rangers, a director of the Hearts board has accused the clubs own fans of racism after they booed the squads Lithuanian players.). That’s stupid to accuse the fans of racism because tome they booed and jeered because those particular players to me anyway represent the ownership and the way in which the ownership has imposed its will on the club and not in a productive way. The club is fighting its own fans as well as being cut further adrift in the league and who is to blame? You guessed it, the owners

Now would this happen to West Ham? Would the team be full of Icelandic players who would play regardless of their quality? You never really know until it happens right in front of you but in my opinion, it wont happen like that and for two main reasons. To start off, Eggert is billed as a football man. Over on his page on UEFA’s site (link provided above) it discuses his past roles within football clubs and his involvement with different UEFA comities like the woman’s division. The Hearts owners are businessmen first and then football people. Tome it just seems that they dangled a knife over a map of Europe and let it fall where it may and the knife fell on one half of Edinburgh. Secondly, Eggert has already given his backing to Pardew and indicated that he wants no part in team selection. Vladimir Romanov has already given his backing to many managers.

After typing all that, who knows really what is going to happen. The only thing I know is if the takeover does go through, I am posting an open letter to the new owners on this blog.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

We played well but lost 1-0. Reminds me of a lot of games from this season but we can keep our heads up after the levels of commitment we showed. Also I made MOTD because I was behind the goal when Chelsea scored, leaning on the wall with a Cross of Saint George flag. Beyond that the journey home was interesting.......

Anyway, onto something that got me thinking. The commentator on MOTD to describe Reading player Stephen Hunt (the guy who collided with Chelsea goalkeeper
Petr Cech) said that his performance was showing everyone, and I quote:

“What a genuine little player he is”

At first I thought it was a bit of a strange way to describe someone. If he is out on the pitch, kicking the ball then what the hell is he meant to be? Be then if you engage the brain he was referring to Hunt as a player who had been overshadowed by the Cech incident and was now showing people that he has much more to him then the infamous event. Seeing as I have started on Hunt, I may as well continue on this theme and take a look at Reading.

They came to Upton Park and won 1-0. Well most teams during that run of bad results were but it was through having one or two shots on goal the whole game in which they got the 3 points. The South Korean forward Seol Ki-Hyeon was a tormentor of the crowd all game (who in return were chanting DVD) and Sidwell was playing out of his skin, especially when he rescued the win in the final minutes with a goal line clearance. But from watching Reading in that game you could tell that they were going to be safe this year. The way they played through runners out wide and counter attacking but not exactly sitting back for 90minutes was very reminiscent of Wigan last year, and Bolton before them (well… half and half) and so on. It is a trait of teams that gain promotion nowadays that at least one team will stay up through their hard graft and determination. The Wigan and Reading link is painfully obvious but it rings true in other ways then just style of play. There are the untested group of players in the topflight, the buying big (in a lower league sense) of immerging talent like Lita joining Reading for £1 million. There are the managers of both sides who have had previous experience of managing in the top flight.

Oh and having a wealthy backer (speaking of which, it’s a bit ironic to me that Dave Whelan, Wigan chairman company and owner of JJB, the sports clothes store is kit maker for Leciester City. Now whenever a fan buys their team shirt, they are funding Wigan Athletic) always helps. Then there is the movement from old grounds into new homes. I have been to both the JJB Stadium and the Majdeski Stadium (funny that both are named after their owners) and to not be bias but all the times I have been to these grounds, the atmosphere has been lacking from the home fans. True you could say that home fans for the majority are usually very quite but at a Championship (old first division, old second division) level, when you have to give away a whole stand running along side the pitch (7000 at Wigan) and the whole end behind the goal (5000 at reading) then you have to wonder about fan base. As you can see already I have got a bit sidetracked from Reading by involving Wigan more so I shall leave Wigan alone and get back to Reading.

The first time I was there me, my brother and dad were in among the home fans close to the West Ham fans. A dire performance from us resulted in a 2-0 loss. After a blunder from Dailly and Bywater for the first goal I could not stay quite and after everyone had finished celebrating I stood up and shouted myself stupid. Not the best idea really but you are not going to get any trouble at Reading. Like Charlton it is very much a family club. I would have to check but swearing is possibly an offence and being thrown out is the consequence. Anyway second time round it was just me and my dad and this time we got free Easter eggs and seats with the other Hammers. Freddy Ljungberg missed an open goal in the FA Cup game that day away to Bolton and after watching that game and taking in the leaflet we had been handed. Sit down if you love your club said the leaflet in bold and it was Reading telling us that by standing, West Ham will get less tickets next time round. Well everyone stood so it will be interesting to see if there is a reduction in allocation for the game on the 1st January. Anyway we lost 3-1. Biggest mistake was to play Mullins out of position on the right and have him mark Dave Kitson at set plays. Kitson scored two headers from two set pieces. Elliot Ward came on for the final 10minutes for his first appearance in the claret and blue but by then it was all over. Going back to my point about atmosphere, there was a drumbeat played around the ground for the Reading fans to clap along to. The only problem is you could not see a drum anyway. Were Reading playing a drum beat through the tannoy system to get people going? I wouldn’t put it pass them. Now compare that to this season. The “big” games have been on TV but the crowd has been buzzing and the ground is now full for every game, a vast difference from 2005.

What does the future hold for Reading? Survival this season and then a very interesting summer transfer window.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Want to take over West Ham?

Then click the link and download the club's results for the financial year ended 31 May 2006. Find a backer and away you go. Good luck.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hello there. I had been thinking about making a blog of my own for some time and here it is. Over the coming weeks (as over a month or so I will possibly lose interest in this blogging lark) I will comment on events in the world of sports. Well when I say sports I mean football. From time to time there will be a token sport for the politically-correct idiots like Cricket...... or Rugby. Anyway onwards and upwards. Well I say upwards but now is as good a time as any to mention the team I support.

Hi my name is Paul and I support West Ham United.

There. Now I can get on with the business of posting bias stuff to do with the footballing world in general. First up, this weekends game between West Ham, the club from a working class background vs Chelsea, the club in the upper class stretch of the capital. Times change though and this is no longer the obvious clash of classes in society. Ever since a certain Russian invested in our West London rivals, this fixture has taken on an even bigger meaning. Since the creation of the Premiership, everyone has played catch up to Manchester United. Now Chelsea have overtaken Man Utd and that in turn has led to the old stereotypes being banded about by rival fans and Chelsea fans alike. Fickle fans, glory hunters, jealously, bitterness etc. The truth is however and this is a point that Chelsea fans have to concede is that with the success does indeed come the fair weather fan. In my experience of being at Stamford Bridge when we got spanked 4-1, the middle tiers on both sides of the pitch emptied at half time completely to get back into the corporate boxes. This is obviously where a football club makes a lot of money but to have 10,000 or so people as corporates? Speaking of fair weather fans, even Mr Mourinho has said that the Chelsea fans are too silent

Before I continue I am going to be lazy and take all the links to news stories from skysports.com today. Carrying on, Chelsea have made the news for a couple of reasons. Apparent death threats against Reading players Stephen Hunt and Ibrahima Sonko for their parts in the injuries to Chelsea goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini. Chelsea have promised to help if needed by the police and have distanced themselves from the actions of those who wrote the letters. Good.

and the former Manchester United "player" John Obi Mikel. His attitude in training has gone over like a Paul Ince plea to the West Ham fans for forgiveness. Showdown talks today with Jose and the agent in tow have produced no further news but looking at Jose's past stance on people with poor attitudes within the Chelsea squad (IE Glen Johnson) it could be a long spell on the sidelines for the former Manc.

But enough about Chelsea, its time for my beloved Hammers. Well what can I say? The season has been........head scratching to be honest. It would have been a good idea to start this blog at the start of the season so I could look back and see my thoughts on everything that has happened. Starting with a win against Wasps on the first day of the season up to two Argies coming out of nowhere, to takeover talks and a trip to Palermo. Take all of that and then factor in an 8 match losing streak, out of the Carling cup and the bother (and win don't forget) against Arsenal. And to think it’s only November. Still I have not mentioned West Ham this coming Saturday and now I will. The most interesting aspect for me is who is injured and who is not. Reo-Coker, Ferdinand, Collins and Gabbidon all did not play for their countries this week and Benayoun played through the pain barrier and scored for his country. Plus the reserves lost 4-1 away to Fulham on Tuesday. Now you might think that is not important but there is one name missing from the team that has played the last two reserve games, Javier Mascherano.

For once its not skysports! Anyway that could signal a start or at least a place on the bench (again) against Chelsea. My opinion is that he will start and West Ham will flood the midfield but not in the way we did against Arsenal. Against the likes of Ballack and Essien, West Ham will have to stifle the creativity with more then one central holding midfielder. My team would be:

Green

Spector
Ferdinand (if not fit then Collins)
Gabbidon
Konchesky

Bowyer
Mascherano
Mullins
Reo-Coker
Etherington

Zamora

Bench: Carroll, Paintsil, Benayoun, Harewood, Sheringham

If we are to have any chance, stifle the Chelsea midfield. Let Jose trot out the old "parked a bus in front of the goal" comment after the game but to be honest I would be very happy with one point. Well this post has gone on a long time. So much more to go into but its taken up enough of my time to get to where I am at the moment so with a bit of wishful thinking and a bit of praying to something or someone, we shall play with a bit of dignity.

Prediction? 3-1 to Chelsea.

Oh and here is a first mention of Lampard.........

Wanker (now wasn’t that predictable?)