Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tottenham's Parker runs and runs and runs - but up blind alleys

Well welcome to the Scotty Parker show! England captain for the first time and we saw exactly why the guy is actually a liability at international level when you come up against the better teams. First half we was good, very good when he sat and sat and sat. There was one lovely last ditch tackle and two wonderful blocks; and the one yard Scotty passes sideways and backwards were a joy to behold. The trouble is, Modric wasn't available to offer the forward impetus.

Second half, we saw the other side of Scotty when the armband went to his head and he suddenly thought he was back in Claret and Blue. Fatal! As soon as Scotty ranges forward, you know you are in trouble. Just before Holland scored, Scotty lost the ball and the Dutch sprang forward. The shot from Huntelaar went narrowly wide but the writing was on the wall. Did Scotty learn? Did Scotty drop back into position to sit and hold? By now the adrenaline was pumping. Cue the Arjen Robben show. Watch that first Dutch goal, with Robben running at an unprotected England back four and Scotty trailing in his wake, out of position and out of the game. Tell me, when was De Jong ever out of position? When were the Dutch centre backs left exposed like that?

And did Scotty learn? Well he dropped a little deeper, dwelt on the ball, in typical fashion, lost the ball and Holland nearly had their third.

Of course, the Parker acolytes won't want to see this. Nor will they want to see the terrible Parker pass that could have led to the breakdown of the attack that resulted in Young scoring our second goal - with Jones showing much more vision and ability on the ball than Parker has shown all season in a Tottenham shirt, opening up the Dutch in a way that Parker can only dream of. Nor will they want to remember Parker delaying and over hitting his pass, so depriving Sturridge of an opportunity.

Parker's blocks will be remembered. And Parker picking himself up after being poleaxed by De Jong and Kuyt will be remembered too. Because that's what Scotty does, he competes. But at the highest level, competing isn't enough, at the highest level you need class and control and a footballing brain, and Scotty is then found wanting!

Tottenham's Parker & QPR Reject Stuart Pearce Form New Engerland Branes Trust

Bless. Stuart Pearce looked around the Engerland dressing room for a carbon copy of himself and spotted an exhausted Scotty staring blankly into space, his jaw hanging open. "That's my kind of man!" said Stewie. "A trier. Like me. Committed. Like me. Uncompromising. Like me. And as thick as ten short planks. Like me."

So the master plumber and electrician has found his apprentice. Arsenal have the Professor in charge, and Engerland have two guys who probably can't muster two O Levels between them! Tonight is going to be fascinating as Dutch Total Football is pitched against English Total Commitment.

What price Van Persie scoring direct from a free kick conceded by Scotty? What's the spread betting on the timing of Parker's first yellow card? I would go short on 25 minutes!

One thing's for sure, if we win tonight, it won't be on the basis of out-thinking the opposition!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Come on Millwall

Ok, I'm not happy typing that but it does remind me of an old joke:

'I went to a fantastic party last week. The theme was "Do as the Song Says". So when the James classic was played, we all sat down, when Prince was played, we all kissed. When Bacarra played, we all boogied. The Beatles played and we all held hands. Jenifer Lopez got us all on the floor, things got pretty spacey to Musical Youth and, of course, everybody did exactly what Simon said! Everybody had a fantastic time except for my best friend Eileen. She went home a very sticky mess!'

Anyway, back to Millwall and that unforgivable headline. The horrible truth is that we need the South London Mongrels to win on Saturday. Reading are getting far too close for comfort and their victory at Miserableboro was very worrying indeed. For once, just for once, every West Ham fan should wish Millwall well on Saturday; we don't want to go into the Cardiff game just one point ahead of the Royals!

83% of England Fans See Through Tottenham's Parker Myth

England fans don't always strike you as the most intelligent of people, but 83%, an overwhelming majority, have seen through the Scotty Parker myth and voted for other players as England's Player of the Year.

Parker fans, and his supporters in the popular press, have been making a big deal out of the narrow victory of Parker in the public vote but it is very easily explained. In truth polls of this sort are absurdly subjective. Will a Tottenham fan vote for an Arsenal player or vice versa? Will a Man Utd fan vote for Hart? Will an Everton or Liverpool fan vote for Rooney? And so it goes on!

Parker, on the other hand, has the backing of the fans of two of the best supported clubs in the country: both Tottenham and West Ham. Let's face it, who else could both sets of fans vote for? Rob Green hasn't been near the England team over the last year and neither has Cole. Dawson has been out injured and Lennon and Defoe have been sidelined. Walker is emerging but wasn't a serious option.

And who else was in the running? John Terry? Do me a favour! Frank Lampard? Universally loathed outside of Chelsea. Wayne Rooney? After that dismissal? Gerrard? He hasn't played! Wilshire? Sidelined and forgotten. Ashley Young? He's black; and plays for Man Utd!

The amazing thing in the circumstances is that Parker only polled 17% of the vote. Winning this nomination is like winning the long jump when all the other competitors are in wheel chairs; and Parker only won it by the equivalent of a centimetre!

How many goals for Spurs so far? None. How many assists? Still just the one!

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Homophobes Went In Three By Three!

Hot on the tail of Morrison, three more players have been called before the Headmaster at the FA and can expect a jolly good caning for making comments that make "a reference to a person's or persons' sexual orientation".

Dear oh dear. The Thought Police must be spending all day, every day, scrutinising Twatter comments. Except, of course, we now have a Nazi style network of informants gleefully singing from the rooftops if they see anything that could, no pun intended, stir the shit.

How long will it be before clubs insist that all 'Tweets' be run past a PCS (Politically Correct Sentinel) before they are posted? This is all absurd, of course. Footballers are not role models, politicians, preachers or whatever. They are ill educated morons for the most part who regard the maximum number of characters on a Tweet as a dissertation. Who cares what they say or think?

Something very sinister is happening here. I am insulted on here on a daily basis but shrug it off - what does it matter? The trouble is, in the case of footballers, it is rival fans seeking to make trouble rather than people who have genuine concerns who are making the complaints. We are seeing vengeance working through these testimonies, and the FA are being led by the nose in a Salem style witch hunt.

Everybody needs to get a sense of perspective. If Macheda, Morrison, Ranger and Manny Smith (Who? I hear you ask) have incited hatred then fair enough, but if they have just hurled an insult at an individual, then it has absolutely nothing to do with the FA.

This all started with Ferdinand's tantrum over Terry's verbal abuse. But tell me, what is Anton saying to Howard Webb in that picture above? It certainly aint a compliment - unless he is going in for a kiss!

Stupid Scotty Parker Losing His Golden Spurs!

You have to laugh! All those going overboard about Parker - even calling for him to captain England - might like to pause, think and reappraise. I have always maintained that he is no better than good - and someway short of good if used in anything other than the holding role - and called him a stupid footballer. Well, Scotty's done his level best to prove me right over the last fortnight!

Look at his attempted goal line clearance against Stevenage, standing on the line, in the most blatant of offside positions, and deflecting in what would otherwise have been the winning goal. Derr Scotty!

And now, with a vital game against Man Utd on the horizon and the game already lost against Arsenal, Scotty gets himself a second yellow three minutes before the end of the game! Derr Scotty!

And why did he do it? Because he can't help himself. Because Scotty plays with his heart but not his head. Because Scotty is the Scarecrow of White Hart Lane. Because Scotty is loveable but brainless.

Captain of England? God help us! How many goals for Spurs so far? None. How many assists? Still only the one and its now the end of February! But he's the holding midfielder you fool! True, too true. And how many goals did Arsenal score yesterday?

QPR and Mark Hughes all at sea!

After the good ship Costa Warnockia was steered too close to the rocks and holed fatally beneath the water line, news is coming in that sister ship the Costa MarkHughesia has suffered a fire in the engine room and is drifting helplessly without power.

Despite an expensive refit and repeated assurances from the owner of the fleet, Tony Fernandes, that there really is nothing to worry about, it seems that without outside assistance, in the form of rivals electing to scuttle themselves, the MarkHughesia seems destined for exactly the same fate as the Warnockia - except the new commander is more prone to jumping ship - witness Blackburn and Fulham - than his predecessor!

Currently drifting in the doldrums, the worry must be what will happen when the seas get choppy. If the MarkHughesia can't make headway in the gentle waters of Wolves, Blackburn and Fulham, what's going to happen when it hits the storms of Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham?

One is reminded at this point of the story of Jonah. Sometimes, when you have something truly evil stowed below decks, you have to chuck it overboard or God will give you no respite. Nobody forced QPR to board Barton and some might say they are now getting their just deserts for doing so!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hammersfan admits HE was wrong over Di Canio and Swindon.

I could play Allardyce's game and look for excuses, but as things stand, I have no choice other than to admit that I was as wrong as wrong can be about Di Canio and Swindon. I predicted that it would end it tears. I predicted that Di Canio would flounce out before Christmas. I predicted that Di Canio's temperament would be totally unsuited to management.

Well I may yet be proved right on the third point, but he has done a bloody good job so far, despite the tantrums. Swindon now sit on top of the table with two games in hand - and have more points than Allardyce's West Ham. Maybe, just maybe, the Italian is our Messiah in waiting! The football and press conferences would surely be more exciting!

I'm not wrong very often so it's only right that I own up when I am. Now watch him flounce out before Easter to prove me wrong again!

At Last, Allardyce admits HE might have got it Wrong!

OK, it is wrapped up in his call for the crowd to be patient and the excuse of tiredness is also used - which I believe to be legitimate - but Allardyce actually came close to blaming himself for yesterday's insipid performance when he said, "I might have made a mistake picking the same team, but they had done so well. We livened it up in the second half but didn't hit the heights we know we can."

Wow, the word "might" is in there of course, but that is as close as we are ever going to get to the egomaniac putting his hands up and saying, "Blame me because I cocked up".

And he did of course. He got it wrong either by starting with Maynard instead of Cole if he wanted to play 4-3-3 at home, or he got it wrong by opting for 4-3-3 in the first place rather than playing Maynard and Cole together from the start. Maynard looked totally lost from the very first minute. Time and again the ball was played up to him with his back to goal but he lacked the skill and strength to take it, control it and play it with a lump of a defender up his arse. Taking the ball off Maynard was like taking sweets off a baby. Fans criticise Cole, but the tribulations of Maynard should give them pause for thought - leading the line alone aint easy!

What I found intriguing was the apparent plan to send on Cole when Tomkins took the knock on the head. We hadn't even reached the half way point of the first half, but Allardyce was already considering replacing his holding midfielder with a striker. The trouble is, when Tomkins recovered, Allardyce prevaricated and waited until half time before making the change.

Once we switched to 4-4-2, we looked so much more effective. Where Palace over ran us in the first half, cutting through our midfield at will, and suffocating any attempts we made to get the ball forward by closing down the lightweight Maynard, we now controlled the ball and found a shape. Our football still wasn't great, but it was a hell of a lot better!

So Allardyce should have left out that word "might". He did make a mistake. He picked the wrong team and employed the wrong tactics and a rookie manager out thought him. Palace looked by far the better team to me, not because they have better players, although Zaha looks useful, but because their manager organised them better. Allardyce then compounded that mistake because of his safety first mentality. The plan to replace Tomkins with Cole shows that he knew what was wrong, but once necessity relented, Allardyce vacillated and waited for half time before making the change, wasting a quarter of the game. He then left Maynard on for more than half of the second period, even though it was obvious that the guy was having a complete mare.

The guy I really feel sorry for in all this is Baldock. He has been treated in a shoddy way since his arrival at Upton Park and Allardyce deflected criticism of himself yesterday by pointing the finger of blame cruelly at the young striker when he said, "We had probably the two best chances with Sam, but we couldn't convert them." So, in the end it wasn't Big Sam's fault after all, Little Sam has to carry the can. Never mind that the guy has been sat on the bench since his return from injury and never mind that he made his chances by finding space that didn't exist when Maynard was on the pitch, he is fingered as the ultimate reason why we didn't win. I'll tell you what, if I was Baldock I would be pretty pissed off reading those comments! Crucify yourself for your own mistakes Allardyce, don't pass your cross to others!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Relegation Trap Door Yawns Wide Open For Sparky's QPR

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Another day, another red card and another defeat. Apart from a home victory over bottom of the table Wigan, Mark Hughes' start has been one disaster after another. Hope of a Martin O'Neill style surge of victories has proved forlorn; indeed, there's a growing feeling that the Hoops might have had more points now had Warnock stayed in charge.

The situation is now desperate. I was mocked and reviled in October when I served notice that QPR would face a battle to survive this season. The Hoops were in mid table and five or six points ahead of the drop zone. I was insulted again when I questioned Fernandes' willingness to invest sufficiently in the team to keep them up, and there was much gloating when Zamora and Cisse were signed, along with Taiwodumb and Nedumdummer. But I warned that defensive cover was still scant and that the record of the two forwards bought for biggish money suggested that goals might not yet flow at the other end.

Hughes was appointed with two things in mind: the transfer window, so he could build his own squad; and an easy run of games giving him the opportunity of a honeymoon period. I'm sure when Fernandes and Hughes talked the target was at least nine points from home games against Wigan, Wolves and Fulham and away games at Newcastle (without Ba), Villa and Blackburn. Instead, Hughes' team have picked up a paltry return of just 4 points. They should be on 26 points now, five points clear of the drop zone; instead they are fourth from bottom, one point off bottom place!

And the trouble is, those points are lost forever, and the opposition now becomes much tougher. Everton at home is winnable as are the home games against Swansea and Stoke but not on current form. The games against Arsenal and Spurs look very difficult indeed. Let's say the Rs net 11 points from those games - and that's optimistic - that will take them to 32 points. So, to make it to 38 points, Hughes needs to pick up 6 points on the road.

The game at Bolton now becomes crucial. Lose that and QPR will be in desperate trouble because it's hard to see them getting anything at Man Utd, Man City or Chelsea. West Brom away offers an opportunity I suppose although they have just taken Sunderland apart after thrashing Wolves. Then there's a long trip up to Martin O'Neill's Sunderland! How many points from that lot? Five at best? That would see Rangers through to 37 and probable safety, but if they don't beat Everton and lose at Bolton, then God help them!

I suppose the lesson for the gRs is to stop and think before they hurl insults. I have expressed honest opinions throughout and despite Fernandes, Ferdinand, Gabbidon and Dyer's presence in the Bush, take no pleasure in QPR's plight. Mind you, I bet Neil Warnock is having a good old laugh tonight. "Mark Hughes? They sacked me for Mark Hughes? What the bloody hell has Mark Hughes ever done in management? He couldn't even win anything with Tevez, and we all know how that cnut relegated me at Sheffield United!"

West Ham 0 Crystal Palace 0 - Ten Men Are Better Than Eight!

Well I called it before kick off, warning that the game was a potential banana skin because sooner or later exhaustion will cut in, and I'm sure that fatigue was a factor today. That and the early kick off which dampens the atmosphere because insufficient lager has been swilled to wet the vocal chords of the baying Boleyn. But today proved a point with a vengeance: you can play and win with ten men, but you don't stand a cat in hell's chance with eight!

Today the imposter that has been Julien Faubert was found out. God knows who has been playing on the right over the past month, but whoever the doppelganger was, he was replaced by the real McFaubert today. Yep, the can't be arsed sulky Frenchman was there for all to see until Allardyce belatedly pulled  him off a half time. Within five minutes it was obvious to everybody who has watched this guy in a West Ham shirt that he didn't fancy it. He didn't want the ball. He couldn't pass the ball. He couldn't cross the ball. And he couldn't beat a man in a clamped wheelchair. There was one shocking cross that summed him up and one "trap" from a throw in that threatened to decapitate somebody in the Bobby Moore Lower. Hopeless would take out an injunction if used to describe Faubert today - because hopeless aint ever been THAT bad!

Mind you, Vaz Te was as bad!  Or worse! His defining moment came when put through in the box early in the second half. Did he shoot? No. Did he knock the ball ahead and attempt a cross? No. What did he do? Served the ball up on a plate to the covering defender - on whom he had a yard start - and crumpled into a heap onto the floor. He was absolutely bloody hopeless all afternoon!

But at least you could spot him because of the bloody silly haircut! There was a player who, without reading the programme, you would have had no idea he was on the pitch. I would say step forward Nicky Maynard but that would imply some sort of ability to move! Remember the bollard that was Tristan? Well Maynard was apparently after the Spaniard's title! He stayed on the pitch until the 70th minute, but only because Allardyce forgot he was there!

What could Doctor Evil do at half time? Replace three men  and risk going up to 9 if we collected the now customary red card? He took off Faubert and sent on Cole, and instantly we improved, but he wasn't brave enough to make the other two changes needed to transform our performance until it was too late. Mind you, O'Neil was no better than Vaz Te after he replaced him!

Were there any plus points? Faye was a giant at the back, covering for the leaden footed Reid on at least three occasions. Premiership strikers would have had a field day courtesy of the Kiwi who was as good in the air as the antipodean bird and even worse on the ground! In fact, thinking about it, we played most of the game with seven!

Noble was everywhere. The chances we had were down to him. He hunted the ball again and did his best to probe - but when nobody was moving ahead of him, that wasn't easy. His covering was again superb and his attempts to spread the play really impressive. Tomkins should have scored from a Noble cross and Baldock was also played in superbly.

And Green did what he was asked to do. He wasn't brilliant and had he let in any of the shots he saved, he would have been crucified, but he did his job efficiently and, impressively, ripped into his team mates when, time and time again in the first half, Palace over ran us.

And Baldock looked so much more lively after he came on than Maynard. Mind you, Doctor Evil's Mum would have been an improvement on Maynard!

As for the rest, they were ordinary with a capital O. At last, somebody realised that Collison can't take corners after three pathetic efforts and he was replaced by Noble - but I said that after the Forest game so why has it taken so long for the penny to drop? O'Brien was caught the wrong side again, exactly as with the Blackpool goal on Tuesday, and Easter should have scored. Opposition managers will be exploiting that weakness now. McCartney was up and down the left flank but the final ball was rank poor all afternoon. And Cole got stuck in and created an opening for Baldock with a superb flick, but otherwise look subdued. Tomkins tried hard but too often his passes forward were telegraphed and easily dealt with - and as for the foul throw...

Today's result wasn't a disaster, even if Southampton win because I suspect this team are better at chasing than they are at leading the field. If the buffer between us and third is down to four points, as seems likely, that's ok. Today fatigue caught up with us, Palace played well, Allardyce got his selection wrong in starting with Maynard ahead of Cole, and three or four players left their appetite and brains in the dressing room. Disappointing but we move on.

Player Ratings: Green 6, O'Brien 5, Faye 9, Reid 3, McCartney 5, Tomkins 6, Faubert 1, Noble 8, Collison 4, Vaz Te 1, Maynard 1 Subs Cole 5, Baldock 6, O'Neil 1

Leg Weary v Hungry Eagles

This game is a potential banana skin. Palace come into it on a good run of form and we take the field with very little recovery time from the epic effort at Blackpool. Sooner or later, all the covering and chasing and closing that has been forced upon us because of the red cards will take its toll.

Faye may play but will probably be 95% at best. Faubert has a tight hamstring. Collison seems to have stamina issues given Allardyce's previous reluctance to use him in back to back games in the same week. Noble must be tired, his efforts over the last three games have been little short of Hurculean. O'Brien has been working like a Trojan too and McCartney wasn't 100% for the Southampton game but has had to put in an exhausting shift for the last two games regardless. And Vaz Te was out on his feet at the end of the Blackpool match.

Meanwhile, options are reduced. Nolan and Taylor are still suspended and Diop isn't fit.

I expect Allardyce to name an unchanged team, although Cole may get the nod ahead of Maynard, and Boffin should now make the bench. It's another huge game. Win it, and we are in touching distance of the Prem. But the Eagles are flying so nobody should count their chickens yet!

Green Plays, Blackpool's Bednar Doubtful. Justice?

Robert Green
Every now and then, the nation gets its knickers in a twist over the question of justice. A yob mugs a granny on her way home from the shops, she ends up a prisoner in her own home for the rest of her life because she is too scared to go out, and he gets thirty days community service. The tabloids scream "Justice? What justice?" and social workers and lawyers trot out excuses for the yob and justifications for the sentence.

Now my position on that is clear - and I'm sure yours is too. My grandmother was mugged in this way in Katherine Road and never recovered, dying within the year, her spirit completely broken. Yobs should do time inside, plain and simple. You do the crime and all that.

So how can any decent person justify the rescinding of Green's red card given Bednar looks unlikely to start for Blackpool. The perpetrator of the assault is free to play, whilst the victim isn't. Justice? What justice?

Now please don't trot out the technical justifications. Whether or not Blackpool were denied a goal scoring opportunity or not - and I believe they were because Bednar saw what was coming when Green charged out of the box and played the ball accordingly - is irrelevant, the point is, Green was guilty of serious foul play. He would have seen red for that tackle in rugby, for pity's sake, and the challenge was unquestionably reckless. Morally, he should be out for as long as Bednar is out - at least.

Green got lucky. The red card was shown for a professional foul, not serious foul play, and sophistry and technicalities have been used to get him off that charge. The FA then have this stupid rule that you cannot be punished retrospectively for something the referee saw and acted on in the game. So, had the card been shown for serious foul play, it would have been upheld and Green would not only have missed today's game, but the next two too. He got lucky. West Ham got lucky. And we end up, if Bednar can't play today, with a mockery of justice.

Unless, of course, Green makes a mistake and hands Palace the winner. We should beware, for as Macbeth warns,

We still have judgment here, that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague th' inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips.
Personally, I hope we win, but that Bednar plays and scores. Like that, we can still trust to divine justice without West Ham coming a Roy.

Friday, 24 February 2012

QPR's Survival Prospects Bolstered Without Kicking a Ball!

It's another huge game for Mark Hughes and his Hula Hoops this weekend. Defeat against Fulham would spell big, big trouble and a draw wouldn't be much use either. QPR need to start winning games, and they need to do so fast.

And Hughes can have no excuses if it all goes tits up against his former club. He grabbed Zamora through the glory hole, so weakening the cottagers, and has now had his new squad together long enough to get them used to playing with each other. If his new charges can't come out on top of a very average Fulham side, then big trouble lies ahead in the Bush as QPR leave an easy run of fixtures behind them - Wigan, Wolves and Fulham at home and Blackburn away - and tackle much tougher opponents. A half decent team would have held on to a two goal lead against Villa and achieved results against relegation rivals: but QPR are not half decent - they are on the poor side of mediocre. Mind you Hughes has a plan - to yomp to success!

All that said, the Rs survival chances improved today without a ball being kicked. Wolves can't find a manager and so will be rudderless until the end of the season, and Blackburn skipper Samba looks destined for Russia without love. So if Hughes cocks it up in the Bush from here, his reputation will be in complete tatters. And Al Fayed would love that, wouldn't he?

Zola or a Nobody? Wolves opt for a Nobody!

With the Wolves chairman insisting that the inability to source a replacement manager for Mick McCarthy is not embarrassing, poor Gianfranco Zola must be wondering what he has to do to get another crack at football management. Such was the desperation of Wolves that they considered Walter Smith and Alan Turds Curbishley, two dinosaurs of the game who many believed were now extinct - but both said no! But despite that desperation, they weren't desperate enough, it seems, to offer the job to Zola.

So Gianfranco continues to wander around in football's wilderness, damned by his dog days at West Ham. Grant already has a job, of course. Clarke is ensconced as Number Two at Liverpool. Pardew is doing superbly at Newcastle. And now even Curbishley has been offered the chance to manage again. Only Zola is friendless in the job market despite the Italian's affability.

Why? Everybody likes him. Everybody respects him. He has friends in high places. But nobody wants to employ him.

Maybe, just maybe, it's because he is crap at the management job!

As for Wolves, they are a laughing stock! How can they sack McCarthy, trawl for a replacement and end up appointing the Irishman's number two? It's a complete joke.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

FA do deal with Green

There are whispers that a deal has been struck in smokeless rooms. In the light of all the retirements of England keepers, Pearce was desperate for Green to feature in his squad for the Holland game. But Green wasn't keen unless somebody scratched his back in return. So a red card was rescinded in return for Green's agreement to return to the England fold.

Unlikely I know, but it's the only way I can explain the rescinding of what looked a nailed on red card to me - be it for a professional foul or serious foul play. Perhaps we should have appealed Nolan's red card too, and Taylor's. In fact, maybe we should have made a case for Collison assaulting Kebe - he asked for it after all!

I admit to being amazed! Now watch Green make a terrible cock up, handing Palace a goal on a plate. That would be our luck all over!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Noble Comes Out of the Shadows

For so long an unrealised talent, the enigma that is Mark Noble appears to have come out of the shadows at long, long last. His admirers have wondered why the young man, who played second fiddle so brilliantly  to Tevez in the Great Escape, has been in the doldrums for so long, his game drifting seemingly aimlessly. Others have cruelly written him off as the latest nearly man of the Academy: too slow, too limited and too..thless.

Well the real Mark Noble has now stood up. And whilst his critics will argue that he has simply found his level in the Championship, I beg to differ. Watch him now that he is allowed to run the show instead of playing in the shadow of Parker or Nolan. He is everywhere and the hub of everything we do. He wants the ball. He looks for the ball. He demands the ball. He fights for the ball. He hunts the ball. He chases the ball. And best of all, he uses the ball.

Unlike Parker, he plays with his head up. Unlike Parker, he makes killer passes. Unlike Parker he makes assists. Unlike Nolan, he plays for the team. Unlike Nolan he has a range of passing. Unlike Nolan he competes for every minute of every game.

At last Noble is the main man. At last a manager has said to him, "Ok, it's your show, so show us what you can do" rather than "Remember you are second fiddle to Parker or Nolan". And boy is Noble responding! Who won the penalty against Southampton? Noble. Who scored the penalty? Noble. Who took the freekick that led to Cole's goal against Millwall? Noble. Who assisted Tomkins goal against Blackpool? Noble. Who took the free kick that led to O'Neil's goal? Noble.

It's time for his critics to reassess and admit they may be wrong. Peters, who knows a bit about playing in midfield, suggested last week that Noble might yet have a future in the England team. I doubt it personally, but as his confidence grows...well how many caps does Gareth Barry have to his name? One thing is still lacking - goals from open play. Nail that and he could start to look very special!

Providing Allardyce doesn't relegate him to second fiddle as soon as Nolan is available of course!




Nude on the tracks @nudeart

I love railroads.
Now regular readers of this blog will know I am no fan of Allardyce because of his style of football, but there's no denying that the team are playing for him in a way that I haven't seen a West Ham team play for a manager since that great first year back in the Prem under Pardew. And for that, he and the squad of players he has assembled deserve huge credit.

To play out 190 minutes plus of football with only 10 men and run out with an aggregate score of 5-2 in our favour is nothing short of incredible, especially as Southampton and Blackpool were both in the top 3 when we played them. And last night's result was truly huge.

Had we lost - as we should have done a player down and with a non specialist keeper - Blackpool would have been snapping at our calves just 2 points behind, with Birmingham and Reading on our heels, just one further point adrift and Cardiff and Miserablebrough also closing up ready to challenge us down the home straight. The team would have been looking over their shoulders anxiously and my money would have been on us running out of steam.

Instead, the gap to third is now a very healthy six points with just 15 games to play, or 14 in the case of Southampton, Cardiff and Blackpool. Now six points is a brilliant buffer at any point in the season in a division where clubs are forever taking points off each other, but going into the final third of the season is superb.

Let's take our average points a game thus far, enough to see us sitting at the top of the table. 60 points from 31 games is close to Allardyce's 2 points a game target at the start of the season and actually works out at 1.93548 points a game. Now, let's assume Reading or Birmingham match that return over their last 15 games - either would end up on 83 points. To finish above them, therefore, we only need to collect 24 points from 15 games, or a return of just 1.6 points a game. Average out that over a season, and a team would finish with just 74 points, which wouldn't have been enough to finish in the play offs last season!

So to miss promotion now, a rival has to play like Champions between now and the end of the season, and we have to play so poorly that, stretched out over a full season, we wouldn't be good enough to make the top six! Meanwhile, if all our rivals maintain their present average points return per game, we will only need 81 points to finish in the top two, or a return of 1.4 points per game, which over a full season would see a team finish with just 64 points, which is mid table form!

It's going to take a huge cock up for us to miss out from here! Zola and Grant might have managed it but Allardyce surely won't. If we can average 2.33 points a game with only 10 men on the pitch, surely we can get across the finishing line in at least second place from here!

All Allardyce has to do is keep us on the rails!

Allardyce is on a different planet!

Appeal: West Ham are set to challenge Robert Green's sending off
He thought Nolan was unlucky to be sent off, even though he went in two feet off the ground, caught the player and could easily have broken a leg. He thought Taylor was unlucky, even though he ran over and grabbed an opposition player by the throat after we had been awarded a penalty. And now he thinks Green was unlucky, claiming the referee buckled under pressure.

And why? Because "There's not a chance he was last man" as Faye and Reid were covering behind. Derr, he's the keeper you twat! Different rules apply! Take out the keeper and there's obviously a goal scoring opportunity as defenders are not allowed to dive and save the ball with their hands! Some of us remember Di Canio stopping an attack by catching the ball with the opposition keeper down injured - he understood that it was unfair to play on because without a keeper a team can't defend!

Then there's the little matter of the injury to Bednar. Blackpool only had a half man advantage because Bednar could barely run! So Allardyce would do well to shut his gob. A dismissal for a professional foul brings a one match ban, a dismissal for violent conduct, a three match suspension. Given Green fouled Bednar and injured him, how could Allardyce argue if the red was for violent and serious foul play?

Anyway, there is the little issue of cheating. Had Blackpool equalised, they might well have gone on to win the game as our spirits sagged at the loss of a two goal lead and Blackpool's confidence surged. Green actually took one for the team and that deliberate foul was a key factor in winning the game. If that isn't a definition of a "professional foul" then I don't know what is!

I was about to suggest that Allardyce switches codes, but Green would have been sent off for that tackle in rugby too!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Blackpool 1 West Ham 4 - Who needs eleven men or a keeper?

Incredible! Three red cards in a row with three of our best players - on paper - taking it in turns for an early bath, and we end up with 7 points from 9 and tonight scored 4 for the first time since October 15 when we played...erm Blackpool! I spent last season calling them the Kings Arms, a pub side in the Prem, and tonight they played like it! How the fcuk do you lose 4-1 when the opposition don't have a keeper and are down to ten men?

Full marks to those who stayed on the pitch again! Maynard and Vaz Te have notched their first goals for the club, O'Neil justified the fee we payed Miserablebrough, Tomkins capped another excellent display with a goal, and the whole team defended like...well like an Allardyce team! And what a blinder Lansbury played in goal - not that Blackpool managed to get a shot on target once he went between the sticks!

Hopefully Allardyce will now see the nonsense of not having a keeper on the bench - was he ever going to use Baldock when he already had Cole on the bench? - though he might not now have a replacement keeper to use unless he makes an emergency loan signing. Cudacini? Gomes? Almunia? I'd imagine Sullivan is on the blower already. Anybody other than Boffin! In fact Lansbury might start against Palace!

Ollie will be going ballistic and Allardyce will be wondering if he is ever going to get through a game with 11 players still on the pitch at the final whistle! Picking a team against Palace will now be a challenge. No Taylor, Nolan or Green for sure, Faye went off injured and presumably Demel and Diop aren't ready yet given Potts was on the bench tonight. What's happened to the Yank? Presumably he isn't up to the job.

Anyway Sam proved a point tonight. Even with 10 men and no keeper he still got a better result than Grant! And, of course, we are back on top of the table with a game in hand. Happy days!

Green off! No sub keeper!

Blackpool 1 West Ham 3: match report
What the fcuk! I've been warning about this!!! 11 v 10 and no keeper! So is Allardyce a twat? Well yes, but what a result regardless!

Incredible! Three red cards in a row with three of our best players - on paper - taking it in turns for an early bath, and we end up with 7 points from 9 and tonight scored 4 for the first time since October 15 when we played...erm Blackpool! I spent last season calling them the Kings Arms, a pub side in the Prem, and tonight they played like it! How the fcuk do you lose 4-1 when the opposition don't have a keeper and are down to ten men?

Full marks to those who stayed on the pitch again! Maynard and Vaz Te have notched their first goals for the club, O'Neil justified the fee we payed Miserablebrough, Tomkins capped another excellent display with a goal, and the whole team defended like...well like an Allardyce team! And what a blinder Lansbury played in goal - not that Blackpool managed to get a shot on target once he went between the sticks!

Hopefully Allardyce will now see the nonsense of not having a keeper on the bench - was he ever going to use Baldock when he already had Cole on the bench? - though he might not now have a replacement keeper to use unless he makes an emergency loan signing. Cudacini? Gomes? Almunia? I'd imagine Sullivan is on the blower already. Anybody other than Boffin! In fact Lansbury might start against Palace!

Ollie will be going ballistic and Allardyce will be wondering if he is ever going to get through a game with 11 players still on the pitch at the final whistle! Picking a team against Palace will now be a challenge. No Taylor, Nolan or Green for sure, Faye went off injured and presumably Demel and Diop aren't ready yet given Potts was on the bench tonight. What's happened to the Yank? Presumably he isn't up to the job.

Anyway Sam proved a point tonight. Even with 10 men and no keeper he still got a better result than Grant! And, of course, we are back on top of the table with a game in hand. Happy days!

Maynard Starts, No Cole

Is Carlton carrying a knock or has he been dropped? Must admit I'm surprised that Maynard has been preferred. Otherwise, with Nolan and Taylor suspended, the team is as expected, with Tomkins continuing to anchor the midfield.



O'Brien, Reid, Faye, McCartney


Noble    Collison

Faubert                  Vaz Te


Subs; Cole, Baldock, Potts, O'Neil, Lansbury.

The Acid Test For Allardyce

Some of us would quite like to run Allardyce a bath of sulphuric acid, to be honest, but being the spawn of Satan, he would probably come out smelling of roses anyway. But tonight really is an acid test in two senses: firstly defeat would confirm that we face a battle to make it into the top two places, with a host of clubs closing up on our heels; and secondly because this is an opportunity to measure him directly against the man who most West Ham fans would argue ranks alongside the worst manager the club has ever appointed.

Go back 12 months and Avram took the club to Blackpool and came away with a 3-1 victory. Now I have repeatedly reminded people that Grant had a 100% record against Championship opposition, but there have been very few opportunities to judge Grant's team against Allardyce's team directly. The 1-1 draw achieved at Birmingham duplicated our result last season, only in a less exciting way of course - we are talking Allardyce after all!

So now we will see. The Birmingham team that Grant's side played was, of course, much stronger than the dregs that Allardyce had to hold at bay - and strangely Zigic was used from the bench in both games, despite the problems that we have when he plays against us. If Birmingham are weaker this year, then what about Blackpool?

The Tangerine Dreamers have been stripped of Charlie Adam, their creative engine, and DJ Campbell, their main striker. Ollie has worked wonders again to maintain a promotion challenge and our 4-0 tonking of them at Upton Park shows how exposed they are defensively if a team gets at them. That result, of course, hugely bettered the 0-0 draw Grant achieved at the Boleyn last season, but Blackpool were on a roll at that point and the game was a complete freak, with a record number of shots on goal in a goalless game.

So, now we will see. Blackpool were desperate for the points last season, as were we. The same applies this time around too. Our team last season read:

Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Bridge
O'Neil, Noble, Parker, Obinna,
Piquionne, Keane

Three subs featured: Reid, Boa-Morte and Kovac.

Now arguably, the team that Allardyce will field tonight is stronger. He could pick Piquionne but he won't because he has better options. Vaz Te or Obinna? It's six of one and half a dozen of the other to be honest. McCartney or Bridge? Toss up. Faye or Gabbidon? Faye definitely. Jacobsen or O'Brien? I would go with O'Brien. Keane or Cole? Well Keane in any shirt other than Claret & Blue!

Tomkins is a year older and improved. The same applies to Reid. Noble is playing out of his skin and certainly wasn't last season, whilst most believe Green has recovered his confidence. Faubert or O'Neil? Well if O'Neil is better, Allardyce can use him! So the only "loss" is Parker, and the Blackpool goal last season came from a Scotty error, going through the back of Adam, in typical style, to concede a free kick which he then deflected for a corner, from which Blackpool scored with Green flapping at thin air.

So Blackpool are significantly weaker and we aren't. In fact, look at the subs used by Grant and compare Kovac and Boa with the probable options available to Allardyce - Maynard, O'Neil, Lansbury, Baldock, Demel - and you have to say Allardyce has a stronger hand, even with Taylor and Nolan sitting on their arses. Anything less than a victory tonight will represent a huge reverse on last season... will Allardyce measure up to Grant or will he come up short? Dear God, if he aint as good as Grant, somebody should prepare him a bath of acid!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Torres & Tevez? Nope Vaz Te & Maynard

Give Sullivan his due, he does love to give it large! Three times we bid for Tevez apparently and three times the cock crowed "No" as Unreal City held out for £30m + from Inter or AC Milan. What were they thinking of? And as for Torres, why wouldn't Chelsea let him spend a month of rehabilitation at Upton Park in the middle of their campaign to finish in the top 4 of the Prem and win the FA Cup and the Champions League?


But who needs Tevez and Torres when you have Maynard and Vaz Te eh?

Sullivan Blames Zola For McBenni

Sorry to raid Dale's "In Bed With Sulli" again, but there was debate on here about who exactly wanted to sign McCarthy. I have always maintained it was Zola's call - and an illustration of the guy's ineptitude as a manager - but others dissented, insisting it was Sullivan who was to blame.

Well Sullivan nails that one, kissing and telling Dale, "the one player he wanted was Benni McCarthy ... Seriously, he said 'You get me Benni McCarthy and I will keep you up.' He would have loved a more expensive player, but if we had two or three million to spend he said get McCarthy and he’ll keep us up."

So, if we can believe Sullivan, we can put that debate to bed. But I accept that there is a problem with Dale's serialised interview, and that is whether or not we can trust what Sullivan is saying. Some of us remember the in bed with Duxbury epic and 90% of that proved to be bullshit. And Dale and WHTID have never acknowledged that they allowed themselves to be duped and simply fed propaganda to the masses.

That said, Sullivan's interview does appear disarmingly frank - he even admits to his own mistakes and that is something Duxbury would never do!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Parker costs Spurs victory at Stevenage

Years ago, my daughter played in a six a side astroturf tournament. At half time (10 minutes each way) the score stood at 0-0, as the girls all finished like Carlton Cole, or Keane in a West Ham shirt. I stood on the fringes of the half time huddle as the coach gabbled tactics that not one of the girls understood and then, as  the second half started, my daughter collected the ball from the kick off, charged towards goal and, without looking up, blasted it into the net. It was a wonderful finish! The trouble is, nobody had told her that teams change ends at half time so she had just blasted the ball into her own net. Laugh? I shat myself!

And I was reminded of that hilarious moment today as Scotty, standing on the opposition's goal line, deflected a goal bound shot into the net, thereby ensuring it was ruled out for offside. Quite why he was on the goal line is anybody's guess: we know he struggles with the rules of the game, which is why he thinks he can go through the back of players when he tackles, but surely even Scotty knows that there can't be two opposition players between him and the goal if he is standing on the goal line itself!

Once again, passion elbowed all thought to one side - as it does time and time again with Parker. He really is a brainless footballer which is why he will never be anything better than good. Great players understand the game, they read it, they control it; Parker moves around the pitch like the ball on a pin ball machine.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If Parker plays in the Euro finals he will make a telling mistake that will cost us a game. Still just one assist and no goals in a Tottenham shirt by the way!

Sullivan Tells Dale, Spurs Loving Parker Wasn't Trying!

Full marks to Iain Dale, his in bed with the gobby one interview is proving fascinating. Today we learn about Upson, Green and Parker, and woe for the Scotty fan club, the "Mr West Ham United" certainly doesn't come out of it smelling of roses!

According to Sullivan - and interestingly he admits his words will upset a lot of people - Scotty wasn't trying in a West Ham shirt because he was protecting himself, wanting to secure a transfer to Tottenham. He said:

"He was protecting himself either consciously or subconsciously. If you want to be kind, it was subconscious. If you want to be unkind, he was consciously protecting himself."

Now that comes as no surprise to some of us. The big question is, was he protecting himself over the last couple of months of last season? When I dared to suggest it, I was howled down. Scotty wouldn't do that! Scotty was Mr West Ham! Scotty loved the club, loved the fans, loved the shirt!

But where was Scotty when we played Man City? Sitting in the stands watching Tottenham play Chelsea - alongside best mate Jamie no less. Where was Scotty between April 9 and May 15 after he broke into the England team and we had collapsed at home to Man Utd? Rubbing shoulders with Keiron Dyer in the treatment room. How badly was he injured? We will never know.

But as I pointed out at the time, two substitute appearances tuned Scotty up nicely for the England games at the end of the season. The big question is, could Scotty have pushed himself to play the 90 minutes against Wigan? A victory there and it was game on as far as survival was concerned. But knowing he was off to Spurs and that England games were upcoming, was Parker "protecting himself" instead?

Dale didn't dare to ask the question.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Will QPR Reject Warnock Return to Haunt West Ham?

So the delicious prospect of Warnock leading Blackburn to safety at the expense of QPR will not now be realised. Sadly, the opportunity of all the fun of the unfair in the Bush has been missed, Warnock perhaps recognising his limitations by opting for chasing promotion from the Championship - where he has a good track record - rather than struggling to keep a team in the Premiership, something he is not terribly good at!

And of course there is something wonderfully fitting in the old bastard taking over Bastard United. And Warnock will love the fact that he is now in charge of a club which Shafting United fans loath with a vengeance. But then Shafting United fans loath so many clubs with a vengeance don't they? And so many fans hate Leeds United!

The worry is that Warnock could now return to haunt West Ham: how much would he love it if he could deny us promotion after we - in his view - cost him his job at Shafting United by playing Tevez illegally? It's stretching it a bit to imagine Leeds overtaking us in the table, but a defeat at Elland Road may prove crucial, and a meeting in the play offs would certainly be interesting. Relations between the fans of Leeds and West Ham are not great, to put it mildly, and our record against the Tykes is nothing short of awful - as the early season draw illustrated.

Leeds will definitely go on a charge under Warnock. Love him or hate him, you have to acknowledge that his character and tactics lend themselves to a dog fight in the Championship. As I write, Leeds are a goal behind at home to Doncaster but I'm still tempted to back them to make it into the top six, and I wouldn't bet against Warnock leading them through the play offs and into the Prem.

Hopefully, we will have secured automatic promotion regardless.

Morrison Making All The Right Noises - For Now!

Ignore his homophobic Twatter rant which has landed him an invitation into the headmaster's office, and Morrison is making all the right noises at the moment. His absence from the team has been explained by him not being fully fit, but a friendly against a QPR team was organised to help to tune him up.

Talking through the OS - and let's face it, using censors is probably a good idea in Morrison's case - the Gay Tongue Lasher talked about how he can "feel himself..." (no, no, now stop it! Oh please yourself!) "getting sharper and stronger" and how he is "looking forward to it when it happens" - and I think he is talking about making his debut rather than any form of sexual initiation.

He was at the Southampton game apparently and really enjoyed the atmosphere. There was no reference to the Taylor dismissal but Ravel probably considered the handbags at dawn tussle between the left of centre West Ham man and Sharp just a little bit "gay". Ravel might have given Sharp some head instead - by leading with his forehead!

Anyway, he nearly scored twice in the warm up game so that is promising.  The idea of Ravel scoring with a Ranger invites all sorts of innuendo so it's a good job I'm not Frankie Howerd or I could find myself in trouble. Anway, it's great that the boy is coming on...

Friday, 17 February 2012

Sears Sent To Colchester

Is this the beginning of the end or the start of a resurgence for Freddie Sears? Will the man who collects goals like Susan Boyle collects toy boys finally find his shooting boots, or will this prove the final nail in his footballing coffin?

There's not a West Ham fan in the world who isn't praying for Freddie to hit the ground running for Colchester. Most of us still harbour a hope in our hearts that the boy will come good. After all, Zola rated him and Zola knows a bit about strikers.

Role back the clock to that debut goal and we all dreamt of a new Tony Cottee. But as every game has gone by, without even a hint of a goal, Sears has looked increasingly like a eunuch at an orgy: he's there, but he's no bloody use to anybody!

But maybe, all he needs is a goal. Maybe one will bring two, and two will bring three, and three will bring four. Maybe!

But then again, maybe not!

The next month is crucial for Freddie.

FA Admits Championship Referees Are Crap!

Stuart Attwell Referee Stuart Attwell sends Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd from the touchline during the Coca-Cola Football League Championship match between Watford and Reading at Vicarage Road Stadium September 20, 2008  in Watford, England. (Photo Ian Walton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Aidy Boothroyd;Stuart Attwell
Brilliant! Stuart Attwell has been demoted from the select group of referees allowed to blow the whistle in the Prem because he keeps making so many mistakes. So what's happening to him? Is he being sacked? No. He's being sent to referee in the Championship because, apparently, you are allowed to be crap there!

What a joke! Is it any wonder that Allardyce is tearing his hair out at the standard of refereeing? Tell me, why are punters paying cash in the Championship to watch a game not entitled to the same quality of refereeing as punters in the Prem? If Attwell is crap, sack him, don't send him to Coventry to relegate them by awarding a phantom goal when the ball has bobbled wide of the goal.

Mind you, if that mistake at Watford was bad, it was nothing on the ridiculous error that finally cost him his place in the Prem: a red card awarded to Cahill for fouling Parker on the half way line and so supposedly denying him a goal scoring opportunity. Dear God, you could foul Parker in the six yard box with the keeper lying dead on the penalty spot without denying him a goal scoring opportunity! How many career goals so far? How many goals for Spurs? How many assists?

So we can all look forward to Attwell ballsing up at the Boleyn any time soon. And if it costs us promotion, so bloody what? Just so long as Ferguson doesn't have to suffer the clown!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

QPR's Hughes Insists "You Will Work Harder!"

After Fernandes accused the team of being spineless - because he failed to cough up the cash to build a spine some might argue - Mark Hughes has now come up with the highly original idea of sending the team away to a boot camp. Apparently, QPR lost at Blackburn because they are not fit and strong enough!

That's an interesting interpretation of events I must say! What was the score at half time? Three nil to Blackburn. And what was the score at the end of the game? 3-2. So which team weakened the longer the game went on and which team came on stronger in the second half? But why allow the facts to get in the way of prejudice?

Boot camps are the last resort of the desperate. Bowen has talked of the "moans and groans" of the players which tells you something about the mood inside the camp. Warnock suggested that he was a victim of player power and, by dancing to the jig played on Joey's Twatter, Fernandes has empowered them still further. Hughes hopes to sweat rebellion out of them but at what cost? Wouldn't it be better to work on defending and scoring rather than putting in the "hard yards"? "Let's yomp our way to victory" isn't a very inspiring rallying cry is it?

Look out for a Barton Twatter anytime soon!

Morrison Charge Shows The World Has Gone Crazy!

Oh dear God.

Hang on, am I allowed to start like that? What implications does the word "dear" have? Is there a suggestion here that I have some sort of personal, or indeed, intimate relationship with God? Might I be offending some religious denomination in some way? Could there be a hint, no matter how subtle, that God may be - perish the thought - homosexual? Might this open up furious debate about the existence, or otherwise, of Mrs God, inviting a torrent of complaints from Muslims who argue that Jesus cannot be the son of God because that implies that God had intimate relations, whilst any suggestion that he might be homosexual would be flagrant blasphemy worthy of issuing a fatwah on the spot?

But, of course, I have transgressed by presuming that God is male. What about the feminist groups, already downtrodden by organised religions, who may now complain about my flagrantly sexist presumption? Maybe God is a woman. After all, life begins in the womb and God created life. And if the Muslims are right and God created life without the need for congress, perhaps God is a lesbian, a big, strong, tattoo wearing lesbian...but hang on, now I am voicing a stereotype with negative connotations and am being offensive about both God and lesbians. So maybe God is this gorgeous lesbian, sexy as hell, long slender legs, fantastic breasts, beautiful eyes - sorry, another offence, forcing male sexual fantasy images upon lesbians, objectifying them in a shameful and unacceptable way.

And then of course, there is the offence caused to the atheists simply through the suggestion that there may be a God, and the homosexual atheists in particular, not to mention the black homosexual atheists or the black lesbian atheists or the black lesbian disabled atheists. So let's start with Dear Black Lesbian Disabled Void. Is that alright? But what about transgender atheists or indeed black lesbian transgender atheists...

Oh shit, I give up! In the light of the FA's letter to players warning them that they face disciplinary sanctions if they make reference to a person’s ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation or disability, what can anybody say exactly? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. But there I go again, offending those of faith by using that word nothing!

Anyway, I must rush, I'm writing a letter to the FA to refer the FA to the FA for writing a letter to players, which clearly discriminates against illiterate and dyslexic players, not to mention black, homosexual, atheist players who don't speak English...

Meanwhile, Ravel should be given detention and made to write lines.

I will not use homophobic abuse
I will not use homophobic abuse
I will not use homophobic abuse.

Perhaps Iain Dale could supervise the detention and give him six of the best to ensure it never happens again! That's done it, I'm on a charge now!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Look in the mirror Allardyce, then point the finger!

Question: can anybody remember West Ham collecting four red cards in a season? It may have happened in 2003-04 because Defoe was on a mission to get a transfer and was collecting red cards like other teenagers were collecting Pokemon cards (for those that don't remember, he picked up three), but even when Hutchison, Dicks and Mad Dog were in Claret and Blue, I don't remember four red cards in the first two thirds of a season.

It's true that red cards are issued more liberally these days, but players know the rules and have a duty not to push the envelope, thereby forcing a referee's hand. So why is it happening?

Well if a manager automatically blames the referee and publicly defends his players, is it any wonder that they behave irresponsibly? Taylor was stupid last night - bloody stupid - but rather than criticise him, Allardyce  chose to quibble over whether hands were raised to the chest or face. Who cares? We had just been awarded a penalty so what the hell did Taylor think he was doing? His actions were crass and irresponsible as Vaz Te appeared to tell him after the card was shown. So why the hell hasn't Allardyce said that? Instead of arguing about the decision to show red, why isn't Allardyce saying what most West Ham fans believe, that Taylor let the club down and cost us the game?

But a pattern has already been established hasn't it? Kebe was criticised by Allardyce for provoking Collison's assault at Reading and, unbelievably, Nolan's horror tackle in the Millwall game was also defended despite the powder keg nature of that fixture. What message does this give to the players exactly? Well, Taylor's idiotic conduct last night answers that question doesn't it? If the manager endorses thuggery, why shouldn't the players behave like thugs?

Would Greenwood have behaved like Allardyce? Or Lyall? Or Clough? I can hear Clough now. "The boy was bloody stupid and it will cost him three weeks wages for the time he is suspended." Now, had Allardyce adopted that approach after Nolan's red card, would Taylor have rushed in, fool like, last night? Of course not!

Instead of blaming the officials, Allardyce should point the finger at his own reflection. This is a team in the image of the manager, and like the manager, it considers itself above reproach. Collison let the club down at Reading, Nolan did the same against Millwall and Taylor repeated the offence last night. All three should have been fined and publicly reprimanded. Perhaps then we might keep 11 players on the pitch for the duration of a game!

Allardyce To Face FA Charge

Allardyce vented in typical fashion last night, blaming the referee for costing us two crucial points, or five if you take the view that yesterday's game was a six pointer. And now Doctor Evil must surely expect a call from the FA after he suggested that Probert and his assistants not only got it wrong, but did so intentionally. Speaking after the game, an infuriated Allardyce ranted:

"In our point of view the major decisions have gone the wrong way. I don't want the officials taking away what we are striving for and I thought the officials tried to do that today, which was a shame."

The problem lies in Allardyce claiming that the officials "tried" to disadvantage West Ham in the game. Now that is a very serious charge indeed. It's one thing to say they got it wrong - and most agree that they had a bad game - but it is quite another to suggest that the "errors" were by design. That is an allegation of cheating and that should land Allardyce in very deep water indeed.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

West Ham 1 Southampton 1 - Ten Heroes, Two Idiots!

Two games, three idiots. It was Nolan against Millwall, and Taylor and Probert tonight. Two excellent penalty shouts were ignored by Probert before he remembered where the spot was, but then Taylor put in his bid for Twat of the Season, getting himself sent off for barging into the guy who had given us the penalty!

So, who gets your award? Nolan for that foul against Millwall, Collison for cleaning up Kebe or Taylor tonight? O'Brien's dismissal was stupid but not really in the same league.

Given we were playing with 10 men, you have to see this as a point won, but I have a horrible feeling that Allardyce's substitutions cost us. True Maynard forced an excellent save from Davis, but we missed Cole's physical presence after he was withdrawn and the ball kept coming back far too quickly when we tried to clear our lines. With the Southampton goal coming from a set piece, you also feel that Cole might have been useful defensively. Meanwhile O'Neil again offered very little. His introduction was a signal to the rest of the team to retreat - exactly as against Millwall. Vaz Te was a thorn in the side of the Southampton defence and when he came off, Southampton were free to pour forward. And of course, Vaz Te is a big lump and O'Neil isn't so we were again weaker when defending a set piece. How ironic!

Yet again, we failed to score more than once in a game, and yet again we failed to score from open play - but Davis was as heroic as Green tonight, and with ten men, there was a valid excuse.

Birmingham's draw was great news, but Cardiff and Blackpool have edged closer. The game at Blackpool is now huge - and Avram Grant's side won there if you remember. We go into the game without both Taylor and Nolan so hopefully nobody else will pick up the idiot mantle!

Green made three excellent saves, Noble led by example, Faubert had another fine game and was exhausted come the final whistle and the whole defence worked well as a unit. But for Taylor, we would have won the game comfortably. I hope Allardyce gives him a rocket!

Biased Referee, Idiotic Taylor. On A Knife Edge!

Talk about making life difficult for yourself! After two good penalty claims were ignored, Lee Probert decided he couldn't give Southampton three lives and at last remembered how to point to the penalty spot after Noble was tripped. So far so good.

But then Taylor decided 'anything Nolan can do, I can do better', and came charging into Sharp, who crumpled as if he had been shot, and Probert promptly reached for a red card!

So, for the second home game in a row, we found ourselves a player down inside the first twenty minutes! And we collected a red card after WINNING a penalty. Brilliant. Only West Ham!

Noble tucked the penalty away with the minimum of fuss but Probert still wasn't finished. Keeper Kelvin Davis stamped on Cole and slapped him into the bargain, but this time the referee couldn't find his red card so waived yellow instead, turning it on Cole too to level things up!

Green has made two brilliant saves and Lambert hit the outside of the post with a free kick. You had the feeling in the last quarter of the half that a goal was coming. We were like a boxer on the ropes praying for the bell by the end of the half.

If Southampton score early, it could be curtains: they are far better than Millwall! It's been a heroic performance so far but if you were having money on it, you would back on broken Claret and Blue hearts by the end of the game. That's four red cards already this season, and they have all been absolutely stupid.

Allardyce Goes Offensive!

Well there's a shock. It is 4-3-3, but it is truly 4-3-3 rather than 4-5-1!

Taylor switches to left back, something I have been calling for for some time, and Vaz Te comes in instead of Nolan. Tomkins continues to anchor midfield, but we could even set up 3-5-2 with the personnel selected, with Taylor and O'Brien bombing up the flanks.

The surprise team reads:


O'Brien, Faye, Reid, Taylor


Noble    Collison

Faubert                     Vaz Te


On the bench are  McCartney, Lansbury, Baldock, Maynard and O'Neil so there is scope to change the shape there too.

It's an odd game to change things so dramatically but I'm not complaining!

Glasgow Rangers: A Lesson For The SNP

What a mess! The biggest, or second biggest, club in Scotland are on the brink of Administration because it cannot meet its financial obligations. Those sons of bitches over at HMRC want Rangers to pay their tax bill - how unreasonable! - and that is the only straw that will break the club's back.

There is a metaphor here for Scottish independence. Rangers have tried to punch with the big boys in Europe for decades now, but can't do so without the financial clout of the English Premiership. Being a big fish in a tiny pond is no good it seems, when you find yourself toe to toe with big fish in bigger ponds.

So Rangers have been living a lie by making payments into Employee Benefit Trusts without paying tax on the payments - a bit like 'Arry making payments to Rosie as far as the layman (and HMRC before the tria) is concerned. Isn't that how Scotland is being run at the moment, with free prescriptions and free university education, courtesy of funding from the English exchequer?

Isn't there a huge irony here? Rangers and Celtic are desperate to join the EPL because they know it is the only way to succeed at the top table of European football, whilst the SNP are proposing the exact reverse. Rangers and their fans face humiliation as a result and Scottish voters should take very careful note. Vote for independence and a chill wind could soon be blowing up their kilts and freezing their bollocks off!

Monday, 13 February 2012

FA Kop Out Over Liverpool, Suarez & Dalglish

So, no further action is planned following Suarez's snub of Evra and Dalglish's dreadful defence of the Uruguayan. It seems that apologies suffice. Makes you wonder if we might still have Capello as an England manager had this solution been suggested in the John Terry case.

As I have maintained all along, Dalglish and the club behaved terribly when they offered 100% support for Suarez after he was found guilty as charged. Suarez and Dalglish may not have agreed with the verdict, but that was no excuse for those Suarez t-shirts. By instructing his players to wear them, Dalglish put two fingers up to the FA and displayed total contempt for the administrators of the game. Capello was backed into resigning for far less!

When an opposition player was reduced to tears by racist abuse from a Liverpool fan, the full implications of the affair should have been obvious to Dalglish. If a manager tolerates racism from one of his players, and publicly offers support to that player, how can the club expect the fans to behave decently? But did Dalglish learn the lesson? Did he Hell as like!

His post match press interview on Saturday endorsed Suarez's actions - not just the refusal to shake hands but also the original offence. For Dalglish to claim that he hadn't seen it, and knew nothing about it, was absurd. What he meant was that he agreed with what Suarez had done!

Now I support the notion of accepting an apology but what does a Suarez apology amount to exactly? He apologised for the original offence but then undid and ridiculed that apology when he refused to accept Evra's proffered hand on Saturday. So he has apologised again; so what? We all know that he has only said sorry to head off a suspension, and I suspect that Dalglish's apology is as a result of pressure being applied from above.

Liverpool fans, of course, defended both Suarez and Dalglish on Saturday, but then they would wouldn't they? The people of the city even closed ranks when Rhys Jones was shot dead. They look after their own in Liverpool, which is why the city has such a huge crime rate. Scousers stick together and steal from each other at the same time: Neighbourhood Watch is a lookout system in Liverpool, the neighbours are away so let's help ourselves to their 48 inch TV! But be fair, they do issue warnings when a DHSS snoop is in the locality!

Sadly, when he defended Suarez, Dalglish put himself on the same side as the city's hypocrites who claim to share a common affinity yet steal from their own neighbours as soon as their backs are turned. That's not ALL Liverpudlians - the majority are very decent people - but it is far too many of them! The club should ask Dalglish to consider his position, just as the FA invited Capello to consider his; and if Dalglish is an honourable man, he will walk.

As for Suarez, he should be allowed to see out the season and then be invited to find another club - outside of multicultural England.

Meanwhile the FA have Kopped out appallingly. Liverpool are too big a club to take on it seems.

Maynard Doesn't Understand Allardyce

Safety First
So Nicky Maynard is hoping to get his chance against Southampton. He might do. If we are a goal behind with 20 minutes to play, or Cole runs out of steam and needs to be replaced - but then Vaz Te is his more probable like for like replacement. Big Sam wants a big man to lead the line.

But start? Against Southampton in a crucial six pointer? Very little chance because that would mean going 4-4-2, and Allardyce isn't going to take that chance in such a big game.

But by failing to do so, he may give Southampton the game on a plate. Look at the goal scoring potential of the two teams if we set up 4-5-1 without Nolan, and you have to say that the Saints would be your favourites to put the ball in the onion bag. And give them a lead and I suspect we will find it very difficult to claw them back and nigh on impossible to get our noses in front.

I posted on Saturday that I expected Taylor to replace Nolan, with Collison coming inside and Taylor going wide left. There is a chance, a slim one but a chance, of Vaz Te starting on the left and Taylor coming in to the middle, with Collison dropping out, but the prospects of a conventional 4-4-2, using Maynard alongside Cole, must be as slim as Keira Knightley on a diet.

The game is fraught with dangers in my book. Lallana, Sharp and Lambert must be favourites to get at least one goal between them - and with our goal per game return since the beginning of December, that spells big danger. But Doctor Evil will see the threat and protect caution from the wind.

QPR Reject Warnock Fancied By Wolves

Wouldn't that be typical? You dump a bird, the next thing you know, she slims down, has breast implants, takes a course on the Kama Sutra, announces she is bisexual and her girl friend is a porn model, and she starts dating your best mate! Meanwhile you've hitched yourself to a Welsh rarebit who turns out to be a tranny!

God, if Wolves do appoint Warnock, the fun really will start. To be honest, he would take over a stronger team and squad at Wolves, even after Fernandes has shot his load in signing Cisse, Zamora, TweedleNedum and Taiwodummer.

How humiliating would it be for the gRs if Warnock worked it up the Wolves, whilst Hughes disappeared without trace in the Bush? And, as bad as his record is in the Prem, you would fancy Warnock to knock a few heads together and inspire a winning run over the final quarter of the season.

Poor McCarthy had been undermined by his Chairman - much as Hughes has been embarrassed by Fernandes's Twatter comments and Grant was destroyed by Sullivan & Gold - and stood no chance of turning things around. Warnock, on the other hand, will get in their faces, tell them they can do it, and may well get a response.

Oh the potential irony! Less Kama Sutra, more Karma Suits You gRs!

QPR's Fernandes Loses The Plot

I suppose it was inevitable. The guy is a media whore so it was only a matter of time before he took to Twitter to undermine his new manager and breed disaffection in the dressing room. But Fernandes has done it with knobs on!

Venting after the Nightmare on Ewood Park Street, the poisoned dwarf raged, "“The worst 45 mins I have seen since I became chairman of QPR. Talent is one thing. Being able to cope with the pressures of talent is key. Everyone needs a spine to take the pressures of life. We need a spine in QPR. We need fighters not just talent.”

The fury is understandable - he didn't get where he is today by backing losers - but probably unwise. It is the manager's job to make these sorts of comments, it is the job of the chairman to keep his trap shut and back his manager.

Will Joey Barton respond? Fernandes says he wants fighters, so perhaps Joey will invite him to a face to face - literally - meeting in an alley off Loftus Road? I would love a ticket for that! And Anton should be there. He would probably hear Joey say a few things that might make him question who is the more evil, John Terry or the man who wears the club's armband!

Mind you, I agree with Fernandes on one thing - or rather he agrees with me! What have I been saying about the failure to recruit a captain for the back four and the goal keeper issue? QPR need a spine alright, and with eight mediocre defenders to pick from, and a keeper who isn't really Premiership quality, they don't have one.

The trouble is spines are expensive - really expensive. And Fernandes' commitment to QPR is limited. He grabbed the headlines with two mediocre strikers, it's a shame he didn't invest in a no nonsense, unglamourous defender or two.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

How did we get relegated last season?

Ok there was Grant! And Upson couldn't be arsed. And neither could Bridge. And we had Spector. And Tomkins was up and down. And we had to pick Gabbidon. And Cole couldn't hit a barn door from five paces for much of the season. And Hitz was out until January. And Green's confidence was shot to pieces. And Jacobsen was past it. And Kovac played a few games. And Ba was played out of position. And Ilunga played 10 games. And Keane was on a bonus from 'Arry to relegate us. And Obinna flattered to deceive. And Behrami wanted out. And the Barrera we signed was working in Taco Bell. And Boa started NINETEEN games. And then there was Piquionne and Sears and Stanislas and...

But still! How?

Dear God, Wolves are shit! And so are Wigan! And so are Blackburn! And they have all STRENGTHENED since last season! Dear God, how did we manage to finish below all three of them, not to mention Blackpool?

Parker booking a warning for England

For all his excellent reviews, question marks still hang over Scott Parker. Tottenham fans are raving about the man they never really wanted, just like they are raving over a manager they were loath to see appointed, but yesterday's booking showed why the former "Mr West Ham" may do to England's European Championship chances what Green did to our World Cup bid.

Did anybody else notice the foul that bought Parker his yellow card?

Why? Why would a player do that? Just outside the box, full view of the referee, Scotty elected to go through the back of a Newcastle player, conceding a ridiculous free kick in the process. If this was a one off, fair enough, but time and again he did the self same thing in Claret & Blue, giving the opposition wonderful opportunities to score.

Parker was lucky this time because Friedel pulled off a good save from the free kick, but top internationals will find the top corner, out of reach of the keeper. For some reason, this is in Parker's game and until somebody sits him down and tells him to cut it out, he will always be an accident waiting to happen. And at international level, one accident is all it takes, as Green can confirm.

Goal and assist count so far for Scotty in Tottenham colours? One assist, no goals. Sadly, England don't have Van der Vaart, Bale, and Modric to compliment Parker in midfield!

QPR Supporters Resigned to the Drop

After all the early Fernandes inspired bravado, it seems that reality has bitten QPR fans on the arse - and like cocky cockers face to face with a teeth baring rottweiler, the gRs have lost their growl.

To be fair, it's hardly surprising. There was a tremor of excitement in the Bush when Zamora and Cisse were signed, but by the twelfth day of February, it's dawning what exactly the true love Fernandes has given to them. As much as I like him, Zamora's goal scoring record in the top flight of English football isn't great - 39 goals in 172 appearances - and neither is Cisse's - 24 goals in 86 appearances. Average that out and the pair give you 19 goals a season between them if they play in all 38 games - and we already know that isn't going to happen. In truth, they are good rather than great signings and, like Carlton Cole, both need a stack load of chances for every goal they score.

But the big problem, as yesterday showed, is at the back. If Nedam is such a good centre back - which of course he isn't - why the hell was he played at right back yesterday? Credit the Blackburn players for the way they took their three goals, but where was the tight marking? They had so much time to weigh up their shots because QPR defenders were standing yards off them. And that is Blackburn! God help QPR when they play a half decent team if Hughes can't sort that out quickly!

But how can you sort it out when you don't have a leader at the back and your defenders are short of Premiership quality? Ferdinand failed at Sunderland despite the guidance of a specialist defender - Steve Bruce. He is too old now to make the jump needed to become the finished article. The  same applies to Nedum. He is a nearly man. Very promising as a kid but he hasn't trained on. But Hall and Gabbidon are no better. Look at the 25 man squad and it is frighteningly heavy with offensive players. There are only 8 specialist defenders to cover 4 positions and TEN forwards to cover two positions. That is mad! So what did Hughes do? He spent his big money on strikers!

Two crucial six pointers have yielded no points. It's true that QPR looked better than their opponents in both games, but its the final result that counts. Anything less than 3 points against Fulham will spell disaster. Everton have hit their straps and will be targeting QPR for 3 points, and then comes another 6 pointer at Bolton. If QPR collect 7 points from those three, they should be fine, if they collect three or less, they will go down.

But the biggest worry is that the QPR fans seem to have given up. Look at the responses on here. My post yesterday features in the top 3 on the QPR News Now board, but where is the bile? Where is the indignation? Where is the fury? The gRs have lost their growl. Poor dears, I picture them lying in their baskets in the kitchen, ears and jowls floppy, with sad, sad eyes, mustering a half hearted whack of the tail each time the wife opens the biscuit tin, before sighing at the prospect of living off of crumbs.

Fernandes has used the R word and so has Beard. Perhaps the club should change its name to Queens Park Reality or Queens Park Resigned or even Queens Park Relegation.