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.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Alex Ferguson is not good at celebrating goals. 26 seconds in
Talking Tactics: Curbishley suffering through Pardew's poor work By Stewart Robson,
Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:08am GMT 04/03/2007

Under severe pressure all footballers' flaws will become prominent. Even when a player has matured and developed his game, his frailties will reappear at crucial moments if not fully focused. The best players overcome them. Lesser players allow them to escalate. Having watched West Ham this season it is obvious that several players cannot cope mentally with the pressure, which has highlighted their faults. .

The obvious example in last week's horrendous display against Charlton was Paul Konchesky. Ever since watching him as a youth team player, I have seen he has a tendency to lose his head, when defending and attacking. Last Saturday all his flaws resurfaced. He committed a reckless tackle early on to get booked, then proceeded to miss challenges which resulted in goals and he was continually caught out of position. In addition his passes were erratic and aimless.

Another example was Anton Ferdinand. When under pressure he loses all sense of positional responsibility and plays within his own world. Throughout his fledging career his lack of game understanding has been hidden by his supreme athleticism, but when he lacks confidence his thinking time is elongated and with it his awareness erodes. To cover his insularity, he starts shouting at team-mates in an attempt to convince the crowd he is a winner. According to reports, the West Ham manager Alan Curbishley has recognised these shortcomings.

When players are fearful they often retreat within themselves and allow the game to pass them by, and this has blighted the career of Matthew Etherington. He looked ashen-faced and frightened by the game, unable to alter it in any way.

To a lesser extent the same could be said of Hayden Mullins, because he did not get on the ball and dictate play as he would have been instructed to do, but played one-touch football due to his fear of making a mistake, allowing Alexandre Song to dominate him. It was no surprise that Etherington and Mullins were taken off.

Loss of confidence also hinders decision-making at crucial times. Callum Davenport's decision to play Darren Bent offside for the third goal proved costly. Christian Dailly's overlapping runs to give width when Yossi Benayoun went infield were mistimed and ill-judged, leaving Charlton and Jerome Thomas acres of space to counter attack, which culminated in the second goal.

Even worse was the shape of the back four when Darren Ambrose scored the first, because the anticipation and decision-making of the defenders was extraordinarily poor. I feel sorry for Curbishley because this has not just happened after his arrival. He has taken over a team who had been allowed to spiral out of control by his predecessor, Alan Pardew. He has tried to rectify it by instilling some discipline but found the players unresponsive.

I suggested in an article at the beginning of the season that Pardew had created a 'yob culture' at West Ham. As I saw first-hand at Wimbledon, the year they were relegated, this behaviour is dressed up as 'team spirit' when you are winning but on losing and under pressure, that so-called team spirit turns to anarchy.

Once ill-discipline has set in, it is hard to redress until you can get rid of the offending players. Unfortunately for Curbishley he was probably a little too honest when he made his initial assessment of the players and they have been resistant to his ideas.

Many will point to the arrival of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano as the starting point of West Ham's decline - but it was not. The route to the problem started with the open-top parade on losing the FA Cup final and Pardew's refusal to accept that the two Argentines could have been the necessary ingredients to take West Ham forward. Last Saturday, Pardew benefited from his own poor work months earlier.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tevez can pick up his pay package this week with the frustration of being in a losing side and himself not scoring but with a sense of pride that he is trying his best. The other “players” (and that’s meant loosely) are a disgrace. A f**king disgrace to the famous Claret and Blue. After Watford at home I thought this sorry excuse for a squad could do no worse but at Charlton it was a complete capitulation! Useless and leaderless. Enough has been typed and said elsewhere so me posting anymore would be a waste of time. To end however I honestly hope the kids are given a run out to give them first team experience. As if that’s going to happen.

Terrance Brown stepped down today as a director of West Ham. Good. Hopefully he can be stripped of his Life President title (even though it’s an honour bestowed upon him, f**k it) take it back. Also if the F.A does decide to fine West Ham in points or money then sue the pants off the bastard.

Short, much like the efforts of many a Hammer’s player this season. Next post when I can be arsed to post more will be a squad dissection of who will stay, who will go.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has issued another cryptic and bizarre statement which appears to suggest refereeing is open to corruption.

However, Romanov fails to specify whether he believed Scottish clubs and match officials were cheating the system.

Delivering his message through the Hearts website, Romanov's carefully-worded tirade is sure to interest the Scottish Premier League, however its content was almost impenetrable in terms of interpretation.

Addressing the media, who Romanov has taken to describing as 'monkeys', the Lithuanian declared: "Today I will express my opinion in English about refereeing in order that your Mowgli will not make you tell lies.

"To discuss whether referees take money or not is the same as discussing a woman who gives herself with no love.

"Isn't it better to concentrate on the standard of their work instead of looking for reasons for their poor performance?

"A woman cheats herself and nature if she gives herself without love. If a referee officiates a game based on his personal love, he commits a cynical crime, especially when the public has trusted him.

"I respect those referees who take money from two stupid teams and then honestly officiates a game. They do not harm football in any way.

"Though it is bad, still everybody is equal for them. Perhaps that is the reason why football in Italy will never die despite all the scandals that continuously shake it.

"I think that is much better than being the champions for 40 years while building up the same system for further 40 years."

In keeping with the simian theme, the Hearts chief arranged for media to be handed bananas and nuts before the SPL match against St Mirren at the weekend.

He has been upset by coverage of Hearts since taking control at Tynecastle.

However Romanov, via his spokesman, last week denied making quotes attributed to him by a
Russian magazine which claimed the Old Firm clubs, Celtic and Rangers, were involved in the buying off of players and referees.

The widespread publication of the quotes, however, prompted the SPL to investigate whether Romanov had a case to answer.

His latest statement on Hearts' website carried on to say: "Now it has become obvious to me why you, the Monkeys, were trying to ruin Hearts not only in the championship, but in European competitions as well.

"I think it was not without your help that the 'frozen' referee from Russia was selected to officiate our match and that in the [Champions League qualifying] games against the Greek side [AEK Athens] we got three red cards.

"It is not without your help that traitors were presented as heroes thus showing the road to children for betrayal.

"You will always call teachers silly because unlike you they lead children along the correct path.

"Protecting your values in that way just spoils not only football, but also a Scotsman's proud name. I beg you Mowgli, take the monkeys back to the Safari Park!"

Taken from

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

To put things briefly, the Man Utd vs Lille game was short on moments on the field (until the goal) and had a lot off it. First off, the French authorities and police got the crowd situation so very badly wrong. Too many people put into one section with fencing is a recipe for disaster. Can those people honestly help being forced forward and towards the police line? Using tear gas? Disgraceful policing. Massive overreaction. No surprise ITV edited out the David Pleat comment that Man Utd fans were “Idiots” for climbing/scaling the fencing.

On the goal, it reminds me of Jimmy “Fat Eddie Murphy” Floyd Hasslebainks goal against West Ham at Upton Park and Henry’s goal against Chelsea where in a direct free kick situation when the ball is placed the player is liable to take the kick in his own time. The only problem with that is the ref is almost colluding with the attacking player as the free kick taker and any teammates near him know what is going on but then again you could argue why the defending side should know when a kick is to be taken. After all, they committed the foul.

The half-and-half walk off from Lille players looked a bit stupid. The management was calling the players off while some of the players stood about wondering what was going on. Farcical really.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Taken from the forums over at

Where to begin?

I am 44 years old and have been actively watching City since 1972. One of my first cogent memories is of my dad running around outside our house in Germany, bottle of 'Newcie Brown' in hand as the news of the win at St James’s Park came through. Probably unusually, my dad's family was half red half Blue. I was 'lucky' enough to be brought up the right way I suppose..........As we went on to win the FA Cup I got more involved and by the time of the West Brom League Cup triumph I was hooked.

We returned to England in 1972 and I have early memories of City being a big club, regularly beating United, whilst still managing to get beaten by teams like 2nd Division Forest in the cup of course, having players in every England (and Scotland) squad for a decade, Maine Road being a place teams feared to play at, ah halcyon days!

The 1975-1978 period was a golden era for me. What a team. We went away and played 3 or 4 forwards as often as not. Royle, Tueart, Barnes, Kidd up front, Doyle and Watson at centre half, Asa in midfield, big Joe in goal. The full backs weren't shabby either. I expected us to win every week. The end began when Malcolm returned and systematically dismantled the team. The 80's and 90's were a procession of mediocre seasons followed by poor seasons, there were more false dawns at City than the number of zeroes on Premier League players' pay cheques. It did not seem to matter, the football experience has always been about more than following a winning team.

The vast majority of my time as a Blue has been spent as a season ticket holder, first standing on the Kippax (oh happy days) then in the Main Stand, the new Kippax and now in the East Stand.

My love affair with City in particular and the Premier League in general will end at home to United. Why? Well, in no particular order:

1) A season ticket guarantees entrance but not if the changed kick off times mean I cannot get there. Work travel commitments often make Sunday kick offs impossible and Monday evenings very difficult. We've even had an 11:30 on a Sunday morning!

2) The most important spectator for a club is the TV fan. People who actually attend are low on the priority list. Hmmmmmm, “City away at Norwich. I know let’s play it on a Monday. Only a 10 hour round trip. I’m sure a day off work and getting to bed at 2AM won’t be too much trouble”. I’ve lost count of the number of games I’ve missed because the times have moved. Some of us have to plan our lives more than 4 weeks ahead. We've all booked holidays, flights etc only to see plans screwed up by a date change.

3) Atmosphere is gone thanks to all seated stadia. Big clubs need to tell HMG where to go. Why can I stand up at COMS for an Oasis gig but not for a match??? Why are clubs totally uninterested in bringing in safe standing? It can only be money. Why can I stand in many away ends but not at home? If the Germans can manage safe standing so can we. Many people I speak to would actually pay more to stand.

4) Today's players are completely out of touch with the fans. They only go out to VIP clubs and are protected from us by chains and bouncers. That's if us plebs are allowed in in the first place. God forbid that one of them had to actually talk to one of us. City, for example, have restricted (banned?) players from attending supporters club meetings. City now charge £50 for a signed shirt even for charities. As recently as the early 90's players would always appear in the social club stand a round or two and sign programmes etc. There are exceptions I’m sure but generally the players are aloof and in a different world.

5) Only 3 or 4 clubs will ever win the league again. I know that City have only been a major force for a 10 year period but we have won the league in my lifetime as have Villa, Forest, Everton, Derby, Blackburn, Ipswich and Leeds. There are effectively 16 clubs that are little more than cannon fodder for the big 3 or 4.

6) The gap between top 3 or 4 is getting bigger and bigger. Success is rewarded with more money which brings more success etc etc. Manchester United are nearly 30 points of teams from 8th down. There did not used to be 30 points between top and bottom. How is the game strengthened by giving the already powerful clubs even more money?

7) Players earn obscene amounts of money. An average player earns in a week what the average worker/fan earns in a year. 20 year old average players drive £150,000 cars and are millionaires after a couple of years. I run a company, I earn good money, I believe in a free market. I don't blame the players for taking what is on offer, I just think what's on offer is wrong. 22 man squads and a £30 million total wage bill might level the playing field.

8. Too much football on TV. A live game at 5:30 on a Saturday, for me the most acceptable time for a TV game ,and maybe one at 3pm on a Sunday is enough.

9) Too many cheats. Not enough action taken against them.....unless of course you're Bernado Corradi. How Ronaldo can even be considered as player of the year is beyond me. He is a cheat.

10) Refs have never been perfect but the current bias towards big teams is ridiculous. City fans have always had reasons for believing that United get more than their fair share of the rub of green but with the Sky Blue glasses nowhere in sight I know that Chelsea and Arsenal get decisions that e.g. City, Everton, Sp*rs, Villa, Boro and this week, Wigan do not. How did Scholes stay on the pitch against Sp*rs? 5 bookable offence in a single game. Barton never gets a chance to commit 5 fouls he's sent off after 2. Rooney lunges 2 footed and stays on the pitch, Barton lunges and he's off.

11) The league is a foregone conclusion and the cups are going the same way. One of the big 3 or 4 will win the FA and League cups for 8 out of the next 10 years. I laughed for years at Scottish football, well the laugh's now on me.

12) Rich clubs buy players and do not use them, further weakening the smaller clubs. SWP is a case in point.

13) Expensive, middle of the road quality food and expensive, big brand, zero taste beer in the ground. Why no Manchester beer, no Manchester food?

14) Too many journeyman foreigners in the team. Too many journeymen foreigners in the league. Dabo, Musampa, Riera, etc etc. Does anyone believe they give a monkeys? Here for the coin and nothing else.

15) No continuity in the team. It is 5 out and 5 in most summers. It’s hard to get behind a team when half of it changes every year.

16) The Sky money should be spread around more. Some should go to the smaller clubs and youth development. Some should be used to reduce ticket prices.

As you may have deduced, I will not be renewing. It is possible that I'll not even bother going to City again after this season unless some of the above changes. I love football, I am a City fan but my game has been taken away from me and my team are irrelevant. Unfortunately I think this is true of every club bar United, Arsenal, Chelsea (until Abramovich leaves) and Liverpool.

Stalybridge Celtic, Mossley and maybe Rochdale, Bury etc will get my hard earned cash. I can turn up at 2pm, have a beer in the social club or a local boozer, talk to some true fans ( home and away), eat a decent pie, pay on the gate, watch 22 players play a game free of diving and be home for 6. (Remember when it was like this?). It won't be City, there will be non of the ecstasy and agony of being a partisan supporter but this is outweighed by the good side.

There are some positives coming from the club. City's £95 junior season ticket is to be applauded but it changes none of the above.

I hope something changes, I suspect it won’t. The vision of COMS with 25,000 in every week, except for when United visit, is going to come true some time soon. The club and all middle ranking clubs have to wake up or we will be just like every other league in Europe, a handful of clubs that can win something and a handful of clubs with full grounds. How much will Sky pay to broadcast games from 1/2 empty stadia?

I have thought about starting an internet campaign to try to get our game back. The problem is the only people who are really bothered about the state of the game are those of us who can remember what it was like pre Premier League. If it was actually possible to get a nationwide boycott of all games on a single weekend just to show what the game would be like without us maybe some of the clubs would wake up. As the recent boycott at Bolton showed, however, it is not possible to get people not to go. I have a dream of everyone turning up at the ground as normal but spending the whole 90 minutes outside the stadium, a demonstration of positive commitment to make a real point. It will never happen of course but imagine the impact.

None of the above mentions the fact that the football is stultifyingly crap. It would be nice if we played open flowing attacking football and if the opposition tried to do the same of course but the quality of football is not the reason I'm sick to death of the Premier League in general and City in particular.

Will MCFC give a toss if I don't renew? I doubt it. My seat is in the 2nd tier of the East stand, 5 seats to the right of the corporate seats, it will be snapped up in an instant......

The arguments made for and against do contain a bit of swearing but the sentiments for both sides of the argument are there.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I more then likely have said it before but how Palermo’s ground has made the list of grounds in Italy that are fit for use I will never know. Anyway, when the weekends round of matches came about, the Italian FA coped out and allowed AC Milan season ticket holders into the ground. What was the point in the measures in the first place? The more things change the more they stay the same.

Anyway onto some other matters and I have will have to be brief as I am waiting to go to a lecture so must hurry. It’s nice to see the Hearts owner, Vladimir Romanov creating a bit of controversy (when has he not?) by claming that all ref’s and officials in the Scottish Premier League have been bought off by Rangers and Celtic. Celtic is already consulting lawyers.

I have read on the KUMB forums that West Ham are looking into a site next to the railway lines at West Ham station as a potential spot for a new ground. The current buildings on the site have been sold to the London Development Agency and the current tenants will be moving in 2008. The esteemed London mayor, Ken Livingston has already stated that he will help the club in a search for a new ground and that this particular site has been ear marked. According to sources on the forums club officials have already visited the site. Me personally it would be a wretch to leave Upton Park but this site to me is less unnerving then the proposed Olympic Stadium site that was mooted previously. However I would need to see plans before I make a decision one way or another.

Also on KUMB was an article from the Guardian website in which:

“The deputy head of the British Transport Police warned yesterday that his resources were being stretched by the pressure of herding growing numbers of fans around the country on match days. Even when services to match day hotspots such as London, Manchester and Liverpool pass off without arrests, non-football going passengers can be frightened or irritated by fans' behaviour, said Andy Trotter, deputy chief constable.”

The call from the deputy head is for football specials to be laid on as to avoid football fans and the public from interacting. Obviously the two are completely separate groups and there is a massive need to separate such groups as it’s is an epidemic. These football fans are nothing but uncivilised savages that need to be further provoked and treated even more so like garbage. To end, here is one comment from the user, Anne Boleyn of the KUMB forums:

This article has annoyed me so much; I'm planning on writing to complain. While looking around on the BTP website for arrest figures for rest of our oh so civilised society, I came across the following:

3. A robust prosecution policy. When arrests take place, the offender should ideally always be charged with the most serious offence disclosed. Home office guidelines state that Fixed Penalty Notices should not be used for football related offences

So if I was wearing my West Ham shirt and was travelling by train and committed a criminal act I could expect to be dealt with more severely than if I was wearing a business suit?

4. Seeking a banning order in every case when someone is arrested for a football related offence, and asking for conditions to be attached preventing them from travelling by rail when matches are being played

Again, I could run the risk of a banning order on arrest (but not on a charge?) if I dependent on the purpose of travel and potentially on what I was wearing?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Its been all quite on the western front on this blog here and I apologise. My Internet has been a right bastard but today’s match provides good timing for a post:

Watford: Pride. Passion. Commitment. Heart.
West Ham: Toothless. Clueless and as of today, Relegated.

Well that’s not 100% mathematically correct but to me this club that I support is effectively relegated. Another massive underperformance has led to us losing once more and this time to a team below us in Watford. Unforgivable and also unmistakable that this one game was THE make or break game of the season. Make or break moments have come and gone before this season but this one game, this one moment was the defining moment of a piss poor season and guess what? It got a whole lot worse.

You would have thought the lessons of the F.A Cup game would have been learnt but they were not. Too much time was given to a battling Watford in our midfield. In the air we were beaten time after time and lacklustre performances were overshadowed by the lionhearted efforts of a team on paper, inferior. The slow claps and boos of the West Ham fans must ring in the ears of those who have sat on fat contracts and bleated about how its just down to bad luck we are were we are. No. I put the blame on the players. They got one manager sacked and now a lot of them are playing as if they just do not care. This club is relegated in my eyes and so are Watford (hopefully I do not lose the bet I have made) but who will join us? It think it will be the team who currently sit 19th, Charlton. The game two Saturdays from now will be very interesting indeed as to me its between who will finish second from bottom and who will finish third from bottom.

Monday, February 05, 2007

This post would have been put on this blog Sunday night but the internet is not being kind to me at the moment. If I could be bothered I would edit the part in the original post where I talk about Matthew Upson as news has come out today that he will be out for up to three weeks only.

Relegation? Well West Ham took another step closer on Saturday with defeat to Aston Villa. A massively disappointing season is quickly coming to an end with the inevitable conclusion of dropping down to the Fizz Pop league. The spate of injuries we have suffered and the injury during the match of Matthew Upson just says something very clearly to me. That is we are just like Birmingham last season. Injury list as long as your arm, lack of quality all through out the squad and bad luck. All that with bad performances and strife on and off the field and we are heading the same way as the side from the 2nd city. As typed in my last post, if we are to be relegated then we would be the strongest side financially in the Championship, just like Birmingham are at the moment.

In other news, a police officer was killed during clashes between Catiania and a certain team from Scilly called Palermo. The Police officer was killed after being struck in the face with an explosive device of some sort. Look up on youtube and you will see movies of West Ham fans being held back after the game and having these similar devices being thrown at them from a distance. Of course it’s the English disease and the “Menacing” West Ham fans that attended the game who are at fault for everything that happened. To be totally honest I was not surprised in the slightest that this has happened as all through out the Italian footballing scene there is lawlessness and as I was there in Palermo for the UEFA Cup game I feel I can give an honest opinion of the events. From leaving the plane and getting to the hotel, the events of the Wednesday night had soured an already threatening mood and skirmishes and fights were rumours flying about the group I was with (which later was proven to be correct). When day turned to night, that’s when things started to get really hairy. People were having debris thrown at them from above and stories were going round of more attacks so people started to walk in a convoy. Getting to the game was a hassle as well and getting the coach into the car park was difficult as no police were there to stop the Palermo fans from throwing things and getting up close to the coach. Over here you get a police escort, over there you are left to defend yourself. All throughout the match police dogs were stationed in front of the West Ham fans but these very same policemen were no where top be seen after the game. At full time we were held back in the ground and very slowly the Palermo fans were being moved from the ground and then was then the volume of explosions thrown increased and these were coming from the group of people being moved on by stewards and being totally honest, you could not see anyone getting arrested or detained! These days over here coughing might get you thrown out while in Italy you get moved on. After the gates were opened coaches were there to drive people back to the town centre. Once again people were left to defend themselves and nothing was done by the police to break up any of the human barricades the Palermo fans had set up on all the main roads, just waiting for anyone to walk down the wrong way. The death of the policeman must be a wake up call as from what I personally saw the policing are totally inadequate and non-existent in places.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This is the third version of this post as I have been chopping and changing the main theme of what I was going to type about. Obviously its going to be West Ham related but about what? Disillusionment? The Liverpool game? Or something based along the lines of the conversation I had with my friend Liam as we walked away from the ground last night?

I have gone for the conversation but just going to briefly type about the other two. Two nights ago was the first time I thought about returning my season ticket before the seasons end. This was down to the Mascherano business (which the Daily Mail had broken that day) and the fact that the club were in real dire straights. I have come to the conclusion that handing back the ticket is a bad idea and that while I can obviously agree or disagree with what happens, I have to support the club in this time of struggle. That leads onto the Liverpool game and well, what were people expecting? A draw and I would have been over the moon. Saying that a draw against Liverpool at any time of the season and in any situation (apart from needing a win to stay up) and I would have been very happy. Anyway the game was easy at times for Liverpool and they could easily pass the ball but the major worry was the selection of Roy Carroll in goal and the lack of communication between the back four. The signing today of Matthew Upson goes a long way to adding real quality to the back but now I want to talk about the main point of this post.

If West Ham are to be relegated we will go straight back up under the current situation. Call me bias but these are my reasons. If relegated we will be the strongest side in the championship in terms of players and finance. Players will leave obviously but the cream of the lower league teams would be available to us for the pure lure of money, but then again there could be the lure of playing for “a big club” but that’s not going to be true in most cases. Bench warmers in the Premiership would be willing to drop down for a short while and these reasons can be linked to the way Birmingham have been playing and buying this season. Talented loan signings and big money buys of the best of the Championship in players like McSheffrey have seen them placed in 2nd place with two games in hand. Just to say, typing this is not me saying I feel totally comfortable with doing such a thing but that’s what you get in a takeover, a big investment of cash and an elevation of your status in a financial sense, which is a big lure to some. Relegation would hurt and your rivals will taunt you but I say that it would be one year in the lower league, rather then two like last time. It’s a shame though that if it does happen that the players have let themselves and the club down.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Well just when you think your side turns a corner, they go and turn in another poor performance that is on par with Portsmouth at home and Chesterfield away in the Carling Cup. For a time in the Newcastle game we had played so well and looked so full of confidence and then we played Watford in the cup. Lacklustre, poor, defeatist are just some of the words I can think of and on top of all that, a howler from Roy Carroll. With Liverpool at home in the league tomorrow a hard game has gotten even harder. Neill now out for 3 weeks, rather then the 6 that Five Live reported over the weekend and with most of our first line defence out either through injury and apparent disagreements with Curbishley (ie Robert Green) we looked screwed. Then again it’s a big match so the players will for sure be up for that. Shame they have not been up for Reading at home and other such games.

Anyway, onto club and country. Alex McLeish has been named as the new Scotland manager and that has got me thinking about the way Walter Smith left his job with the national side. Smith left Scotland to go back to the side he had managed in the 90’s and to me that is a betrayal of his nation but it’s a tough one. From a career point of view, the offer comes once in a while but the man the chance to lead your nation is a strong pull. However what would happen to Steve McClaren if the Man Utd job were to become available? I think he would take it as that opportunity does not come along every day but if McClaren were a liked manager then people would be up in arms about losing a talented manager. People would be more annoyed by the snub to the country and the fact it has happened. Just depends on the person really.

And to end to continue the break up of Hearts, their two best players are up for sale and wanted out of the door before the end of the transfer window. If I were a Hearts fan I would be putting the finishing touches to my protest plans.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

From the greats in the game to Ashley “Greedy Tweedy” Cole, everyone is having their say about the appointment of Michel Platini as the new head of UEFA. From watching Sky Sports News there is a massive contrast.

The majority of people who sent in texts and emails to be read by the newsreaders during the day supported Platini and many within the game did not. Here is the reason why:

Platini wants to take a place away from Italy, Germany, Spain and England in the champion’s league.

I personally think he will not have an easy ride with this election pledge as the G14 (oh what a wonderful body that is representing football on a wider scale) will move itself to block proposals. Alex Ferguson has “warned” Platini against changing the format of the cup, saying its fine as it is and the competition gets exciting when the big clubs come up against one another from the big countries. That’s completely fair isn’t it? Oh Man Utd would be down £500,000 or so if the champions of a lesser league were allowed to rightfully be in the competition. Oh woe is them. Seriously, what is he going to do? He can either help to utilise the G14 or just shut up. The arrogance of his comments about the big teams coming up against one another really has annoyed me. I personally think the champions league should be a knockout competition with the top sides and at a push the 2nd placed sides and no one else but that’s completely impractical as more games equals more money and that more money goes to the big sides that Ferguson loved to talk about so much yesterday. Also don’t forget Ferguson said that the competition only really starts in February, the knockout stage so is that a call to get rid of the group stage? Well not for him as he then goes on to say that its fine as it is. Make your mind up ol' red nose.

Funny how the people of the general public supported the idea of a fairer competition that could lead to mismatches but then again could provide FA Cup style shocks. Ashley Cole though said it would be a shame for the fans and that is was a bad idea. Obviously I am not an Arsenal fan but Cole is a dick who’s opinion I do not rate at all after the whole debacle of his move and his “book”.

The salary cap idea I think will be tested elsewhere, most likely in a newer league like the Bulgarian league. I say that because it’s too late for England. The Premiership is too far imbedded for such upheaval and while a salary cap promotes a fairer playing level for everyone it will be impractical to enforce. No one will want it (Gareth Southgate has already come out and say it wont work) and a number of clubs will be in big trouble in trying to fit into the new cap bracket if enforced.

Platini’s election victory has really shaken things up and good luck to him. Just ban Uriah Rennie from football anywhere and I will be happy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

“Regarding crowds in the late 40’s I was among many fans2 locked out of several full grounds, despite holding around 70,000 fans.

Why cant we have safe, convertible standing areas as in some of the wonderful Bundsliga stadiums saving the vast millions being spent on new grounds seeking increased capacity.

It will also solve the increasing problem of many present fans standing.”

R Potter, Ilford.

For the majority of this comment from Ceefax page 359 on BBC, I agree. Not every old ground could hold 70,000 but many times throughout history people have been turned away and many stories can be told about jumping walls and standing on creates. Anyway an answer to the problem of standing for me is to introduce particular sections of the ground for people who want to stand and another answer is the one suggested. Stand Up Sit Down is a great organisation that is fighting with the different organisations to open a debate on the subject and to allow freedom of choice. Their website is:

And I suggest you have a goosy gander. They have much more information on what I have briefly touched on Anyway onto another topic, Lucas Neill signing. Call me bias and all that entails but Liverpool’s comments rebuking what Neill said in his press conference should be the end of the matter and for Liverpool to respond in such a way might make them look bitter about the whole matter. I am very pleased he has signed for us and will prove to be a solid right back and the best we have fielded there in five attempts (Dailly, Newton, Spector, Mears and Paintsil). Before I start to retread old ground Alan Curbishley talking about Matthew Upson on Sky Sports News is very interesting. Alan has stated that West Hams interest in the player is there and it is up to Birmingham what they do. He went on to say that if Birmingham closes the door on the matter then interest from West Ham would go elsewhere. Obviously Curbishley wants a centre back so at least one more player will be coming in before the transfer window closes.

Watford in the cup on Saturday will see me, my granddad and friend Steve (who really needs converting from the side he follows) watching us play and I think to build momentum and a better team understanding, we should field a first choice defence, but with Mark Noble playing in midfield to give us some bite and to ensure no injuries.

Two more (unWest Ham related) matters now. Since the England manager said that he wanted the under 21 role to be full time, Peter Taylor has been on borrowed time and with his stepping down today, the under 21’s have lost a great manager. Obviously he can now focus on his commitments with Crystal Palace and the rumours of Stuart Pearce being employed to fill the role are nonsense for the reason stated previously. Sammy Lee looks to be a good bet for the job.

And finally, how much more lucky can you get then Spurs in the UEFA Cup? From the matches I have seen and the score lines, no team has given them a proper contest so far (either due to lack of quality of lack of playing on the day) and now they could have a bye to the next round if the decision to throw Feynoord out of the cup is upheld
. And on that note goodbye.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Anyone who knows me and anyone who has read this blog will know my opinion about Uriah Rennie. Before Saturday he was an incompetent show pony who craves the centre of attention. After Saturday he is an incompetent, blind show pony that got the attention he craved. It could be down to the fact that other black refs are not trained to a high enough standard but Uriah’s constant use in the top flight of football looks only to be tokenism. After so many blunders, so much arrogance and a weight problem on a level with Frank Lampard, his use in the football league as a referee is wrong, plain wrong.

Despite Rennie’s best attempts, there was a game of football going on. That first half from West Ham was brilliant. We looked so solid in our shape and formation, sure of tackle and passing and looked like we were not breaking a sweat against a demoralised Newcastle. Then came Rennies moment in the sun, ignoring his linesman and giving a goal which goes against the altered laws on offside in relation to either being passive or active. That goal obviously unsettled us and Newcastle came out for the second half with great impetus and won the penalty which was a real shot in the foot from us. After the goal there was a short period of shakiness from us and then the game opened up much more with both sides having chances (Newcastle the greater amount). Two goals scored away from home, great! Not keeping the lead, bad. A point is a point and its one closer to survival and that counts. Davenport looked assured and solid which could prove to be a great signing for Curbishley in the end, only time will tell but from first looks he is hard to unsettle and confident enough in his play. Quashie's distribution was good and the midfield looked better for it with Reo-Coker playing like he gave a shit. A shit about what only time will tell.

Onto todays double signing. Neill has come in from Blackburn on a massive pay deal and Kepa the striker from Seville. I know sweet F.A about Kepa so can only wish him good luck but from the interview Neill gave to an Australian newspaper, the theory I applied to us potentially signing Lauren from Arsenal (who decided on going south to play for Portsmouth) has been used on Neill. In his interview he talk about being sold on the future of the club and the potential signings we want to make. Well unless, and to use his words here, he is blown away by Quashie and Davenport then there is more to come from the club so it’s a case of wait and see…..

Friday, January 19, 2007

It’s been a while but here is my second half report on the Newcastle game:

There you go. The lure of Celebrity Big Brother was too much and I spent the time flicking between the two. Well after the sending off that turned into a bit of a spanking which will have Newcastle smarting and wanting even more so to put it behind them by beating us.

I have not commented on the two forums I usually post on about the signing of Davenport as I wanted to think about it and now I have thought of it I feel he is a solid enough buy. He has played for Spurs on and off in his time at White Hart Lane so the premiership is not exactly a new experience and Davenport also has a trait we desperately needed. He is good in the air. Due to injuries to Collins, Ferdinand and Gabbidon, we can now field a centre back that can deal with the ariel threat and also play the ball solidly enough. Davenports signing has not set the world alight but I think it’s a good signing for the situation we are in at the moment and he has been saying all the right things. On face value, that can only endear him to the fans.

Tonight I read that Feyenoord has been thrown out of the UEFA Cup due to the violence that took place at the UEFA group match at French club Nancy. Now they have been thrown out, what’s to happen to Tottenham who were meant to be playing them? Unless the forth placed team in Feyenoord’s UEFA Cup group is reinstated (which I don’t think will happen) then Spurs face a bye to the next round. Lucky bastards.

Man Utd have made another bid for Owen Haregreaves and on his new BBC page, he has gushed about how much an honour such a bid is. Keep in mind he wanted to go to Man Utd in the summer and he was wanted in Manchester, only for Bayern to refuse. I can see this transfer going ahead but not now, the summer will be when he moves (unless I am proved wrong which mostly likely will happen).

And now for something ground breaking… I am going to type about something that isn’t football! Now I have kept quite over what happened in the Ashes and everything else involved with the tour to Australia as it was depressing for the most of it but when I read that Darren Gough was told he was out of England plans for the upcoming Cricket World Cup by text and Geraint Jones’s wife looked online to find the same result as Darren then I was a bit dumbfounded. What ever happened to picking up the phone and saying “Your not in the plans. Sorry”. Great work ECB.

To end I am back onto the football and Pedro Mendes’ comments about refusing to acknowledge Ben Thatcher at tomorrows game. The “tackle” was serious enough to warrant the extended ban it got but on one hand shouldn’t Pedro forgive and forget? I think he is correct in what he has said and the best thing to do is to help your side win the game and not seek out Thatcher for retribution or anything of that kind.

For tomorrow: Come on you irons!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Well this is typed up at half time during the Newcastle vs. Birmingham match and with Newcastle away coming upon Saturday, I might as well post some of my half time thoughts that I have written down.

Newcastle look sluggish and tired. Glen Roader has stuck with the same side that started the match against Tottenham on Sunday so that looks to be the obvious reason for tiredness. But then again, what could Newcastle do? On the bench is a mixture of 16 and 19 year olds, as they do not have anyone else. This is obviously to West Hams advantage.

Newcastle have also been unsettled from crosses and balls into the area (West Ham’s BIG problems of the season) so it makes a refreshing change. Balls into the area for Cole to challenge for? More like Harewood the way things are going.

James Milner when on the ball has been Newcastle’s main outlet for runs down the wing and for taking players on. It might just be down to tactical reasons and that Sadler is playing but the over reliance of the first half hour showed no real penetration from midfield elsewhere.

James Patterson loves to get forward during normal play and twice he has been caught up field and out of position. West Ham will have to take advantage of this by obviously defending and then clearing the ball into that channel.

Lastly Martins when ever on the ball in and around the box has been closed down FAST! If West Ham are to get anything at all or even come away from St James Park with at least some dignity then this is vital!

Will do full time thoughts. But then again that’s “racism” on big brother so tempted to change between the two.

Monday, January 15, 2007

As promised to Liam, Yes I indeed am carrying Yossi Benayoun’s children after his goal line clearance in extra time (and his two goals) but even the joy of carrying children was very short lived as West Ham conceded a killer third goal to Fulham, which left the game at 3-3. A lot has been said and now here is my post-mortem of the game.

We cannot defend set plays and crosses (dur!). It is a problem West Ham have had for as long as I can remember but in three of the last four premiership games, we have conceded from crosses or balls into the area which are defendable. Gabbidon was not in line with the rest of his defence, giving more space for Fulham on the wing to get the ball in and score their second. Non-existent marking got Fulham their first and this is a massive problem for us. Alan Curbishley has had enough time to watch his players in training and match situations and he has to see that the current crop of defenders are in part low in confidence and for others not good enough. Collins injury to me is most likely the same one he carried into the game, just that it flared up. Gabbidon during the match was a blow but with Anton back, it looks like Dailly will partner him. No offence to football genius but he is not good enough. The lack of quality (second point to be made) among the squad is shocking and all of last seasons success now looks more and more like players riding the crest of a wave, hiding the real problem. What now? A commanding defender who is proven in top-flight football. A leader? Not the most essential quality because the quality of the player in doing the basics of defending is more important to me. Lucas Neil? Apart from his Mi**wall connection, yes please (depends on him though). No one really knows who else is available cause of managers contact each other obviously not the general public so it’s a case of wait and see but extra and particular focus has to be put on defending set pieces before we travel to Newcastle.

Second point, squad quality. I mentioned Dailly before and credit to him, he tries his hardest and gives his all but his all is not good enough to stay up. Shawn Newton (that’s another point there) is not good enough, Harewood? Down on confidence and whilst capable of providing a moment of quality (FA Cup Semi Final) it doesn’t look like he is up for it unless it’s a big four team. Konchesky? Nothing at all like he was at last year, absolutely shocking at times. When Curbishley came in to me it looked obvious that he was gone as the rumours of not getting along resurfaced and you have to ask yourself while Curbishley when at Charlton sold Konchesky to West Ham. This is not just a blanket slagging off of the side but either a massive shake up is needed or a large kick up the arse. The kick up the arse came at Reading and with the defending on Saturday, it has not worked.

Third point, the substitution of Gabbidon. Subbing him wasn’t the problem as he was injured and needed to come off, the thing that got me was Shawn Newton came on. Now Gabbidon was limping for a long time and Curbishley could easily see that was the case and had Shawn Newton on the side stripped and ready to come on. He had more then enough time to change his mind and bring on Hayden Mullins. Shawn Newton is short, as short as my mum is. Now slotting him in at right back and asking him to do what? Bomb down the wing? Fair enough when we are attacking but what about defending crosses, our achilles heel at the moment? No use at all. Guess what Fulham did? Put balls into the area.

Forth and final as I think I am beginning to sound a bit pretentious, it was an entertaining game but not one you can watch at the time and know which was it was to go. West Ham always play an open game which allows the other side to play but I felt we allowed Fulham at times too much time on the ball and too much space. I am losing the will to continue typing so I wont go further into that or type about Mr Poll.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Three small tidbits:

Might as well start off with one of the biggest news stories of the year so far (in football) and that is David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy. To repeat what has been typed and said elsewhere the amount being given to Beckham in his contract is an obscene amount of money and at the age of 31 to me it spells the end of Beckham at international level (if that was not obvious already) and the end of Beckham as a force in football around the world. Granted he will still be rich and famous but a move to America is more of a tie in to the Hollywood lifestyle and even bigger contracts for products, rather then footballing reasons. Granted he can still spray the ball around well and hit a great dead ball but he is not the biggest fish in a very small pond where only a few others have the potential to become world stars. Also at 31 and with a $250 million dollar contract, where is his motivation to play elsewhere and a suitor who is willing to stump up such an amount if he was to leave LA Galaxy? Good luck to him.

I read yesterday that Wenger will let Lauren leave the club. If West Ham was to get him then brilliant! His level of quality is something we desperately need but does he have the motivation and hunger for the fight? 29 years is not too old but the main selling point of a move to East London has to be the strength of future plans and money, rather then a wish from Lauren to play for the club where he stood on the North Bank as a kid ( ;) )

Is Mourinho being forced out of Chelsea? Well rumour is rampant across all the tabloids and I tend to believe that he is indeed being forced out. Roman Abramovich has already said Chelsea in the future should get by on its youth players and from recent comments from Jose about little to no investment in the January transfer window, it could be Roman’s way of forcing Jose out the door in the summer. Gus Hiddink has been mooted in recent days and Jose might not even be forced out but a club with the billions of Chelsea not investing? Something smells rotten in the state of Denmark.

Cheers and here’s to hoping we get three points against Fulham.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sorry for neglecting the blog a bit, I promise I will now post more regularly now, seeing as my uni work for the 8th was all handed in and now I have the rest of the month to start background work and typing on my dissertation. But for now I will talk about, surprise surprise, West Ham.

(That’s another promise; I will start to talk about more general football issues after this one along with talking about West Ham.)

Since my last time, we have signed two players and won an FA Cup match at home to Brighton 3-0. In the first half both sides looked poor and there was not much to write back home about. The second half however saw West Ham step up a gear and play the way they are capable of and should have been playing much earlier in the season. Boa Morte directed play on the left and moved inside at time4s to great affect. Benayoun and Tevez on the right were brilliant. The link up play and feeding off one another was top notch and heartening to see going into the massive home game against Fulham. The icing on the cake though as Mark Nobel’s goal. Anyone that knows me will know how much I love the guy and the commitment he (and Tevez) put into the tackles and general play was the kind of leadership and guts we were missing when Reading stuck six past us.

In my last post I said:

“Nigel Quashie is another name that has been mentioned. Relegated a number of times and in the last two seasons for two different clubs. Beyond that I have seen him put in some good battling performances but he isn’t in my opinion of the quality we need to get ourselves out of the mess we are in.”

And I stick by it. He is another body to the squad and fits the Curbishley bill of leadership and experience but at £1.5 million (rising to £1.75 depending on survival/promotion) I think we have paid too much. The club is not exactly strapped for cash now but for me, £750,000 would have been fairer but that’s just splitting hairs. I wish him luck but just hope long term plans are not being made with Quashie as a focal point.

The transfer rumour mill has continued to spin with talk of Lauren and Freddie Ljungberg potential targets. Neither will happen in a million years and if they do I will… well I do not know what I would do but some of the talk about Joe Cole as well will never happen in a million years. Day ten of January and with two signings under Curbishleys belt, there have been no exits. Anton Ferdinand has been linked to Spurs and Newcastle, Reo-Coker’s agent linking him to any of the top clubs and Etherington was the rumoured makeweight in a deal for Boa Morte (one which proved to be untrue). Who knows what’s going to happen but one thing that’s for sure is Javier Mascherano will never again play in a claret and blue shirt. The two things he will be remembered the most for is for the way he will be considered a flop and to an extent he has been but not through fault of his own and for the “Comical nibble” from little shit Defoe. He wont play for Liverpool as the rumours go as that would be against FIFA ruling about playing for multiple clubs but he will never play for us again. Also as he has not played since Chesterfield in the Carling Cup, it would seem that time is also up on John Paintsil.

Who knows though? Its not as if I have been right all the time (or even once :P)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Double post. Sorry.
Harry Redknapp stated in an interview for Sky Sports News that he had spoken to Alan Curbishley yesterday (January 3rd) for an innocent chat and with regards to rumours about a Portsmouth bid for Yossi Benayoun, Harry said “The lads name never came up”. That might be true but apart from a general chitchat did any other players names come up? If that was the case then I feel it would be Portsmouth enquiring, rather then West Ham but as with a lot of transfer rumours it’s a lot of hot wind.

Speaking of Portsmouth, their takeover took place around this time in 2006 and the funds that Harry was given was used to bulk buy squad players at Tottenham and to finance loan players from abroad, most noticeably Andres D’Alessandro from Wolfsburg in Germany. He provided a lot of quality to Portsmouth and the creative spark they needed, that along with the new work ethic instilled by Harry’s return and some battling performances, Portsmouth survived that season. What I am getting at here is could the same now happen with West Ham? Could there be players on the continent that need a game and are willing to come to the Premiership? Is there a mid to top of the table side who has an enlarged squad that would not suffer with the loss of a squad player or two? Who knows but the Portsmouth modal of last season (the 2nd half anyway) I think is a good example to follow, however does Curbishley have the same experience as Harry in wheeling and dealing. Obviously he is not the same kind of man as Harry and Curbishleys buying record at Charlton is a bit hit and miss but now is the time to knock that on the head.

And to start is the reported bid (in the Sun) that West Ham has bid £9.8 million for Shawn Wright-Phillips. IF he were to come to Upton Park then at last we would have a genuine right-sided midfielder for the first time in a long time. However his interview after the Levski Sofia game in the Champions League back in November was one where he said he did not want to go and that he is loved at Chelsea and he loves being there. At the end of the Sun article is a rumour that Newcastle might offer SWP a six month loan deal which might be more appealing to Chelsea but neither the West Ham, nor Newcastle move will go through if Chelsea do not bring someone in as Joe Cole and Robben are both currently out injured.

The other names West Ham in recent days have been linked with are John Hartson and Mark Viduka. That certainly deals with Curbishleys words after the Reading defeat in which he said the West Ham squad need’s experience. However Viduka is a great finisher… when he can be bothered to get into a match and Hartson might well be playing at a level he is accustomed to and a move to a premiership club might come off bad for him and any club he signs for. Nigel Quashie is another name that has been mentioned. Relegated a number of times and in the last two seasons for two different clubs. Beyond that I have seen him out in some good battling performances but he isn’t in my opinion of the quality we need to get ourselves out of the mess we are in. Lucas Neil is out of contract in the summer but unless a move was for money, why would he come to a struggling club when reported interest from Liverpool and Barcelona (!) is never far away when his name is mentioned in the written press.

Watching Sky Sports News, Fulham were unveiling their new striker in Vincenzo Montella. but within the same report was news that Collins John had handed in a transfer request and that Fulham had already accepted a transfer offer from a fellow premiership club. Apart from the fact he is young and would not fit in with the previously mentioned “Experience needed” comments from Curbishley, he would be a quality signing for the Hammers. Still a diamond in the rough but with great finishes like the goal away to Middlesboro last season, he is capable of scoring but my feeling is that he might actually end up at either Wigan or Middlesboro, seeing as Massimo Maccarone wants to leave and Wigan are looking for another forward. Another player along with Neil who is out of contract in the summer is Sylvan Distan at Manchester City. Apart from being slightly error prone, he would be a quality signing for his defensive duties and his ability to head the ball etc. However in the press conference Stuart Pearce gave, he mentioned that Distain’s agents are happy with the contract on offer so you do have to wonder what the delay in that saga is.

So who else is out there and is realistic? Zoltan Gera at West Brom would be a good signing for me. Can play the right side of midfield and in the centre and in my opinion is underrated. Greg Halford is young and possibly available depending on what you read but that seems like a no go. Then there is Ashley Young at Watford. Today Boothroyd said that Young would not be leaving for now and when he does it would have to be a financial package for Watford future. Obviously Watford will not sell to a relegation rival when in the summer Watford could just as easily sell to a top of the table side. Checking out to find correct spellings for players for this post, I have come across this:

article on Sulley Ali Muntari. From what I have seen he really does look like a quality player who could fit into the “Viera mold” so to speak. Interest is reported from Portsmouth and Boro so investigating this might not be in the worst interests of West Ham but once again it all depends on if a player wants to come to a struggling club so it looks very unlikely.

All in all no one apart from those involved really know who is available so we will just have to wait and see. Just hope this does not mean the likes of Matt Holland comes in.

(Sorry for being lazy with links to articles, as I say I am being lazy)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Manchester City came and went. A piss poor game that neither side deserved to win but City did. Can't say much more so will post the original post I created:

Hello there and a Happy New Year. There is only one thing I can really think of discussing is the away match from today. 6-0.

6 crosses and 6 goals, you have to feel sorry for Robert Green. He stood behind a leaky defence in Norwich’s premiership season but this takes the biscuit really. Such a poor performance that was riddled with mistakes and easy goals, you have to really worry.

But I am not. Sure we have been spanked 4-0 and 6-0 this season, gone out at the first hurdle in the UEFA and Carling Cups but if you let it get you down then, well you will be in a constant state of depression. The support was excellent today. The first half had banter between both sets of fans but most of it was between the Hammers and the East stand occupants. The second half and 4-0 down was a constant wall of sound with “We are West Ham’s Claret and Blue Army” for about 10-15minutes. Even when Reading scored their 5th goal the chant continued during and after the Reading fans had sat down (watch out for that one on MOTD). A hokey cokey, a conga line and a 6th goal later the fans started to turn on the players, booing every touch from a West Ham player for a while and a chant of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt”.

What now for West Ham? Well Pardew was sacked on the basis of poor performances and player attitudes so what’s the difference now? Well the January window is obviously open so now is the time to ship in and ship out players who Curbishley feels is not doing the job. But then again, is Curbishleys job safe? Up to you Eggy. Brighton at home on the 6th and a chance for squad players? Or maybe a wake up call for the likes of Harewood, Zamora and Gabbidon (who looks short of full fitness) that this will be the last game for them in a while.

As a West Ham fan, all you can do at times is laugh.