Saturday, 31 December 2011

QPR now desperate for a win on Monday!

Oh dear. After a highly creditable performance at the Emirates, going down by a solitary goal, it must be choking for Rangers fans to find themselves fourth from bottom in the division and desperate for a win against Norwich on Monday. Anything less than three points from that game and the jaws of relegation will open wide.

Happily for Rangers, Bolton and Wolves slit each others' throats in a 1-1 draw and Norwich and Swansea both dropped home points, although Swans fans may see a point at home to Spurs as a fair result. Where did that Blackburn win at Old Trafford come from? When United pulled back to 2-2, after being two goals behind, you would have had your mortgage on a 4-2 or 5-2 win for Fergie's boys - but that's what makes football so delicious. Where are the Kean Assassins now then? The guy is clearly hopeless isn't he?

So Blackburn have now drawn at Anfield and won at Old Trafford, and sit just three points behind QPR, with a better goal difference. And meanwhile Wigan picked up a bonus point at Stoke, not a result many of us would have called.

Norwich will now know that defeat at Loftus Road could be disastrous. All the promoted clubs would do well to remember Blackpool, as I have been warning all season - much to the chagrin of the gRs. Well the table doesn't lie and, as I warned, if you don't win your home games in the Prem, you will struggle. It is shit or bust on Monday now for Warnock's boys. And I fancy that increasing desperation will see QPR slip to a 2-1 home defeat. West Ham could be playing QPR in the Championship yet!

It's the midfield, stupid!

He just doesn't get it, does he? How many forwards did we have on the pitch at the end of the game? Cole, Nouble, Hall and Baldock. And what has Allardyce prioritised in the transfer window? A bloody forward.

Look at the bench for today's game.  The outfield players were Cole, Carew, Baldock and Hall. What the fcuk? I know we had injuries and suspensions but surely, surely, we could have found a young midfielder to sit on the bench? What about Lee? Could he really be any worse than Sears? Or Montenegro?

I'd love to know how Doctor Evil was persuaded to start Nouble. I bet it was on the basis that the lad is black and built like a brick shit house. Never mind the quality, feel the width!

Well, I will be accused of saying I told you so, but I told you so. Whilst winning and playing poorly, I kept warning that our luck would run out. You can only pinch so many results over a season: sooner of later Lady Luck is going to get bored with being spit roasted and will insert a red hot poker up her tormentor's rectum. The Allardyce Acolytes kept arguing that winning whilst playing badly was a sign of a good team, and I kept warning that good teams win most games by playing well and win the occasional game when playing badly. We were playing badly full stop!

Now the excuses will be trotted out. It was the injuries. It was the suspensions. Cobblers.

Unless Allardyce injects creativity and pace into this team, we will continue to struggle. A fit again Baldock may help, but we need to sort out the midfield as an absolute priority - with pacey, talented wide players who can score goals.

Can we accommodate them? Difficult with Nolan, Diop and Noble cluttering up the midfield. Again I have hammered away about the need for the right blend in midfield for years now. It isn't rocket engineering. You need somebody with pace and a left foot on the left, somebody with pace and a right foot on the right, somebody with the ability to break into the box and score in the middle, and somebody who can hold and pass paired alongside him. Basic skills, basic attributes, fused together to make a midfield UNIT.

But we have never built that unit. We paired Parker with Behrami - no goals and no goals. We paired Parker and Noble - no goals and no goals. We paired Noble and Nolan - no pace and no pace. We've tripled up with Diop, Noble and Nolan - no pace, no pace, and no pace. We play Faubert, who can't beat a full back, can't cross and can't score. We play Lansbury out of position. We use Piquionne wide on the left - we might as well dump rubbish on the touchline. We play Sears wide on the left - what a joke! We've used Behrami and Noble wide on the left - surreal! We've played Boa on the left and down the middle - no pace, no skill and no brain!  We've played Diamanti on the left - but asked him to defend! We even played Ba on the left, the best striker the club has had since Tony Cottee! Go on son, forget scoring, track back and tackle!

True we bought Taylor, but who was going to replace him if he was injured? Talk about no Plan B!

It is all so frustrating. This division is poor. Basic organisation will get you into the top six - look at Cardiff! To win the division, you need round pegs in round holes, solid defenders, pace, the right blend and goal scorers.  We have solid defenders - for the most part, and nothing else.

One win in five games says it all, as do the bookings at Birmingham. Allardyce isn't bossing this squad, he is floundering, just like Grant and Zola! And the four forward finish confirmed everything - just hoof the ball into the box and hope!

2-0 down, 10 minutes played!

Brilliant!

Does Allardyce Suspect New Year's Eve Foul Play?

Very interesting to read Doctor Evil's comments about New Year's Eve parties allied to his comments about how "unusual" it is to have so many players collecting yellow cards in a game when they are already on four cards and a game away from suspension!

Allardyce makes it crystal clear that a player would be putting his career at risk if he "slipped out" to a piss up to see in the New Year, and the fact that he makes this comment suggests to me that he has his suspicions.

How else can you explain Nolan's rake on Zigic on the half way line, right in front of the referee? The foul was brutal and, given he was one card away from suspension, utterly senseless and irresponsible. Captain Fantastic? Nolan should have been stripped of the armband on the spot, with Allardyce marching on to the pitch and ripping it from Nolan's arm. "Captain Fantastic? Captain Lazy Stupid Fat Arsed K.uN.t more like! Here JT, you're my captain for the rest of the season. And if you want to stay in the team KuNt, start running and try passing the ball to teammates!"

And then Faubert "joined in the party" exactly as I predicted in my post on December 15 when I wrote, "So, expect a slightly late tackle from Faubert to secure him a day off after Christmas". Mind you, he had been chippy all game, apparently trying to provoke a yellow card from the off as he nibbled at the ankles of opponents in front of the linesman, attempted a piggy back ride right in front of the official and gobbed off at officials and opponents alike. Short of wearing a sign saying, "The referee is a wanker", he couldn't have done more to get himself in the book.

And we have to set all this within the context of an injury crisis and the ongoing suspension of Collison. Allardyce surely must have told them to be careful and to avoid any stupid or reckless challenges. But Nolan was gobbing off at the referee from the first kick, arguing the toss over the first throw in, which was virtually on the half way line. Ten yellow card points in the bank before the game is a minute old, he must have thought!

I excuse McCartney from all this because his booking was stupid. He wasn't time wasting as he lined up that free kick, he was simply running through the Doctor Evil tactical manual in his head. "Long lump? Even longer lump? Or super long lump? What would the boss want in the circumstances?"

Will Nolan and Faubert party regardless? I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Neither has any love for West Ham and both might fancy an escape route. And would we miss either of them? Well today might be informative! "Should old acquaintance be forgot..."

Allardyce lets fly at Piquionne and Carew!

And not before time! On the eve of the Derby game, Doctor Evil has had a swing at goal shy and lazy arse Freddie the Fly Tipper and John Not Got A Carew. Quite simply, they aint pulling their weight according to Allardyce.

I love the bit where Allardyce says that they are not earning as much as they did in the Prem but that's "their fault". Great stuff!

Mind you, Piquionne might retaliate by pointing out that "left winger" isn't on his job description, whilst Carew might reasonably claim that forwards can't score if the team sit back and defend all game.

Allardyce has also said that the substitutes are not pulling their weight when brought on. That's another dig at Carew, of course, but it also includes Sears and Lansbury, who failed to impress when brought on at Birmingham.

Considering how short we are of numbers, Doctor Evil is taking a bit of a chance here. Some managers might be massaging egos, but not Allardyce. He's kicking balls. And good job too!

Friday, 30 December 2011

At £8m, is Newcastle's price right for Tomkins?


Not sure where this figure has come from but it is featured in one report on the web. The £3m offers for JT were complete jokes, but could we afford to reject an £8m offer?

In the current market, that figure looks a bit tasty. Tomkins is good and has the potential to be very good - so we should certainly have tag ons to cover future international caps and a share of future transfer fees - but £8m up front seems about right in the current market.

The trouble is, we are already desperately short of defenders and there don't seem to be many good ones knocking about. Faye, Reid and McCartney can do a job in the Championship, but would you fancy our chances in the Prem with these guys at the centre of our defence? And then there's the issue of the left back spot if McCartney is moved inside. Potts did well in his first game but looked stretched against Birmingham - which is hardly surprising given he wears shorts to go to school when not playing football!

The squad is too thin when all is said and done. In the rush to cut the wage bill, we overlooked the fact that players get injured and suspended. The sale of da Costa was stupid because it so obviously left us short in the centre back positions. If Tomkins goes too, I reckon we can kiss goodbye to automatic promotion.

So should we sell Tomkins? How much is promotion worth exactly? But then how much would promotion cost us if we have to buy in a completely new team? Decisions, decisions. And thus far, Sullivan and Gold have not got many decisions right. Who, you wonder, will be the 2012 equivalents of Mido, McBenni, Bridge and O'Neil? I'm sure Sullivan is scraping the bottom of the barrel as we speak, whilst Princess Karren has a damp gusset at the thought of £8m for Tomkins.

January will reveal just how serious we are about winning promotion at the first attempt!

Allardyce wishing on a star.

It's beginning to look as if Doctor Evil's wish list is precisely that - a wish list. And that to fund his dreams, we may be willing to part with our best players.

Two bids of £3m each have already been rejected. Cardiff have told us where to stick our money when we made a speculative call about Whittingham - a player who has already been found wanting at the highest level by the way - and Huddersfield have said no thanks in reply to our enquiry for Rhodes. It's a good job that Allardyce has identified 25 players in total because those at the top of his list seem to be unrealistic targets at the money we are prepared to part with.

Meanwhile, QPR and Newcastle are being linked with Tomkins, and Fulham apparently fancy Cole. And the figures being quoted? Well, coincidentally, £3m!

So, clubs are offering the same figure for our proven players as we are offering for "nearly men" and "maybe men" who we are trying to buy. Let's hope the money for selling one is not being used to buy the a.n.other!

Read the Barcode on Tomkins' Ass!

Well it looks like our future England captain could be on his way to Newcastle. Doctor Evil has scoffed at the £3m offer for Tomkins but has failed to slam the door in Pardew's face. He's simply told Pants Down to check the barcode on JT's arse to find the true price.

This is very worrying. Tomkins is one of the few players in our squad with the ability to hold his own in the Prem - and he will get better and better as he matures. The market is terribly depressed at the moment - if you ignore the silly money paid by Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool - and to part with Tomkins would be madness. But that contract extension probably isn't signed. Why would Tomkins put pen to paper without a get out clause should we not be promoted?

If we sell Tomkins it will rate alongside the sale of Rio for crass folly. But I have a horrible feeling it is going to happen!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

No Rhodes Lead to Upton Park

O dear, it looks like Huddersfield are playing hard ball over Jordan Rhodes. It appears the Terriers are going to hold on to him like - well like a terrier holds on to a rag.

Will we up the bid or look elsewhere? £3m already looked like a gamble to me, anything more would be very risky and might suggest that we are thinking of selling somebody.

Many of us are keen to see Montano given a chance but Doctor Evil clearly doesn't fancy him. And then there's Hall and Montenegro.

I still reckon that the priority should be wide midfielders with the ability to beat a full back, knock in crosses and score a few themselves. The team is crying out for pace and creativity. You can have all the forwards in the world but if you don't have a supply line, they will look as useless as Piquionne and Carew!

Doncaster's Sharp or Huddersfield's Rhodes?

If you can believe the gossip, Leicester look set to sign Billy Sharp from Doncaster for £3m whilst Doctor Evil seems intent on spending the same amount on Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes. The question is, who would get the better deal?

Well to some extent it is academic because Sharp wants to stay close to his family in Sheffield following the loss of the new born baby, but I like the look of the guy. His 9 goals in 16 games for a very poor Doncaster team is an impressive return, and the guy's attitude can't be questioned given he played and scored within days of his son dying. He is strong, skilful and composed in front of goal, and at £3m looks a snip. However, he is 25 and hasn't yet had a shot at the big time. Prem clubs must have looked at him and seen something they don't like. I said Mucky-Smith couldn't be "all that" when Brighton signed him, and so it is proving. Decent - better than Piquionne certainly - but nothing exciting.

What about Rhodes? Well he is still young enough at 21 to have a future at a higher level, and 20 goals in 20 games suggest he is a natural goal scorer, but the question is, can he step up to the plate against better opponents? We would be taking a gamble in signing him and buying potential when what we need is a proven striker in our present situation. He has already failed once at Championship level because Ipswich let him go, and you have to worry about the guy's self belief given he opted to play for Scotland despite not having a drop of tartan blood in his body. At 6'2, he looks perfect for a 4-4-2 formation, with Baldock alongside, but what then happens to Cole? Most of us would see more sense in signing a rival / cover for Baldock rather than a replacement for Cole.

Then there is the question of formation. If Allardyce is intent on playing 4-5-1, how many centre forwards does he need exactly? We already have Cole, Piquionne and Carew. How many "traditional number 9s" can you squeeze into 4-3-3 / 4-5-1? And there is a boy called Montano scoring for fun in the lower divisions, and we don't have to pay £3m to sign him!

I suspect Leicester would be getting the better deal here. In any case, if we are sticking with 4-3-3, the priority should be wide men who can score, rather than the Sharp and Rhodes style of player.

Baldock back for Derby!

According to David Gold, Baldock will return for the Derby game, but maybe he is just tweeting to prove that he is not dead! I must admit that I'm surprised given Little Sam wasn't deemed fit enough to sit on the subs bench against Birmingham. There's also a chance, apparently, that Faye and Taylor could play.

I'm also surprised that Gold is happy to surrender this sort of information to the opposition, enabling them to plan in advance. Warnock exploded when a QPR blogger revealed that DJ Campbell was injured, arguing this was giving away his team selection a day earlier than was necessary. Gold is sharing confidential information with Clough and Derby three days in advance of the match. Doctor Evil may not be happy!

Leaving that aside this appears great news, but as Cole proved last year and Taylor this, you shoot yourself in the foot if you rush a player back too early. Personally, I would rather have Baldock in the team for the Coventry game rather than the match at Derby. We desperately need Faye and Taylor, however!

Still, resting players over the Christmas period isn't proving the usual problem is it? Nolan, Faubert, Collison, and McCartney will all presumably return fresh for the Coventry game - providing they haven't got too pissed at their New Year's Eve parties!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Lucky Leicester Fail Again!

Tell me, why wasn't Konchesky shown red when he chopped down Martin at the knee to concede the penalty? The Ipswich man had a clear run on goal and Konch was unquestionably the last defender. The foul was crude and cynical and would surely have secured red if committed a yard OUTSIDE the box. But  referee Drysdale bottled it, deeming the penalty punishment enough for the home team. Coward!

Leicester were inept yet again. Their penalty was justified but undeserved in the sense that it was an unforced error. And given Ipswich missed their penalty and the Foxes should have been playing with ten men for 89 minutes, they were bloody lucky to come away with a point.

Defensively they are a complete mess. How many opportunities did they have to clear before Ipswich scored their scrappy goal? Bowyer delivered the initial cross and got on the end of it to put it in the net. What a joke! And the way the defence parted like the Red Sea in the first minute of the game says it all. Pearson should have stuck with Hull!

A great point for QPR or a poor return compared to rivals?

No away point in the Prem is to be sniffed at, and every point is a stepping stone to safety. But have the results over the last two days seen QPR edge towards security or slide further into trouble?

Bolton's defeat at home to Newcastle was huge for all the clubs down at the bottom. Had Bolton won, you would have fancied them to make a charge for safety with a home game against Wolves upcoming. But there is clearly something very wrong at the Reebok. Coyle is the new Avram it seems. If you can't win at home, you won't survive in the Prem. Which is a worry for QPR too, of course, with just one win in 9 home games. But at least the Hoops have picked up 7 home points in total; Bolton have only managed three! That is almost unbelievable given the stadium used to be a fortress; now that it is an open house, it is very, very unlikely that they will save themselves with games running out and just 12 points on the board. There were, in effect, two clubs at the bottom of the table at Christmas, and we all know what happens to the bottom club at Christmas don't we? But should they beat Wolves on Saturday, it may yet be game on.

Blackburn's point at Liverpool probably said more about Dalglish and the doldrums at Anfield than it did about a Blackburn recovery. God knows what the owners think they are doing, but with Kean in charge they are going down. The club is tearing itself apart and the players stand no chance with the fans willing them to lose as the Hate Kean Campaign becomes more important than supporting the club. There were some who wanted Avram to fail with the same level of intensity last season, forgetting that West Ham's survival was more important than personal antipathy towards the Israeli.

Wigan's hammering at Man Utd was fantastic news for Rangers. Their goal difference was seriously dented and their confidence shattered as they were taken apart by United's second string. In truth we let Wigan off the hook last season, when we surrendered a two goal lead on their dung heap and handed them the points that kept them up. Maybe their day of reckoning has arrived but of the bottom three, they look the best equipped to survive because the fans, manager, players and Board remain united, recognising that to survive, Wigan have to punch above their weight anyway. Rangers' point at Swansea was great news because it widened the gap over the Latics to three precious, precious, precious points.

Meanwhile, Swansea will see the draw with Rangers at two points lost. They know that winning their winnable home games is the key to safety. 16 home points so far is a fantastic return but they needed it to be 18 really. The draw at home to Villa and the lost points against QPR could yet relegate the Swans.

And Norwich hit the buffers against Spurs. There's no shame in that single result, of course, but any home defeat will ring alarm bells in Norfolk. Norwich have been playing above themselves and securing results based on spirit and adrenaline. Now the doubts will start to nag. The game against Fulham may be a shit or bust affair, along with the match at Loftus Road on January 2nd. If Norwich pick up 4 points or more from those two games, they will survive. Two points or less and they could yet settle into the bottom three.

Meanwhile, Wolves' result at Arsenal was a real shocker. The game at Bolton on Saturday is a huge six pointer. QPR fans may see a draw as the perfect result, but a Wolves win would surely bury Bolton once and for all.

And, of course, QPR's destiny is in their own hands. A hammering is on the cards at the Emirates, but victory over Norwich would be a giant stride towards safety. If Warnock is sensible, key players will be rested on Saturday and everything will be gambled on the Norwich game. Win that and survival beckons. Lose it and QPR may be in big, big, trouble.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

No Nolan. Will we find fluency and shape with kids?

I kept saying that Parker didn't suit the role we were playing him in, and his replacement Captain Kev offers the same dilemma. Tell me, what did he do against Birmingham apart from rake Zigic and argue with the officials. Piquionne and Faubert were dire, but Nolan pushed them for Tosser of the Match. He was booed when announced as MOTM against Barnsley and was anonymous, that foul apart, against Brum.

His highly predictable yellow card means we can see how the team performs without him. Mind you, Allardyce is going to struggle to find eleven players to start. If Baldock had any chance of starting on Saturday, surely he would have been on the bench yesterday. And if O'Neil was half fit, surely he would have come on after 70 mins.

If I was in charge, I would turn to the kids. Montano would be recalled. Montenegro would start. And Hall too.

Derby are shit and I would demand three points from free flowing football. My side would read:

Green

O'Brien, Diop (assuming Faye is not fit), Tomkins, Potts

Montenegro, Noble, Lansbury, Montano

Cole, Hall

Subs: Carew, O'Neil, Stech, Sears, Driver.

Will Allardyce trust the kids? He may not have any choice!

How poor are Piquionne and Faubert?

Well the Birmingham game summed it up for me. Piquionne and Faubert are a waste of space. The Fly Tipper has appeared 20 times this season and scored just 2 goals, and one of those was a rebound as he lay on the ground bemused. He is not a winger, to be fair, but he is not a centre forward either, as he proved when clean through against both Reading and Birmingham. He is disinterested, idle and mediocre at very best. He needs to go.

Faubert has his fans but God only knows why. The guy can't read the game. He reacts. He never sees what may happen. The decision to protect his face rather than head the ball into an empty net said everything about his courage and commitment, but even more worrying is this inability to think like a footballer.  He simply cannot read the game.

With acres of space ahead of him, he stands flat on his heels until the ball is played. Marking him is so easy. He stands stock still until the ball arrives and then looks for the first opportunity to offload. Early doors, he sent over a cross that an offside Nolan missed. Had Faubert backed his pace, ran another yard and pulled the ball back, Nolan would have been onside and in the perfect position to score.

Look again at that cross to Cole which led to Myhill's brilliant save. It was behind Cole. Why? Because Faubert didn't back himself to skin the full back and pull the ball back, making defending impossible and scoring so much easier. Of course, his stupidity was there for all to see when he stood fat arse to goal as Myhill parried Lansbury's shot into what should have been his path.

Allardyce pulled him off even though he can't play on Saturday and other legs should have been saved with three games in a week. But what choice did he have? Faubert was awful.

What choice indeed given Sears replaced him? I may stop calling Allardyce Doctor Evil and opt for Hobson instead!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Birmingham had Spector at right back and we still couldn't beat them!

Says it all really, doesn't it? Time and again we saw opposition teams take us apart down whichever flank Spector was stationed on, but today, Piquionne lacked the desire, the gumption, the pace and the supply to take advantage of the Wank. We were handed our goal on a plate - just like at Brighton - and then, just as at Brighton, sought to hold out for a 1-0 victory. Birmingham were there for the taking, but you don't put a team to the sword by hiding your sword in a sheaf and retreating into your own half.

When will the Allardyce supporters wake up? We are not witnessing a miracle, we are watching a debacle. Allardyce has constructed a team devoid of flair and creativity. Miserablebrough are now level on points with us, and they are crap. But then we are crap too, as today's shambolic performance proved.

God knows where we go from here. With Collison, Nolan, McCartney and Faubert all ruled out by suspensions, Doctor Evil is going to struggle to come up with 11 players to start at Derby. The thought of Piquionne starting again, no matter the shortage of players, fills me with horror. He doesn't give a shit. Dump him!

We secured a point. We are still in the top two. But don't kid yourselves, that's because this division is truly, truly shit, it's just that some shit floats!

Match report here:

http://thegamesgonecrazy.blogspot.com/2011/12/birmingham-1-west-ham-1-hugely.html

Birmingham 1 West Ham 1 - A hugely expensive point.

Well I very nearly called it exactly right on December 15 when I predicted bookings for Nolan and Faubert, although I must admit that I expected them to negotiate a day off on Boxing Day, not this coming Saturday. But perhaps their New Year's parties are a long drive away so they need to have New Years Eve off for travelling!

For the record I wrote, "Christmas approaches and Captain Kev and Julien Faux Pas are just one yellow card each away from a suspension. It would be a disaster for either to incur a suspension with so many players ruled out by injury, but on a personal level, it would surely suit them down to the ground...So, expect a slightly late tackle from Faubert to secure him a day off after Christmas, whilst Nolan will probably just talk himself into the book, fulfilling his Captain's duties to the letter..". Not a bad call given both collected yellows today, securing a day off, and McCartney joined the party by picking up a yellow too. Selecting a team to play Derby is going to be interesting!

The Nolan yellow was hideous. He should have seen a straight red and incurred a three match ban for violent conduct. With New Year's Day falling between the Derby and Coventry games, perhaps that was what he was aiming for! How else do you explain that challenge on Zigic on the half way line? It was a truly revolting foul, stamping and raking and risking severing an Achilles tendon in the process. The referee saw it and completely bottled it when he pulled out the yellow card. But then the referee was shit throughout, because he saw Spector's hand ball too but didn't give the penalty.

But he wasn't the only one who was shit out there! Apart from chuntering at the officials and that awful foul, what did Nolan do all game? And apart from heading the ball into no man's land to assist the goal, what did Piquionne do before he was withdrawn? And after coming on, what did Lansbury do? Or Sears? Or Carew?

But who was worse than all of them? Faubert! True he provided the cross for Cole in the last minute of the first half that saw Myhill make a brilliant save, but typically the cross was behind Carlton and it was only Cole's skill that enabled him to get the shot away. Apart from that, Faubert was dreadful! Remember when Di Michelle decided to tie his laces when we took a free kick a couple of seasons back? Well Faubert out did him today by electing to protect his ugly mush instead of heading into an empty net and then by turning his back on the goal as Lansbury's shot was parried into his path...or rather into the shadow of his great fat lazy French arse!

In truth, we were dire yet again. Birmingham were still digesting their Christmas dinner in the first half but once they woke up, we were not in the game until after they equalised. And then, incredibly, we decided to start playing again and bossed the match for most of the remaining ten minutes.

Allardyce will bemoan conceding late in a game again but what does he expect when, after scoring, we say to the opposition, "Here's the ball, we really don't want it again unless you score a goal." Poor Cole was left utterly isolated yet again as we sank deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper. Anybody could see that Birmingham would score eventually. Anybody except Allardyce who had settled on a 1-0 victory from the off.

So, apart from the Cole chance, and Faubert's feeble attempts to get on the end of two crosses, we offered absolutely nothing going forward. I sat with a guy who had not seen us play this season and after 60 minutes he asked, "How are you in second place? You must have been playing better than this!" My answer was, "No we haven't, in fact we played better in the first 45 minutes than we have in most games I've seen this season."

We got a point, and a point at St Andrews is not to be sniffed at, but at what a price! Allardyce must have told Nolan, McCartney and Faubert to be careful not to collect yellows, but that obviously fell on deaf ears. After his booking today, Noble now needs a yellow on Saturday to avoid the game on Janaury 2nd and that must be a safe bet surely?

So, level on points with Miserablebrough and three points behind Southampton. Just think, back in September people were saying the team needed time to gel. Now, Allardyce will be looking for at least three new signings in January starting the gelling process all over again!

Player Ratings:

Green 6 (The save from the free kick was straightforward so God knows why he flew through the air like Superman on cocaine! Why didn't he dive for the goal?); O'Brien 6 (One brilliant saving tackle) Tomkins 8 (Superb until he did his best to give Zigic a goal with a wild slice across his own six yard box) McCartney 7 (Impressive as a centre back) Potts 5 (Found out sadly); Diop 7 (quietly efficient); Noble 6 Nolan 4; Faubert 2 (Awful!) Piquionne 1 (Get rid!); Cole 7 (Took his goal brilliantly!) Subs: Lansbury 4, Sears 1, Carew 1

The Pressure Builds!



Match Report here:

http://thegamesgonecrazy.blogspot.com/2011/12/birmingham-1-west-ham-1-hugely.html

Bugger. Boro have just won so are sitting above us in table. If we lose today, the sweat patches will grow under "I've never failed" Doctor Evil's armpits. I called today a "season defining game" and that's even more true now!

The team selection is odd. Still no Faye so Potts gets another start. But Allardyce has left Lansbury on the bench and has opted for Piquionne and Faubert instead, with O'Brien returning at right back.

I fear we will be over run in midfield. Piquionne won't put in a shift at the best of times, I can't see him running his socks off on Boxing Day!

Team:

Green

O'Brien, Tomkins, McCartney, Potts

Diop

Noble, Nolan

Faubert                  Piquionne

Cole

Subs: Boffin, O'Neil, Sears, Lansbury, Carew

God help us if Tomkins or McCartney pull up injured!

A Season Defining Game

I said it before the Middlesbrough game and unfortunately that fantastic victory was followed by the miserable results against Burnley and Reading. So much for season defining games.

But this one really, really is! Just as West Ham don't do away games up North in the cold early winter, so West Ham don't, traditionally, do well when stuffed with turkey. Yet, oddly, recent Boxing Day results have been good. Last season we won 3-1 at Fulham, our first away win in God knows how long! The season before we beat Portsmouth 2-0 in a relegation 6 pointer, and the year before that we stuffed Pompey 4-1 on their dung heap. Go back another year and we struggled to a 1-1 home draw against Reading but that was an improvement on the previous year's 1-2 reverse at home to Portsmouth.

Birmingham will offer stiff opposition at St Andrews but they are beatable. If we come away with all three points it will be a huge feather in Doctor Evil's cap but a third defeat in four games would start to ring alarm bells.

An awful lot hinges on what is, in my opinion, our biggest game of the season so far. Win it and we are on our way back to the Prem; lose it and my money would be on a finish in a play off place.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas To Hammers Fans and QPR's Grrrs!

It's Christmas and I am a little tipsy. I hope Santa brings you everything you desire. For Hammers fans that's easy, a return to the Premier League in May and an opportunity to reach inside Princess Brady's Christmas stockings.

For the Grrrs, it may just be survival in the Prem and a grope inside Fernandes' Christmas stockings; or, for the more optimistic, Europa League qualification after Mittal has funded the signing of Tevez, Rodwell, Defoe, Zamora, Uncle Tom Cobley and all - and a grope inside Warnock's Christmas stockings of course.

Given the headlines on the News Now boards, David Gold will be relieved to be alive. Warnock will be relieved to still be in charge. Allardyce will be relieved that long ball football can still get you points in the Championship. And Fernandes will be relieved that he can fool most of the people most of the time.

Have a great Christmas Day everybody! I fancy Sears to score the winner at Birmingham and QPR to salvage a point in the last minute at Swansea. Dear God, that almost sounds optimistic, I had better go and have a lay down!

Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Allardyce gives Blackburn's Kean and Bolton's Coyle a knife in the back for Christmas

With other managers queueing up to offer support for Steve Kean, Allardyce wasn't going to allow the little matter of Christmas and the Season of Good Will to All Men to get in the way of blazoning his ego. Would Blackburn and Bolton be in their present plight if Doctor Evil were still in charge? Not a chance in Hell!

Broadcasting on the "Evil is as Evil does" channel, Allardyce declared that Bolton and Blackburn "would not be in this if I was there...it is as simple as that."

Never one to credit others ahead of himself, Allardyce explained: “That comes from me being confident in my own ability and my record at the two clubs. I did a really good job at both clubs."

I bet Steve Kean is really grateful for Doctor Evil's contribution to the debate at this seasonal time. A case of "Et tu Brutalised Football?"

Brilliant Allardyce is so misunderstood

He is't a long ball merchant at all. He doesn't advocate a bludgeoning style of football based on percentages and fitness levels. No, Doctor Evil is flexible and a fan of the beautiful game, providing that your definition of beauty is winning of course.

Talking at the Telegraph, Sam explains that it was a charitable act to take on the job at West Ham. He was too big for the club really, and his wife told him he was "crazy" to take on the job.

Laughably, Allardyce claims that we are "playing high quality football". High quality? He must have been watching Tarantino films and swallowed the idea that there is such a thing as "high quality shit"! Apparently our football is "completely different" from the football played by Bolton, it's just that none of us have noticed!

The guy certainly loves to blow his own trumpet, claiming, "The diversity and adaptability I bring to the football club is not rigid, like many, many other managers." And he's right! In the Doctor Evil book of tactics there is the long long ball, the long ball, the slightly shorter long ball, the nearly long ball and the hoof and hope ball. Some other managers don't understand football science like Allardyce and just employ the long ball plain and simple. What Neanderthal fools!

What brings "success" is all that matters. And according to Sam, "wherever I have been there has never been a failure". Newcastle fans might take issue with that, of course, and some hair splitting souls might unkindly point to the fact that he hasn't yet won a major trophy as a manager, with the closest he has ever come to glory in nearly 20 years of management being Bolton's defeat in a League Cup final.

But who needs trophies? Who needs glory? Success is survival, pure and simple. That's entertainment in the Doctor Evil Book of Success! How foolish of me to hope for style, or rather for me to think that what Sam was serving up was anything other than stylish! Still Sam has now put me right on that so I can look forward to watching high quality long ball football with all of Allardyce's subtle variations on the theme.

David Gold is NOT Dead.

Despite headlines to the contrary on News Now, I am pleased to report that David Gold is not dead - well not the one that owns West Ham anyway. Another David Gold is dead, but he was not the frontman of West Ham United, he was the front man of "Woods of Ypres".

Seems tough on the David Gold who is dead because he was only 31, whereas our David Gold is more than twice that age. But being selfish here, it's a bloody relief that our David Gold hasn't shuffled off this mortal coil because that would leave Sullivan in sole control, and that is a frightening thought!

So David Gold lives on, whereas Prince Philip...

Friday, 23 December 2011

QPR's Warnock Beginning to Bluster

Oh dear, Neil Warnock is now telling us that there's not a lot of difference between QPR and the other promoted teams - and is putting the Rs lowly position in the table down to the late arrival of the new owners.

This is all very odd because the last time I checked, QPR came up as Champions, which kind of suggests they should be stronger than both Swansea and Norwich without any new recruits. And, of course, the Welsh and Norfolk minnows were not taken over by a "mega rich" Malaysian owner late in the summer were they?

Joey Barton? Shaun Wright-Phillips? D J Campbell? Anton Ferdinand? Traore? Luke Young? They didn't join Swansea or Norwich before the window closed did they? No, I've just checked, they were QPR's marquee signings, and by comparison, the other new boys had to make do with the odd wind breaker, B&Q own brand gazebo and Lidl two man tent.

And yet Warnock is using the late arrival of his new signings as the excuse for Rangers being beneath both of their newly promoted rivals. Neil has clearly never heard the saying, "Better late than never"!

The fact that Swansea are reputedly having a "great season", whilst sitting just two points above QPR, is clearly getting under Warnock's skin as he struggles to cope with the level of expectation that Fernandes' bullshit has generated. Fifteenth place, just two points above the bottom three, was not what Tony Fernandes envisaged when he breezed into the Bush, telling anybody who was stupid enough to listen that he was going to turn QPR into a force in English football.

Of course Mittal might not be in a mood to spend, spend, spend after recently losing £2.16 billion. Not even Man City have spent that much! And, when push comes to shove, Fernandes is a relatively small fish in the financial pond despite all his splashing around. Warnock knows he has to buy new players but the war chest required may not be anywhere near as large as he was initially led to believe. No wonder the guy is beginning to bluster. He's been here before - and we all know what happened to Sheffield United!

Shut Up Collymore You Great Twitter!

Well he was a complete arse when he was playing and a complete arse when he went dogging, so I suppose it should be no surprise that he is a complete arse as a pundit. Firing off unnecessarily because of Hansen's "coloured" faux pas, Collymore couldn't resist the rather pathetic, " What colour would that be? Blue? Green? Orange?" according to the Metro.

Well actually Stanley, if there are any blue, green or orange players out there, then yes, they would be covered by Hansen's remark. I haven't seen any, but then I haven't seen any black or white players either. Which is why, if you strip away the hysteria, "coloured" shouldn't be an issue!

Collymore, of course, is riding on the back of the PC coat tails. Like Ferdinand, he is no more black than I am. If I bought a pot of black Dulux paint and, on opening it, found it to be Collymore or Anton colour, I would want my money back!

But then, as Aston Villa discovered, Collymore never came with a money back guarantee; although the money shot was always guaranteed in the back of a stranger's car allegedly - albeit at the expense of the upholstery given his accuracy when shooting!

O'Brien, Faye, Lansbury and Faubert available for Birmingham

Unfortunately Baldock is still out, as are Taylor (injury) and Collison (suspended), but Doctor Evil has more options available to him for the Birmingham game than for the Barnsley match, which is a blessed relief. Presumably this will signal a return to a 4-5-1 formation, with the usual suspects shuffled and square pegs forced into round holes to make the "shape" feasible.

The smart money has to be on this line up:

Green

O'Brien, Faye, Tomkins, McCartney

Diop, Noble

Faubert          Nolan          Lansbury

Cole

To be fair, that looks a pretty solid unit and with Lansbury back in the team, promises a little more in terms of creativity, but the big question is where the goals will come from? Basically you are looking for just three men to chip in with goals from open play, and the principle striker isn't exactly a goal machine is he?

Diop scored his first goal in six years on Saturday so he isn't going to offer another for some time is he? Noble seems to think you can only score from the penalty spot. And Faubert has managed a grand total of 15 league goals over his entire career! After his splurge of goals, Cole is due a barren spell and Nolan would do well to total 15 over a season. It makes defending against us a little easy doesn't it?

Our last three Championship games have seen us score just 2 goals. That is a worrying stat that is easily explained by the goal shy personnel that populates the squad. If we are going to win at Birmingham, we will have to keep a clean sheet! 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Should we leave QPR and Fulham to fight over Maynard?

With his contract running down, Bristol City have decided to give up the fight and let Maynard go. Now whilst the guy will be available at a bargain basement price, is that a good enough reason to sign him? He's not exactly setting the Championship alight is he?

His career goals per game ratio is hugely impressive but he has been doing the business against crap defences and I've seen nothing to suggest that he can reproduce it in the Prem. Let's face it, at 25, if he was good enough, he would have got his chance by now.

Any number of scouts have looked at him over the past 3 or 4 years and no bid has been forthcoming. Just because he looks cheap, that's not a reason to buy him. Leave him to QPR and Fulham I say. He looks like a typical Fernandes signing to me - bargain basement but headline grabbing nevertheless.

Would he be any more effective than the host of forwards already in the Bush? I very much doubt it. But if Warnock and Fernandes get this wrong, Maynard could do a decent job for them in the Championship anyway. On the other hand, we need to plan for a Premiership future!

Hansen Apology is Absurd.

This is getting more stupid by the minute. Terry faces legal action BECAUSE he used the word black, and now Hansen has apologised for not using it! So bloody what that he used the word "coloured"? He isn't in South Africa and it wasn't meant to be insulting in any way whatsoever.

Somebody has to get a grip here. Let's turn to a dictionary shall we? According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online "Black" is defined as "being the darkest colour there is, like the colour of coal or of a very dark night" whilst Oxford Dictionaries are slightly less poetic, opting for "of the very darkest colour owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light; the opposite of white."

So, let's try "coloured". The Oxford Dictionary gives the PC Brigade some ammunition with the definition, "having a colour or colours, especially as opposed to being black, white, or neutral" but that "especially" word is crucial. It still means something can be coloured black or brown; just ask any five year old with a set of colouring pencils! The dictionary pegs the offensive use of "coloured" to South Africa, just as I thought. Cambridge Dictionaries, meanwhile, offers simply "having or producing a colour or colours".

Now, is Evra black? No he is not. He is deep brown perhaps, but he is not black. And Anton? He's no more black than I am! Brown yes, but black? Not a chance in Hell! And am I white? Of course I'm not white! How can I describe myself? Flesh coloured? That's offensive presumably because it somehow implies that my skin colour is the right flesh colour. So how about pinko grey as E M Forster termed "white" people? It suffices but it isn't accurate is it?

Describe me and what word describes me without question? I am coloured! You are coloured! We are all coloured! That isn't offensive, that is FACT!

This has to stop. This will breed resentment and racism if we are not careful. NOBODY should be allowed to play politics with the English language and NOBODY should impute malice when none is intended. Big Brother will kill freedom of speech if we are not careful. I know why Hansen used the word and it had absolutely nothing to do with racism and everything to do with a vocabulary that was common place when he learnt the language of HIS PLACE OF BIRTH. And why shouldn't he use a word that is, by definition, technically correct just because some language fascists dictate he should not?


Never mind the Academy, look who we lost!

Dear God, as we bugger around trying to put together a team good enough to bludgeon it's way to promotion, it hurts to see ex players performing so successfully in the shirts of other teams. This isn't another gripe about selling the golden generation, because, to be honest, Rio and the loathed Lampard apart, none of them have proved that special, but a moan about how we have let go quality players at knock down prices who we really should have retained.

Ba, of course, rubs our noses in it every time he takes to the field in black and white. Now I will admit that I was dubious about signing him because of his broken knee, but since Pardew has got hold of him, the guy has been a revelation. I know "if onlys" are pathetic, but still, you can't watch the guy without thinking "if only". If only Grant had played him down the middle. if only we had survived by the skin of our teeth, if only Ba was wearing Claret and Blue now.

And then there is Zamora. Again I will be honest and admit that I thought Turds had done goodish business when he secured £4m for Zammo, laughing at the Championship Manager prediction that he would become an England player in his late twenties. Now the £4m Fulham paid seems like a steal. Just imagine a Zamora and Ba pairing up front! We would be top half in the table without question!

And now add Parker to the equation. Once again, I have to be honest of course as I was never Scotty's biggest fan at Upton Park. Buy why? Because, like Ba, he was used incorrectly. Even in a Spurs shirt he comes up short as a midfield general, but play him in the holding role with a creative partner in midfield, and he is the dogs bollocks.

We never had Modric, of course, but we did have Yossi and Etherington. Imagine for a moment these two providing the creative impetus with Parker anchoring the midfield and, whisper it quietly, Reo-Coker adding additional bite. Now the £8m we got for NRC was unquestionably great business, but not when £6m of it was blown on Kieron Dyer - never mind his wages! Don't fancy NRC, then how about using Collison or Noble in a proper midfield unit? Collison and Benayoun could switch positions, pulling markers all over the shop.

Which brings us to the defence...and Collins apart, we hit problems. I have called time and again for the full back positions to be prioritised but Zola, Grant and even Allardyce have treated the position with contempt. Curbishley signed Neill and walked out when we let McCartney go, and since his time, we have been exposed down both flanks. Neill slowed and was never replaced, and apart from Ilunga's season long trial, we haven't had a left back worthy of the name. Remember Lopez? Spector was hopeless. Bridge wasn't much better! Here's hoping young Potts can do a job!

So, as we move towards Christmas, does anybody really believe we would be in the Championship now had Turds stuck rather than twisted, and we had played last season with the following team?

Green

Paintsil,  Collins, Upson, McCartney

Benayoun, Collison, Parker, Etherington

Zamora, Cole (Ba in January)

Subs Tomkins, Noble, Reo-Coker, Stech, Spector (I know, I know!), Bowyer, Sears (replaced by Cole in January)

QPR Drinking in Last Chance Saloon before Christmas.

Poor old QPR. They remind me of an alcoholic sitting in a bar bemoaning his bad luck but telling anybody who will listen that everything will be fine after he has won the lottery in January.

Yesterday was a huge kick in the cobblers and has left the Hoops curled up in agony in the corner of the Last Chance Saloon gasping for air. The last five games have yielded just one point and the joyous Noel predicted by all those following the Fernandes star has turned decidedly sour, so sour that I understand the Python team are currently planning a "Life of Tony" movie.

The trouble is, QPR, like West Ham last season, have thrown away far too many winnable home points. The Hoops have won just one home game from 9 - and that was lucky against a team of 9 players. Defeats at home to Bolton and Sunderland and draws at home to West Brom and Blackburn all represent vital points thrown away. There is a dangerous echo of West Ham here as we duplicated those results last season.

You survive by winning winnable home games, and QPR are running out of those! The target games now come down to home matches against Norwich, Swansea, Wolves, Fulham, Stoke and Wigan. That's 18 points which would take QPR to 34. Then it is a case of drawing 4 or 5 matches home or away. The trouble is, if 4 of those identified games end up as draws, QPR are then 8 points short, and their results so far make victories in all six of those games very unlikely. If you can't beat Blackburn and Sunderland at home, why should you reckon on beating Fulham, Wolves, Stoke and Norwich?

Warnock, of course, has been here before and by mid March had Shafting United sitting pretty on 32 points with some easy home games still to come. Then along came Tevez and...well the bleating started!

But at the moment Neil is smiling, ordering another stiff one and telling anybody who will listen that everything will be all right when his mate Tony Fernandes gives him a big cheque in January.

"Three or four players", he slurs, "We just need three or four players. And Tony will give me the money. Tony's a very rich man you know. He owns an airline. And a Formula 1 team. And he is going to build a shiny new stadium. After last night's defeat he will start telling everybody about it again. Just you wait and see. And we won't sell Faurlin. And there will be loads of quality players happy to join us despite our position in the table and the low attendancies to home games. They all want to play for me you see. And they all want to share a dressing room with Joey Barton. Barman, another drink. It's Christmas!"

QPR - One Point in Fifteen Spells Disaster

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh one point. Far be it from me to say "I told you so". What pleasure would I gain from that exactly? Just because Rangers fans have abused me each time I have pointed out that they face a struggle to survive this season, that doesn't mean I feel the need to gloat. Heaven forbid!

Mind you, those GRRRs who have repeatedly called me an idiot (when being polite!) might like to take a look at the Premiership table. After the disastrous last minute defeat at home to Sunderland tonight, Rangers sit fifth from bottom and just two points above the drop zone. And for the first time in some time, the points per game return, if averaged over the whole season, would see them fall below the 38 point safety line.

Even more worrying for Rangers is the goal difference position. Look at the clubs above Rangers and none are showing a significant deficit, but Rangers, in common with all those beneath them, are horribly in arrears. And is that surprising with Gabbidon in the starting 11 and Dyer on the payroll? Let me remind Rangers fans again that new signings Gabbidon (West Ham), Wright-Phillips (Man City), D J Campbell (Blackpool), Young (Charlton), Dyer (West Ham) and Barton (Newcastle) have all been relegated from the Premiership, as have Helguson (Watford), Paddy Kenny (Sheffield United) Shittu (Watford), Tommy Smith (Watford) and no doubt others!

Talk of big money signings in January has gone a little quiet of late and what self respecting Premiership player would fancy playing for a struggling team in front of gates of below 20,000 anyway? QPR are sadly the Wigan Athletic of London, except Wigan have the well respected Martinez in charge, whilst QPR have Warnock! Incredibly, whilst West Ham had a full house of 34,750 for Saturday's home game with Barnsley, Rangers could only attract 16,167 to tonight's game with Sunderland. You have to ask if Rangers fans deserve a Premiership club if they can't turn up in greater numbers than that!

Warnock is sure he can sort things out with a few signings in January but he should look at what is happening over at Blackburn and what transpired at Birmingham. New Asian owners talk a good game but when it comes to actually stumping up cash, well suddenly they don't answer the telephone!

I take no pleasure in writing this whatsoever and I am in no way gloating. Here's hoping Fernandes answers the phone in January and delivers the cash he has semi promised. Who knows, Warnock may spend it wisely and things may turn around. But I wouldn't bet on it!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

John Terry Charge is Absurd!

Tell me, what will be gained by fining Terry £2,500 even IF he is found guilty as charged? The decision of the CPS to pursue this matter stinks. How do we know for sure that the decision maker isn't a fan of Tottenham, Arsenal, Man Utd or Chelsea?

We are told Terry is being treated the same as everybody else. If that is the case, why don't the CPS pursue charges against every supporter who yells racist abuse over the course of a game? And why hasn't Suarez been charged exactly?

And how do the FA explain that they have reached a decision on Suarez before charges are made by the CPS, whereas Terry hasn't even been asked to attend a hearing, but now faces a trial in February?

Presumably the FA will be handing over their Suarez evidence to the CPS and we will see consistency, with the Uruguayan charged, just like Terry.

Meanwhile, God help us all. Big Brother has arrived in a ridiculous way. I am utterly opposed to racism, but for the life of me, I cannot understand why Terry is allowed to call a Liverpool player a "fcuking Scouse cnut" with impunity but faces court if he calls a black player a "fcuking black cnut". The F and the C words are offensive, the Scouse and black words are not. Had Terry called Ferdinand a "N*****" there could be no defence. But he didn't.

Tell me, what part has Rio played in all this? Allegedly the deposed England captain has been stirring his brother up all along. So, the question has to be asked, are the courts simply allowing a footballing whore's vengeance?

Relegate Liverpool!

I'm not sure where I stand on the Suarez affair. Initially, I thought he should be kicked out of English football if it was proven that he had used the N word repeatedly towards Evra, but the more I learn about how the Spanish version is used in Uruguay, the more I understand how the term may have been used without malice. If this is true, then the player may not deserve the hefty 8 match ban.

However, there can be no excuses for Liverpool FC. They had a responsibility to "educate" Suarez in the first place, but never mind that, the wearing of the Suarez t-shirts tonight is an absolute disgrace. I said Dalglish was on dodgy ground when he offered "100% support" before the judgement was given; to wear the shirt tonight and require the rest of the team to make a statement of solidarity is utterly and completely unacceptable.

The FA are running their "Kick Racism Out of Football" campaign and Liverpool FC, as things stand, has put itself on the side of the racists. Appeal the decision by all means, but to wear those Suarez shirts tonight says that they put their player and parochial concerns over the greater good of the game, and of society at large.

Tell me, what happens now if three white Liverpool supporting yobs kick and knife to death a black teenager over the Christmas break? Would Dalglish wear his Suarez shirt as witnesses explain how the assailants yelled "Kill the N*****!" or "That's for Suarez"?

The arrogance of Liverpool FC must not be tolerated. The FA should show how serious they are about kicking racism out of football by kicking Liverpool out of the Premiership!

One Big Halls Up!

You can keep him. No you can't!

What the hell is going on? Yesterday we agreed to extend Hall's loan by a month; and today we recalled him to Upton Park.  What a mess.

The poor guy must be utterly bemused. The last time he was called back, Allardyce sat him on the bench and didn't use him, even though we were held 0-0 by second from bottom Bristol City, and then at the weekend, Tweedledee, Tweedledum and Tweedledummer were preferred as a combination, rather than invite Hall home early.

So what's happened? Presumably one or more of the useless big lumps has pulled up lame. So, as with Potts, Doctor Evil has been left with no choice. To hell with it, I'll pick one of the Academy products given there's no other choice. Hang on have we checked the Job Centres in Bolton? Surely there's an old lag knocking around somewhere who needs a game? No? Really? Bugger! Go on then, recall a kid! You're sure Wally Downes can't play up front? OK, then recall the bloody kid; but somebody superglue the bench in case he has any ideas about coming on!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

£95m to REDUCE the capacity to 60,000

Explain the logic somebody. Why spend £95m to reduce the capacity of a stadium? Why not put a screen around the upper tier seats if empty seats are a problem. Surely when we qualify for the Champions League, we will need the full capacity?

And here's a strange idea, how about offering free seats to all school children in London? How about making West Ham a family club and stealing a fan base from the cradle? Dads (absent or otherwise) can go to Chelsea and Tottenham, whilst Mums bring their angels to Upton Park. Free ticket for the child, £10 entrance to the Mum with discount shopping vouchers to the tune of a tenner negotiated with the Westfield Shopping Centre. Perfect!

All sounds like a huge waste of tax payers' money to me and a completely pointless exercise. Actually, with the running track in place, the upper tier seats would offer the best bloody view!

Oh and the latest rumour is that a rugby team will share the stadium with us. Somebody has misunderstood. It's just that Allardyce is moving West Ham Wanderers to the ground instead of West Ham United!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Montano left to rot in Dagenham

Well Allardyce reckons he needs three new players and faces an injury crisis over the crucial Christmas period, but that's not enough to provoke the recall of Montano. Indeed quite the opposite, we've told Dagenham they can extend the loan and keep him until the New Year.

Clearly the boy is not rated. If Carew and Piquionne are better options, then Doctor Evil must consider Montano worse than useless. Another Academy product heading the way of so many others it seems.

Allardyce Targets Three New Signings In January

Apparently, Doctor Evil has three priorities for January, a new centre back, a new wide midfielder and a new forward.

Now whilst that is reassuring, it does beg a question or two of course. Like why, exactly we parted with da Costa and sent Barrera out on loan.

Now I know the Mexican looked crap in Claret & Blue but surely Allardyce should have backed himself to turn the guy around. There's no question that the boy has ability, and he is exactly what we have been missing all season, a player with pace, dribbling ability and goal scoring potential. He is ideal for the 4-3-3 formation that Doctor Evil prefers.

As for da Costa, he would have been a giant in the Championship. We let him go for peanuts, apparently determined to purge the contamination of Nani once and for all, but how dumb does that decision look now? Are we going to find anybody of his quality and potential for an outlay of £1.5m? Not a chance in hell!

As for the forward, how many does Allardyce want on the books exactly? He let Stanislas go who, I still believe, could have done a job. Then there is Sears. Surely he should be drilled every minute of every training session on smashing and placing the ball into the back of the net? As the penalty claim on Saturday showed, the boy is willing to burst into the box with the ball at his feet and if he does that four or five times a game, and is "professional", he will buy penalties. It is all down to confidence with Freddie. If he scores a couple, the goals will flow at this level; he should be the perfect understudy for Baldock, but arsing around playing him wide will do the lad no favours at all. Sit him on the shoulder and say, show us what you can do!

If we do sign another forward, surely one will leave. But who will take Piquionne or Carew? The only way of shedding those two is to follow the Piq's example and dump them when nobody is looking!

The Return of the Joker


Full marks to KUMB for hunting down the Grand Puppet Master. Mere mortals, surveying the carnage left behind after his tenure as CEO, were wondering what exactly had happened to him. Like Lucan and Shergar, it appeared he had disappeared off the face of the Earth. Well, not quite, he popped down to Australia apparently, the land of sharks, vagabonds and transported criminals strangely enough.

And now he has returned to Blighty, transported no doubt in an earth filled wooden box and pitching up in a storm at Whitby. As is the way of the world once you have attained to a certain level, the little matter of steering a football club onto a financial iceberg has not been an impediment to landing another high paid job - for Scotty is allegedly now a partner in Rix and Kay LLP, based in Mayfair no less.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

More Biased Coverage From The BBC!

Did anybody watch the Championship Show yesterday? How brief were the highlights of the West Ham v Barnsley game? Blink and you would have missed us! Dear God, they even edited out the cat! Maybe Princess Karren has insisted that she's the only Claret & Blue pussy allowed on TV!

Anybody would have thought that the game was shit and that football fans don't want to see a keeper pumping the ball long every time he gets it, with three lumbering forwards chasing after it, trying to get something, anything on it. But if that was the case, why was Upton Park full to the rafters again yesterday? If Sullivan and Gold can sell this shit to Hammers fans, surely the BBC can find a way of making our games into a freebie television spectacle.

Perhaps they could try sepia, pretending they are showing football from the 1880s; you know the sort of thing, playing upon nostalgia - this is what football was like before players developed ball control and a game based around passing the ball along the ground.

Or perhaps they could film our games at pitch level and invite viewers to play "Spot the Ball" whenever it bounces?

Once again we see the BBC's bias against West Ham. Just because the football is boring, that's not an excuse for showing such limited highlights. If Attenborough can insert scenes of polar bears filmed in a German zoo into his Frozen Planet programme, why can't the editors of the Championship Show recycle exciting moments from other West Ham games, slipping them in as if they happened in the game they are showing?

Be more inventive for God's sake. West Ham fans don't want to face up to reality!

Southampton back on top!

Southampton are back on top and based on a fifteen minute purple patch, when they played more football than we have managed all season, deservedly so.

I do like the look of Lallana and Lambert, they are head and shoulders better than anything we have. What impresses me is the way Southampton PASS the ball into the box rather than simply hoof it. There's a considered deliberation about their play that we can only dream of at the moment.

They failed to win again, of course, which is great news, but they are so much more entertaining to watch and are a credit to the game - unlike our bunch of crude mechanicals!

Why the Suarez delay?

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra
He either used the N word repeatedly to Evra or he didn't. What on earth are the FA deliberating over? Perhaps it is a split decision with one old duffer struggling to understand what's wrong with calling a black man a N***** exactly.

If there is TV evidence supporting Evra's claims, then Suarez should not be playing today; if there isn't, then no charge can be made to stick. Simples.

The question is, what punishment should Liverpool and Dalglish face if Suarez is found guilty? They have backed the Uruguayan 100% and will be in a very dodgy position if the case is proven against him.

Un-Ba-Lievable!

How the hell did we go down last season with Ba in the squad? What the fcuk was Grant up to, playing him wide on the left in a 4-3-3 formation game after game, instead of playing him through the middle?

I am no fan of 4-3-3, it is a formation of the gods but a formation that is ill suited to mere mortal players. Ba's talents last season were wasted. He is not a winger and certainly is not an auxiliary left full back. Get the guy down the middle, get the ball into the box, and he will score you goals.

Newcastle didn't win yesterday, but Ba looked pretty bloody awesome nevertheless, doing everything but score. He hit the post and, with back to goal and closely marked, forced a brilliant save with an audaciously acrobatic shot. Had Grant used him correctly, we would have stayed up, no question.

I defended Grant, rooting our demise with Zola. However, the more you see Ba, the more you understand how bloody stupid Avram was not to use him as his first choice striker. Grant's loss is Pardew's gain! Who would you rather have, Andy Carroll or Demba Ba? That's looking like a no brainer. So Avram has just replied Carroll!

QPR have great opportunity to upset Man Utd today

Don't look too closely at the league table, just focus on Man Utd's team sheet. The Mancs arrive with up to nine players ruled out by injury. The back four is unsteady without Vidic, the keeper is dodgy and the midfield is lacklustre in comparison to Man Utd teams of old. This is Warnock's opportunity to smash Fergie on the jaw.

But Rangers should beware. United arrive as a wounded beast and with something to prove. After being dumped out of the Champions League by less than mighty Basel, the Mancs will have something to prove. And QPR's cause aint going to be helped by the fact that Fergie's boys can depose City at the top by winning today. That is one hell of an incentive.

Two seasons back, Man Utd arrived at Upton Park without a back four (Carrick played centre half from memory) and promptly thumped us 4-1. Last season, we were two goals up when Vidic should have been shown a red card. He wasn't and we lost 4-2 and nosedived down from there. When you think Man Utd are there for the taking, they have a very nasty habit of ramming your hopes down your throat.

A victory today would ease relegation fears down in the Bush; a hammering would open all all sorts of uncertainties. Warnock has again talked down the prospect of QPR spending big in January, but if the Rs are just 3 points above the drop zone by the end of today, money may have to be spent to survive.

The Lesson of Young Potts

Yesterday illustrated what I have been saying for some time, that rather than trust to gnarled old pros seeing out the dregs of their careers, we should give youth its head. This is a crap division and is the perfect place to develop young talent.

Who had heard of Potts at the start of the season? We were talking about Montano and Montenegro and Hall and Brown, but this boy has crept up on the inside and, because injuries forced Doctor's Evil's hand, stepped up to the plate in a spectacular way yesterday. It is true that Barnsley offered little going forward so the boy's defensive prowess was not fully tested, but his composure on the ball was what impressed, with two of his crosses better than anything McCartney has served up all season. He brought energy and enthusiasm to the table, something so obviously lacking with the knackered old has beens, nearly weres and never will bes that populate our squad.

I'm not suggesting that we go overboard and play the Academy team in all 11 positions, what I am suggesting is that we need the right balance between old and young, between mediocre methodicalism and vibrant unpredictability. What this team lacks is a spark, the spark of life as Shelley describes it. Doctor Evil has built his monster but it is ugly and inanimate. It needs ten thousand volts shot up its arse, and the likes of Piquionne and Carew are not going to provide it are they?

I have called for Montano a number of times. On one level that is illogical, I accept. The boy isn't tearing up Division 2 is he? But football can be a great leveller. Surround a good player with crap players and you will only glimpse his ability in flashes. Take that same player into another team, and he will suddenly look like a genius because the quality of those around him allow him to play to his potential. Spurs fans will say, look at Scott Parker!

I cannot believe that Montano would be as ineffective as Piquionne. The Fly Tipper aint interested. He is marking time, collecting a pay packet ahead of retirement. Kick him out and bring in the kid! The sale of Stanislas was also a mistake in my book. He isn't good enough for the Prem but, again, he would have been a better option yesterday than Carew and Piquionne. And Hall? The boy knows where the back of the net is and would surely offer better balance than the Tweedledee, Tweedledum and Tweedledummer combination that Allardyce fielded yesterday.

The five substitute rule has definitely hampered the progress of young players in the division - exactly as I predicted it would. But Allardyce has been cowardly regardless. Take the Bristol City game when Diop was sent on as a sub ahead of Hall, who had been recalled from loan because of an earlier injury crisis. If the boy was good enough to be on the bench, why wasn't he worth "a go" in the last 15 minutes, playing at home to the club second from bottom in the table with the score at 0-0? Remember Sears against Blackburn and Hines against Villa? You don't have to be Messi to make an impact!

Why have we started games with both Carew and Piquionne on the bench? That's like being in B&Q and agonising over Crown Magnolia and Dulux Magnolia. Surely one of those two and either Hall or Montano would be a better option? There's no bloody way that Pardew would make that mistake!

Allardyce is conservatism personified. He goes with what he knows every time. The solution to a crisis yesterday was to revert to the Bolton Bludgeon lock stock and three smokeless barrels. Except fate forced his hand. Faye pulled up lame at the last minute and Doctor Evil didn't have an old lag to save him. You can imagine the mental torment. Diop, we could move him to centre back and...but who would I play in midfield? So he had to give Potts his chance, he had to trust to youth. And look what happened! The old nag Nolan was booed when announced as MOTM ahead of the young, and more deserving, colt.

Will Doctor Evil learn the lesson? No chance. McCartney will be back at left back at the first opportunity and Allardyce will stick with what he knows, playing safe and ugly rather than taking chances with youth and uncertainty. But Potts showed him up yesterday. Those who argue that if the kids are good enough, Allardyce will pick them, no longer have that argument. Potts showed he is ready. What a shame that Doctor Evil couldn't see that until fate forced his hand.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

QPR Slipping Down Table


With Swansea and Norwich both picking up excellent away points, and Wigan grabbing a point saving equaliser against Chelsea, QPR's true position in the Prem has crystalised. A victory over Man Utd tomorrow would paint a different picture but, as things stand, the Rs are down to 15th in the table and are just 3 points above third from bottom Wigan.

It was always going to be a battle for QPR to survive, although the mid table position hoodwinked a chunk of their fans, who genuinely seemed to believe that they were equipped to finish in the top half of the table. When I warned that complacency and cockiness were inappropriate, I innocently provoked a stream of abuse.

Well the table is now taking definitive shape. Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal fill the top five positions. Newcastle are slipping. Liverpool will probably finish one place higher come the end of the season. Stoke have opened a gap between themselves and 9th place Norwich. Villa and Fulham are in mid table and Everton will climb higher over the second half of the season. West Brom will not go down. And Sunderland will climb under O'Neill.

Bolton really do look doomed and unless Blackburn sack Kean, they will join them. But the third relegation spot is between Wigan, Wolves, QPR, Norwich and Swansea.

Unless the Rs beat the Mancs tomorrow of course! Come on you Hoops!

How poor are Leicester?

They sacked Sven and poached Pearson from Hull but what difference has it made? The draw at home to Peterborough last week was poor, and the defeat at Doncaster today was disastrous. Dear God, Doncaster had Ilunga at left back and Leicester still couldn't beat them!

So, the pre season favourites to win the division are now 13 points adrift of West Ham - and we haven't been playing well ourselves. Best of all, given Pearson's treachery, Hull are now 9 points ahead of them!

To finish in the top 2, Leicester now need to take a minimum of 56 points from 24 games. That's one hell of an ask!

West Ham 1 Barnsley 0 West Ham in Wonderland!

Well, despite being sent to the stands, Mad Hatter Allardyce is, no doubt, smiling like the Cheshire Cat after starting with Tweedledee Carew, Tweedledum Cole, Tweedledummer Piquionne and Tweedlepapa Diop, and squeezing out a 1-0 victory against Barnsley. That is, of course, the same Barnsley team that shipped five goals in 45 minutes against mighty Ipswich, but what the hell, a win's a win as the Flamingos and Hedgehogs will tell you. And bloody good job too because three defeats in a row might have provoked Queen of Hearts Karren to point at Doctor Evil and demand, "Off with his head!"

The game will be quickly forgotten except for two things: the debut of young Daniel Potts who showed Allardyce that kids can perform if given their chance - Montano, Brown, Hall and Montenegro will be hoping that Doctor Evil has taken note - and the crowd's reaction to the announcement of Caterpillar Captain Kev as man of the match. How many times has a MOTM award provoked boos around a home stadium? True the fans were angry that young Potts had been overlooked, but to boo your captain speaks volumes of the growing unease at what is going on at Upton Park. We played like a team of dormice again today, and only won because Barnsley showed no adventure whatsoever.

And it was always going to be thus. Start a team so obviously devoid of pace and guile and the only way you are going to win is via a set piece. Noble's delivery for the goal was perfect and Diop nodded home astutely but, apart from two penalty claims that were overlooked, that was just about it. The injury and suspensions will be trotted out as excuses but 10 of the 11 starters today have Premiership experience and we should have had more than enough quality to see off a very ordinary Barnsley team. Had Allardyce started with pace on the flanks - Sears and Montenegro maybe - we might have stretched Barnsley; but the way we set up, we were always going to labour.

How crap is Piquionne? He was utterly disinterested at Reading last week and he couldn't be arsed again this. Carew, meanwhile, is a shot bolt. Without Taylor we have no creativity on the left and without Baldock no pace up front. Nolan remains a passenger.

But Potts was promising. And as things stand, we have to be grateful for small mercies!

Faye Late Withdrawal. In Comes Potts!

We've just scored, a Diop header from a Noble corner, but we have Linda playing at centre back alongside Tomkins after Faye pulled out injured. So young Potts starts. Great name, and he is American too. Fingers crossed that he has as long a career as Steve! Hang on, he is Steve's son apparently!