Saturday, 31 October 2009

West Ham's Dyer For Sale


West Ham have announced that Kieron Dyer has been listed for sale. CEO Scott Duxbury revealed, "We feel the time is now right to cut our losses with Kieron. Unfortunately, things have not worked out in the way we anticipated when he bought him."

Duxbury is being realistic about the possibility of finding a buyer having tried to offload Ashton in the summer and feeling cheated when Stoke asked for the crocked striker to undergo a medical. "We never considered this might form part of the deal," confirmed a visibly shell shocked Duxbury. "I found myself asking, what has happened to trust in the modern world?"

Given all Dyer's mechanical problems, Duxbury has accepted that nobody will buy him with a view to trying to get him back on the road. "That is plainly unrealistic" said Duxbury, "so we have listed Kieron in Exchange and Mart, on Gumtree and on Ebay for breakage and parts. The legs are unlikely to be of much use to anybody and the brain and left foot have never been the best, but there is nothing wrong with Kieron's right foot, eyes, liver, kindney or lungs as far as we know."

Dyer himself was unavailable for comment and Duxbury explained, "Unfortunately he pulled a hamstring on his way up to this conference. It was unwise of us to ask him to walk up a small flight of stairs. Obviously Kieron is upset at the prospect of being broken up but he accepts that this is the only way he can ever play a part, or as parts, in the Premiership again."

How big are Zola's balls?


We all know he is a little guy but I wonder if Zola has big balls?. He showed he is willing to admit to being wrong last Sunday when he reverted to 4-4-2, albeit he opted for Franco, who can drop deep apparently, rather than Hines whose more natural instinct is to sit higher and play off a target man striker. That may just be because General Franco is the better player, however.

The big question is, what will Zola do now? Will he revert back to 4-5-1, pulling in Kovac and packing his midfield, leaving himself with just Diamanti to play off Cole? Or will he go 4-4-2, stick with Franco in the team and play Diamanti in the hole from the start? Or will he go more attacking still by bringing in Hines for Franco?

Sunderland showed against Liverpool that if you show them too much respect, they have the ability to create chances and score goals and Upson has struggled against Kenwyne Jones in the past. Remember last season that Cisse missed four or five good chances in the corresponding match; I don't think Bent will be as profligate in his current frame of mind. Last season, Sunderland resorted to pumping high balls into our box and, time and time again, the red top of Collins headed it clear, but there will be no Collins today sadly. For all the optimism following the come back against Arsenal, this is a difficult game and if we defend as we did last Sunday, we will be stuffed. We have to stop Bent and Jones which means contending with Bent's pace - the same pace that undid us against Liverpool and Stoke, and the aerial threat of Kenwyne - and we didn't handle the crossed ball well against Arsenal did we?

One change has to happen because we have lost Parker due to that ridiculous sending off. Now the bravest decision would be to make two changes from last Sunday's team, bringing in Diamanti for Parker and Hines for Franco. This would send out a very clear message to Sunderland, we're not scared of you, we're coming to get you! The team would go out on the front foot and would be looking to attack a potentially defensively frail Sunderland from the off (Richardson may be playing left back). Sunderland would be worried sick about the pace of Hines just as they were terrified last season by the pace of Bellyache. By opting for the one change, leaving Franco up front, Zola will still be sending out a positive message whilst aiming for a more compact look to the team. In both of these scenarios, Noble would be asked to "hold" the midfield in place of Parker.

More likely, Zola will elect to draft Kovac into the team in place of Parker. Now if he does this and also selects Diamanti in place of Noble, we will still have an offensive look about us. Kovac might be better suited to breaking up opposition attacks than Noble and should offer better protection to the high ball into our box, although he failed in that role against Liverpool. What's more, Noble had a mare last week and perhaps is in need of a break. Has he played too much football over the last 12 months or is the new baby giving him sleepless nights? Whatever it is, he is not a future England player based on recent performances.

My hunch is that Zola will revert to a 5-5-1 formation, setting out to suffocate the threat that Sunderland pose. If he does this, Cole will again find himself isolated unless Diamanti is encouraged to play very high. Can we score enough goals like this? Well Collison showed on Sunday that he still retains his desire to get into the box and with Kovac anchoring behind the midfield diamond, perhaps Noble will feel more confident about breaking forward. The team set up would effectively be 4-1-3-1-1, with Collison, Noble and Behrami operating as the traditional midfield, Kovac sweeping in front of the back four and behind the midfield three, and Diamanti playing in the hole. The personnel are right to make this system work - in fact I would argue that Kovac is a better option than Parker in this set up because he is more defensively minded and so will be much more likely to hold his position. This should give confidence to Collison, Noble and Diamanti to break forward, especially given Behrami is on hand to protect the back four too. The set up looks defensive but actually could be ideally suited to fast counter attacking football, sucking Sunderland forward, then hitting them on the break. But the downside is that there is no blistering pace in the team without Stanislas or Hines.

Basically there are a number of options and we could argue the merits of any of them. How big are Zola's balls? We will find out when the team sheet is revealed this afternoon!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Don't Overuse the Impact Player Diamanti!

Don't you just love the way football fans get hold of a label and attach it to players? Possibly the most ludicrous I have ever heard is the phrase "impact player" currently being applied to Diamanti.

So he is an "impact player" is he? And that means what exactly? He has an impact on the game presumably! Well thank Christ for that! What does that make the rest, non impact players? "West Ham had one impact player on the pitch today and 10 who made no impression on the game whatsoever!" The reasoning, in the case of Diamanti, seems to be, if you have an impact on the game, then your time on the pitch should be restricted. "He is an impact player so don't give him more than 30 minutes!" Hello? If he is an impact player, get him on from the bloody start! "Oh no, that would never do, impact players should play 30 minutes tops, maybe 35. You can't have an impact on a game for more than that!"

What a load of old tosh. Tevez is an impact player. Maradonna was an impact player. Ronaldo is an impact player. For impact, read "Liable to change the game through a flash of unpredictable brilliance." Now I am not putting Diamanti in the same bracket as those three, but could you see their managers saying, "Impact player, let's put him on the bench and only send him on when we are losing with 30 minutes to play"? Diamanti is unquestionably the most unpredictable player we have at the club at the moment. I am sure there will be times when we want to scream at him, just as there were times when we felt Di Canio could be doing more in a game, but then he will stun us with a flash of brilliance that could potentially turn the game! Why limit his time on the pitch if he can win a game in a moment? Why does that moment have to be at some point after the 60th minute?

I can see the logic in using players like Hines and Stanislas as substitutes, bringing on young quick legs when defenders are tiring, but where is the logic in leaving your greatest creative talent sitting on the bench twiddling his thumbs? Get him on from the start and let him impact by putting you ahead, not clawing back a goal when you are already two goals behind!

Impact player? God, some people do talk out of their arses! Like I did last week when I called Diamanti a gimp and suggested he shouldn't be in the team! That haircut has changed everything!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Kick King Out Of Football For Good!


I heard Marlon's King's agent on Radio 5 this evening and I couldn't believe the way he was defending this piece of scum. Now footballers have fondled women before, some have assaulted the woman too, but have any combined both whilst out celebrating the wife's pregnancy? Unbelievable!

Still, if Davenport goes down too, some prison could have the makings of a Mean Machine team! Give Lee Hughes the keys to a Merc and he could join them! (I wouldn't have let him out personally!) Peter Storrie could organise the finance for the team and 'Arry could guest as the manager and bring in a few illegal ringers to help out too. Maybe there could be a judicial review of Anton's and John Terry's cases too. Bellyache could be sent down for assaulting that fan who ran onto the pitch (give him a golf club next time) and Bowyer and Woodgate could be pointed in the direction of a lone Asian. Then there's Joey Barton of course and Gerrard didn't look all that innocent to me on that admittedly grainy video. Hans Segers may be old but I'm sure he would be up to playing the Monk role, or perhaps "Oops how did I let that one in" Grobbelaar might win the gloves instead!

So how are we shaping up? Any suggestions for the full back positions? Anton could play right back I suppose, leaving the left back spot to be filled.

Grobbelarr: Anton, Terry, Woodgate, A N Other: Bowyer, Gerrard, Barton: Hughes, King and Bellyache.

'Arry would manage them to victory, unless of course he was passed a Manila envelope at half time!

The frightening thing is, we were being linked with a move for King in January, which, by an unhappy coincidence, is when he is due to be released if he keeps his nose clean. Cue Duxbury, "The boy has done his time and is a reformed character. Remember, the great Bobby Moore was once arrested." We signed Dyer, we signed Bellamy, we signed Bowyer, we tried to get Barton...Family Club? Fight Club more like!

Is Terry Dixon the real deal?


Copy and paste this link to see Dixon's goal in Poland:

http://www.kumb.com/story.php?id=124482

What I think is exciting about the goal is the lad's speed of thought. He is offside, steps up onside and reacts really quickly to tuck away the chance. Now we have seen plenty of false dawns over the years, with Freddie Sears springing to mind, but before his knee injury, Tottenham really rated this guy. His knee is presumably better, how else could he be playing, and this goal suggests that he really does have the predator's instinct. The danger, of course, is that as soon as we pick him in the Prem, a hatchet man will test out the recovery of that knee with a juddering challenge, then it could be back to square one!

However, despite the red hair and what seems to be a few extra pounds, Dixon looks good to me. Would there be any harm in using him as a sub for now?

Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson - Remember him? Where is he?


Remember the tiny tremor of excitement when we signed Eyjolfsson from HK Kopavagur? Of course, it was before the credit crunch and the sinking of the whole of Iceland beneath a tidal wave of debt, leaving us up to our chins in raw sewerage in the process. But weren't we expecting great things of Holmar? According to the OS, Holmar had made his debut in Iceland aged just 16 and was in the National U21 side aged 17. Apparently he was a star at the 2007 European U17 Championship and was named a "player to watch" by UEFA, albeit Iceland failed to progress from the group stages.

Well time has moved on and HOE is no longer a babe - in fact he has now ticked past his 19th birthday. And where is he? Well on loan at Cheltenham Town at the moment according to The Official Site but Cheltenham don't seem to know that because he is not listed in their squad on their OS, the only on loan player according to them is Oliver Bozanic from Reading. In fact, he has made two appearances for the reserve team so far this season suggesting that he is not where the OS is claiming him to be. Doh! Maybe we should get his picture on bottles of milk, "Have you seen this man? Is he working in a nuclear power plant near you?"

The point is, he was supposed to be pretty precocious in terms of ability when he joined us but, to my knowledge, he hasn't even made it into the first team squad yet. Now given the inclusion of Josh Payne, that is odd. Maybe he wasn't as good as we were led to believe when we signed him? Or hopefully, he will kick on this season and make the breakthrough. If he hasn't progressed to the first team squad by next season, however, I reckon we can put him down as yet another Icelandic right off!

And whilst we are about it, any news on Banit Banjer? Last seen busking at Upton Park tube by any chance?

STOP PRESS STOP PRESS STOP PRESS

The Cheltenham Town Site wasn't scrolling! Holmar is there! He has made three appearances so far, starting at right back! Any Cheltenham fans know how he is getting on? We need a right back! Get him back! Spector, Faubert or Holmar? I'd have Homer Simpson over the other two!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Dyer Aiming To Be On The Bench! Doesn't That Say It All?


Great headline in the Newham Recorder - "Dyer vying for place on bench"! Where's the follow up, "Ashton vying for a place in the mortuary"? The article carries some wonderfully enlightening stats! Since his arrival at the club, Dyer, who is on £60k+ a week, has participated in just 15% of the games we have played and has been on the field for less than seven percent of the time during the 98 matches. I am surprised he has managed that much time to be honest!

Incredibly, Dyer has made only 4 starts in the Premiership with a further 8 appearances as a substitute. He has managed to complete the full 90 minutes just twice! And, of course, Dyer has yet to score a goal in a competitive game!

WTF? His latest injury is a "hamstring". Hamstring, the guy is bloody hamstrung! What a terrible, terrible, terrible waste of money! Nice one Turds!

Davenport Charged - It's About Time!


So Calum has had his collar felt at long last and may end up behind bars. I know the guy has had some rotten luck with his broken neck and the double stabbing of his legs but these charges are surely long overdue. I trust the charge sheet simply reads, "Criminal Defending!"




Do you think Curbishley could be done for aiding and abetting a crime?

Approaching 50,000. Thanks to all!


I only introduced the hit counter about six weeks ago and it started on 55555 for some odd reason and then reverted back to zero about six days in. I therefore have no idea how many hits this site has had since its inception (over 2 years ago now). However, what is beyond dispute is that we are now coming up to 50,000 hits in the last 5 to 6 weeks.

Thanks to News Now for linking and to everybody who has looked in from time to time. I'd especially like to thank those who have contributed main articles or left comments, either in support or criticism. I know I am not everybody's cup of tea but at the very least, I hope this site has given you something to chunter about! To all the Hammersfans, Orgsters and Fannos out there, here's hoping that our fortunes pick up soon so I can show my more positive side. Yes, I do have one, honest!

Well Said Craig Bellamy!









It's not often I've agreed with something Bellyache has said, even when he was in a West Ham shirt (which wasn't often, let's face it!) Excellent footballer he may be under Mark Hughes but, as a man, few would disgree with the assessment, "Obnoxious Welsh runt", except to say that's not strong enough of course!

However, in coming out against fans who hurl foul abuse about family members, Bellamy has, for once, got it right. I spoke out very strongly on this blog against the abuse Lamaprd and Terry received at Upton Park for family related matters and, typically, received a tirade of abuse myself. Stuff like, "After what Fat Frank has said about West Ham" and "If your Mum goes shoplifting what do you expect?" as if none of us have ever bad mouthed a former employer or slipped a garlic clove into the bottom of our Tesco trolley and forgotten to pay for it. I know the argument that football is a passionate game and these guys are grown ups being paid a fortune, but that is no excuse. There should be a line of what is considered unacceptable and when that line is crosed, action should be taken.

It is not just banter of course. Banter is fair enough and when clever, generates a laugh amongst the crowd and often a rueful smile on the face of the player. John Terry's Mum shoplifting would have triggered some witticisms from the wags in the old days and Terry would have acknowledged them with a grin and a shake of the head, and everybody would have moved on. But now, everybody is so full of hate. Instead of banter it is abuse, with faces contorted by spite and malice as foul comments are delivered. I well remember a couple of seasons back when a fan ran down a block and a half of seats to hurl abuse at Lampard as he was about to take a corner. I called it cowardly at the time because the guy knew full well that Lampard could not respond as a bloke might in a pub, by lamping him.

Where Bellyache is wrong in saying that fans can rely on stewards to take action. That is nonsense. I have witnessed stewards ignoring the most appalling abuse. I was at the England v Scotland play off game a few years back and, despite my complaints about Nazi salutes during the National Anthem and the most foul abuse directed at black players on the pitch, the stewards did absolutely nothing about it. Similarly, I was at the Bridge for a Chelsea v Man City game and despite "Kick Racism Out Of Football" banners all around the ground, I witnessed constant racist abuse of Wright-Phillips (before her had joined Chelsea) and Thatcher (before the assault). Thatcher, as an ex Spurs player, was taunted with "Yiddo" and "F'in Yid" throughout the game, in the very week when the attrocities at Auswitzch were being remembered. A steward was sat in front of our section and a number of times looked directly at the worst offender, in a season ticket seat, and did absoltely nothing about it. This was not banter, this was not passion, it was racism of the crudest and most disgusting form and it was tolerated.

West Ham have now published pictures of the rogues gallery at Upton Park but I think this is too little, too late. The club should not be waiting for a Millwall style incident to happen before taking action. Let's root out the racists and the thugs earlier and kick them out of football, as the "Kick Racism Out Of Football" movement is supposed to want.

Mind you, players have a responsibility too. Tevez and Dunne have recently shown that common sense can suffocate passion, even in that moment of scoring a goal. Lampard and Joe Cole could learn from that when we are playing Chelsea and Bellyache himself should learn to control his gob when on the pitch. He doesn't think players should be abused so he should cut out the abuse of referees. How many times have we seen him using the F word at the ref? I remember very well our game at Portsmouth a couple of seasons back (0-0, late saved penalty?), not for the game, although bringing on Ferdinand as a sub was daft, but because of Bellamy's running battle through the first half with both Hreidarsson and the referee. He crossed the line in that game without question and should have been sent off.

The example Period Pains quoted about somebody taunting him about his dead cousin seemed a bit weak, of course, and I could be tempted to make a racist joke here... but I will restrain myself. However, you do have to say that, if you can be kicked out of football for abusing a player, isn't it fair enough, given all the warning signs, to be shot for worrying sheep? I'll get my coat...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

How bad has our start to the season really been?


It feels like an absolutely disastrous start to the season so far of course. Just one win in the Prem and no victories in four home games but have we been crap or unlucky?

Well, the fixture list has hardly been kind to us. We met Liverpool equipped with both Gerrard and Torres and played Tottenham when they had both Modric and Defoe in the team. In both games we were unlucky to lose, undone by defensive slips, with Cole's catastrophic pass to Defoe and Hines and Tomkins showing their inexperience for the first Torres goal. Whilst Liverpool and Tottenham were at full strength, we were of course depleted, even ignoring the absence of Ashton. To lose Upson and Behrami to injury within the first 27 minutes of the game is taking bad luck to a new level. I doubt any club could take a double blow like that in their stride and come out victorious. Arsenal at home was another difficult game, where typically our opponents had all their key personnel available. Yes I know Walcott was absent and Nasri was only on the bench, but the key men for Arsenal are Van Persie and Fabregas and, as with Tottenham and Liverpool, we found ourselves playing against both where other clubs have benefited from these key players being absent. Would we have lost to the Liverpool team that played at Sunderland? I doubt it! Would Tottenham have beaten us without Modric, King and Defoe? I don't think so because, as Stoke showed, without these key players Tottenham are vulnerable.

We groaned when we lost at Wigan but we failed to appreciate how well this Wigan team are playing. They have won at Villa, beaten Chelsea and became the first club to win at Burnley. Was a single goal reverse such a disgrace therefore? We expected a tonking at a rampant Man City and we got it. People will say, you were lucky with injuries and suspensions there because Aidinbonkingawhore and Ribena were missing, but that meant we had to contend with Petrov, Wright-Phillips, Tevez and Bellyache. Who knows, had Parker's goal not been unfairly struck off, we might have got something from that match despite going in to it without Upson, Gabbidon and Behrami. Has there ever been a more inexperienced centre back pairing than Tomkins and Da Costa? The Wolves result was fine, as was the draw at Blackburn, so that takes us down to two bad results so far, the loss at Stoke which assumes a new perspective following their victory at Tottenham the following Saturday, and the shocking draw against 10 man Fulham. Mind you, Fulham were in a false position when we played them and were good enough to come back from 2 goals down against Man City at the weekend.

The truth is, we have yet to play a "banker win" game apart from Fulham at home. We can't keep making excuses but, sooner or later, our luck has got to turn. Maybe Sunderland will be without Bent and Jones - then we could be in business even without Parker who was incorrectly sent off! The table makes grim reading but, if we look at things logically, the Grim Reaper may still be some way from our door!

(Why the picture? You explain!)

West Ham's Greatest Ever Players - Number 11


Now this is kind of spooky. I set out to go through our greatest ever players, and list them in order, irrespective of the positions they played in. There was no reason, therefore, why we should not end up with ten midfielders and a right back in the top 11, or two keepers, three forwards, two midfielders and four left backs. But our first 10 so far have made up the basis of a 4-4-2 team: Parkes, Stewart, (player to be named) Moore, Lampard; Peters, Bonds, Brooking, Devonshire; Cottee & Hurst. How freaky would it be if number 11 in the list were to be a centre half therefore, a towering bruiser of a centre back to compliment the much more subtle Bobby Moore? Honestly, this wasn't planned, but my number 11, to wear the number 5 shirt, is Alvin Martin!

Now naming Alvin in the team doesn't come easy to me because he and Mervyn Day were responsible for disillusioning me and destroying my concept of heroes committed to the club's cause. Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky like Ashton etherised upon a table...to January 31st, 1978. The first team are playing in the FA Cup at QPR but your blogger is on the terraces at the old Dell, watching West Ham's stiffs playing Southampton reserves. In goal is Day, dropped from the first team to be replaced by the now veteran Bobby Ferguson, and at right back is a gangly young Alvin Martin who has yet to make his debut but who has been in the first team squad and is being talked about as "one for the future" and another from the "West Ham production line". And your blogger is on the terrace, behind Day's goal, little red tranny radio (that's what they were called, it wasn't dressed in stockings!) glued to the ear, listening, in those days, to Radio 2, trying to pick up news on how we are doing at Loftus Road. For the record, West Ham reserves went down 2-0 to Southampton and, at the end of the game, after successfully defending a corner, Day and Martin turned to me (yes me!) in my West Ham scarf and Martin asked, "Do you know our result in the Cup?" I replied, "We lost 6-1!" and awaited the look of dejection on the faces of two West Ham soldiers...but instead both beamed forth a huge big smile! Sod the team, sod the club, sod the fans, this was their chance to get into the first team!

So picking Martin involves overcoming a massive prejudice, not least because he is a Scouser and so, along with Stewart, one of only two foreigners in the top 11! But, at the end of the day, I have to concede he deserves it! Alvin's career started in that 1977-78 season and stretched all the way through to 95/96, taking in 593 starts in total (with another 7 as sub) and including 34 goals in the right net. He was Hammer of the Year three times, in 80, 82 and 83 and won an FA Cup winners medal. In that great year of 85-86, Alvin only missed two league games as we so nearly did the impossible of winning the title!

Alvin also picked up 17 England caps showing that he was genuine class. Of course he lacked the finesse of Bobby Moore but that wasn't his job. England won the World Cup in 66 with Jack Charlton alongside Moore and Martin was in the same sort of mould. He hit opposing forwards hard, would head the ball clear all day and all night and did not believe in taking prisoners. He would walk in to our present team and the name of James Collins would not be considered worthy of a mention. Upson or Martin to play alongside Moore? No contest in my opinion!

Alvin also has another claim to fame that I was on hand to witness. How many centre backs have ever scored a hat-trick? Well on April 21, 1986 Alvin did it, bagging three goals in an 8-1 victory over 10 man Newcastle, who finished the game with Peter Beardsley, all five feet nothing of him, in goal. What a great night that was! And if only we had read the runes, for who scored an own goal at Upton Park that wonderful night? One Glenn Roeder! God was trying to tell us something!

So let's slot Martin into that team: Parkes; Stewart, Martin, Moore, Lampard; Peters, Bonds, Brooking, Devonshire; Hurst & Cottee. Not a bad side is it? And how genuinely spooky is it that, without cheating, my top 11 players make up a complete team? One other thing worthy of note perhaps - they are all Brits. Does that say something about the commitment of overseas players to the cause? It may be even worse than Martin's and Day's!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Tottenham Top Four? Don't Be So Stokepid!


Well Tottenham returned to type at the weekend with a vengeance! Woodgate returned and lasted less than a quarter of the game, up front they were toothless because of the loss of one player and Lennon proved his commitment to the cause when he limped off with a pain in his ankle, leaving ten men to soldier on without him.

'Arry was surprisingly politic on the subject of Arrhhhron Lennon. Surely the guy could have made up the numbers at least, operating as a warm live body up front for the last 10 minutes or so of the game. Let's face it, we had Tristan in that role for the last dozen or so games of last season! But no, Aaron wasn't having any of it. He could walk off down the tunnel unassisted but he couldn't hobble around the pitch. Frightened of those big tough Stoke defenders perhaps? Maybe he saw what had happened to Upson the previous week and thought, "No, don't fancy any of that!"

Not the sort you want in the trenches with you I suspect but then, that's always been Tottenham's problem hasn't it? When the going gets tough, the Tottenham players complain of tummy aches! Top four? Not unless Tottenham are prepared to rough it with the likes of Stoke City! We all know Premiership players are pampered, these Tottenham boys should be dressed in Pampers!

Diamanti Models Himself On Dicksy!


He arrived looking like a ponce and, to be honest, he was playing a bit like one. With floppy blonde hair, he resembled a primadonna fashion model on a catwalk, not a footballer ready for the blood and thunder of the Premiership. A dead ball specialist but when it came to physical contact, well was the boy up to the job?

Then what happened? Ever read "The Strange Case of Jekyll & Hyde"? Well, the chapter on 2009/10 in the "History of West Ham United" may be entitled "The Strange Case of Diamanti and Dicksy"! As he waited to come on, I had a flash back. What was Julian Dicks doing waiting to be brought on, shouldn't he be fighting his way through the smog and grime of Greys?

And with the new hard man look came a new attitude. Didn't you just love Diamanti's hunger to be involved and the passion he showed when celebrating his goal? He was being called a cross between Di Canio and Zola when he arrived, well what I saw looked closer to a mongrel combination of Dicks and Gascoigne. You could see the madness in his eyes, the passion in his play, and the skill in some of his passing. That dinked ball to Hines was delicious and his sweeping pass out to the left was sheer class. Best of all, like Dicksy, he was ready to let fly at any and every opportunity. We spent 55 minutes frightened to shoot, then Diamanti arrived and suddenly the Arsenal keeper realised he was in a game.

It may, of course, be a flash in the pan but what I saw looked very exciting indeed. Diamanti may be the rough diamond we have all been dreaming of and if he emerges as a cross between Gascoigne and Dicks, he will be one hell of a player! And a mad bastard into the bargain!

Referee Conspiracy Against West Ham, It's Official!


Exactly as West Ham fans have been claiming in chat forums up and down the land, it has emerged that Premiership referees are operating under a directive from the FA to "manage the game in such a way as to make a West Ham victory less probable".

The secret dossier, left behind on a tube train and found by football critic and political commentator Lee Vitout, confirms all of the very worst fears of West Ham fans alarmed by a string of inexplicably poor decisions in games featuring the Hammers this season. Entitled, "Adjustments In Accordance With Third Party Influence Compliance and Sanctions", the dossier begins by explaining the need for West Ham to be relegated from the Premiership to "bring closure to the Carlos Tevez affair". The document explains that a points deduction should have been made when the Tevez scandal first came to light and directs referees and their assistants to "weight marginal decisions in favour of the opposition" to ensure that "justice is now achieved".

The document makes clear that referees must not, under any circumstances, cheat but calls upon them to "apply subtle judgement calls" giving a few examples. Paragraph 23 states, "Where possible, yellow cards should be given to key players early in the game, maximising the potential of a second yellow over the course of the 90 minutes and increasing the probability of suspension of key players over the course of the season."

In paragraph 24, referees and their assistants are instructed to, "seek every opportunity within the interpretation of the rules of the game to deny West Ham goals. For example, a referee should blow promptly for half time or full time if West Ham are on the attack and seem likely to score. Should West Ham put the ball in the net, opportunities to deny the goal through possible off side decisions and potential foul play in the build up to the goal should be exploited".

The final paragraph states, "Referees and their assistants should, at all times, respect and apply the rules of the game but should apply discretion in the interpretation of the events on the field of play. Games must not, under any circumstances, be fixed, but may be influenced in the same way as games featuring Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are currently managed."

The FA are denying any knowledge of the document despite their logo featuring on the front page. Lee Vitout, however, has dismissed these denials saying, "There is no way the FA can wash this blood off their hands. Their fingerprints are all over this document. It is obvious what has been going on all season. How else can you explain the decision to strike off Cole's goal at Wigan and Parker's effort against Manchester City? How else can you explain all Parker's bookings and his sending off against Arsenal? Why wasn't Parker given a penalty against Arsenal? How else can you explain the Upson penalty against Fulham and the sending off of the Fulham player? We all know teams play better with ten men! I could go on and on. No wonder we are in the bottom three, the FA are determined to relegate us!"

Sunday, 25 October 2009

West Ham 2 Arsenal 2 Who Handed It To Who On A Plate?


Where to start? First 10 minutes we looked lively and good. Next 60 minutes Arsenal were so much in control I was planning to title the report, "Humiliation", last 20 minutes, the game turned inside out and we put a cruising Arsenal to the sword. In a sense, Arsenal let us off the hook, but, in truth we handed them their goals in the first place so it was a case of both sides saying, help yourself to a point!

First off, full marks to Zola. I have been very critical in recent weeks but credit where credit is due. Firstly he reverted to 4-4-2, secondly he dropped Faubert and thirdly, he got his substitutions right. The decision to withdraw an ineffective Noble and replace him with Diamanti was made early and gave us the chance to save the game. In the past, Zola has left it too late to make a change and then gone hell for leather from a hopeless position. This time, he rightly elected to substitute Noble and the decision to go with Diamanti was inspired. A cross between Di Canio and Zola is definitely overstating the case, but Diamanti showed here that he can play and can offer the unexpected that this side so desperately needs. Thirty minutes do not a legend make, but this boy has got ability, no question. His free kick was sublime, the penalty was perfect and his willingness to shoot on sight was refreshing. Yes his radar was off but if he plays and shoots regularly, he will get goals from midfield.

The second substitution was also spot on. Hines won the free kick that led to the goal and his pace worried the Arsenal defence. Just as I have been saying, pace up front forces an opposition defence to drop deeper. As soon as they do that, space appears in front of them which a player like Diamanti can exploit. I suspect that Zola has just stumbled on his best team by accident!

Keeping perspective is difficult in the heady euphoria of such an epic fightback. If truth be told, two thirds of the game was a no contest, but still we must remember that Arsenal did not fashion their goals, both were down to Green's frailties on crosses. Both? Yes both. The first was an embarrassing Green error which must have put another nail in his England's Number One coffin. Don't blame Tomkins, Green should have been either claiming that ball with both hands or punching it clear. I have noted him palming away crosses in recent games (he did it earlier in this game)and sooner or later, a weak parry like that is going to result in disaster. The second goal came from a header in the six yard box, and that area should belong to a keeper at a corner. Absurdly, Green was allowing an Arsenal player to block his run at EVERY corner. Just as at Blackburn last season, he was standing behind the opponent and making no attempt to get him out of the way or demand protection from the referee or his team mates. This is basic stuff. Green should have been jostling the player and demading referee protection, instead he did his "I don't like this" heavy blink but otherwise accepted it. The guy needs to find a nasty streak still.

At the back, the goals apart, I thought we coped reasonably well. Spector was stretched on a few occasions but he was up against Arseshavings and a very good Arsenal team. He coped. Upson was impressive and Tomkins did ok, albeit he was involved in the mix up for the first goal and the wrong side of Gallas for the second. I believe that Collins would have done better for both goals personally. His sale is proving costly.

That said, I think Arsenal were on cruise control once they scored the second. Who knows what would have happened had we not handed them their goals?

At half time I was expecting it to be a three or four goal defeat and until Diamanti's arrival, I couldn't see a way back into the game. Cole, again, was a giant but he had no support up front: General Franco had that one run but, otherwise, was largely anonymous; Noble was somewhere between ineffective and hopeless; Collison and Behrami were busy but offering nothing in the final third after the first fifteen minutes and Parker was preoccupied with breaking up Arsenal attacks.

Then came Diamanti's brilliant free kick and yet another Cole goal. Grumpy is still criticising Cole on the Org showing what a gormless bigot he is because, once again, Carlton ran his heart out for the cause and proved that, if we create chances, he can put them away. Winning the penalty also proved that he is maturing in his thinking. I thought our first penalty claim was stronger but Cole was cute enough to feel the kick and go down. Last season he would have stayed on his feet but now he has a far greater awareness.

We still haven't won at home but today felt like a victory. Who knows, had Parker stayed on the pitch, we might actually have won it! Will this kick start our season? Zola must have seen that 4-4-2 is the right way to play and Hines and Diamanti may just have helped him to see his ideal team selection. Sunderland away now looks like a winable game!

Player ratings: Green 4 (I know he made one excellent save but that's his job, the errors were sadly predictable): Spector 6, Upson 8, Tomkins 6, Ilunga 6; Behrami 6, Noble 3, Parker 7, Collison 6: Cole 8, Franco 5 Subs: Hines 6, Diamanti 7, Kovac not on long enough to rate.

Asset Stripping Starts Here - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!

According to The Telegraph, C&B Holdings have appointed Rothschild and Standard Bank "to seek new investment into the Premier League club". The report claims that Straumur are looking for a "new STRATEGIC investor" having fielded (and rejected) enquiries from a number of parties who were looking to buy the club as a going concern.

I have rehearsed the arguments here a few times. Asset strip the club "stategically" and Straumur and any joint investor will be guaranteed an excellent return on their investment. £80m for the playing staff and £40m from development of the stadium into housing or an East London retail complex will do the job very nicely thank you very much if you have no interest in football. The guys running the club have no love for football nor for the history and traditions of West Ham. Be afraid, be very afraid, because C&B Holdings are acuntants!

Zola and West Ham's Midfield Catch 22 - How To Beat Arsenal Today!


What does Zola do with his midfield? Most seem to agree that Parker, Collison and Behrami, when fit, are all "givens", automatic starters. What does Zola then do with Dyer (if he is ever fit), Jimenez, Diamanti, Noble and Stanislas? Zola, of course, has tried to accommodate two of the five in his 4-3-3 system but everybody, apart from the manager, has seen that the system doesn't work. Jimenez sits too deep to be played as one of the front three, Diamanti doesn't get into the box and is a liability when in his own half, Stanislas is an impact substitute and lacks the experience to meet the dual demands of a role in that 4-3-3 system, Dyer can't manage more than 60 minutes a month and Noble seems very patchy in his performances.

Everybody seemed to agree that the old four in midfield - Behrami, Parker, Noble and Collison - made us solid when we didn't have the ball but very predictable when we had it. There was no creative spark, no shock value. Collison would get into the box but he was the only one of the four who you could bank on to do it regularly because, Noble, for some reason, became shy of getting forward. That was why Jimenez was signed.

Now Jiminy Cricket has been a disappointment for me. I was expecting a Yossi type player, looking for every opportunity to get into advanced positions to score goals. I expected a player of guile, a player who would bag us eight goals a season from midfield. However, the very first time I saw him play in a West Ham shirt - that friendly against Burpswhenpoor - I wrote that he was playing too deep, leaving Cole isolated, and nothing has changed since. I know he hasn't scored yet this season but the worrying question is how many shots has he had? I bet it's not more than three or four. Have any been from inside the box? I'm struggling to remember one. So, put simply, Jimenez is not doing what it said on the Nani tin, he is not the player that Duxbury led us all to believe. Zola is clearly scratching his head trying to work out how to accommodate him. He should be the fourth member of that midfield against Arsenal today, the creative spark amongst the three workhorses, but I'm not convinced he has what it takes.

What about Diamanti? Well he is not a second striker is he? How many times has he made it into the box so far? Once, to take that penalty against Liverpool? And then he fell over at the shock of it all! Yes he can let fly from odd positions on the pitch and yes he can take a free kick but here's a thing - when we have scored from corners, Noble, and not Diamanti, has taken them. The Diamanti corners too often do not beat the first defender. The new Di Canio? The new Zola? Don't make me laugh! His performances so far have reminded me of Boyzone's risible TV debut on that Irish chat show - all the fancy footwork but no substance whatsoever. Can he be risked in a four man midfield given his reluctance to defend? I doubt it. Can he operate as a second striker? Not from what I've seen. So do we play 4-3-3 just to accommodate him? If we do, we will be relegated.

So what about Noble? How good is this boy? He was a starlet as a kid but, apparently, his lack of pace required that he remodel himself, moving from a tricky dribbler to a combative midfielder. He was a key figure in our Great Escape but then he had Tevez in the side and I suspect I would look good with Tevez making runs and opening opportunities for brilliant looking passes. Most seem to agree that Noble has not kicked on and many feel that he and Parker do not compliment each other in midfield. He has certainly not been helped by being asked to play wide right - he definitely lacks the pace for that role - and I suspect he has found the 4-3-3 formation confusing and limiting - he is not one of the front three so sits too deep. In theory, he should work in a central midfield pairing with Parker. Naturally, Parker should sit at the base of a diamond and Noble should be suited to playing the more advanced role, but when they have been paired, both have sat too deep in my opinion and that is why we have looked solid but lacked creative spark. We have to find a system that opens up the opposition and gives us the opportunity to score more than one goal a game, and last season suggests that a Parker and Noble pairing will not result in free scoring performances.

So we come to Dyer. Now there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Dyer should be the player we need - high energy, keen to get into the box, pacey, intelligent (in terms of football!), competitive. But will he EVER be fit? Can Zola EVER rely on him? There's as much chance of that as there is of seeing Ashton leading the England attack in South Africa. I have ripped the piss out of Beano and Diarrhea for two years now, not because I want them to fail but because it has always been obvious to me that the hopes pinned on them have always been misplaced. Both are made of porcelain and both, I suspect, have low pain thresholds. Anderton, Madeley, Owen, Chris Old in cricket, there are sportsmen who are precious about niggles and twinges and players whose bodies cry out against any hint of pain. How bad is the pain in Ashton's ankle? Only Ashton knows. How painful are the groans of Dyer's muscle strains? Only Dyer knows. I suspect Bryan Robson would be playing through the pain! If fit, Dyer would be my "fourth man" but if my Auntie had balls, she would be my uncle!

Now what about Stanislas? I feel for this kid. We haven't yet see him start in his true position, wide on the RIGHT of midfield and I think that, given a run there, he could deliver both the crosses and the goals that we so desperately need. Without Dyer, I might try a midfield with Stanislas wide on the right, Collison on the left of midfield and Behrami and Parker in the middle. With two combative defensive central midfielders, we could look to get Stanislas and Collison into the box, with Faubert and Ilunga offering additional attacking threats down the flanks. The style of play would change dramatically. Instead of trying to pass our way through the middle, we would be looking to open up the flanks much more, dare I say in the "style" of Stoke City? No place for Noble, no place for Jimenez, no place for Diamanti, no place for Dyer, no accommodation of 4-3-3 - I think it would work but will Zola go for it? I doubt it!

So how would I try to beat Arsenal today? 4-4-2. Green: Faubert, Upson, Gabbidon, Ilunga: Stanislas Behrami, Parker, Colison: Cole and General Franco (or Hines). It might not work but if I saw that team I would feel more confident than I would with a 4-3-3 formation featuring Diamanti, Noble and Jimenez! The catch 22 is that Zola has nailed his colours to the 4-3-3 mast and I fear, in the words of Pulp Fiction, pride is now fucking with him. So, bring out the Diamanti gimp!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

West Ham v Arsenal. No Hope!


The most desperate thing about our current plight is that, leaving all bravado aside, there is not a single reason to even hope that we might achieve a victory against Arsenal this weekend. The terrible, terrible truth is that if we try to defend, we will be mullered because our defence is no match for Arsenal's attack, and if we try to take the game to them, we will be hammered because Arsenal will soak up our passing game and hit us on the break.

In days gone by, we would go into a game like this fearing the worst but holding out some hope. Curbishley might organise us defensively to suffocate Arsenal and a long ball lump might break lucky and allow us to pinch a goal. Under Pardew, we knew the team would play at pace, attacking down the flanks, getting into the faces of the Arsenal team and Wenger and unsettling them. Under Redknapp, tactics might have been used to manufacture a victory. But under Zola?

We know that we are going to see more of the same. If he lines up 4-3-3 he will mirror the Arsenal formation and, player by outfield player, they are hugely superior. In that situation, you have to set up differently to the opposition or they will win the one to one battles all over the pitch. Zola won't. Zola will stick to his failing blueprint and invite poodles to take on greyhounds all over the pitch. And that, inevitably, will result in defeat.

Is there any way we can beat Arsenal? We have to go 4-4-2. We have to sacrifice some of our "culture" and go for the throat - and that means playing long balls over the top for Hines, our only option, to run on to. We have to exploit Cole's strength in the air. We have to win every tackle in midfield. We have to get Ilunga into attacking positions, knocking over crosses. We have to get Collison and Noble into the box. Parker has got to protect the back four. Faubert has got to play out of his skin. Gabbidon has to replace Tomkins. And most importantly, Behrami has to do the job of three players, harrying and hustling. Can we win even then? I doubt it, but at least we would have a chance.

But under Zola? As soon as he goes 4-3-3, forget it; no hope!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Behrami on his bicicletta to Juventus or heading north!


Let's start getting used to this idea because it is going to happen in January. We will not get the "Atomic Ant" in return, thank God, because the Board want the money. There will be a straight cash deal struck, either with Juve or with another top team, with a loan player or two of no real note coming in the opposite direction. In fact, I would not be surprised if Behrami stays in England, switching to Man Utd, as they will find £18m if Ferguson decides he wants him, whereas Italian teams will top out at £12m. Who would we get in return? Wellbeck and another kid? That's my guess.

Sorry to be making this prediction. The sad thing is that, once he has proved his fitness, Behrami is our most marketable asset. And if you were him, would you want to stay at Upton Park if Juve, Real, AC, Arsenal or Man Utd came knocking? And if a bid of between £12m and £18m comes in for him, can you see our debt management owners turning it down? Not a chance in hell!

Most ominous of all is his agent's comments. It is "too early" to be talking about the move. He knows Juve are interested, now he wants to know who else fancies his prime asset!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Huth It Out Of Here!


Some of the pontificating over the Huth slap has been absolutely pathetic. Of course what the guy did was wrong, but it was hardly the crime of the bloody century. Three games for that? What about Cattermole's tackle on Parker last season? That could have broken a leg and so was much more disgraceful in my opinion. And what about Neill's tackle in the same game? I was wincing as Neill launched himself!

Huth, in truth, just made himself look pathetic. How can a granite chinned six foot God only knows what Aryan show his face in public again after throwing a slap like that and running away? I trust he said in a mincing voice, "Chase me!" as he took flight!

Sad, shameful, camp - not what you would expect from a strapping German! But violent conduct? It's more Barbie and Ken than Klaus Barbie isn't it? He made himself look like a pansy!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

It Could Be Worse, We Could Support Liverpool!


Things are pretty bloody miserable for us West Ham fans at the moment, but just imagine how terrible it would be to be a Liverpool supporter! The poor sods must think that a sell by date for next Saturday has been stamped on the world!

Just look at what a terrible time they are having! In the summer they were forced to sell one player. They bought a couple of players of course, forking out £17m for an ex West Ham kid in the process, but imagine the nightmare of having to sell one of their best players in the summer! Dear God, if that had ever happened at West Ham, how would we ever have coped? How can you expect to succeed when you sell a player in the close season? Outrageous! Poor Rafa, what chance does the guy stand operating under these terrible circumstances?

And then there is the injury crisis! After spending all that money, how can Rafa be expected to cope with two players out injured? How can Liverpool hope to win games operating under such an unfair injury burden? That's impossibly unbearable, particularly when Gerrard's injury was picked up on international duty! How unfair is that? How would West Ham cope if we lost, say, Dean Ashton, because of an injury whilst on duty with England? That would be it wouldn't it? All chances of winning games would go out of the window!

And poor Rafa has to cope with all that uncertainty caused because the American owners won't speak to each other! Owners? How would we cope if we actually had owners? Must be easier to be run by a debt management company appointed by a bankrupted bank surely?

I'm thinking of setting up a "Save Rafa and Liverpool" appeal fund. Surely every fan in the country should dig deep, chipping in £50 each, to help the Spanish genius to bring the Premiership back to Liverpool?

Back to Liverpool? Hang on, the poor sods have never won the Premiership have they? It's so unfair!

Another West Ham Defeat! This Time In Bracknell!


How very dare they? Those misinformed Tory shopkeepers of Bracknell have only given Iain Leaning To The Right Dale the big thumbs down in the Bracknell & Sandhurst open primary. What were they thinking of? Surely they recognised how writing a political blog was the perfect qualification for becoming an MP? I mean, Iain is part of the establishment and nobody could possibly doubt his right wing credentials! What do these suburban Tories want for Maggie's sake? Iain has done his very best to establish the democratic rules he plays by when setting the rules of his football blog - no chatting, no arguing, no debating, or I will ban you! The Great Dictator even pointed out, "This is my site!"

Now where have I heard that before? This is my site! This IS MY Site! This IS MEIN Site! This IS MEIN Kamph!

Still, he could always hitch a ride home on one of the buses!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Take-Over, Tactics, Zola's future, the Project and the Latest on Ashton


Remember those oh so revealing interviews Duxbury gave to Knees Up Mother Brown and West Ham Til I Die? This site was less than enthusiastic about the rigour employed by those asking the questions, if you remember, and queried whether it was all a stitch up job by the dark Puppet Master. Why risk awkward questions from journalists when you can go to back slapping blog sites and offer prawn sandwiches in the hospitality suite in return for safe questions? Why risk being probed when you are guaranteed a "Great answer Scott" to whatever you say. Ashton? "I'm really looking forward to seeing him play again!" The break up of the squad? "The financial position has been stabilised and any sales will be based on footballing decisions made by the manager." Tottenham Hotspurs? "We will not do business with them." The Project? "The project is on course." I am paraphrasing slightly but that was just about the gist of it.

So, why haven't we heard from Scotty recently? Surely it is high time for him to lay himself bare before the blog sites again, answering questions we all now want answered. Scotty is not available at the moment, however, and the club have declined my invitation to Scotty to appear on this blog, answering questions that have not been notified in advance. Not that I am shy of sharing the questions in advance. Let's try these and try to second guess how Scotty might answer them.

1. So Scotty, did you give oral cuddles to Ikea's' lawyer.

I categorically deny having sexual relations with that lawyer. What exactly we did with a Havana cigar will remain a private matter between us.

2. When can we expect to see Dean Ashton playing again?

At some point, definitely, maybe, possibly. The 2012 Olympics may be a possibility. In wheelchair football if not in the main event.

3. How close are we to bankruptcy?

How long is a piece of string? It could be very long. How long is a piece of rope. Apparently long enough to hang ourselves. Our position has not changed. C&B Holdings are committed to our project.

4. How is the project proceeding?

Perfectly, perfectly, everything is on plan.

5. Did Zola plan for us to be in the bottom three?

Of course, of course. These are early days. Gianfranco is keen to explore every possibility. He wanted to see what the Premiership would look like from the bottom three. It is his firm hope that Pompey will get a result against Hull so we can see what the division looks like from the very bottom of the pile. Then there is only way we can go, up. That is a very positive position to be in when you look at it like that and Gianfranco is a very positive individual.

6. What about Zola's tactics?

I leave that to the manager.

7. What about the sale of Collins?

I left that decision to the manager.

8. What about the signing of Diamanti?

Gianfranco is delighted with the decisions made on his behalf by Nani.

9. And the departure of Lucas Neill?

Exactly as we planned.

10. What about the possibility of sales in January?

As I said last season, no players will be leaving in January.

11. But Bellamy left...

As I said last season, no players will be leaving in January.

12. But that was untrue...

As I said last season, no players will be leaving in January and certainly not to Tottenham.

13. What if Tottenham make a bid for Upson?

My position is very clear on this. As I said last season, no players will be leaving in January and certainly not to Tottenham unless an acceptable bid was received.

14. What about Robert Green's contract.

Robert Green is under contract to West Ham United and, as I said last season, no players will be leaving West Ham in January unless an acceptable bid was received for a player who could buy out his contract in the summer.

15. Is there any truth in the take over rumours?

I hope to Christ not, I am on a cosy little number here!

All in jest of course. The project is going swimmingly!

Monday, 19 October 2009

West Ham Tell Fans, Don't Get Your Hopes Up!


Great. Despite my tongue in cheek approach to the latest take over rumours, I did get home from work today kind of hoping that the club might have confirmed that Bowe and co had asked to inspect the club's books ahead of a formal offer. I was ready to accommodate a rename of the ground to the Bowelyn Ground (not such a big change!)and to accept banners saying "The Academy of Soccer" if that meant new owners and staving off bankruptcy. But what do I find when I open News Now? The club throwing a wet blanket over the barely glowing embers of hope!

Well thanks very much! What's wrong with a little bit of hope I ask, with a heavy dollop of irony. Can't we dream for a few days at least? What's wrong with a bit of optimism for a change? But no, apparently there have been too many false dawns already! Tell me about it, I've been a supporter for over 40 years - and false dawns go with the territory, they come along at least once every other week! So why did this particular bubble have to be burst so quickly?

Maybe, just maybe, because there is some truth in it?

Sunday, 18 October 2009

West Ham Take Over Before Christmas - The Full Story!


Once upon a time, from high in a city of glass towers, a prince looked East and saw a dark land lowering beneath mighty storm clouds. "Mater", the Prince asked of his mother, the Queen, "What is that sad place over yonder to the East, the place where the sun never seems to shine and where there is always thunder, lightning and rain?"

His mother ordered her maid to set aside her embroidery and shook her head sadly. "My son," she began, "that is the place of your birth, a land strangely cursed from which your father led us many moons ago. It is a troubled place, cursed because the old sage Curbishley refused to buy a sprig of heather from a wicked witch."
"Do all the land's troubles spring from that?" the inquisitive Prince asked amazed.
"That and the arrival of the wicked troll IKEA with his henchmen Tevez and Mascherano," the Queen advised. "He brought with him disharmony and punitive taxes which the people have to pay for ever and a day."
"And is that the only cause of so much distress?" the Prince asked. "For every Saturday I hear the most dreadful wailing coming from that poor, poor land."
"Then there was the Eggert," his mother said with a voice betraying fear.
"The Eggert?" the Prince asked, "What is the Eggert mater?"
"The ugliest creature ever to walk the face of this earth, the spawn of Gollum and Dowie. The Eggert came and plundered all the land's money, building an army of mercenaries who could not fight."
"Why did he do that mater?" the Prince wondered out loud.
"He wanted the people to love him. All his life he had wanted to be loved but he was so very very ugly."
"As ugly as Frankenstein's monster?" the Prince asked.
"Uglier and, some say, more dangerous," the Queen answered.
"And is that the only cause of so much distress?" the Prince asked.
"Well, there was also the child snatcher Brown," the Queen said with a shudder.
"The child snatcher Brown!" the Prince echoed with a voice impregnated with awe. "What did he do mater?"
"He gathered together all the children of talent and gave them away!" the Queen said.
"Gave them away!" the Prince gasped. "But why, mater, why?"
"It defied all logic my dear. Many people have asked but nobody has yet explained the riddle."
"And is that the only cause of distress?" the Prince persisted.
"Well", his mother said, "There was the Roeder."
"The Roeder?" the Prince asked. "Tell me about the Roeder mater!"
"The Roeder was a Deputy Head Teacher who was allowed to run the kingdom. He was out of his depth and brought great trials and tribulations upon the land, wasting all of their natural resources. Some say the child snatcher Brown appointed him delibately to excuse him stealing more of the children."
"But is that the only cause of the land's distress?" the Prince demanded.
"We should not forget the Pardew," the Queen said. "There are dark rumours about him and what he did to the fair maidens of that quarter."
"You mean..."
But the Queen interrupted her son. "People of good breeding do not mention such things," she reminded her son. "He was a man who had favourites, in EVERY sense of that term."
"Then is that the sole cause of all that land's troubles?" the Prince demanded.
"Sadly no," the Queen said with a shake of her head. "There is BG and his Bank of Melting Ice, the Porcelein Ashton, the Dodgy Dyer, the less than mighty Quashie, the Ljungberg of no return, the...."
"Stop! Stop! Stop!" the Prince pleaded. "How can any land cope with so many woes mater? How can life be so unfair? And it is the place of my birth you say?"
"It is," the Queen answered.
"Then I shall rescue it!" the Prince announced! "I will gather together a certain number of my trusted friends and we will pool the contents of our piggy banks. I will use this year's bonus mater, for my investments have done rather well since the terrible crash mater and Daddy has promised me ANYTHING I want for Christmas! So I shall have that land to the East! And I will make the people happy again mater! They will have whatever they need, whatever they want, the sun will rise in the East again mater, for I will make it happen!"

The Queen ordered the maid to take up her embroidery again and smiled at the Happy Prince. And according to the report in The News of the World today, everybody in that land to the East will live happily ever after!

Zola Looks Down And Out


Anybody else note the physical state of Zola yesterday? It didn't help that he hadn't shaved - C&B Holdings have apparently taken to selling any old metal they find lying around for scrap, they started with any Irons they could move on and have progressed to the shiny steel razor blades - but it was more than that, his cheeks have collapsed in and he has significantly aged. The stress is clearly getting to him so much that it looks like he has taken to sleeping on the bench - a park bench!

Now I am not concerned for Zola the man. He is a big boy now - OK he isn't a big boy I accept but he is old enough to have to accept the consequences for his own actions and decisions. If he can't stand the heat, he can get out of the kitchen - like Keegan and Curbishley - and the beauty about football is that somebody compensates you with millions afterwards! My concern is the message that this physical deterioration gives to the team. Zola looked unwell to me yesterday, a mirror image of the team's performances. What once was dapper is now dishevelled, what once was smiling is now gloomy, what once suggested progress now suggests decline. I suspect that it is all getting a little too much for Gianfranco and it is beginning to show - and that cannot be good news for the confidence and morale of the team.

It must be time for a smiling Duxbury to pop up on a friendly blog site to explain why everything is still running along exactly as mapped out in the project!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Deflection Off Round Fat Red Object In Six Yard Box Robs Liverpool


Liverpool's title ambitions were laid to rest today when a Darren Bent scuffed shot deflected off a round fat red object lying in the six yard box, flummaxing Reina in the process and beating the helpless keeper all ends up.

West Ham fans will smile and think, what goes around, comes around. Wind back the clock nearly 30 years to the 14th of March 1981 and it was West Ham who were robbed in another famous Wembley final when a round fat red object in the six yard box was incorrectly deemed not to be interfering in play, even though it played a major part in flummaxing Phil Parkes and resulted in the helpless keeper being beaten all ends up by a shot he would otherwise have saved.

That same round, fat, red object, who had ducked under the match saving shot whilst lying in an offside position in the six yard box, was on the bench to see the Sunderland goal. I wonder if Sammy Lee picked up on the irony and recognised the beach ball as his absolute spit?

Zola May Have To Go!


This is now getting desperate. I'm not just talking about the results, I'm talking about the tactics. Zola has had a fortnight to sort out how we should play but what does he do? He still sets up with Cole isolated up front. Result? Again we find ourselves struggling to create chances from open play, with our only goal coming from a keeper error at a corner.

Zola just will not see the error of his ways sadly. Our goal return last season was pathetic and without a rock solid defence would have seen us relegated. So what happens? Nothing I'm afraid, apart from selling Collins and so undermining the very defence that kept us up! We don't sign a goalscorer and Zola keeps persisting with a shape that the team can't cope with.

What is really infuriating is the way he then goes to plan B with knobs on when we fall behind. Five in midfield to start, go behind, so let's go to three in midfield as we chase the game. Maybe 4-4-2 might be a sensible compromise from the start? And maybe we could try chasing the game before we find ourselves behind. Crazy idea I know but winning from a position of being on level terms is easier than winning from a position of being a goal behind.

In Zola we trust? Trust is very dangerous as Neville Chamberlain can testify! What's on that piece of paper you are waving to the crowd Gianfranco? 4-3-3 and safety in our time? I don't think so somehow. "I quit" might be more appropriate in the circumstances. And can you add Nani's & Duxbury's name to it whilst you are about it?

Bowyer Scores At Emirates!


That's his third goal of the season so far! Makes you think! Still glad he isn't at West Ham though, I never wanted him at the club in the first place!

Poor Matty Etherington!


You have to feel for poor Matty. As if it wasn't bad enough to have his gambling addiction flaunted in the papers, he now has to cope with headlines claiming, "Etherington has no hard feelings". Quite how his impotence is of any of our business, I do not know! How is that in the public interest!

Never mind Matty, keep your pecker up mate. Oh sorry, you can't can you?

Collins Scores Against Chelsea


How many attacking headers has Tomkins missed since he replaced Ginge? I tell you what, God is enjoying screwing us over!

West Ham Crisis Covered On Sky Sports


Interesting feature on West Ham on Sky Sports. Upson, Green and Cole have just been mentioned as possible sales in January if we don't find a buyer - just as I have predicted on here. I must take issue with one line in the feature, however. It was claimed that NOBODY could have predivted the Icelandic banking crisis. Well, I had the nerve to suggest on the Org that BG and his bank could go bust and was roundly ridiculed. A certain Mr King told me about BG's personal wealth and pointed out the previous year's profits of Landisbank. Well look what happened!

Now Sullivan, Merson and a "fan" are talking about West Ham going bust. Heard that anywhere before? On here perhaps?

Now Green's form is being criticised. Did you hear that here first by any chance?

Thompson is questioning Zola and has just said that there are players at the club who are "not good enough". Thompson is questioning Nani's role now and comparing us to Newcastle. Hear that here first by any chance?

Stelling has asked if you need the likes of Faubert, Jimenez, Kovac and Diamanti at a place like Stoke. Charlie Nicholas is saying that there is nobody at the club "giving them a lift". Might that be down to not having a leader on the pitch, just like I have said?

All very depressing stuff. How very dare they, why don't they just shut up and leave the Three Monkeys Brigade to pretend none of this is happening?

Dear God, if this continues, West Ham's plight won't only be down to this blog!

Another Fanno On The Org! Calling ironsfan! Calling ironsfan!


Brilliant! Fanno is up to his tricks again apparently! In his latest guise, using the highly imaginative name of ironsfan (no obvious link there!), the old nemesis of the Org is arguing the case for Curbishley! Now, as amusing as that would be, I'm not sure Fanno could be THAT hypocritical.

Mind you, I like the new Fanno's style. He has taken on one of the old guard already and ruffled Del's feathers! Flappers has called himself out already, having the audacity to welcome the new guy as Fanno. It's so entertaining, I could have written it!

Ironsfan, whoever you are, look me up! I loved the "In Zola we may trust but on Curbishley could we depend?" line; if not for the advocacy of Curbishley, I would term that classic Fanno! And I want a credit for "Argue the hind legs off a Boa-Morte", brilliant line but I reckon it IS based on my donkey pictures of Boa on this blog!

I like the cut of your jib! But beware, if the Fanno hounds are on your trail, you won't be welcome on the site sadly. If they do chase you off, it will be so sad because it is just beginning to get interesting over there again! If you look in here, reveal yourself please, or drop me a line via the scott tracey email. I could teach you how to make yourself REALLY unpopular!

Fannos of the world unite! We may not agree on most things but we could argue the toss to our hearts' content!

Zola Is Clueless - And Duxbury and Nani Haven't Helped!



Throughout the summer I was stressing the need to get the squad sorted before the season kicked off but poster after poster on here told me to calm down, to have faith, insisting that we had until the end of the window to sign the players that we needed. I always insisted that this was a ridiculous response because points lost at the start of the season could never be reclaimed and now Zoila has come out and said it - two bloody months too late!

I quote Nice Guy Zola: "I couldn't play the same formation twice in a row because of injuries, but I used the time to see the quality of the players and I'm getting to a point where I know exactly where the players can play". Hello? Isn't that what the pre season friendlies are for? Here we are two months into the season and Zola has been working out where exactly the players can play! It's a good job we didn't have a doubt over Green otherwise Diamanti might have been tried on goal!

To be frank, I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life! Imagine if Roeder had said that half way through October! The fans would have been demanding he be sacked before he had finished the sentence.

Zola also moans that he hasn't been able to play the same "formation" for two games in a row because of injuries - well Curbishley's heart must be bleeding for him! Actually, he hasn't been able to play the same defensive unit because he allowed the Board to sell Collins, a criminal decision as is being proved. Zola has kept insisting that he wants a smaller squad and is happy with the make up of the present group, so how dare he whinge about injuries? Let's remember that he sent Davenport to Coventry (and Sunderland) and tried to offload Boa-Morte to Hull, so he can't really moan about the unavailability of those two. He made no attempt, it seems to me, to sign an experienced left back, seeming to believe that Ilunga would never get injured, and accepted a situation where he only had Faubert, another player he didn't want, to play at right back. Who made the decesion to buy Kovac? Presumably Zola could have said, no to him, which might have meant that we could have retained Collins!

But it gets worse. Do you remember when Redknapp arrived at Spurs he asked, if Pavlova and Bent can't play together, what fool signed them? Well according to Zola, there were doubts about whether Franco and Cole could link up when the General was signed. I quote Zola when asked if the two can start in the same team: "there were doubts but having seen Franco in training I think they can build a good partnership. It depends on the circumstances." And what circumstances might they be exactly? They are either suited to play alongside each other or they are not! Unless the circumstances are a home draw against Bournemouth in the FA Cup! It seems as if Zola still doesn't know who can do what yet! We are two months into the season for God's sake!

But we haven't reached the icing on the cake yet! What did we all say we needed before the season kicked off? A finisher, a fox in the box to feed off of Cole, somebody who could take advantage of Cole's brilliant target man play...that is what we all said isn't it? We all agreed, didn't we, that the one weakness in Cole's games is his finishing? Put a fit and in form Michael Owen or Defoe alongside Cole and he would be mustard we said! We did, didn't we? Well apparently we were wrong! According to Zola, Franco is "a very intelligent player, he's very skillful and he can link up with the midfielders" (like Jimenez and Diamanti were supposed to be!) whilst Cole...well, and I quote Zola verbatum, Carlton Cole, according to Zola is "a finisher"! Oh dear God, so Carlton was the fox in the box we have been craving all along! I think I need to lie down! But I can't, Ashton is flat out on my sofa!

But wait, wait, wait, it gets still worse! Talking about our offensive play, Zola says, "The plan is to have people joining in at the last minute and it worked very well last year". Worked very well last year? We averaged a goal a game under Zola last year! How exactly, is that working very well? Concede a goal and the most you can hope for is a draw and a share of the points! But it gets better yet! Why did it work so well last year? Hang on, you'll love this, it worked very well last year, according to Zola because.."we had Di Michele and other players making runs close to him". That would be the same Di Michele that contributed a grand total of four goals would it? And the same Di Michele that Zola decided was surplus to requirements when the season ended? Suddenly it all makes sense doesn't it! We averaged as many as one goal a game because we had Di Michele and without him, unless Franco works out, we can't even hope for that many!

If you don't have a conscience, load every penny you have on us going down. Based on this interview, Zola doesn't have a clue I'm afraid!

Friday, 16 October 2009

The Turds and Egg Flying Circus.


(Begins with pictures of money, bank vaults, gold, etc. overwritten by THE WEST HAM MONEY PROGRAMME)

Alan Curbishley sits at a desk between Eggert and BG. He begins quietly but becomes increasingly agitated as he speaks.

Curbishley:

Good evening, and welcome to The West Ham Money Programme. Tonight on The West Ham Money Programme, we're going to look at money. Lots of it. On film, and in the studio. Some of it in nice piles, others in lovely clanky bits of loose change. Some of it neatly counted into fat little hundreds, delicate fivers stuffed into bulging wallets, nice crisp clean checks, pert pieces of copper coinage thrust deep into trouser pockets, romantic foreign money rolling against the thigh with rough familiarity, beautiful wayward curlicued banknotes, filigreed copper plating cheek by jowl with tumbly Icelandic credit notes rubbing gently against the terse leather of beautifully unbalanced

bank books!!

(He looks around in surprised realization that he's panting and screaming)

Curbishley:

I'm sorry.

(Adjusts tie, darts baggy eyes around the room)

Curbishley:

But I love money. All money. (growing excited again)
I've always wanted money.
To handle! To touch!
The smell of the rain-washed florin!
The lure of the lira!
The glitter and the glory of the guinea! (stands up )
The romance of the rouble! (stands on chair)
The feel of the franc! (stands on desk)
The heel of the deutschmark! (stomps foot)
The cold antiseptic sting of the Swiss franc!
And the sunburnt splendour of the Australian dollar! (slaps knee)

(sings the rest while dancing across desk; Eggert and BG just look at him
blandly.)

I've got forty nine million to spend.
I've got forty nine million in my fridge.
I've got lots and lots of lucre,
Now that players are getting dearer,
And my transfer fund could buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
There is...

(enter a chorus of Dyer, Ljungberg, Boa-Morte, Bellamy and Neill in Claret and Blue)

...nothing’s quite as wonderful as money!
There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash!
Some people say it's folly, but I'd rather have the lolly,
With money you can make a splash!

(chorus kneels and sings "money, money, money" through Curbishley’s solos )

There is nothing quite as wonderful as money!
There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash!
Everyone must hanker for the butchness of a banker
(all give a Di Canio style fascist salute)
It's the currency that makes the world go round!

(a football rolls across the floor but is not kicked)

You can keep your West Ham ways, for it's only just a phase...
Money, money, money makes the world go round!

(money falls from above as chorus reaches a glorious crescendo)

Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money!

West Ham's Greatest Ever Players - Number 10


My choice at number 10 caused quite a stir when we signed him: little old West Ham, a selling club and feeder club to the big boys, had just paid a world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper! For shock value, it wasn't quite in the same league as the dual "signing" of Tevez and Mascherano, but I was certainly surprised and excited when the announcement was made.

How good was Parkes? Very good. Whilst Rob Green is fortunate to be playing during a lean era for England keepers, Phil Parkes found himself competing with both Shilton and Clemence, two of the very best ever, for an England spot. Shilton set a record of 120 caps for England and Clemence claimed 61 for himself, so it is easy to see why Phil's chances at international level were limited to just the one cap. If he were playing now, he would be Capello's first choice without a shadow of doubt!

It is amazing to think that Parkes won a runners up medal in the old First Division with QPR and finished third in the division with West Ham. Doing that with two such "unfashionable clubs" in the modern era must be a pretty unique record unless the player had the good fortune to play for Brian Clough. It is also amazing in the circumstances of today's game to think that QPR knocked back six bids from Manchester United for Parkes and only agreed to sell when West Ham offered what seemed like an incredible half a million pounds. Just imagine, West Ham outbidding Manchester United for a top quality player! In our dreams!

Parkes was ever present in that glorious season of 1985-86 when we came within touching distance of winning the title. He played a total of 444 games for the club in all competitions, won an FA Cup winners medal in 1980, keeping a clean sheet against the mighty Arsenal, and was in the team that was robbed of victory over Liverpool in the League Cup final by the outrageous failure not to rule out the Liverpool goal after Lee, who was unsighting Parkes and in an offside position, ducked deliberately under the ball on its way into the goal. In those days, that was offside, no question whatsoever!

What made Parkes so good? Well, unlike Green, he exuded a sense of calm and control. I can't remember Parkes ever looking ruffled - he did his job with the absolute minimum of fuss and the defenders in front of him always knew exactly what he would do in any given circumstance. Whereas Green seems to make random decisions on which cross to come for, Parkes seemed to have a set formula, all calculated in advance, from which he rarely, if ever, deviated. Do I remember any individual great saves? Strangely no. Parkes was very agile for such a big guy, but somehow the saves were made to look routine too, rather like Greaves made scoring easy and how Makele made it look so easy to anchor the midfield. That is genius in my book.

Was he as good as I remember? That is hard to say. Keepers in those days were not filmed in every game from every angle so perhaps we were more forgiving because the errors were not replayed over and over again. I well remember how Clemence was criticised after a few goals were conceded by England from direct free kicks so, maybe, I would remember more Parkes errors had every West Ham game been televised as in the modern game. Can anybody remember any Sprake like clangers from Phil Parkes? Or does anybody remember a stand out save? Or was he just Mr Efficiency as I remember him.

One sad footnote - Phil's very last game for West Ham was in the 6-0 defeat in the League Cup semifinal against Oldham. Remember Frankie Bunn? I still have nightmares! I know Strodder started that night, wearing the number 9 shirt, but our defence still featured Alvin Martin, Tony Gale and Julian Dicks. 6-0, to Oldham? Let's move on shall we?