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:


Spector (Just about)



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 and, 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 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 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)

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 to find a movie of the dives but came across