Monday, 12 November 2007

Kick out Italy!

What would happen to England if our fans behaved liked the Italians? Surely Scotland should be given a bye to Euro 2008 and the Italians kicked out? I was at an Inter v Roma game three seasons ago and could not believe my eyes! Firecrackers thrown on the pitch throughout the game, missiles hurled at the police all match, the away fans showered with missiles from the home fans on the upper tiers. Flares everywhere. A ground would be closed in England if a fraction of this happened and the "English disease" would certainly be used as an excuse to kick us out of the competition. Even Italians are calling for Italian football to be suspended!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Emergency Ward Ten

Now Bowyer's out! This is getting too silly to be coincidental. It is time for Turds to look long and hard at the training routines. The VAST majority of the injuries now are not impact injuries. The players clearly are not match fit when they are going out to play. Turds of course thinks it is all "unbelievable bad luck". What's that old saying? "You make your own luck"!

Bring on the kids!

So the score is 5-0. Derby haven't just layed down, they've died. Bowyer has to come off and we still have another substitution up our sleeve. Tell me, is this not a great opportunity to blood a younger player? "OK Kyle, get on there and score yourself a goal. And you Camara. Show the fans why I signed you!" Did it happen? Nope. "Get stripped off James, let's keep this clean sheet." How are the kids going to progress if they never get a chance?

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Red Stripe has Chairman's Backing! Let's drink to that!

"Bryan Robson has won the dreaded vote of confidence from the Blunted Blades chairman Kevin McCabe." Wonder if Red Stripe heard the news in the bar? One for the road Robbo?

Curbishley v Pardew

Obviously we could make this comparison from a number of angles - signings, tactics, training methods and the like. The debate on has been interesting and, for me, informative. If the rumours about Pardew are true, I now understand why he lost the dressing room and I've found the debate about fitness training eye opening. There is another dimension still. Why, even though, in truth, his record wasn't that great, is Pardew still so popular. How did he recover from the dreadful start and the ludicrous tactics and substitutions in the play off final against Palace? What is it about the man that makes me yearn for his return, even though, during his first turbulent 12 months, I would have gladly chaired a "Sack Pardew" Society and I fully recognise the stupidity of his failure to build a team around Tevez and Mascherano? Is my affection for Pardew simply a nostalgic reaction against "long ball" Curbishley?

It's not difficult to landmark when Pards won me over - it was the play off semifinal against Ipswich and that brilliant "Moore than just a football club" top. Suddenly he stopped being an outsider, an arrogant sod who preached to us misinformed fans, and became part of the soul of the Club. Yes he had trotted out the mantra before, but suddenly he belonged. By demonstrating personal humility when on the threshold of his greatest personal triumph, he suddenly joined the pantheon, a lesser god, but a god none the less through association with, and his apparently genuine respect for, our heritage. It may just have been clever self marketing of course but I fell in love with him as he walked down the touchline in that top. From there, he seemed to get it right every time he spoke to the cameras. He wanted to win but win in the West Ham way. We had an obligation to play with style. For West Ham fans winning wasn't enough. Maybe I was duped, but I lapped it up! There was that dance on the touchline. There was the genuine joy. There was the interaction with the fans, sharing our joy, sharing our excitement. There was that argument with Wenger. There were his comments about too many foreigners in the game. There was his knocking of Sven. He sounded like one of us, a bit cocky, but punching above his weight and doing it with style.

And that was Pardew to me, a guy with style. And he was so positive! He knew somehow that we were destined to get to that Cup Final and he was clever, or respectful enough, to link it all in with Greenwood, to keep paying tribute to the true greats behind the club. Did he ever moan about his luck? Perhaps I have a good editing facility in my brain but I can't remember him doing it. I remember him admitting to getting it wrong when he fielded an understrength team ahead of the Cup game against City, but I don't remember him complaining about the Board's failure to invest in the squad. He accepted the defeat was his fault.

Now, contrast all this with Curbishley. Everybody knows I don't like him and I come from a negative position, but I didn't like Pardew at first! Whereas Pardew had style, Curbishley, it seems to me, is the footballing equivalent of Primark - perfect for a club like Charlton but totally wrong for West Ham. He just hasn't got it somehow. He looks desperate on that touchline. He sounds like a parody of an Eastender, his accent is so unrefined. He looks and acts like a guy from a different era, the era of the big rosette and the football rattle. But he brings none of the nostalgic charm of that era with him. It is a sort of "in your face naffness".

Whereas Pardew tapped into the past and enlisted the ghosts of Moore and Greenwood into his motivational team, Curbishley seems to be frightened of that past, terrified of comparison despite being a child of the era. Perhaps it goes back to his departure as a player, moaning that if you play in midfield for West Ham you're told to pass it to Devonshire and Brooking. He was third best then and that inferiority complex hangs like a millstone round his neck. As a player he had to take the safe option because he wasn't good enough to play the dangerous ball and that mentality pervades his thinking as a manager. I suspect there is, in truth, a bitterness inside him. At Charlton he was top dog, a true god; at West Ham, he is what he always was, an also ran. As a result, he has lost sight of what we stand for. He can't focus on that brilliant light because, as a player, he was blinded by it. He was raised to be a West Ham flair player but ended up a Birmingham and Villa utility man. So faced with the brilliance of our heritage, he dons shades and tries to avoid the light, the light that we, the true fans who are at one with the soul of the club, want to always be a part of. Pardew's brilliance was to step into that light and invite us all inside it; Curbishley's inferiority complex, makes him terrified of the spotlight, terrified of comparison with the greats who he could never measure up to.

People keep saying give him time. My reply is, you can hang a Primark suit in your wardrobe for as long as you like and it will never turn into Armani.

From out of the mouth of Turds...

Turds quoted in The Sun... "...the problem with being a manager is the despair of defeat is greater than the joy of winning...The Premier League is about doing everything you can to survive...At some stages last season I was accused of not being passionate enough. But when I threw a bottle when we lost a goal in injury time to Bolton people said I'd lost it. I don't know where to go from there." Imagine reading this on the coach on the way to the game! Inspiring words ahead of the Derby game? Can you imagine Jose talking like that? Or Wenger? Or Greenwood? Or Pardew? Can you imagine wanting to sign or play for a manager who sounds so depressed, so down, so negative? In answer to Turds dilemma about "where to go from there", may I suggest retirement? The poor old boy is 50 after all!

From out of the mouth of a spoilt brat...

Dean Ashton in "The Sun" talking about the West Ham treatment room: "In a weird way it's a nice place to be, considering everyone in there is injured. There's lots of banter. It makes a nice change from when I was out last year and there wasn't anybody else in there. It was a very lonely place and it was hard going." A nice change eh Dean? Sod the team eh? Sod the fans eh? Just so long as you're happy mate and there's plenty of others to keep you entertained! I can imagine the banter: "So how much are you be paying paid to not play this week?"

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Fantastic call!

What a fantastic call to rule that Gallas goal in. Watch it back in real time and it still doesn't look in! The officials get a lot of stick when they get it wrong. Credit where credit is due - that decision was brilliant! Gallas apart, none of the Arsenal players seem to have realised, they weren't wheeling away, Roger Hunt style, arms in the air, they were still trying to score!