Monday, 30 April 2012

Who Needs Scott Parker When You Have Mark Noble?

Congratulations to Noble and congratulations to the West Ham fans who got it right and voted for him as Hammer of the Year. It must have been a close run thing between Tomkins and Noble but for me, he has been the stand out player, working tirelessly and controlling the game from his position as the hub of the team. I always said that we wouldn't see the best of Noble until Parker left and it is no coincidence that he has now assumed Mr Tottenham Hotspur's mantle as Hammer of the Year.

It will be interesting to hear from his critics. So Stani and Sav, what do you have to say now?

QPR's Misery Mounts As Man City Win

Poor QPR, it's all going wrong for them. After the victory today, Man City are guaranteed to be in with a shout of the title in the last game of the season - and goal difference could yet be the deciding factor. The chances of the Hoops salvaging a point from that one must now be a thousand to one.

And meanwhile, West Brom will be as good as managerless when they play Bolton. They are safe, the players don't have to worry about impressing the manager and Hodgson's mind will be elsewhere - if he is even in the job! If Bolton can't win that one then they don't deserve to stay up. One point at home to Spurs or away to Stoke would therefore be enough even if Rangers beat Stoke.

It's not looking good for the gRs. Much gnashing of teeth in the Bush no doubt, and that could bring tears to the eyes!

Tottenham Stuck With Redknapp

Hilarious, absolutely hilarious! When everybody thought England wanted Redknapp, the Cocky Fools were desperate to keep him. Now that England don't want him, they are lining up to moan that 'Arry has taken them as far as he can and a new man is needed. They were taking Jose and Capello and Hiddink. Instead they are stuck with 'Arry.

Unless Levy sacks him of course and leaves Bagpuss without a job.

So why didn't 'Arry get the England job? Surely it's obvious. The guy claims he can't reed and rite proper like so how could he submit an application?

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Stoke Crowd Show Us How!

It was good to hear Tony Pulis crediting the Stoke crowd on Match of the Day 2 tonight and hilarious to watch the Stoke crowd's arm waving Wenger piss take. That's the way to do it, as Punch would say!

The Stoke fans are an example to us all and remind me of the West Ham fans of old. The passion is intense and unrelenting, but the humour is there in spade loads too. Instead of the modern obsession with bile, they get behind the players and roar them on from beginning to end. The team has its limitations but the crowd accept that and celebrate a club that punches above its weight, poking the big boys in the eye from time to time just as we used to do.

When Cardiff come to town they have to feel that they are playing against 30,000 plus, not just 11. Bugger the twelfth man, we need the thirty-thousand and twelfth man to play his part. This is it. This is the big one. Let's roar the lads to victory and doing it with a smile upon our faces!

Torres Treble Spells Terrible Trouble For QPR

Oh dear. Aston Villa are now out of reach unless Rangers beat Stoke and pick up a point at Unreal City. To stand any chance of that, the gRs have to hope upon hope that Man Utd triumph over their noisy neighbours on Monday. If the title is still attainable come the last day, God help QPR.

With Wigan's stunning victory over Newcastle, they too probably only need one point to be safe. The nightmare for QPR would be for Blackburn to beat Wigan and for Wigan to triumph over Wolves, the ultimate double whammy, meaning that Wigan would be out of sight without a QPR victory at Unreal City and that Blackburn would still be in with a shout of saving themselves. The game at Tottenham this afternoon is truly huge.

Blackburn, unless they win today, are probably relegated so it almost certainly boils down to a straight fight between Bolton and QPR. Even after the 6-1 mauling today, QPR retain a superior goal difference but a similar reverse at Man City would make it all square on that front too. There is a temptation to treat the Stoke game as a home banker, but winning runs come to an end at some point and as good as QPR's recent performances at Loftus Road have been, the pressure of looming relegation may get to them as expectation and anxiety mount in equal measure - and a limp display in the Bush would be very costly indeed! For Rangers, it probably all boils down to this one game. Anything less than victory and it is almost certainly back to the Championship as Bolron would have three games to find two points: with home games against Tottenham and West Brom potentially yielding anything from two to six points and an away fixture at Stoke still up their sleeves. On paper, you have to call Bolton favourites to stay up looking at those fixtures.

A narrow defeat today would have sent QPR into the game with Stoke in good heart; the hammering must have sown terrible doubts in their hearts. When QPR sat in tenth or eleventh place in the table I warned that this would happen and the gRs mocked me. I still hope Rangers will stay up but it is now looking like a very, very, very tall order. Still, the good news for disgruntled gRs is that Leeds have been crap under Neil Warnock!

Has finishing third put us at a disadvantage in the playoffs?

First of all the facts. There's lots of talk about how the third placed team misses out on promotion more often than not, but in recent years the playoffs have tended to go with form. Birmingham apart, and Birmingham are the worry, we  are in good shape based on league results. We would have progressed over two legs based on results against Cardiff, despite losing at home, and we hammered Blackpool 8-1, playing with 10 men for thirty minutes of the away game. Great. Job done then.

The worry is, however, that by finishing third, we have secured the "advantage" of playing the second leg at Upton Park and that could actually trip us up. With our fantastic away form, a draw in the first leg at home would see us go into the second leg brimming with confidence and with all the pressure on Cardiff to win at home. However, with our stumbling home form the opposite could apply. A 1-1 draw or even a single goal defeat in the away leg would normally be seen as a good or fair result, but in our case, returning to Upton Park on level terms or in arrears would be a huge worry. The pressure would be immense and although the crowd would be 100% behind the team for 60 minutes, if we were still chasing the game at that point, sadly the Upton Park "faithful" would almost certainly turn because the fans have experienced too much disappointment in the Boleyn and have no love for Allardyce and his tactics.

All season I have resisted the demands of my critics to show blind support to Allardyce and the team, but now is the time to call a truce. I warned all season that we would pay the price for Allardyce's negativity and we could now argue about whether or not I was right because we missed automatic promotion: yes the primary goal was missed but, as I wrote yesterday, 86 points would have secured us promotion in 4 of the last 5 years so we have been unlucky. There was a place for criticism earlier and maybe, just maybe, the dissident voices were a factor in Allardyce employing more progressive team formations in the last two home games. Had he done so earlier, I suspect we would have been up as Champions personally. But that is gone, over, done with. We are where we are and we know now exactly what we have to do, except in that nagging away leg. Do we play for the draw or do we see victory as crucial?

The trouble is, there exists no reliable form line for the match. Yes Cardiff won at Upton Park but that was the first game of the season and we have a very different team now, with Parker departing and a host of new arrivals including, most significantly Vaz Te. Look at our team that day and compare it with the side that played Hull yesterday.

Back in August we set up like this: Green, O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, Ilunga; Parker (in a strangely advanced role!), Noble, Nolan; Sears, Piquionne, Taylor.  Dear God, is it any wonder we lost? Sears is struggling in the old Third Division and Ilunga and Piquionne have been offloaded to the team that finished bottom of the division. Lansbury, Cole, Demmel and Vaz Te are all stronger players than those they have replaced, given Parker was being used incorrectly and wasn't fully committed to the cause if we believe David Sullivan (do you remember that miss when he was clean through on goal?).

However, the away fixture is just as unreliable as a guide. Cardiff were shattered after the penalty shoot out defeat against Liverpool and looked mentally exhausted and leg weary for most of the game. And McCartney isn't likely to come over all Messi like again is he?

Anybody treating a place at Wembley as a foregone conclusion is a fool, but Cardiff should be more worried about us than we are of them. We finished 11 points ahead of them with a goal difference of plus 33 compared to their meagre plus thirteen. The most important player over both legs will, in my opinion, be the crowd. Cardiff's fans will back their boyos one hundred percent for every minute of the 90 at home, without any bleating until they get home to celebrate or take out their frustrations, and we have to match them. It is time to get behind the players and to get behind Allardyce too. Pragmatism is all in the playoffs so principles can go to Hell for as long as we are still in the competition. Upton Park has to be a couldron for every single minute of the 90 and Cardiff's players have to feel the Boleyn hair drier treatment of old!

Come On You Allardyce Irons!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

QPR in a sweat as Wigan hammer Newcastle and Bolton & Villa pick up an away point.

Bloody hell, it's all gone mad at the bottom of the Prem. A few weeks back, we all thought 35 points would be enough to stay up, now God knows what the final cut off point will be. Wigan play Blackburn and Wolves in their last two games so with 37 points already in the bank are surely on the threshold of safety. Their run of results has been nothing less than incredible. The poor gRs must be smashing their heads against the wall in frustration.

Bolton are still below Rangers in the table but a point at Sunderland was a bonus. Their run in isn't easy, but the games are not impossible either. Three points against West Brom would negate a QPR win over Stoke so a draw either at home to Tottenham or away to Stoke would mean that Rangers need a point at either Chelsea or Man City; unless Villa is now the target team - but goal difference is likely to present a problem with the Villains already four ahead. If Chelsea and Unreal City are in the groove, Kenny could get back ache picking the ball out of the net.

All in all, a bad day for Rangers. But who knows, the way this season is shaping up, Sparky's boys may do to Chelsea what proved beyond Barcelona!

Into Purgatory As Southampton Waltz To Glory

Well you climb into bed with the Devil, what do you expect? After all the ifs, and all the buts and all the maybes, Southampton are up and we are in the play offs. And full marks to Adkins and his Southampton boys: despite the pressure, they have annihilated Coventry today and fully deserve their place in the Premiership. They have been the best team in the division all year, playing the best football, and the only shame, leaving aside parochial concerns, is that Reading have pinched the title.

The good news, of course, is that we stepped up to the plate and almost did what we needed to do against Hull. To score three, four or five was unlikely but we won and winning is important when you are going in to the play offs. The Upton Park hoodoo has been laid to rest and with our fantastic away form, we go into  Purgatory in good shape. The 86 points we have secured would have earned automatic promotion in four of the last five seasons so, for all my criticism of Allardyce, we have been unlucky to a certain extent. The Reading run has been bloody crazy and in Lallana and Lambert, and belatedly Sharp, Southampton have had a super armoury by the standards of the division.

Mind you, the goal we conceded doesn't bode well. Green jumped early and made a hash of what should have been a simple punch, whilst Demel's attempt at a headed clearance was straight out of the Faubert text book of defending.  He made amends later stepping up at the vital moment to catch former Hammer Garcia offside. It was a fabulous finish but thank God it was struck off or the spirits would have been horribly dampened. Cole's goals were great news and he took the second wonderfully. Will he be the playoff hero, taking over the baton from Vaz Te? It was a lovely pass from Lansbury too. Hopefully Allardyce will now give him his head too.

Noble talked at the end of the game of how our prayers hadn't worked, but God isn't going to listen to your pleas with Allardyce at the helm is he? Cardiff over two legs? If you can't get through that you stand no chance in the Premiership. They are a good Cup team and have a taste for Wembley but class should out. Let's get behind the boys and stay positive right the way through to the glorious end, remembering the Shawaddywaddy classic, "There are three steps to Heaven"!


Southampton On The Rack

In the Merchant of Venice, when within touching distance of untold wealth by picking the right casket, Bassanio pleads, "Let me choose for as I am, I live upon the rack" and Portia replies, "Upon the rack, Bassanio! Then confess what treason there is mingled with your love."

Southampton go in to today's game professing cocky confidence. And why shouldn't they? They've swept just about all before them at St Mary's and Coventry aren't exactly Bayern Munich or Chelsea. Early goal and it's game over. Southampton are up and the party can start.

But my last post on the possibility of things going wrong provoked a furious response from the South Coast, betraying a certain treason to their professed confidence. Instead of scoffs and laughter, I was subjected to bile.

So before Southampton fans vent again, I want to point out that I congratulated the club on promotion after our draw at Bristol City; and my comments were genuine. The Saints have hugely impressed me this season, playing the best football in the division by a mile.

However, in the real crunch games, Southampton have faltered. At home to Reading they were superb, but still lost. At Upton Park they had a man advantage for most of the game but couldn't win, and away to Boro last week, they contrived to lose despite going ahead in the first minute of the game. The pressure is on and the pressure may yet tell.

Of course Southampton remain overwhelming favourites. But as I said on Tuesday night, Barcelona were overwhelming favourites when two goals up with Chelsea down to ten men, and as good as Southampton are by Championship standards, they do not have the same experience of coping with pressure as Barca and nor do they have the same quality of players. For West Ham, hope is burning like a single candle in Saint Paul's Cathedral but for as long as long as that candle flickers, Southampton may yet burn their arses.

Come On You Praying Irons!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Allardyce Furious At Disrespectful Snub

After leading West Ham to third place in the Championship behind Southampton and Reading, Allardyce is understandably miffed at being overlooked for the Barcelona role following the resignation of Pep Guardiola. Talking ahead of tomorrow's clash with Hull, Doctor Evil raged:

"This club was in a mess when I arrived. I've turned the whole club around. I've taken a team that finished rock bottom last season into third place this. If it wasn't for my forwards who, without naming names, have let me down very badly, I would have won the division by a country mile. I have done a fantastic job."

"But what gratitude do I get? The fans talk bollocks about our style of play but I know the facts. There's not a whole lot of difference between the way Barcelona play and the way we set up. Do Barcelona play 4-4-2? Of course they bloody don't. And where do you think Guardiola got his ideas from? He watched tapes of my Bolton team, that's how. When I've watched Barcelona this season I've been struck by the similarities. True they haven't got a Kevin Davies, but had they had one, Chelsea wouldn't be in the Champions League final now would they?"

"I was made for that job. People talk about the Special One but are Real in the final? They would have been had I been in charge. So why was I overlooked by Barca? Because of all that long ball bollocks. Tell me, how many times did Barcelona get the ball into Chelsea's box compared to their possession? You can't score if you don't shoot can you?"

"I know the facts. Barcelona have made a very bad mistake that they will live to regret. They listened to Guardiola and he didn't want me to get the job because he wants to return in a blaze of glory when the new man fails. Kevin Nolan is seething too because he fancied a stint in Spain as well and he wouldn't have missed the chances that Messi missed on the night."

Allardyce Excited By Chelsea Tactics

God help us. Writing in the Evening Standard, Allardyce turns his attention to the Chelsea performance against Barcelona and, commenting upon the tactics employed following the sending off, says "Normally you would plump for 4-4-1 but Chelsea went 4-5-0."

That's all we need! Expect a revision to the game plan anytime soon! Allardyce puts the blame for our failure to secure automatic promotion on the misfiring forwards anyway - great motivation ahead of the showdown with Hull where we probably need to score three or more - so following the Chelsea performance, don't be surprised to see him go 4-6-0 in the playoffs!

Let's face it, Sam's only interested in not losing, and in the stat which shows how any times we get the ball into the box. With six in midfield, that should be a simples. By out-numbering the opposition in the middle of the park, you can look to win the ball back each time they collect a long ball lump, then fire it straight back again. We will have nobody in the opposition box to collect the lump of course, but that doesn't matter!

Sam will tell us, "Chelsea scored twice against the best team in the world playing without a striker" and blame the players if the tactics don't work out as his stats suggest they should!

Allardyce Confused Ahead Of Hull Showdown

It seems Allardyce is either confused or is rewriting history in anticipation of things going belly up. According to Doctor Evil, the club "didn’t have a soul when I arrived". You what? It was Allardyce who sold the club's soul when he arrived; the trouble is, he didn't read the small print on Satan's contract well enough!

In consequence Sam has "enjoyed the season", but  is "disappointed that we are where we are as we were good enough to clinch one of the top two spots". That's interesting isn't it? If we were "good enough" (an oxymoron with Sam Pot at the helm), why aren't we in the top two exactly? Is Sam confessing to failure here or moaning that Satan hasn't honoured his side of the bargain?

Of course, Allardyce isn't going to admit to personal failings for he immediately adds, "but then again from where we have come from it is still a magnificent season." That's the argument I have joked about all season, "From bottom to third to top is outstanding progress!"

He continues, “The club got relegated and it was not very nice, the doom and gloom that was around the place was something that you could smell, taste and feel as a manager". You can't smell it now, of course, the stench of sulphur is too overpowering!

Listen to the language of the guy! “It was something that I had to rip the backside out of" - Ouch, Ravel isn't going to like that idea is he?

Allardyce is clearly on a self justification trip. The use of the personal pronoun is fascinating. Over and again, it is not West Ham but Allardyce. "I had to rip the backside out of and I had to start again....considering the state of the club when I walked through the door." The message is clear: Allardyce has saved us. Allardyce has carried us to the threshold of the promised land. Allardyce has salvaged the Truth from Brady's burning bush.

So, if we miss out on promotion, we shouldn't complain because, "“To have only lost eight games all season is a magnificent achievement considering the turnover of players that we have had, and considering the state of the club when I walked through the door.” To have won slightly more than the 50% of games played would have been better of course. But here we have the Allardyce philosophy in a nutshell. It's all about not losing! Eight defeats but 14 draws Sam, and it is the 14 draws that have cost us.

But we mustn't complain apparently, we must bow down in worship. Thanks Sam, we owe everything to you!



Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Financial Fair Play Model Spells Long Term End of Promotion and Relegation

At the beginning of this season the football league clubs slit their left wrists with the absurd limitation on the number of substitutes allowed on the bench. It was a crass decision that simply limited the chances of kids getting game time, forcing clubs like West Ham to send promising youngsters into the lower divisions and to select outfield players as the reserve keeper. There was no logic to it, other than to stop the bigger squads from having any form of advantage.

And now the razor has been drawn over the right wrist with the adoption of the Financial Fair Play model. Tell me, how do clubs expect to make the jump from the Championship to the Premiership in future, and how do they hope to retain any quality players when in the lower division? Newcastle, West Brom and maybe ourselves have managed to bounce back because a core of Premiership players were retained. Once back up, Newcastle and West Brom were able to survive by adding to the squad rather than restructuring it completely.

Now any team that gets up will be hopelessly out of their depth, unless they go out and buy a completely new squad. The divide between the Prem and the rest will widen enormously as players like Noble and Tomkins opt to be squad players at Prem clubs rather than take massive wage cuts to remain loyal to the club that developed them.

Only three clubs voted against the proposals and you can bet that we were one of them. This is Football Socialism with the have not minority ganging up on the bigger boys who enjoy a degree of financial clout. In time, the clubs in the Prem will simply say that relegation poses too many financial problems because of these rules and relegation will be abolished as a defensive measure. Like Cuba, the Football League will have some form of equality, but an equality that nobody in his right mind would want, with three tiers climbing to a summit that means absolutely nothing because there will be no more promotion. The guys arriving at this decision are perfect arses!

The stakes have suddenly become huge. We have to get out of this division before it is too late!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Is McLeish going to relegate two Birmingham teams in two seasons?

How crap is McLeish?  He took down a half decent Birmingham team last season and he's doing his level best to repeat the trick with Villa this year! The defeat at home to Bolton means that the trap door is yawning wide and there's a real prospect that Villa could slip through it.

What a fitting reward for Randy Lerner who was arrogant enough to appoint a man that the Villa fans hated. And how the Birmingham fans must be loving it! Hopfully both clubs can look forward to two ding dong derbies in the Championship next season!

Were you watching Barcelona, Southampton?

Just goes to show what a crazy game football is. When Chelsea went down to ten men and fell two goals behind, against the greatest club side in the world, in the most intimidating stadium in the world, there was only going to be one winner wasn't there? No first choice centre backs, captain sent off...what hope did Chelsea stand?

So, all the cocky Saints fans thinking promotion is a forgone conclusion might just like to reflect. Lose to Coventry at home? Well if Barcelona can lose a two goal lead at home to ten man Chelsea, anything can happen.

Sleep well all you Saints; it may not happen!

Might Allardyce's cowardice at Leicester cost us and help Southampton in the final reckoning?

I must admit that I came home pretty chuffed last night, cursing only Nolan for his misses and Faubert for his ineptitude, but with the best part of 24 hours to reflect, and reading some of the comments left on here, the question posed is, "Did Allardyce display cowardice in the face of the enemy last night, damaging our chances of staying up by giving a clear advantage to Southampton?"

On the plus side, we performed excellently, playing Leicester off the park, but the issue centres on the decision to protect a 2-1 lead, leaving us with a goal difference mountain to climb should Southampton draw at home to Coventry (surely the best we can hope for). In game time I was furious when, with three minutes of the original 90 remaining, we took a short corner and opted to time waste out on the touchline - but can we be surprised at the players' attitudes when Allardyce chose to replace Cole with Collins? When I saw that, the air was blue I can tell you, even bluer than when Faubert was sent on to replace the knackered Demel! Lansbury was on the bench for pity's sake, and so was Baldock - who scored twice against Leicester at Upton Park!

We needed goals. We needed a winning margin of at least two goals and three ideally. We needed to ratchet up the pressure on Southampton, to make the Saints start to sweat. Instead, Allardyce said, "Keep what we've got". Why?

The Allardyce Apostates will cite the chances we created regardless, and I have to give ground there. Nolan did push further forward, we sucked Leicester onto us and then hit well on the break. But what might have been achieved had Baldock been sent on rather than Collins, with Nolan sitting deeper? Let's face it, Leicester offered next to nothing as an attacking force, so why did we need another centre back? Surely a fresh, fast forward would have been a better call in the circumstances?

However, I'm not about to condemn Allardyce here. I think he got that wrong. But I thought he had got it wrong when he left out Lansbury in favour of O'Neil, and in fact O'Neil fully justified his inclusion - as did Collison of course! And in a strange way, the goal difference buffer may help us. Let's imagine for a moment that after 80 mins we are a goal to the good against Hull and Southampton are drawing 1-1 against Coventry. Psychologically, Southampton will want to keep what they have got, hanging on for the draw. And then, maybe, the sucker punch could come, with Coventry stealing a winner. In fact, psychologically, if they take the lead, Southampton may decide to keep what they have, bringing Coventry needlessly into the game.

The Saints are still clear favourites, of course, but pressure does funny things to footballers and Coventry have now shed all their cares and so may find a new, relaxed gear. The Sky Blues aren't as bad a team as their league position suggests and some pride could be restored by a victory at St Mary's. Maybe, just maybe, Allardyce could yet collect on his deal with the Devil!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Leicester 1 West Ham 2 - Nolan Spoils Otherwise Perfect Night

I've criticised the guy enough, so it is only fair I pay credit when it is due. Allardyce set up 4-5-1 but with a wonderfully fluid personnel which, at times, made us look like a Championship version of Barcelona. Kidding. But you know what I mean. Total football it wasn't but totally crap football it wasn't either, and had Nolan not missed two sitters, we would have been right on Southampton's shoulder in terms of goal difference.

The second Nolan miss was a disgrace because he had Lansbury ten feet away with an open goal yawning had Captain Kev slipped in the pass - the chance was so easy that even Faubert would have buried it! The first was a little more difficult because Nolan chose to take it early, but in truth he had time to control it, advance and bury it, or even slip in Vaz Te.

But let's not quibble, Nolan and Faubert apart, after he came on, we were pretty damn excellent tonight and played Leicester off the park. Our first goal was superb. Noble showed his class, holding the ball, beating his man with his eyes and slipping in Taylor with a perfectly weighted pass. Taylor's run was clever and his cross delightful - Reid couldn't miss from two yards out.

That pass from Noble summed him up for me. He still has his critics, incredibly, but the guy is the hub of the team. Those who don't like him leap upon every time he loses possession, but he sees so much of the ball, it is inevitable he will be caught at times as he looks to set up play, often from very unpromising positions. First half he sent through a delectable ball for Cole, only for the "England man" to show all the conviction of a Blairite at an international socialist conference. Time and again it was Noble who was making little angles to help team mates out of tight corners and Noble who probed with telling passes. His shot at the beginning of the second half only bent narrowly wide of the post and, over the 90 minutes, he must have seen more of the ball and covered more of the pitch than any other player on either side. Top notch in my book.

But Noble was not alone in excelling tonight. O'Neil impressed me again, and slipped through two or three delightful passes of his own, whilst Vaz Te's movement presented problems to Leicester's defence all night. Tomkins and Reid were strong at the back (apart from losing Beckford for the Leicester goal) and as a unit we played remarkably well - albeit against a Leicester team who, Dyer and Morgan apart, looked short on commitment and class.

Collison's goal was a joy. Hopefully that will boost his confidence and will reignite a career that has faltered this season. His misses apart, Nolan was good. The shot in the first half that, like Noble's effort, only bent narrowly wide screamed quality. Taylor was at fault for Leicester's goal, but made amends by setting up the first and had a decent game, as did Demel. Cole held the ball well on occasions but sadly looked low on confidence when presented with opportunities to hurt the Leicester defence. He should never have allowed Morgan to get in the tackle that robbed the Noble pass of the finish it deserved, and a second half shot was tame with a capital T.

Green? What did he have to do? Should he have tried to punch the cross that Beckford scored from? Maybe but Tomkins lost his man and Demel made no attempt to close as the cross came in. Mind you, the worst defending all night was Faubert's in his all too long 12 minutes on the pitch. What the hell did he think he was doing heading a deep cross back into his own box when it was easier to put it out for a corner? Thank God the chance was missed!

So it's now all down to Coventry and Southampton's nerves. We could do with Lambert and Lallana turning ankles in training this week and have to hope that the game pans out like the Liverpool v West Brom match yesterday. It's still a long shot, but we may just do it yet!

Tonight it's well done Sam time!

Player ratings: Green 6: Demel 6, Tomkins 7, Reid 7, Taylor 6: O'Neil 7, Noble 8, Nolan 6, Collison 7, Vaz Te 7, Cole 6  Subs: Faubert 1, Collins 5, Lansbury (could have been 10 had Nolan passsed to him!)

Big Fat Sham Singing In The Last Chance Saloon

So this is it. Anything less than a victory tonight and we are in the playoffs. Anything less than a two goal winning margin and we have to pray for a Coventry win at Southampton or should that end in a draw, an even more improbable winning margin of five goals or more against Hull on the last day of the season.

Of course, even if we win both of our remaining games and improve our goal difference by six, we will still need a relegated club to get a result at the ground of the team that has led the table for most of the season. The chances are slim. Very slim. But where there's hope...

What team will Allardyce pick? If he sets up 4-5-1 and we draw 1-1, he should be sacked on the spot. Go 4-4-2 and lose 4-2, fair enough; but adopt a safety first approach and stay down with a whimper, then we should all agree that enough is enough. We are in this mess because of Allardyce's caution, typified by the inept surrender at Bristol City. Had he gone for it in that game, we could be pulling level with Southampton tonight. What a twat!

Second guessing Allardyce's team selection isn't easy, but if it was down to me, I would go with the following team:

Green

Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Taylor

Lansbury, Noble, Nolan, Collison

Cole  Vaz Te

No holding midfielder, straight forward 4-4-2, Taylor bombing forward on the left, Collison pulling inside, Nolan getting forward as often as possible. If we're staying down, let's stay down fighting!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Tomkins and Noble in PFA Championship Player of the Year Team

No Nolan. No Vaz Te. No Faye. No John Carew. No Allardyce signings in fact.

Nope, just two home grown Hammers. Maybe there is a lesson here somewhere.

Where's the next generation of Academy boys Big Sham? And the Noble critics might just like a slice of humble pie whilst we are about it!

Liverpool Lose Again As Woy Wobs Kenny

Hilarious! Woy Hodgson's West Bwom win at Anfield for the first time in 45 years and Liverpool's faces are redder than their shirts yet again! This is Anfield? This is Points for the Taking more like!

How humiliating. The Liverpool fans didn't want to know Hodgson because he had replaced President Rafa and blocked the re-ascension of King Kenny, completely overlooking the fact that the guy was once wanted by Germany as national team manager. Well Liverpool are now level on points with Woy's former club Fulham and just one point ahead of Woy's Baggies, with Swansea just three points in arrears!

Keep polishing the piss pots Kenny, the Premiership title and Champions League are a million miles away despite all the money spent.

West Ham bound Di Canio says "I did a fantastic job with an average team at Swindon"!

As USA Dave says, the BBC interview with Di Canio makes interesting listening. Follow the link below to catch it in full. To summarise, Di Canio claims he has done a "fantastic job to maintain the concentration" of a team which, when it switches off, is "average". He says, "We went up but four teams will go up, only one team will go as Champions. I want to go up as Champions". He criticises the British drinking "culture" and tells his critics they don't know his best team because they don't see the players in training.

He then reveals that 45 days ago he considered resigning but refuses to say why other than to explain that he had to stay to honour his promise to get Swindon promoted because, "It sounds arrogant but without Paolo Di Canio this team is capable of losing thirteen games in a row". He adds, "Without Paolo Di Canio and his technical staff, this team was capable of going out of the play off places. The players are not going to tell you so but I know."

Paolo admits that he sounds "arrogant" but confirms repeatedly that everything is down to him. Allardyce would be proud of the lad listening to the interview.

He continues, "It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. To make a team great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I do" adds, "It's good to trust others but, not to do so is much better", turns on the footballing authorities when he announces, "The League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out", turns on the Swindon fans when he exclaims, "The mass, whether it be a crowd or an army, is vile", urges a greater fighting spirit in the remaining games when demanding, "Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands, and an infinite scorn in our hearts", claims, "The best blood will at some time get into a fool or a mosquito", points the finger at Wiltshire wenches when he proclaims, "The fate of nations is intimately bound up with their powers of reproduction. All nations and all empires first felt decadence gnawing at them when their birth rate fell off", insists, "Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail", argues, "War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it", propounds, "War is to man what maternity is to a woman. From a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, I do not believe in perpetual peace" and concludes, "We become strong, I feel, when we have no friends upon whom to lean, or to look to for moral guidance".

And for his next tricks? PDC is going to get the trains to run on time, change the Swindon kit to black shirts, stimulate food production in Wiltshire with the "Battle for Wheat", drain the marsh in Wanborough, invite financial support to buy new players by urging fans to exchange gold rings and necklaces for steel wristbands ...oh and invade Ethiopia.

Watch the interview in full at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOv-Ncs7vQk

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Tottenham Praying For FA Compensation For Redknapp

You have to laugh. Not so many weeks ago, 'Arry was the dog's bollocks and Tottenham fans were weeping over their menorahs at the prospect of losing him to England. Now they would club together and pay for the taxi fare to drive him to Paternoster Row as soon as possible.

Levy must be in his counting house weighing up the options. Sack him now and maybe still qualify for the Champions league, or write off the season and bank the compensation from the FA; if Redknapp is the favoured candidate of course.

Just imagine Bagpuss's face if the FA turn to Woy instead and Levy shows him the exit having sourced a replacement! The way things are going, that's perfectly possible because the Europa League will not be enough to persuade Bale and Modric to commit to Tottenham and the way Tottenham's form has nosedived even with them in the team does not bode well for next season.

Now all we need is for the Inland Revenue to discover 'Arry has a bank account in Monaco in his cat's name too!

Middlesbrough 2 Southampton 1 - The Agony Continues!

Wouldn't you just believe it? Just when we thought it was safe to slip back into the playoffs, Southampton go and lose and give us hope, for a couple of days at least. Now we see the full folly of Allardyce's team selection and tactics on Tuesday. Had we won that one, anything might now be possible. Instead, we go to Leicester needing to win to keep our hopes alive and desperate for Southampton to lose at home to already relegated Coventry next weekend.

It could happen. And if it does, goal difference won't be a factor. A Southampton draw and two West Ham victories would bring it all down to goal difference. Dare we dream? Dare we?

Let's hope it is still a contest come next weekend - if we blow it at Leicester, how shameful would that be?

Top Star's Shock Exit From West Ham

When he made his debut he was hailed a genius. I begged to differ and was roundly lambasted. His performance was spectacular apparently, he was unquestionably the Man of the Match seemingly, and an old adversary from the Org, Wrongy Shanghai, got up on his high horse and declared that, with his armoury of coaching badges, he could confirm this guy was the real deal. Well who has been proved right again exactly?

The Boffmeister is no more. He has departed, ceased to be a West Ham keeper, has quit the green and pleasant land of Newham to return home, his reputation in tatters. Not so much a genius it seems as a GCSE goalkeeping failure, fourth choice behind Green, Henderson...and Henri Lansbury no less.

It's all such a terrible shame for the headline writers of course. Boffin was named to be a star, especially at West Ham under Sullivan and Green, destined it seemed for a glorious professional career whilst studying Porn Movies at East London University. And that's why that debut was hailed to the heights of course, and stupidly West Ham fans who think they know a bit about football and who profess to hate the journos, lapped it all up like Pussy Galore in one of Sugo's movies.

Goodbye and good luck Ruud, I'm sure you will find a berth at a top Belgian second division club.

Blackpool Begin Premiership Charge and West Ham May Get Birmingham!

Ouch. The Tangerine Dreamers hit form today, with a vengeance. The four goal thumping of Burnley put down a real marker, at a very opportune time. Of course, the victory may be good news for us in the short run in so far as it makes a Birmingham v Blackpool semifinal increasingly likely, leaving us (or Southampton for now) with Cardiff or Middlesborough.

Mind you, if Birmingham were to draw or lose against Reading next week and Cardiff win at Palace, two very real possibilities, we could find ourselves with the nightmare prospect of playing Birmingham over two legs. THAT is the ultimate nightmare with Zigic in their ranks!

The Kids Aren't Alright

One glance at the Premier Academy League table tells you everything you need to know. West Ham sit exactly half way down the 10 team table on 46 points from 27 games behind the might of Charlton, Southampton, Arsenal (to be fair) and Fulham.

The OS, of course is trying to put a positive spin on things, telling us Carr is delighted with the season and highlighting that three Academy youngsters have made their first team debuts. But the truth is, the kids have not looked spectacular either out on loan, nor when given a rare chance by Big Sham, and the mid table league position suggests we shouldn't hold out a lot of hope that there is a crop of Johnsons, Carricks and Coles waiting to break through.

We are again perhaps living in the past when we talk of ourselves as the Academy of Football - it is Southampton, not ourselves, who seem to be generating the gems these days.

QPR Don't Dare Lose To Spurs


It's the nightmare scenario. Bolton host Swansea and travel to struggling Aston Villa in midweek. If the Hoops lose to Spurs, they could find themselves back in the bottom three with the probability of securing just three more points (maximum) before the season's close. Should Bolton win twice in a week, that might see Rangers effectively relegated. Meanwhile Tottenham HAVE to win tomorrow - their entire season hinges on the game.

My money is on a 2-0 win for Spurs I'm afraid.

Friday, 20 April 2012

So Sheffield United, Evans or Tevez, who is the greater villain?

After all the fuss they made over our selection of Carlos Tevez, how ironic is it that Shafting United (and never has that name seemed more appropriate) are riding the crest of a promotion wave courtesy of 35 goals from a convicted rapist. Given Evans had sex with the drunken girl with the approval of former team mate McDonald, it gives a whole new meaning to Third Party Agreements doesn't it?

Now I'm not sure about you, but I don't think it is appropriate that Evans has been selected between his arrest and committal. I know you are innocent until proven guilty, but is it right that families have been cheering and applauding a guy who has raped a teenager? He has brought the game into disrepute in the most disgraceful way and I am sure there are many who feel offended that they have unwittingly paid to watch this pervert play football, and put money into his bank account as a result.

Perhaps rival clubs in the First Division should club together and sue Shafting United, campaigning for points to be deducted for playing a rapist in breach of the Football League's code of conduct. The club have surely acted selfishly and with a blatant disregard for the good of the game. Yes they will fall back on legal technicalities but I'm sure Justice Taylor would conclude Ched Evans is entirely responsible for Shafting United's current league position: take away his thirty five goals and where would they be exactly?

Mind you, it makes you wonder what Pants Down Pardew knew when in March 2009, he seemed to say on Match of the Day 2 that Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien had "absolutely raped" the then Manchester City player Ched Evans during a midfield tussle for the ball. What goes around comes around as they say.

Time to moan about the injustice of the playoffs!


They're off, and it didn't take long. In fact, we are not even absolutely certain to be condemned to the end of season shoot out yet, but already 'heads up their own arses West Ham fans' are whining, "We've finished third so it's just not fair!" One stupid plonker on the Org has even asked, "What's the point of the playoffs apart from the finance?" Der. The whole point is the finance! That's like asking: "Apart from the sex scenes, what's the point of a porn movie?"

Imagine how dire the division would have been from January onwards but for the playoffs! Imagine trying to sell the rights to TV companies if 70% of the games from January onwards were dead rubbers. Imagine trying to sell tickets for Hull versus Millwall in mid February if both were safely tucked away in mid table with nothing to play for!

To be fair to the Championship, we have had an interest in almost every game played this season - because of keeping half an eye on prospective playoff rivals. In fact, without the playoffs, I suspect Reading would never have gone on their incredible run because, back in early December, automatic promotion looked impossible. It was the dangling carrot of the playoffs that gave Reading something to play for.

Now the playoffs are a pain in the backside for the team that finishes third in the table, but we wouldn't be complaining had we finished fourth, fifth or sixth would we? And, of course, we didn't moan when we were the beneficiaries did we?

The truth is, the playoffs were a fantastic innovation and have added enormously to the football calendar. How else would teams like Huddersfied, Crawley and West Ham get the chance to play at Wembley?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Birmingham the favourites in the play offs?

It's an uncomfortable feeling, but if we are honest, Birmingham have to be the favourites to win through in the playoffs. Their form since the beginning of December has been better than ours and they seem to have the Indian Sign on us. We have failed to beat them in two games this season - and we were lucky to claw back to 3-3 at the Boleyn - and last season they dumped us out of the League Cup and began our final death spiral to relegation with the victory at Upton Park.

We should avoid them in the semifinal, thank God, but in the event of the semifinals going to form - or according to league places at least - Birmingham would arrive at Wembley with very happy memories of their last appearance there and confident about coming out on top against ourselves. Meanwhile, all the pressure of expectation will be on West Ham. It looks set up for Zigic to be honest.

So I will be cheering on Birmingham's opponents in the semifinal, whoever that may be, desperate for the Blues to be dumped out on their arses. Ideal opponents in the Final, should we get there? It has to be Blackpool surely, even with Royal Holloway in charge! But then again, maybe we want them over two legs! God I feel sick with tension already!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Can ANYBODY explain last night's team selection and tactics?

So the equation was simple. We had to win to stand a chance of catching Southampton and Reading. And we had to win by a two or three or ideally four goal margin. Draw or lose? No difference. It was win at all cost. It was sudden death. It was a promotion cup final. Attack was the order of the day. Goals were the priority. And we were playing against a team fourth from bottom in the table who had only managed six home wins all season.

You come into the game on the back of a 6-0 victory achieved playing expansive football in a 4-4-2 formation, and with a red hot striker fresh from banging in a hat trick. So what do you do? Not rocket engineering is it? Unless you are Allardyce!

Tell me, is there another manager in the game who, under those circumstances, would feel the irresistible draw of safety first? Is there another manager in the game who would seek to win that game 1-0 given those circumstances? Is there another manager in the game who would say, 4-4-2 is too risky away from home? Is there another manager in the game who would play with one man up top utterly unsuited to the lone striker role? Is there another manager in the game who would pull his on fire striker back into midfield and push him out on the flank, assigning him defensive responsibilities?

And there you have Allardyce in a nutshell. He can't help himself. He only knows one way of playing and, no matter what the situation and no matter what the opposition, he will set up to play that way. And boy has that blinkered tactical ineptitude cost us this season!

And before the Allardyce Apostates pitch in to defend the anti Christ, I will give them two words: John Carew. Why? Why would you have him on the bench ahead of Baldock in a must win game? The answer: if it isn't going to plan send on a bigger battering ram. Welcome to the tactical world of Big Sham Allardyce!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Congratulations to Reading & Southampton from Hammersfan

Ok, technically it aint over until the Fat Sam sings, and if Southampton crash and burn and we win both of our remaining games but...well let's not kid ourselves eh?

Southampton deserve to go up. They have been superb all season playing the game the way it should be played. Adkins has done a brilliant job, and there is more than a slice of irony involved in a team put together by Pardew topping us in the table. Lallana and Lambert are a class act and will grace the Prem, and Sharp was an astute signing in January - far more astute than Maynard!

Meanwhile, Reading have put together the most amazing run ever since they thumped us 3-0 back in early December. McDermott, like Adkins, has done a brilliant job, keeping the players' feet on the ground and their brains focused. Like Southampton, Reading have played to their strengths and, despite losing Long in August, McDermott has produced a team that has forgotten how to lose - or draw for that matter! And Roberts was an astute signing in January. Far more astute than Maynard!

What a contrast with Allardyce. He has displayed an obnoxious arrogance all season, refusing to see that the team were playing appallingly even when scraping 1-0 victories, and hailing ultra negative displays, like the one at Brighton, as examples of tactical brilliance. Time and again we were "unlucky" after dominating the game. Time and again we deserved to win games we ended up drawing - according to Allardyce and his blinkered backers. It was all bollocks.

Allardyce told us he knew the facts and his supporters told us the table doesn't lie. Well I know the facts and I agree that over a full season, the table doesn't lie. Take a look at the table now  guys and see for yourself the great Allardyce lie.

But anyway, well done to Southampton and Reading. Allardyce handed it to you on a plate but you helped yourselves superbly! Good luck in the Prem, unless we go up hanging on to your coat tails!

Allardyce Hails Heroic Draw at Bristol City and a Great Season

Talking after an epic 1-1 draw at Bristol City which has as good as secured third place for West Ham, Doctor Evil was full of praise for his team:

"We only conceded one goal away from home and you have to be satisfied with that. It's a shame Rob Green was found wanting when the pressure was on but it's not just Rob, individual mistakes have cost us all season."

"Of course there will be the usual bollocks about my tactics. The important thing was not to lose tonight. There will be more bollocks about 4-4-2 and about playing Vaz Te up front but just because Vaz scored a hat trick on Saturday, it doesn't mean he will score if played in an advanced role in the next game. He didn't score when I moved him forward in the second half did he?"

"And there will be the usual Baldock bollocks too. I had John Carew on the bench and he is a Norwegian international. Baldock is a good kid but you don't need kids at the business end of the season, you need experience. That's why Morrison hasn't featured."

"We are safely in third and you have to be pleased with that. Peterborough let us down badly tonight and I'm angry about that. Had they beaten Southampton it would have been all to play for. Bristol City is a difficult place to come to. They are fourth from bottom remember, they're not a bottom three team. But you would expect Peterborough to do better against Southampton. We looked at that game and thought Southampton might struggle. Peterborough's performance has to be seen as very disappointing therefore. I feel very badly let down and I will on the blower to Peterborough to let them know how I feel."

"But let's not forget this team finished bottom last season and we are third now. You have to be pleased with that. Bottom to third represents great progress. It's been a fabulous season when you take everything into account and I have done a brilliant job when all things are considered. Rob Green let me down today just like he let me down against Cardiff in the first game of the season. That's five crucial points Rob has cost me. I'll talk to Rob about that and I'm sure he will apologise."

Bristol City 1 West Ham 1 - So Far So Bad

Southampton are cruising and we are stuttering. Green at fault for the Bristol City goal apparently, taken by surprise by a long shot. No surprise to American readers of course!

Why have we set up 4-5-1? We need to win. We need to bolster our goal difference. Three points are absolutely everything. Vaz Te was superb on Saturday in an advanced role and Maynard is again struggling as the lone striker. Somebody kick Allardyce up the arse and show him the fracking league table!

Bristol City got better as the half went on. It's all or nothing now so let's go for it!

No Cole, Baldock or O'Neil. Odd!

Strange team on the back of a 6-0 victory! I'm pleased to see Maynard start because of the rule of the ex, but the inclusion of Collins is a bit of a shock. Is he at left back? Or is Tomkins moving back into midfield? Is it 4-4-2 with Vaz Te up front, or 4-5-1?

We need to win! We need to score! We need Vaz Te as far up the field as possible!

So is it:

Green

Demel, Reid, Tomkins, Collins

Lansbury, Noble, Nolan, Taylor

Vaz Te, Maynard?

Or

Green

Demel, Reid, Collins, Taylor

Tomkins

Noble, Nolan

Lansbury                   Vaz Te

Maynard       

Come on Posh! (And David is no where to be seen!)

So, never mind our game against Bristol City, the real make or break game is up the road at London Road, Peterborough. Southampton HAVE to drop points for us to catch them, and unless they do, our games are about as important as pre-season friendlies - because the season  would then start with the play offs.

Most people will have ear marked the Boro game as Southampton's most likely banana skin but I fancy them to draw that one, so we need Posh to steal a point tonight. Should Southampton draw the next two and we win both, we would go into the last game a point ahead. It's a big ask, but our tails are up, and the Saints will know Doctor Evil is on their tails. It would be unjust if they missed out but that will cause them to sweat all the more. Peterborough beat Reading, if they could do us a favour by beating Southampton we should bung them a million as a thank you.

Of course we still have to beat Bristol City and that won't be easy but...well we can dream for a couple of hours at least!

Monday, 16 April 2012

QPR In Deep You Know What After Wigan Victory At Arsenal!

Dear God, what is Martinez feeding his Wigan players? They have been shite for most of the season, then along come the big clubs and there's no stopping them! We thought the victory at Anfield was a freak. We suspected Chelsea were dozy when they needed a controversial goal to beat them. But back to back victories over Man Utd and Arsenal have sent out one hell of a message. They may be struggling to avoid the drop this season, but if they stay up, they are planning an assault on the title next season!

QPR must now hope and pray that Bolton lay down and die between now and the season's end. One more Wigan win will probably take them out of the Hoops' reach, so if Bolton put together a few results, the Championship's jaws will yawn wide for the poor old Rs.

Life's a bitch sometimes aint it?

Tottenham's Parker Back In West Ham Groove

Three, count them, three Cocky Fools told me today that, despite the 5-1 thumping, Scotty Parker was the best player on the pitch yesterday! Interesting. As the holding midfielder his first job is to protect his back four and Spurs shipped five (and wasn't the second goal a beauty?), yet Parker was still Man of the Match apparently. I thought he had left all that behind at West Ham!

The truth of the matter is that this is what Scotty specialises in. When the team is shit, he runs around a lot, rolls up his sleeves, gets stuck in, wears his heart on his sleeve, gives 110% etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It looks great but how effective is it?

Well what was the final score exactly?

God help us in the European Championships if Parker is ever England's Man of the Match!

Jaaskelainen the next piece in Allardyce's West Ham Wanderers Masterplan

Now I have been a big fan of Jussi Jaaskelainen for many years and, not withstanding that the guy is 37, I would still regard him as a good signing on a free transfer. But the very fact that we are interested in him tells you one of three things: either Allardyce is absolutely hell bent on rebuilding his mighty Bolton Wanderers side in Claret & Blue; or it has already been decided that England's number 666 Rob Green is on his way in the summer; or both!

We already have an understudy for Green, and if we are staying in the Championship Allardyce won't name a sub keeper anyway. So my money is on Rob leaving if he can sign a contract for QPR without dropping the pen!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Tottenham's Season Derailed - So Much for Redknapp and Parker!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. All week the Cocky Fools have been debating what was more important, winning the FA Cup on finishing fourth in the Prem, well now it boils down to fourth in the Prem or F All!

Talk about a season derailed! Modric must be thinking "What if?" He might fancy Chelsea at the end of the season or he might hope that Man Utd, Man City, Barcelona or Real Madrid come in for him. Or A.C Milan or Inter or Bayern or Arsenal or...

And what about Bale? Does he really want to waste another year in a short career chasing the shadows of dreams at Tottenham?

The truth is, 'Arry has been found out and so has his much vaunted anchor Scotty Parker. I always said that Parker only looked good because of the quality of those around him and warned that he would be exposed as soon as Tottenham came up against the better teams. Well Arsenal 5 Tottenham 1 and Chelsea 5 Tottenham 1 have illustrated that point rather nicely. Against Arsenal, Scotty saw red; today he collected a yellow and was powerless to check the Chelsea charge, even though the Guardian report still called his performance "excellent".

The truth is, when mediocrity confronts class, class wins out. And when class looks about and sees mediocrity all around, class Bales out - along with Modric and maybe Van der Vaart.

Fourth place or F All? And even if fourth place is secured, messrs Bale, Modric and Van der Vaart might fancy progressing beyond the group stage of the Champions League - if Tottenham can get that far!

Chelsea Scum!

Livorno's Piermario Morosini dies after suffering heart attack during Serie B clash against Pescara
What a disgrace. I didn't know about the death of Livorno's Piermario Morosini until the announcement before the semifinal kicked off, but I heard loud and clear what had happened as a minute's silence was requested, and there is no way in a million years that the Chelsea fans inside the stadium didn't hear. Their disrespect in forcing the referee to cut the minute of respect short was embarrassing for English football and for the nation as a whole.

Had I been a Chelsea player, I would have removed my shirt and walked off the pitch. Play for that scum? I'd rather relinquish the chance of playing in an FA Cup final personally. It was clear where the chanting was coming from and every single scumbag who participated should have been ejected before the match kicked off.

What sort of country do we live in for pity's sake? How does our society breed such detestable morons? The eyes of the world will witness our nation's shame as the images are beamed around the globe, and many will be wondering about the wisdom of giving the Olympics to a country that breeds such Neanderthals. Give us a World Cup? Why would you?

Liverpool Stuck With Dalglish Now!

That's it then. One piss pot in the trophy cabinet and a place in the FA Cup Final. This is a Rafaesque style season. Back in Europe next year too. What a fantastic job Dalglish has done! And who scored the goals yesterday? Carroll and Suarez, bought with the cash generated from the sale of the misfiring Torres! Suddenly Dalglish is a genius. Manager of the Season contender according to the Scousers no doubt.

Until you glance at the Premiership table of course. FA Cup or fourth place in the Prem? Tottenham fans have been debating this topic all week but not Chelsea fans. Chelsea can win the Champions League so, of course, fourth place in the Prem is more important to them than a domestic chamber pot; it's only clubs like Spurs who don't stand a chance of progressing beyond the first round knock out stage that have the dilemma. And, of course, Liverpool are now in that bracket!

Yes another day out at Wembley is lovely. Yes Liverpool knocked out their city rivals. Yes the FA Cup is a cut above the Carling Piss Pot. But look at the Prem. THIRTEEN points behind Newcastle in fifth. THIRTY THREE points behind hated rivals Man Utd. Just FOUR points above Stoke in FOURTEENTH place and Woy's West Bwom!

Polish those cups guys until you can see your red faces in the reflection!

Middlesbrough & Cardiff winning & Leicester losing made it a near perfect day!

I know we are probably clutching at straws because, despite their defeat against Reading, Southampton still looked pretty good to me, but where there's hope and all that...

Apart from Peterborough getting thumped, the results were pretty close to perfect for us. After the draw at Watford,  Hull are out of the running for the play offs so will arrive for the last last game of the season with absolutely nothing to play for, except for pride. If we can't win that one, we don't deserve promotion.

The really scary game in our run in was the Leicester fixture, and it still has the potential to be a banana skin. But the Foxes have had a miserable season and with Cardiff and Miserableboro both winning, their play off chances are effectively dead and buried too. Of course, a home game against the might of West Ham may prove to be a spur, but the fixture has to be easier now nothing hinges on it from Leicester's point of view.

Bristol City, however, still have a lot to play for so Tuesday's game is loaded with threat. That said, should we win at Ashton Gate and Coventry beat Millwall, the Sky Blues could be fighting for their lives come the final day of the season, when they travel to Southampton no less. What a game that could be if we are within striking distance of the Saints and Coventry need a point or three to stay up. The pressure could be huge and, as we saw, Coventry are not as bad a team as their league position suggests.

Of course Southampton remain strong favourites to go up. But there is usually a final sting in the tail as the season draws to a close and Southampton have only won 9 away games all season. Peterborough beat Reading and should have been ahead against us at half time so they will be up for it on Tuesday.

Maybe, just maybe! Hang on, have to go Keira Knightley is knocking on the door demanding I join her and Ninel Conde in a threesome.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

QPR Slipping Back Into The Sewage

Just when it looked as if they were pulling themselves out of the shit, QPR decided to let go of the side and slip back into the sewage. Points on the board are crucial at this stage, and a relatively healthy goal difference should stand the Hoops in good stead, but a 1-0 defeat at West Brom was not what the doctor ordered. And Man City's 6-1 thumping of Norwich suggests that QPR don't want to rock up in Manchester needing anything on the last day of the season.

Blackburn's thumping at Swansea was fantastic news because they now look dead and buried, but Bolton and Wigan have experience of surviving the drop and, with games in hand, could yet push Rangers deeper into the shit. There was an air of cockiness last week after the pounding of Swansea but reality has bitten down on their dicks again this.

The odds still favour QPR surviving - just as I have maintained all season. The trouble is, the gRs were convinced early doors that they were going to waltz their way to a second season in the Prem, and then swung the other way, despairing before it was time. I expected them to get at least a point today and their failure to do so could yet prove very costly. The next four games suddenly look decidedly iffy. Chelsea and Tottenham have to win to stay in the race for the Champions League and a result against Unreal City looks very unlikely. Would victory over Stoke be enough if those three games are lost? Maybe. But it will be touch and go down to the wire!

West Ham 6 Brighton 0 - The Bloody Seagull Round Our Neck Is Dead!

At long, long last the albatross has dropped from our neck! I admit to being dubious about the team before the start but for once I was wrong. Vaz Te played up top and looked a class apart. The first goal had a slice of luck but RVT deserved that luck because his shot was struck with such power. His second was a good finish, nodding in at the back post. And his third was out of this world, a lovely scissor kick finish as Lansbury called for a penalty and Brighton players stood around like concrete bollards.

Six nil! This was exactly what we needed. Suddenly the goal difference with Southampton closes. Suddenly confidence is surging through the veins of the team in Claret & Blue. Suddenly the Saints are looking anxiously over their shoulders, wondering could it yet all go terribly wrong. Tuesday is now massive. Obviously we need to win at Bristol City but the bigger game for us all is at Peterbrorough. If the Posh could slay the Saints, well anything could yet be possible!

At last today we looked a more than decent team. True we were vulnerable at set pieces in the first half, but we bossed the second 45 completely and Nolan really should have added a seventh, or stepped aside and allowed Carew to put the ball in an empty net. Lansbury will presumably be credited with the fifth after a wicked deflection on Cole's shot and the sixth was an outrageous own goal. Brighton were crap but so what? You can only beat what is put in front of you and we didn't just beat them, we hammered them.

Before we kicked off, I mockingly nominated Carew, Collison and Collins as the subs to be used, and even they couldn't stand between Allardyce and a thumping victory. Have we found a team and shape that works at long, long, long last? Vaz Te is the key; play him up top and you can even accommodate Maynard in the side in place of Cole. And the rule of the ex cries out for Maynard to start against Bristol City!

It all clicked today and Lady Luck gave us a private lap dance into the bargain. Now three more wins and who knows? Peterborough shipped four today but are a different team at home and Middlesbrough need to beat Southampton to make it into the playoffs. Who knows, even Coventry might present Southampton with problems if it is a must win game on the final day of the season. It's still a long shot, but Vaz Te is good at those!

Let's borrow a quote from David Beckham. Cum On You Posh!

Half Time West Ham 3 Brighton 0 - But Still Worrying Signs!



First off, the good. Vaz Te. Credit where credit is due, the guy has been a revelation in recent weeks. He has the pace we have been crying out for, he has the skill, and boy does he know where the goal is. If we are to go on a late charge and pip Southampton, or if we are to successfully negotiate the play offs, this guy will be crucial. The Brighton keeper was probably at fault for the first goal, but there's no taking away from the power of the shot. I might have been tempted to take evasive action to be honest!

3-0 up inside 15 minutes, it's unheard of! Have we slayed the Boleyn Hoodoo at last? Let's bloody hope so. Certainly the gods were looking kindly on Captain Kev when he did his level best to clear the crossbar of an open goal from one yard out! His heart must have been in his mouth as he saw the ball spin high, higher, higher still!

Going forward we have looked superb, but when Brighton have progressed into our half, the same old problems persist, particularly at set pieces. Green was forced into one brilliant save, and Brighton were allowed another clear cut chance when a player was left completely unmarked at a corner. Fortunately, his connection was even worse than Nolan's and the ball spun wide of the post. On another day, against a better team, that would have nestled in the back of our net. Why can't we mark up on corners for God's sake? I thought Allardyce was the set piece master!

3-0 isn't good enough. Goal difference may yet be a factor and Southampton are way ahead of us. I can't see any of their opponents significantly denting their goal difference so we have to win our games by wide margins. I hope Allardyce is alive to that fact! The nagging worry is that Brighton score early in the second half, we could yet end up hanging on! The target should be a six goal victory!

West Ham v Brighton: Allardyce Reverts To Plan A

So the experiment with all out attack has been consigned to the bin and Allardyce is going back to Plan A - 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 or 4-2-2-1-1 or what other sort of tangled mess the misfitting parts form themselves into. Unless Vaz Te is up top with Cole and we actually have 4-4-2. God only knows!

The personnel will probably line up like this:

Green

Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Taylor

O'Neil Noble Lansbury

Nolan Vaz Te

Cole

Probably! Or like this:

Green

Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Taylor

O'Neil Noble

Nolan

Lansbury   Vaz Te

Cole

Who knows? Or like this:

Green

Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Taylor

Noble, Lansbury

O'Neil, Nolan, Vaz Te

Cole

Maynard and Baldock do not feature again and there is still no holding midfielder nor any genuine attacking width on the opposite flank to Vaz Te. So the team is a hotch-potch again, a mess. Where's Diop for example?

Still, we have Carew on the bench again so if things aren't going well....or if we take a 1-0 lead, both Carew and Collison are available to be brought on - the tactic has been tried before so why not give it another go eh Sam? And Collins is available too so if we are behind at half time, we could always move Tomkins forward into midfield! No Baldock and no Morrison of course. Too young. Too inexperienced. Too risky. This is the might of Brighton and Hove Albion remember!   

Beat Brighton and we could still top Southampton after Reading reverse.

It's a long shot I know because of our terrible home form, but we could yet qualify for automatic promotion  after Reading's victory over Southampton. We have to win the last four games but if we do, it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that we could go up in second place.

Reading are now effectively a Premiership club and full credit to them. McDermott must be a hell of a manager. He lost Long at the start of the season and a hot prospect over the summer, but he has put together a spirited squad on a shoestring budget and has motivated them to compile a fantastic sequence of results. The victories at both West Ham and Southampton say everything that needs to be said about the spirit in the club. Whilst Allardyce has tried to bludgeon his way to promotion, blaming bad luck week in and week out, McDermott has prepared a team of decent players to go out and play decent football - and has proved that this league is actually pretty easy to get out of if you get the basics right.

So could Southampton trip up over the final three games? The match at Peterborough could yet end up as a draw and defeat at Middlesbrough is not inconceivable. So if we were to win four games on the bounce...

...and if my Aunt had bollocks, she would be my Uncle!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Remember, Moore than just a football club Sam!

It is a wee bit galling to see the club exploiting the Bobby Moore name to market tickets for the game against Brighton. It is true that, as the play offs approach, there is a parallel with that moment, for the home semifinal leg against Ipswich, when Pardew wore that now famous message on his top, but when Pardew did it, there was a sense of him being united with the fans and of his genuinely understanding the values of the club - and let's face it, Bobby would have had no problems with Pard's alleged pants down antics.

However, just imagine Allardyce in that shirt! Surely even his backers would see that as a repugnant affront to the memory of everything that Moore, as a footballer, stood for. It would be like Satan posing on the cross, Josef Frizl opening an orphanage or Sullivan and Gold branding themselves as men to be trusted! Allardyce in a West Ham number six shirt would surely be the ultimate footballing oxymoron!

Of course, the exploitation is built around Bobby's birthday and I certainly have no problem with the club paying respect to the greatest English player ever to grace the game, but respect should involve a minute's applause in appreciation of the great man, not using his name on a marketing poster designed to sell tickets for a "win at all cost and to hell with values" game.

One thing is for sure, if Moore had been in the squad in his prime when Allardyce took over, he would have been sold to Tottenham. Not Sam's type of player at all was he? Too weak in the air at set pieces. Dwelt on the ball too long. Too much fancy bollocks stepping out of defence with the ball. And too opinionated. No, Allardyce would have marked Bobby's card good and proper.

Whereas Moore and Pardew? They would have had a ball together!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

West Ham Marketing The Southampton v Reading Game!

Hello? When was this marketing guff produced then? Top of the table clash? If that's the case, then I'm going to bed with Kiera Knightley tonight, though she looks pretty much like my wife as she lies, mouth open, fast asleep and snoring on the sofa opposite me.

"Nothing beats being there" eh? Presumably they mean nothing beats being top of the table. Trouble is, to be there, you have to beat teams rather than draw with them! In fact "Nothing beats" could become a strap line for Allardyce's team if the the syntax is reversed: "Beats nothing" sums things up rather unfortunately doesn't it?

"Buying a ticket is easy"? I'm sure. But selling them isn't so easy these days is it? Unless you are selling tickets for the genuine top of the table clash between Southampton and Reading of course. And if that one goes the wrong way, the game against Brighton becomes something of a dead rubber. "Push For The Play-Offs" doesn't have the same ring about it, does it?

Bless Sullivan and Gold. They are doing their best to turn a dog's dinner into an haute cuisine banquet, or a cheap porn flick into a Hollywood epic, but you can only get away with serving up shit as caviar for so long; and Allardyce has been found out good and proper. Top of the table clash indeed? Is the club supplying coach transportation down to Southampton I wonder?

QPR & Wigan in Touching Distance of Survival

Momentum. It is everything in football. Just ask Allardyce! Not so very long ago, QPR and Wigan had no idea where the next win was coming from. Then Liverpool came along and gave both teams a shot of confidence. Thirteen crazy minutes against Dalglish's Dolts may well have saved QPR's season, whilst a fantastic 90 minutes at Anfield seems to have turned it all around for Martinez's boys.

Wigan's turn around has been truly remarkable. The victory at Anfield, a very unlucky narrow defeat at Chelsea and now a win over Man Utd. The clever money would have been on Wigan to pick up one point at most from those games, instead they have six and should have had seven.

Meanwhile, the Hoops have enjoyed almost as good a run. They had to beat Swansea, and they did. But the victory over Arsenal was something special, and was no fluke. The irony, of course, is that the heroes in recent weeks have been players who helped the club to promotion: Taarabt, Mackie and Buzsaky. Momentum is everything but so is desire. Mackie is a joy to watch. He is not the most gifted player in the world but he really does give it everything and, if QPR survive, it will be, in a large part down to him. Forget Wright-Phillips, Cisse, Zamora, Barton, Nedum and co, it is Mackie who has turned around QPR's season and he deserves huge credit for doing so.

Tottenham are wobbling so Hughes will see that game as a potential three pointer. Stoke are highly beatable in London - even Grant managed that - and even West Brom at the Hawthornes look dodgy. The magic 40 point mark could yet be reached, although 36 will be enough to survive anyway. So win one and draw two and QPR are home and hosed. Or so it seems.

Bolton still have that game in hand, however. If QPR can target a dodgy Spurs, then why not Bolton? If QPR can beat Swansea at home, then why not Bolton? If QPR see West Brom as vulnerable at the Hawthornes, then why shouldn't Bolton beat them at the Rebock? That's nine potential points, before you factor in the game against a very weak Villa. Bolton could yet survive!

And Wigan? Well they have to win at Blackburn, beat Wolves at home on the last day of the season and hope that Newcastle are on an off day when they meet the Magpies. They still look vulnerable to me but I didn't give them a cat in hell's chance against Man Utd last night, so who knows?

And Blackburn? They are gone unless QPR, Bolton and Wigan collapse.

Official Site In Propaganda Overdrive Defending Long Ball Tactics

They do take us for a bunch of brainless twats don't they? Check out "The Big Interview" with captain Kev and have a sick bag at the ready. Dear God, I had the funny idea that we have relinquished automatic promotion in recent weeks courtesy of Allardyce's inept team selections and tactics, but apparently I am completely wrong.

According to the unnamed questioner, Captain Kev has "hit some good form at the right time"! Well fcuk me! Great form! With Captain Kev leading the charge over the last 14 games, we have barely collected enough points per game to qualify for 6th place if averaged out over a 46 game season! Brilliant! Kevin is "delighted" apparently. Well I'm chuffed that he is delighted! Perhaps he fancies another season in the Championship as he might have to strip fitter and leaner should we return to the Prem!

Best of all is the defence of "direct football". The questioner - Allardyce perhaps? - sets it all up with the very direct, "The team played more directly in the second half didn't they?" and Captain Kev responds from the prepared script: "in the first half we should have tried a few more long balls to open the game up" and "it was disappointing that we didn't see it and didn't realise earlier that we were playing balls we really shouldn't have been playing".

So that's it then, the Allardyce mantra to a T. Knock it long. Lump it. Play it short and you let the opposition score. So don't fcuk about. Hit it deep, hit it long, hit it high...and charge!

Another nail in the Academy of Football! But the Allardyce supporters don't care about that do they? Never mind that the only tactic he knows can't buy a win at home for love nor money. Allardyce knows best doesn't he?