Thursday, 31 May 2012

Faubert To Lazio

I know their captain has been arrested for match fixing, but things surely can't be THAT desperate at Lazio that they need Faux Pas! The Lazio Ultras, so beloved of the fascist saluting Di Canio, will take to the fat arsed Frenchman like a Rottweiler takes to the next door neighbour's pet rabbit.

What is it about some players? Dyer cons himself into contracts year after year and Faubert, despite not being good enough to hold down a place at West Ham - even in the Championship - has been on loan to Real Madrid and may well be on his way to a top six side in Seria A. Mussolini got the trains to run on time, but I bet he couldn't have worked the same trick with Faux Pas!

Football, it's a bloody crazy game!

West Ham 3 Eintrach Frankfurt 1

Great memories. Brian Moore's commentary, confirming his love affair with Trevor Brooking. Day, Lampard, Bonds, Tommy Taylor, Keith Robson, Billy Jennings, Patsy Holland...a cast of thousands! Germans? We piss on Germans!

Warnock Set To Walk Out On Leeds

With Fazal Al Hasawi closing in on Nottingham Forest rather than Leeds, it's looking increasingly likely that Warnock and Leeds will part company sooner rather than later. Old Motor Mouth departed for his summer hols muttering about the failure of the club to land more signings and knows what happens if you are a manager in place BEFORE a take over.

If Al Hasawi decides that Forest are the better bet - because they own their own stadium and unlike Leeds have won the European Cup perhaps - then Warnock may well prefer to go where he is loved rather than hang around at a place where he doesn't know who his next boss will be, and if they will even want him.

Interesting times at Elland Road!

Allardyce Smiling As Norwich's Lambert Looks To Follow Example Set By Rodgers

First rule of Fight Club? Don't hang around for second season syndrome! Jolly Rodgers has jumped ship and moved from the land of the unemployed to, well the city of the unemployed. And now Lambert has apparently walked out on Norwich, throwing Delia's nutmeg enhanced shepherd's pie against the wall because he was refused permission to talk to Villa.

All of which means that poor old Norwich and Swansea are well and truly buggered. Which suits Allardyce and West Ham down to the ground. Would anybody be hugely surprised if both clubs now occupied two of the bottom three positions next season? Let's face it, who would want the manager's job at either club? A young buck? God help him. A gnarled old has been like Steve Bruce or Alan Turds Curbishley? Or maybe McLeish would fancy a stab, let's face it, he has the perfect credentials!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Liverpool Boost West Ham's Survival Chances By Appointing Swansea's Rodgers

Well that's it then. Get your money on Swansea to go down next season. They were the surprise package of 2011-12 but it is a sobering thought that, even after a fantastic season, they only won twelve games in the Prem. That is enough to secure Rodgers one of the toughest jobs in football, so what does that say either about the actual calibre of the team he leaves behind, or about how reputations are blown out of all proportion in the modern era?

Rodgers is sensible to jump ship ahead of second season syndrome, when the players think they ARE Prem players and stop playing like terriers every game, but crazy to take on the Liverpool job. He isn't one of Liverpool's own and isn't a big enough name. The fans will welcome him initially but as soon as results turn, or fail to improve, will start complaining he isn't a big enough man for the job. This has unhappy marriage written all over it, even though Rodgers is undoubtedly a first class coach; let's not forget, Woy is a first class coach too!

But what do we care? Swansea are in the shit now. Who will want to follow on from the man who can walk on the River Tawe? There were signs towards the end of the season that the Swans had swallowed a few too many lead pellets and although they won a couple of matches as games became dead rubbers, they looked like a team who were on the point of being found out. I would be amazed if they survived next season. Now if Villa were to capture Lambert from Norwich, a second relegation place would be booked before pre season friendlies have even begun.

Next season might not be so tough after all!

£80m for Leeds - Cheap at that price!

When you consider that Sullivan and Gold paid £50m for a share of West Ham, taking on huge debts in the process, Leeds United must surely be a snip at £80m. Look at what you would get for your money!

A tenancy on a stadium and on a training ground. No real estate or land as such but hell, who cares about actual assets, it's all about brand rights isn't it? And there are Yorkshire men out there to milk!

A great history. True the present aint so clever and the future looks a tad dodgy, but never mind all that. As Freud said, "Only a good for nothing is not interested in his past" or as Worden asked, "What should they know of the present who only the present know?" The trophy cabinet may be empty at the moment but the dust rings still show where the trophies once stood.

A squad of players whose combined worth could be anything up to £15m.

Looked at like that, £80m may seem toppy, but if the new owners were to sink somewhere between £50m and £80m in the squad, then promotion to the Prem would be as good as guaranteed and then there may be no stopping the Whites Machine, providing Warnock is no longer the manager because we all know about his record in the top division.

It makes you wonder why LUST are buggering around proposing Club 9 Sports, an outfit that has previously expressed interest in Tranmere Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday.  Don't they understand what the club is really worth? The big question is who, in his right mind, would pass on the opportunity to snap up such a bargain?

In fact you have to wonder why Sullivan and Gold committed to West Ham when they could have had Leeds! Unless, of course, they were attracted to the possibility of redeveloping the Boleyn!

West Ham's Taste of the Orient

Give him his due, Barry Hearn has a bloody nerve! After moving heaven and earth to block our move to the Olympic Stadium, costing us God knows how much as our original bid was thrown out, he is now proposing that we share the ground with him. Yeah right!

Just imagine watching Leyton Orient v Yeovil Town in a 60,000 stadium! The players might just about hear the crowd across the running track if they all cluster together in one corner of the ground and use megaphones!

Atmosphere? There's more in outer space!

Huge Clear Out At Sheffield United

After being pipped to promotion by local rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town, the poor old Blunted Blades have wielded the axe and chopped 11 players from their squad. And talking choppers, it's a pity the axe didn't come down on Ched Evans slightly sooner!

What a shame that Shafting United have been forced down this route. What a pity that, despite access to West Ham's millions, they are still loitering in the third tier of English football. What a travesty that such a great club will find themselves hosting the likes of Yeovil and Orient next season.

Still, look on the bright side guys, next time you travel down to Brisbane Road you will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Stadium - from the outside of course! And as West Ham, minus Tevez, return to the Prem and plot a glorious future, we are thinking of you rusty Blades, crumbling away in the shit where you belong!

Call for all football in Italy to be suspended for three years!

Mario Monti
Add c

Bloody hell, you know something is pretty rotten when the Duke of Verona declares a curse on all your houses! OK, it was the Italian Primeminister who said it, but when the nation's leading politician calls for all football to be suspended in a nation where football is a religion, then the stench must be huge.

Already arrests have been made and doubts over the veracity of Juve's title must therefore be harboured. The suspicion, of course, is that there is Mafia influence at work - why else would filthy rich players become involved in match fixing?

There should now be a question mark over Italy's participation in the Euros. How many of the players in the squad are cheats? Nobody knows, but one player has already dropped out to, quote, clear his name.

The last time this happened, Juve were relegated and it is an uncomfortable coincidence that they are champions just as the story breaks again. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas so Italian football will not suspend itself but UEFA and FIFA should take the lead by banning all Italian sides - club and country - from international competitions until the game is clean.

Green to QPR

Sounds about right. No decent club needs or wants him. If Fernandes is daft enough to pay Joey Barton £83,000 a week to sit on his arse suspended, and SWP God knows how much to be SWP, then why not pay a King's ransom for England's 666?

If all Green is interested in is the money, then sod him. Go and join another relegation struggle, or perhaps sign up with Spurs to become a permanent understudy.

But Green might like to take into account the fans who have backed him right down the line, hailing him as England's number one even as he was missing crosses, letting in soft goals and getting his positioning all wrong. I would rather have Robinson personally and fancy Jussi as his understudy. If Green wants to join QPR then I will shed no tears. But Norwich, West Ham and QPR says everything that needs to be said about his true international credentials!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Leeds Mystery Bidders Revealed

It's Craig Whyte and Peter Ridsdale! Well Ken Bates once said he wanted to see Leeds in hell!

Tottenham's Croats Anybody?

I know we don't have a great record when it comes to picking up bargains off of Tottenham: Keane stands out as one of the biggest pups, doing his level best to secure our relegation under Grant; Greaves was on the bottle by the time he arrived and Davenport already had a dodgy family; Dumitrescu had already lost interest in football and Les Ferdinand and Chris Hughton were on their last legs; Rebrov was crap and Mark Robson flattered to deceive; Tarrico lasted about 15 minutes and it's a great shame that Mitchell Thomas lasted longer!

Which brings us down to Zammo, Matty and Jimmy Neighbour as the reasonable signings! Or have I forgotten somebody?

All that said, it is rumoured that 'Arry is planning to realease the two Croats, Corluka and Krancjar and, if true, I would have them both!

Feeding the Yak Pie & Mash and Jellied Eels

There have been some improbable transfer targets suggested over the last couple of weeks, but a move for Yakubu seems credible. Sullivan has tried to sign him before - even when he had a BMI to rival McBenni - and with Blackburn relegated, despite theYak's goals, the heavyweight forward may well fancy a move to a club that has fancied him for some time.

Allardyce would, of course, love it, really love it, if he could undermine Blackburn, and Yakubu is his sort of player - big and strong, the perfect Big Sam target man.

Would I have him? Had you asked me that last summer, I would have replied no. But Yakubu was a born again striker last year, stripping leaner, fitter and hungry for goals. He would be cheap too so I wouldn't be surprised if he is our first signing of the summer.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Total Kopfusion as Liverpool Mismanage Replacement of Dalglish

Allo, allo, what an unholy mess. According to Dave Whelan, Martinez has been offered the job. But according to Van Gaal he will be unveiled in one role or another by the end of the week. Mind you, Brendan Rodgers is back in the running apparently. Then there's Jurgen Klopp and the Fallen Madonna with the big boobies. I will say this only once, Livepool are turning into a complete farce!

Have Van Gaal and Martinez ever met, never mind agreed responsibilities? If one is unveiled as the Sporting Director as the other is named as manager, Liverpool could be triggering an instant power struggle - and that can only end in disaster.

Meanwhile, we have a vested interest because if either Rodgers or Martinez take the job, our survival chances will be boosted because it is bound to impact adversely on the club left behind. I made the case for Martinez when Zola was appointed and I have huge respect for the guy, but I fear he will be biting off more than he can chew if he takes the job. Liverpool FC is a poisoned chalice, a great history saddled with a mediocre present and unrealistic hopes for the future. Benitez buggered them, but the guy is still a hero in the eyes of the fans, as was Dalglish even as he spent £135m to win the Carling Piss Pot. Whoever steps into their shoes is going to get blisters, just ask Woy.

Birmingham Furious At Sky Snub

PLAYERS and bosses at Birmingham City Ladies Football Club have criticised Sky after it stopped television coverage of their triumphant FA Women’s Cup final before the crucial penalty shoot-out.

Mike Maybury, the club’s secretary, told the Birmingham Mail that the screening of the match had been a vital opportunity to promote women’s football.

The win marked a fightback from almost going out of business two years ago due to a lack of funding.

Birmingham City Ladies were 2-1 down to Chelsea Ladies with eight minutes of extra time left when Sky switched from the women’s game to instead show the build-up to the League One playoff final between Huddersfield and Sheffield United.

It meant those watching the women’s match missed out on seeing the swapping of shirts at the end of the game.

Wrong Nominations For Leeds Games of the 1980's

What is the Yorkshire post up to? None of the five nominated games were a patch on the two (and only) classic encounters between Leeds and West Ham in the 1981-82 season. The game at Elland Road on November 28th 1981 ended up 3-3 and the return fixture at Upton Park, 4-3 to the Hammers.

In the Elland Road fixture, Leeds scored through Graham, Hird and Cherry, with West Ham's goals coming from Brooking with two and a Hart own goal. I borrow the following report from the site linked below:

Alf Garnett’s beloved team, West Ham United, had always been known for footballing skills. Entertainment had been the name of their game over the years, and when they played United at Elland Road in November 1981 the goals flowed from both teams. United were managed at that time by Allan Clarke, who as a player thrilled thousands with his attacking skills, which made him one of the country’s leading goal-scorers. Clarke’s side however, had made a poor start to the 1981-82 First Division campaign and they had won only four and lost eight of their first fifteen games when West Ham United arrived at Elland Road.

They were up against a West Ham side that had run away with the Second Division, the previous season, and had followed that up by having made a big impact in the First Division. Clarke sprang a surprise by relegating Peter Barnes to the substitute’s bench but transfer-listed defenders, Trevor Cherry and Paul Hart, were in a Leeds side that took the game to the Hammers. They deservedly took a thirteenth minute lead through Scottish international Arthur Graham. Kevin Hird, who was justifying manager Clarke’s decision to include him ahead of Peter Barnes, got away on the right and crossed for Arthur Graham, at the far post, to fire in a low shot for his sixth goal of the season.

The immaculate Trevor Brooking drilled in a fifty-fifth minute equalizer for the Hammers but Kevin Hird scored with a penalty on the hour, after Arthur Graham had been fouled, to restore United’s lead. When Trevor Cherry headed in an Arthur Graham cross from six yards nine minutes later, Leeds seemed on course for a comfortable victory. But thirteen minutes from the end Hart, under strong pressure as he and David Cross chased the ball towards the Leeds goal, turned the ball past John Lukic and into his own net. Four minutes from the end the Hammers were celebrating a point when Trevor Brooking forced the ball in to make the final score 3-3.

The teams lined up as follows:

Leeds United: Lukic; Cherry, F. Gray; Stevenson, Hart, Burns; Harris, Graham, Butterworth, Hamson, Hird.

West Ham United: Parkes; Stewart, Lampard; Bonds, Martin, Devonshire; Neighbour, Goddard, Cross, Brooking, Pike.

If that game was good, the return at Upton park was even better! Flynn, Connor and Graham netted for Leeds but West Ham retaliated with another double from Brooking, a Cross goal and a Ray Stewart pen. The West Ham team that read:

Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Everald La Ronde, Paul Allen, Neil Orr, Alan Devonshire, Francois Van der Elst,
Paul Goddard, David Cross, Trevor Brooking, Geoff Pike

Now I would be indebted to anybody who remembers La Ronde - because I don't! - and if anybody can explain who played at the back. The team looks like it was set up 3-5-2 to me! It would be good if any Leeds fans could identify the other Leeds players that day as we don't beat your lot very often!

Rob Green In Shop Window

With his contract expiring this summer, England's number 666 is free to pack up his gloves and butter and move to pastures new, using his England appearances as an opportunity to showcase his talents.

The trouble for Rob is that anybody window shopping in Norway might have been excused if they thought that a mannequin was between the sticks for England. Poor Rob so so nearly conceded direct from a corner, failing to order a man to guard his near post and then going walkabout in anticipation of catching a ball curled to the edge of the six yard box. The trouble is, the tricky Norwegian corner taker saw Green coming and so so nearly humiliated him by bending the ball into the net at the unguarded near post. Green was literally saved by the woodwork.

Woy's coaching team had clearly been working on Gween's technique under crosses, however. There was a clear signal given to his defenders that he was coming for the ball - both arms raised extravagantly in the air - and he was much keener to come for the ball than usual. The trouble is, as usual, Green was making his decisions too early and according to some sort of schedule, rather than according to the quality and direction of the cross.

Rob did make a couple of saves but they were routine and he needlessly directed one behind for a corner. It is a sobering thought that Green was at fault for the Blackpool goal at Wembley, was culpable for Hull's goal at Upton Park and was embarrassed by the Bristol City goal too in our 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate. Anybody watching Gween closely in the window might consider him a tad expensive even on a fwee!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

OWen Will They Learn?

So the boards are linking us with a move for Michael Owen. Must be worth a punt in a pay when you play deal seems to be the popular opinion, as if Owen will actually play. Haven't we learnt the lesson with Keiron Dyer for pity's sake?

People mock Championship Manager / Football Manager, but years back, when work colleagues formed a league and invited me to join, we were amazed to find Owen out of the England squad by the age of 27 and struggling to start in the Premiership. This was when he was still an automatic first choice for England if still fit. They obviously knew something the rest of us didn't!

Owen, like Dyer, is a shot bolt. We should leave well alone because the last thing we need is another Billy Big Boots, dwarfing the rest of the squad in terms of reputation and not pulling his weight on the pitch.

In case you can't read the small print in John Green's Medical Review, the first two paragraphs read (and I piss you not!):

"I was asked to see Michael Owen by David James in 2006. I had just rehabilitated Kieron Dyer from his hamstring problems. This culminated in Newcastle receiving £7m for Kieron from West Ham United.

"Following Michael’s return from his cruciate ligament injury under my guidance, I treated Damien Duff and Dean Ashton for their respective foot and ankle fractures."

This guy is the kiss of fcuking death but at the end he assures his readers that Owen is not injury prone, he has just received bad medical treatment! And that's EXACTLY what Dyer and Ashton claimed!

Sullivan & Gold Issue Non Sequitur In Response To Fans' Complaints

So, West Ham renege on an agreement to reward their most loyal fans with a 20% discount on the price of season tickets for the coming season and, in an effort to head off criticism, Sullivan & Gold issue a statement telling us how much they are putting in to the club to buy players and pay down debts.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the two things are not related in any way. Sullivan & Gold knew what they were getting into when they bought the club, and if things have not gone exactly to plan then they have to be held accountable. They sacked Zola and appointed Grant. Sullivan signed Mido and co. They cocked up the appointment of O'Neill.

But that's assuming things haven't gone to plan. Last season I posted how relegation might actually suit the owners, giving them the opportunity to offload high wage earners and restructure the club's wage structure. And what's happened? Whereas the highest paid player was on £80,000 per week plus, we return to the Prem with Nolan on £40k per week. If Carlton is to be believed, his salary was halved because of relegation and you can bet your grandmother's life savings that Diop, Faye, Carew and co were on a relative pittance compared to the squad players they replaced. The parachute payment was still in place, ticket prices didn't drop and fans showed up in their droves despite the dire quality of the football for much of the season. In fact, the owners are now complaining that promotion to the Prem is an EXPENSE rather than a revenue generator. Dear God, it's financial Armageddon if you go down and financial Armageddon if you go up. We will be told how expensive the move to the OS is next!

But all this is irrelevant anyway. A commitment was made to the fans by the club and that commitment should be met. Sullivan and Gold are multi millionaires, the loyal fans they are ripping off may be struggling to meet the cost of supporting the club they love. To phase the discount over 4 years is unacceptable, not least because some of those fans may be dead in 4 year's time. And anyway, part of the deal in moving to the OS is meant to be that ticket prices will reduce.

And finally, Sullivan and Gold have the cheek to boast that season ticket prices have been frozen for the last three years! Bloody hell, last year we were in the Championship! That's like replacing Heston Blumenthal with Macdonalds for a wedding function and charging the brides' parents the same! The season tickets are owed a 20% discount for that alone!

The point of the picture? Look at the title!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Leeds Fans Vote For Wrong Game Of The 1970s!

I remember the 7-0 thumping of Southampton well. The poor Saints were chasing shadows all match and Leeds passed the ball around beautifully, and were wonderful in front of goal. It was a cracking performance but as a contest it was a non event. Game of the decade? No way. There was only one contender for that title, West Brom 2 Leeds 1.

The first goal was handed on a plate to the Baggies, with Jack, "Little Black Book" Charlton giving the ball away to Astle in the centre circle, and the bracelet fancier slipping a pass to Suggett who played in Tony Brown to do what he did best, sliding home a neat finish. For anybody too young to remember, Brown was the Kevin Phillips of his age - great goal scoring record (that was his twenty-seventh of the season!) but not good enough for England.

But what followed makes the game live in the memory for ever courtesy of Jasper Carrott lookalike referee Ray Tinker. First off, with Charlton blocked off in the box as he went for a cross, Tinker made the amazing decision to award an indirect free kick in the box for obstruction. Jones promptly slammed the ball into a wall no more than five yards away from the kick.

Next up came  three fantastic chances for West Brom to go two goals ahead. Suggett, clean through was defied by a superb save by Sprake, then the Welsh clown made a brilliant block with his feet from a Brown shot, and the Baggies goal machine promptly passed the ball to the grounded keeper from the follow up.

Keeping in mind the recent fuss over Barton, just take a look at the Bremner attempt to remove Lovett's head with a flailing elbow on Youtube. I flinched watching it after all these years! Barry Davies simply says, "Bremner responded very strongly" and the ginger tosser isn't even booked. Different era! Today, Bremner would be off and facing a charge of violent conduct without question, and a scrum of players would have joined a melee around the little Scottish shit. From the free kick, awarded to Leeds, they get the ball in the net, but the linesman's flag, with marvellous irony, rules out Jones's header from an Eddie Gray cross.

Alan Clarke then nearly scores with a deft back header saved by Worcestershire cricketer Jim Cumbes. Suggett scores, but the offside flag rules that one out too. Then comes THE moment, perhaps the most controversial incident in the history of English football, apart from Hurst's "goal" against West Germany. Brown wins the ball and bursts into the Leeds half but Suggett is clearly offside by about five yards. The linesman flags, but Brown doesn't play the pass so Tinker waves play on - but everybody has stood still expecting the offside award. Realising that the ball is still live, Brown runs on and, with Sprake advancing off his line, rolls the ball into the path of an offside Astle who puts the ball in the net. 2-0, and with Leeds' title slipping away from them, cue pandemonium. Fans - in suits and ties - invade the pitch and are rugby tackled by the police, Revie marches on to the field, Leeds players scrum around Tinker, the linesman has his say, and the goal is still awarded. A coin is then thrown at the linesman on the far side, very unfairly because he wasn't even involved in the decision, though he had ruled out Jones's effort earlier.

Clarke then scores "from an almost impossible angle" according to Barry Davies but West Brom hold out for a victory that robs Bastard United of the title.

Do watch the Youtube video and see how the game has changed - not least the moment when Merrick keeps the ball in touch and clatters into two fold up chairs on the touchline! Amazing.

Poor Sheffield United Robbed In Penalty Shoot Out

How cruel is fate?

Poor Sheffield United. As if being pipped to automatic promotion by local rivals Sheffield Wednesday wasn't bad enough.

As if seeing former manager Neil Warnock lead QPR to promotion last year whilst the Blades slipped down into the third tier of English football wasn't a hard enough blow.

As if seeing the former club of Alan Curbishley, the man who was at the helm during West Ham's great escape, romp away with the division this season wasn't a big enough kick in the teeth!

As if having their leading scorer sent to prison for rape wasn't a big enough punch in the nuts.

As if seeing West Ham, the team who unfairly relegated Sheffield United by winning every game with just Tevez on the pitch, promoted via the play offs wasn't a bad enough blow...

Fate had to deliver one, last, savage blow beneath the belt, with poor, poor, poor, poor, poor Sheffield United losing 8-7 on penalties to Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town.

Dear God, anybody would think that Sheffield United had done something terrible to deserve all this misfortune. Anybody would think Fate was dealing out some form of divine justice, that for some, inexplicable reason, the poor Blades were getting their just deserts.

Now I wonder why that might be? I wonder. I wonder.

It's almost as if in her thirst for retribution, Fate is determined to see the full monty!

Come On Huddersfield!

Never mind Jordan Rhodes, I don't want him anyway, let's all unite behind Huddersfield today and cheer them on to victory over Sheffield United. It was wonderfully agonising for Shafting United fans that local rivals Sheffield Wednesday pipped them to automatic promotion and I would love it, really love it, if another Yorkshire team consigned the Blunted Blades to an additional year in the third tier of English football!

We are back where we belong - without Tevez; let's hope that Shafting United remain exactly where they belong: deep, deep, deep in the shit!

Bas Dost or not Bas Dost, that is the question!

On paper the record looks good. Top scorer in his league with 32 goals in 34 games for Heerenveen - he wasn't even playing for a team like Ajax!

But there's the rub. Ajax have the pick of the Dutch talent along with PSV and Feyenoord and, if we are honest, the Dutch league itself is decidedly mediocre despite the brilliance of their national team. If you are Dutch and half decent, you spend a very short time in the shop window, then somebody buys you.

The fee mooted on the net is £7m. That is a hell of a lot of money to gamble on the basis that the guy scores regularly in a league where even Freddie Sears might bag a goal or two. The defending is truly awful in Holland, and the mentality really does seem to be, go out there and outscore the opposition. There were an average of 4.23 goals in each Heerenveen game played last season!

Still we shouldn't complain. If Zola or Grant were in charge, we would be bidding for a Heerenveen defender!

Sears Sitting Pretty

So what now for Freddie Sears? Last season should have been the making of him. Out of the Premiership, here was his opportunity to find his feet, establish himself in Claret and Blue, plunder a stack of goals and trigger the debate, "Can he reproduce that in the Prem?"

Allardyce even picked him in the first eleven for the opening two fixtures, but with a gross return of one goal from 180 minutes of football, it was obvious that the team needed more creativity and firepower, so Freddie was dumped - again.

He had more chances - notably in the Cups against Aldershot and Sheffield Wednesday, but again the team looked toothless and in the FA Cup defeat, Sears missed a sitter.

So it was off to Colchester on loan, and yet another opportunity to recover confidence by filling his boots against lesser opposition. Sadly, Freddie has small boots. Eleven games yielded just two goals, one a penalty (which he only took because the three first choice penalty takers were not on the field) and one goal in the final fixture of the season. The word pathetic unfortunately springs to mind.

But Freddie is still on our books. Why? Well Duxbury and Zola were desperate for some good news and offered him a ridiculous contract so they could boast that the Academy star had been secured for the next God knows how many years - I think it was a four year deal actually. And Freddie isn't going to earn the sort of money we are paying him anywhere else is he?

Still, let's be positive. For three years now we have said that Freddie's goals may be like London buses. You wait for hours and then suddenly five come along at once. Ignore everything that went before that final game of last season, and Freddie has a 100% goals to games played ratio at the moment! Man City will be enquiring on that basis!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Neil Warnock Reveals How Leeds Wish Went Wrong

So, looking in the Leeds UnitedNews Now board, I couldn't help but notice that the club have announced half price entry to Flamingo Land as part of a sponsorship deal. It's not quite the Premiership but beggars can't be choosers eh guys? Mind you, it does chime with a conversation I overheard Warnock having in a bar in Shepherds Bush yesterday...

Warnock came into the bar with a kitten and a flamingo to be greeted by an angry landlord demanding, "Oy, didn't you see the sign? No pets!"
"But these aren't pets," insisted Warnock, "They're my latest Leeds signings. We're in for a drink together. We'll have three pints of Stella please." The landlord was a bit perplexed but with business tight due to the recession, served Warnock as the flamingo and the kitten found a table.

Ten minutes later, the flamingo flies over to the bar, stands on one leg and orders another three pints. These are downed and Warnock returns to the bar and orders another round. The pints downed, the flamingo flies back to the bar and repeats the order. Then Warnock again. Then the flamingo. Then Warnock. Then the flamingo. Then Warnock.

By now all three are completely rat arsed and the barman is amazed. "Fair dos," he says, "That's one bloody clever flamingo but there's one thing I don't understand."
"What?" demands Warnock propping himself against the bar and belching.
"Well", explains the barman. "You bought the first round, the flamingo the second, you got the third round in, then the flamingo, then you, then the flamingo and so on. How comes the bleedin' kitten never buys any drinks?"
"Ah", replies Warnock. "That's my fault. I went into Elland Road  see and saw this dirty little bottle of brown ale lying on the floor. So I picked it up, gave it a rub, and out popped Genie Bates. Bloody hell I thought, I can have three wishes. But Genie Bates boomed, 'Three wishes? Three wishes? This is bleedin' Yorkshire. You'll have one wish and be done with it. And you have five seconds to name it or I'll retract the offer.' Neil sups on his pint and continues, "So Genie Bates starts the countdown, five, four, three...and I was in a terrible panic and just shouted out what every 63 year old man dreams of...'I'll have a long legged bird with a tight pussy!'"

We're All In This Together Claim West Ham

Austerity bites again. Instead of offering a 20% discount up front in return for owning season tickets for five years - as promised by the Icelandic bankers - the club are phasing the discount over four years, at 5% per year. It's 20% David, but not as they expected it!

But anybody complaining should wake up and smell Karren Brady's caviar! These are difficult times and we all have to pull our belts tighter. Teachers, firefighters, policemen, nurses, doctors, you name it - government ministers apart - everybody is feeling the pinch. Public servants have to wait an extra eight years to collect their pensions, so West Ham season ticket holders have no right to gripe over this minor inconvenience.

I mean what's the problem? It's 20% at the end of the day, just delayed or deferred. Mind you, if you're 93 it might prove a bit of a pisser!

Oh Fjords, Green Starts In Norway!

Disaster beckons! I can hear the commentary now!

'Ronald Greenwood! John Lyall! Sir Trevor Brooking! Sir Robert Moore! Geoffrey Hurst! Russell Brand! Lady Karren! David Sullivan - can you hear me, David Sullivan! Your boy took one hell of a beating! Your boy took one hell of a beating!'

West Ham Transfer Targets: Bert, Oscar, Placido, Grover, Biff and Sulley

Well if we are interested in Elmo(hamady) we might as well go for the whole team: Kermit, Ernie, Big Bird, Miss Piggy...oh I forgot, we already have Karren Brady!

Let's face it, we've had enough Muppets on our books in the past!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Leeds Can't Raise £450,000 to Buy Ward

Dear God, how the mighty have fallen! With Warnock trying to strip away the dead wood from the squad and build a team capable of challenging for promotion, a priority target is in real danger of being lost for the sake of a miserly £450,000. Ipswich Town can't believe their luck because they thought they stood no chance of landing Ward with Leeds expressing an interest.

So much for history! So much for being a huge club. So much for heritage. So much for league titles. So much for Bremner, Lorimer, Hunter, Clarke, Giles, Gray, Charlton, Sprake, Jones, Madeley, Reaney, Yorath and co. Bloody hell Gabby could probably afford to buy Ward from her salary from covering the Euros this summer!

Bates should take over the running of Greece, because with his austerity measures, the Germans wouldn't feel the need to invade! However, it's no way to run a club with aspirations to go up. It's time for Leeds supporters to find their voices and start campaigning for a change of ownership. Leeds remain a huge club and their fans deserve better.

I admit to harbouring a deep seated loathing for Bastard United, but I don't want to see them slipping back into the third tier of English football, and if Snodgrass and co depart, as seems increasingly likely, that must be a real possibility. Leeds fans have suffered enough and a great club with a great history deserves better. Surely there's somebody out there who can see the potential and who can buy Master  Bates off? Where's a whippet owning, black pudding eating, flat capped Abromovich when you need one?

12 Match Ban For QPR's Barton is a Shameful Cop Out

So John Terry faces court action for allegedly calling Anton Ferdinand a "fcuking black whatever" and Suarez gets an eight match ban for using the N word, but Mr One Cap & Two Convictions Barton  is only being stood down for 12 games after one of the most disgraceful displays ever seen on a football field. And amazingly, the gRRRs are arguing poor Joey is being victimised.

The FA should have said enough is enough and slapped a life ban on the guy. The kick at Aguero, after he had been sent off, was utterly beyond the pale in itself, but Barton then compounded the crime by claiming on Twatter that he was deliberately trying to get a Man City player to retaliate in the hope of provoking a red card to "balance" things up. We talk of "professional fouls" but this has taken the unacceptable face of "professionalism" to a new all time low level.

The guy behaves like an animal when he loses his rag and he constitutes a danger to other players. There must be a screw loose somewhere because he is such a Jekyll and Hyde character, sometimes sounding intelligent and decent, and then returning to ugly type when something flips his switch.

Ban him for life is the only answer. The FA have bottled it so QPR should sack him and every other club should agree not to sign him.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Leeds United Manager Warnock On The Point Of Leaving

Calm down, calm down, he's off on holiday - for now! But how long he remains after he jets back in is anybody's guess.

Captain Snakeinthegrass has already suggested that the 63 year old seven times promoted infected bladder may not be around for long, and battle lines are being drawn between him and Master Bates already.

Things are not as Warnock was led to believe, it appears. He was expecting three new signings before he packed his bags and trumpety trumpeted off on his hols. But thus far, three signings have become one, with money for transfer fees and wages not forthcoming from Bates and his tight arse licking board. With eleven plus players threatened with the chop and three first choice players looking to move on, the hoped for promotion bid could turn into a relegation struggle. And if that happens, Warnock could be looking for the door before Bates tries to show him it!

I expected Leeds to make a charge for the playoff places when Warnock was appointed but that never materialised. In fact, Leeds went backwards. Perhaps Warnock has lost his mojo after all. Let's face it, at 63, he is no spring chicken and retirement, after his QPR pay off, may have more appeal than sharing a stadium with Master Bates' ego.

Interesting times ahead!

Nouble Shocker!

Nouble has been released on a free. Is that it? Is that the last connection with Zola, Clarke and Nani finally cut? I'm racking my brains and to be honest, I can't think of any pups brought to the club by the incompetent triumverate who remain.

Savio, long gone. Diamante, gone. da Costa, gone. Tristan, gone. Di Michele, gone. Lopez, gone. Lastpickeva, gone. Kovac, gone. Behrami, gone. Mido, gone. McCarthy, gone. Daprela, gone. Franco, gone. Ilunga, gone. Ilan, gone. Jimenez, gone. Kurucz, gone. Have I forgotten anybody?

Add to that: Bellamy gone. Collins, gone. Etherington, gone. McCartney, gone. Anton, gone. Where are the Nani-Zola-Clarke signings now? Bellamy, Etherington, Collins and Anton all played in the Prem last season; and Linda is set to return!

Has there ever been a more disastrous phase in our club's history? Nani screwed us. Zola buggered us. Clarke couldn't have cared less.

Nouble will go down in West Ham history because he was the final tie to be cut with the three clowns. Look at that list of signings and think of how much money we wasted in transfer fees and wages! Zola still hasn't found a job. There's a surprise! Nani went home and promptly presided over relegation. There's a surprise! And Liverpool have sacked Dalglish, showing that Clarke can even dethrone a king. Yet another surprise!

And Duxbury? Out of football altogether. Quelle surprise!

Vaz Te Departs!

It's ok, he's only gone off on holiday. The point of the thread is the way one throw away comment is exploded out into a story which isn't a story at all. Fact, Vaz Te is on a three year contract. Fact, nobody has come in for him. Fact, he will earn more in the Prem with West Ham than he could hope to ever earn in Portugal, his supposed preferred destination.

So Vaz Te is going nowhere, except on holiday, and although he is almost an anagram of Tevez, I expect him to return after a nice break and to give his all in Claret & Blue. West Ham blogs that have irresponsibly recycled this journalistic pap should be ashamed of themselves!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Leeds have a treacherous Snod in the Grass!

So the club is trying to sound upbeat and Warnock is thumping his usual tub, trying to convince us that he is again going to walk on the water he passes when his kidney stones allow, only for captain Robert Snakeinthegrass to come out and question the entire Semen Warnock & Master Bates project! With captains like that, who needs disgruntled squad members?

Snodgrass is, of course, looking after number one. He is in the last year of his contract and knows that a club like West Ham may be interested at a knock down price. It sounds pretty much like a "Someone please come and get me" plea when he says, "The chairman is trying to put a bit of pressure on me and he's telling me what plans he has for the club. But they told me the same type of plans the season before and it didn't work out so it's hard to buy into these things again."

And he goes further, dismissing Warnock as a "Here today, gone tomorrow" merchant when he insists, "Who knows whether he has one or two more years left at Leeds? It's all right for him to say he could get me a move but if he leaves the people above him in the football club are not going to worry about what he said."

And you can't get more pointed than, "My future doesn't lie in the hands of Neil Warnock, it's in the hands of Robert Snodgrass."

All of which translates to "Snod you Neil, I'm alright"!

Looks like choppy waters ahead for the good ship Whites Pig!

Faye Pays Price For Winning Promotion

Football is a cruel game. Most would agree that Faye was one of our better players this season, a veritable rock at times, using his experience, football intelligence and long legs to compensate for his lack of pace. And had we missed out on promotion, it seems fairly certain that, fitness proved, he would have been awarded a new contract.

Instead, his reward for helping us to an immediate return to the Prem is to find himself unemployed. I'm not quibbling with the decision in footballing terms as his lack of pace would be cruelly exposed in the Prem, but is seems a bit of a rum way of saying thank you.

Carew and Faubert have also been shown the door but can have no complaints. I have dealt with Faux Pas on another thread and, at 28, he will have the opportunity to frustrate fans at another club. For Carew, however, things go from bad to worse. There were reports that he had filed for bankruptcy - and there's only one way a modern footballer can fall that far financially surely - and he has looked truly hopeless for most of the season. Where now for the washed up Viking?

This is surely only the first wave of departures. Sears, O'Brien, Demel, Diop...the list isn't quite endless but there's a lot of flotsam and jetsam in the squad at the moment. Faye isn't one of them; he's just too old and too slow. Let's hope he finds another club quickly.

Any fond memories of Faye, other than his celebration after "scoring" that goal against Miserablebrough, post below.

Faubert told "Foutre Le Camp!"

Merde! Early contender for Hammer of the Year, Julien Faubert has been shown the door by Sam Pot, along with old lags Carew and Faye. This will come as a major shock for the Frenchman's fans who insisted he had been rejuvenated under Allardyce, failing to see that a couple of goodish games does not a quality player make.

In truth, Faubert is shit. He is a full back who can neither tackle nor head the ball, and a winger who cannot cross. The £6m Curbishley spent on him is up there with the great follies commonly known as Dyer, Ljunberg, Savio, McCarthy, Mido, Boa Morte, Davenport, Quashie, Jimenez, Kovac and Barrera; he may have stayed longer and played more games, but that just means the agony was prolonged!

Of course, Faubert has had some highs: there was the game against Hull when he played Cole in with a beautiful pass down the line and scored a goal too, and his only other goal, against Leicester, this season. However the lows far exceed the highs. How about his miserable attempts to head a winner at Birmingham this season, closing his eyes and flinching away from the ball - and his brilliant challenge which earnt him a booking and a suspension in that same match when the squad was already decimated by injuries and suspensions? Or his woeful substitute appearance against Arsenal which saw an epic rear guard action destroyed inside a minute? Or his refusal to come back to the ground to sit on the bench last season after an injury to a team mate (Tomkins?) in the warm up?

It was wonderfully fitting that Faubert's final contribution in Claret and Blue was to give the ball away in his own half deep into injury time against Blackpool. Suddenly it was panic stations with only a last ditch intervention from Reid averting disaster.

I have tried to like Faubert and have argued his case at times, but it says a lot about his incompetence that the likes of Spector and O'Brien were often considered better options at right back. He will not be missed!

If you have a favourite Faubert moment that I have forgotten - good or bad - add it below!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Gold Gives Allardyce £20m Transfer War Chest

Funny the way that figure of £20m keeps coming up. That was the sum Fernandes promised to invest in the transfer market to keep QPR up, and whilst they fell some way short of that, they survived.

So is £20m enough? Probably given the number of players available on frees, loans and reduced fees. Allardyce will probably plunder a few from Bolton and Blackburn and as the signings of Cisse and Jelavic show, there's gold in them there hills if you shop around carefully. Four £5million signings, two free transfers - including Joe Cole - and a couple of quality loan signings would do us very nicely thank you very much.

It promises to be an interesting summer. And it threatens to be a challenging Premiership next season unless Martinez leaves and Wigan fall apart, and Villa fail to recruit and invest in a quality manager.

Second season blues could hit Swansea and Norwich and Reading are likely to struggle. The Martin O'Neill factor seems to have run out of steam at Sunderland too. A bad start to next season will test his commitment to a club he claims to support. Meanwhile, the managerial appointment at West Brom could be telling. They are overdue a yo-yo!

But new signings apart, the most crucial thing is the early season fixture list. Two years ago, the computer spewed out a nightmare first seven games and we never recovered. The same happened to Bolton this season. Muamba survived after dying on the pitch, but no amount of heart massage could revive the Trotters after their dreadful start , just as Grant's atonement and even the signing of Ba proved irrelevant after our dire start to 2010-11.

And as QPR proved too, winning at home is the key to survival. The twelfth man needs to get behind West Ham at the Boleyn!

QPR's Kieron Dyer Signs New Contract In A&E Department

You really couldn't write it. Another summer, another contract for Kieron Dyer.  The former West Ham star turn of the treatment room has been in intensive training for the last month, ready for signing the contract, practising holding the sterilised pen whilst enclosed in a hermathetically sealed protective bubble. Cometh the hour cometh the man. With another year's salary as the incentive, Kieron carefully picked up the germ free pen, and with an emergency medical team standing at the ready, made his £ sign signature on the page.

Dyer is now looking forward to another year of pre-season friendlies and the possibility of another seven or so minutes of real game time once the season starts for proper - providing he doesn't come within a hundred yards of Joey Barton in training!

Was Cole really only on £14k per week this season?

That's what The Sun is claiming, albeit I don't think Cole mentions that figure at all - although he does say he took a 50% pay cut to stay at the club following relegation.

The intriguing thing is that this suggests Cole was earning just £28,000 a week, or a misery £1,456,000 a year when in the Prem. That doesn't tally with the £40,000 per week that the spreadsheet that was leaked suggested. Of course, the club claimed that the figures on that sheet were bogus, but Upson's and Parker's salaries were confirmed, suggesting that if the figures were made up, somebody was guessing well.

The Sun rightly commends Cole's loyalty, contrasting him with Judas Defoe, but Defoe might respond that, unlike Carlton, he is on the plane to the Euros - and heading for another season in the Europa League too!

Who knows what the true figures are? The point is, Cole stayed and he played in crucial role on Saturday, scoring and assisting both the West Ham and Blackpool goals. He still gets unfair stick from the "fans", many of whom can't get over the fact that he is black I suspect, but he just gets on with the job regardless and genuinely seems to hold the club dear to his heart.

The trouble is, that generous big hearted honesty is the reason why he has failed to fulfil his true potential. If he could become a mean selfish bastard over the summer, given the dearth of English strikers, he might yet have an international future; but we all know he won't. The guy is just too damn nice!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Tottenham to challenge exclusion from Champions League through the courts

After being excluded from next season's Champions League because of Chelsea's victory over Bayern, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is reportedly exploring legal avenues to try to win back the right to compete in next season's competition.

A source close to the club confirmed, "We feel very aggrieved. We qualified for the competition by finishing fourth in the Prem and as things stand, are not allowed to compete because, for the first time in the history of the game, a German team lost in a penalty shoot out."

"We are considering a legal challenge which could actually delay the start of the tournament if UEFA don't back down. Once the legal challenge has been launched, UEFA would not be at liberty to start the competition until the matter has been resolved. Given the timescales, this would probably delay the competition into Mid November or even early December, presenting serious problems and possibly forcing the scrapping of the entire competition."

"Whilst that would be unfortunate for the other clubs, we do not want the competition to go ahead without us for obvious reasons. This has serious ramifications for our club. Players such as Bale and Modric may now want to play elsewhere in order to play in the Champions League but, of course, if the competition didn't proceed, that would no longer be a reason for them leaving."

"We used this tactic successfully over the Olympic Stadium, forcing a rethink after building in delays and we intend to use the same water tight legal case here, namely that it isn't fair. It isn't fair that just because Chelsea won it, they have the right to defend it. It isn't fair that in January we were miles ahead of Arsenal but ended up finishing behind them. It isn't fair that we can't qualify for a competition called the Champions League just because we finished twenty points behind the champions. It isn't fair that our manager Harry Redknapp met his target for the season, but we still don't to get to play in the competition."

"Are we confident of winning? Listen, if a guy can open a bank account in Monaco in the name of his dog and claim to have forgotten about it, and not be done for tax evasion, anything is possible. If UEFA want the Champions League to go ahead, they will have to let us play in it. Otherwise we will bugger up the whole shebang out of spite, just as we did with West Ham's bid for the Olympic Stadium!"

Bring Joe Cole Home!

It wasn't my idea, but it is a damn good one. Yes he has turned us down before but after a year in France and out of the England squad, he won't have a queue of would be suitors. With Vaz Te wide on the left, Carlton down the middle and Joe Cole on the right, switching flanks with RVT, we might just have a front three capable of unsettling Premiership opponents.

True we would then be vulnerable defensively, so a true holding midfielder would be required to sit behind Noble and Nolan, but it is a shape we are now familiar with and Joe Cole could be the missing attacking link we need.

If we capture him early in the summer it would have the same effect as the signing of Nolan last year. And who knows, Rio might just deliver on his promise to come home too!

Allardyce Draws Up His Long List Of Transfer Targets

So now the hard work starts. In truth, as the final league positions of the three relegated teams shows - third, fourth and fifth - the Championship is a sub standard division that is nowhere near as hard to get out of as some would have us believe. Norwich and Southampton have both gone through the division without pausing in the last two seasons too, suggesting that the gulf is between the Prem and the Championship rather than the Championship and the old Division Three.

The need to bolster the squad is urgent. People got carried away about Demel on the back of a few decent games but he is not fast enough nor good enough for the Prem. With Faubert off - we hope - and O'Brien not good enough, we need two right backs for starters. The left back situation is no better. Taylor is fine as a left back in the Championship but, as Blackpool proved yesterday, he is vulnerable when up against a good opponent. And McCartney is, at best, cover in the Prem

Can Tomkins and Reid hack it in the Prem as a pairing? I would give them a go but we obviously need more experience in the centre of defence. Faye is another who has done a job this year but who will struggle when up against quality, pacey strikers. So that's two centre backs too! We are up to five players already!

The midfield will be controversial. Can Noble cope in the Prem? I think so but his performance yesterday was disappointing. Collison? Not for me. Squad player at best. O'Neil? The same holds for him too. Taylor? Let's not forget that he wasn't good enough for Bolton and where are Bolton now? Nolan? He's been there, seen it and done it. He will still be key to Sam's plans.

And what about the strikers? Baldock? There's already talk of him leaving - on loan at least. Maynard? Not good enough for me. A useful squad player perhaps. Cole? He has looked very impressive in the playoffs and over the last few games of the season. A summer's rest may see him return stronger and more mobile. He has taken his chances well recently so maybe, maybe, he is about to realise his potential. And Vaz Te? He has been the difference for me, a great Allardyce signing.

Which leaves Green. Watch that Blackpool goal again. Green should have been off his line and a yard to his right. He got his angles totally wrong for me and it reminded me of a Wolves goal in that 1-3 home defeat under Zola. I would rather have Robinson and / or Jussi personally.

So here's the rub with Allardyce's strategy. He built a machine to grind its way out of the Championship but that machine is likely to break down badly in the Prem. We need nine or ten new players with the likes of Demel, Faubert, Diop, Faye, O'Brien and Carew being shown the door, Baldock leaving on loan and McCartney (if we sign him), Collison, O'Neil and probably Reid becoming squad players. Blackburn and Bolton players will figure prominently on Allardyce's wish list, but they both came down this season for a reason - and that reason wasn't just that The Ego was no longer their manager.

Yesterday was great for bonding. Fans, manager, captain, players - we were United in joy. It's a shame that sense of unity is about to be lost, but as Alan Sugar twattered yesterday, without new players we will struggle. But for all that, it's great to be back isn't it? Who wants to win most weekends? Where's the fun in that?

Southampton And Reading Miss All The Fun

Poor old Southampton and Reading, the season kind of fell flat at the death didn't it? Sure they won promotion - and deservedly so - but where was the day out at Wembley? It's so much more fun doing it via the playoffs!

What was that line in Groundhog Day? "Once I met this beautiful woman in a beach bar. We had cocktails and then made love in the surf. Why can't I have that day over and over and over?"

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Ask Spurs - The Game Has Officially Gone Crazy!

WTF? Bayern Munich win a penalty in the Champions League final and they let a Dutchman take it! Didn't somebody tell them that Germans don't miss penalties?

Well somebody obviously forgot to tell Bastian Schweinsteiger. After allowing a Croat to take a penalty and duly miss, the Germans finally turned to the most German German in the history of Germany. Down he climbed from his Waffen SS Panza tank, his blue eyes gleaming, his blond hair close cropped in best military fashion. Up he goosestepped and...missed!

Incredible. I watched the game with a Spurs fan who complained afterwards that God must be an Arsenal fan if you can't even rely on Germans in a penalty shoot out to see Tottenham through to the Champions League! You really couldn't write it. And so much for German efficiency. They were hurriedly engraving Chelsea's name on the Cup when the game ended; that should have been done when Messi missed that penalty in Barcelona!

It must be pretty rough being a Spurs fan at the moment. Out of the Champions league and West Ham back in the Prem, but it would be even worse to be Greek. God help them when the Germans wake up tomorrow looking for somebody to give a damn good kicking!

Blackpool Kings Arms 1 West Ham 2 - Played Crap But Never In Doubt!

So there you have it. We didn't turn up on the day, Tomkins and Cole apart, but we still waltzed into the Premiership. Blackpool ran their hearts out bless them, and carved out a host of good chances, but a pub team is always found out in the final third at each end of the pitch, and so it proved.

Full marks to Ollie, he played his mind games all week and sent out a team well pumped up and briefed to exploit our flanks. First ten minutes, Taylor was all at sea at left back and until he went off, Demel was a disaster. Blackpool could have been three goals up inside 20 minutes and should have scored another in the second half. Green was so nearly beaten at his near post, Demel lost the ball for another chance and Taylor did his level best to assist a Blackpool opener too. But was I ever worried? Nope. Not even when Blackpool equalized! Class will out in the end nine times out of ten and Blackpool hadn't lost nine on the bounce against us going in to the game. Never mind you Tangerine Dreamers, your time will come - eventually.

So who played well for West Ham? Cole took his goal superbly and assisted Vaz Te for the second. Generally speaking, he led the line well. Tomkins was excellent at the back, although he over committed himself prior to the move that Phillips really should have scored from in the first quarter of an hour. Vaz Te was lively but should have put the game beyond Blackpool when clean through. Had that one gone in, I fancy we would have won by four or five. But those apart, who?

Green made one good save,turning the ball onto the post, and one routine save, turning a shot from the edge of the box round the post, but otherwise was untroubled except when he collected the ball from the back of his net, having got his angles wrong, allowing Ince too much of the goal to shoot at, and when he nearly fumbled a free kick, hands shaped the wrong way as with THAT USA goal. He isn't a quick learner is he?

Noble was very disappointing despite clearing the ball off the line and delivering a couple of wonderful corners. Nolan's performance was patchy, over-hitting passes, although his shot against the bar oozed class. Reid did OK. Taylor assisted for the goal but was ordinary otherwise. O'Neil was taken off. Collison was ordinary. Demel was awful. Have I forgotten anybody?

The performance overall was somewhere between ordinary and poor but who cares?  You don't have to be great to beat a pub team do you? The trouble is, there aren't many pub teams left in the Prem!

But for now who cares? We are back where we belong and it was great fun doing it via the playoffs. Now the rebuilding begins!

Player Ratings: Green 6, Demel 1, Tomkins 9, Reid 7, Taylor 5; Collison 5, O'Neil 4, Noble 5, Nolan 6, Vaz Te 7; Cole 8 Subs: McCartney 6, Faubert 5

Sunderland's Craig Gordon Tailor Made To Replace Green


It would be typical wouldn't it, if we signed Craig Gordon as an apparently great value replacement for the soon to depart Rob Green? On the face of it, a man with 40 international caps who once commanded a transfer fee of £9million, looks like a snip given he is on a free transfer. But sometimes you should look a gift horse in the mouth, or at least check out his hocks and flanks.

How many caps did Kieron Dyer have when we signed him? Thirty three. And Gordon is to goalkeeping what Dyer is to the midfield. Talented, unquestionably, but an injury record that should see any club think long and hard before they offer a contract.

And, of course, there's the little matter of him being Scottish!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Nervous ahead of the Blackpool game? Why would we be?

Blackpool 1 West Ham 3

Robert Green: Lars Jacobsen, Daniel Gabbidon, James Tomkins, Wayne Bridge; Gary O'Neil, Mark Noble, Scott Parker; Victor Obinna (2) Frederic Piquionne Robbie Keane (1)  Subs: Winston Reid, Luis Boa Morte, Radoslav Kovac

West Ham 4 Blackpool 0

Manuel Almunia: Julien Faubert, Winston Reid,  James Tomkins, George McCartney: Jack Collison (1)  Pape Bouba Diop, Kevin Nolan, Matt Taylor;  John Carew (1) Sam Baldock (2) Subs: Abdoulaye Faye, Fred Sears, Mark Noble 

Blackpool 1 West Ham 4

Robert Green: Joey O'Brien, Abdoulaye Faye, Winston Reid, George McCartney; James Tomkins (1) Mark Noble, Jack Collison; Julien Faubert, Nicky Maynard, Ricardo Vaz Te Subs: Lansbury (to play in goal!), O'Neil, Cole.

So that is played three, scored 11 conceded 2, and we haven't played our first choice team in any of the games!  Demel is a huge improvement on Jacobsen, O'Brien and Faubert at right back and the midfield is so much stronger now that Noble, Nolan and O'Neil are operating as a unit. Collison or Lansbury? Either would be fine!

Tense or nervous? To be honest, no. We should be far too strong for Blackpool and I really do not think Allardyce will balls this up. Holloway and his boys have been playing mind games all week but we have remained commendably aloof. The fact is, Blackpool are scared shitless of us with very good reason. Even when we have picked donkeys like Carew, Piquionne, Keane, Sears and Faubert we have thumped them!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Warnock Installs Revolving Door In Leeds Dressing Room

So it is all change at Leeds this summer then. With at least eleven players being pushed out of the door, Warnock will have to keep his fingers crossed that his targets are both available and willing to join his Leeds United bandwagon.

Mind you, the initial target, Clint Hill, doesn't exactly set the pulse racing does it? There are Leeds fans daring to dream that Michael Owen will spend a season in the Elland Road treatment room, but there's no way in a million years that Master Bates will meet Owen's wage demands. And anyway, why would mighty Leeds United want a Manchester United reject exactly? Have these Leeds fans got no pride?

It is a dangerous game to play. Clayton, for example, looked like a decent Championship player to me but Warnock thinks he can get better for the £500,000 he hopes to sell him for. We will see.

To be fair, Warnock has proved himself an adept wheeler dealer at Championship level and the worst mistake you can make is to give him significant money to spend - ask Fernandes at QPR! But then with Bates in charge at Leeds, there's no chance of Warnock flashing the cash is there?

The expected charge after Warnock's appointment didn't happen. If Leeds struggle at the start of next season, Warnock could find himself going through the very same revolving door he has installed for his failing players.

Liverpool Linked With Villas Boas, Benitez and Avram Grant

So let's try to follow the logic here shall we? Liverpool sack Dalglish - no attempt to move him upstairs you will note which is a shoddy way to treat a man who has served the club in every decade since the 1970s - and the two favourites to replace him are a guy who bombed out appallingly at Chelsea in his only job in England and the guy who bombed out before Dalglish was appointed.

Can you imagine what would happen if either were appointed given the number of English players currently in the squad? Benitez would be splashing cash on no mark Spaniards in no time, and Villas-Boas would drop Gerrard and Carragher and destroy the dressing room in the space of six months.

God help whoever takes over. It was bad enough succeeding Presidente Benitez, replacing King Kenny will be fraught with dangers, especially if the Carling Cup is not retained! 61% of the fans wanted Kenny chopped, but that will be forgotten very quickly when the new man struggles like his predecessors. Who, in his right mind, would want the job? It is a poison chalice because Liverpool are in terminal decline.

Mind you, Avram Grant wouldn't probably take it. Or Gianfranco Zola. Or Alan Curbishley. Or Allardyce might fancy it actually. Or maybe Gerrard could become player manager!

David Gold and David Sullivan Both Kick The Bucket!

What's the chances of that then? It's not so long ago that the News Now boards were full of reports on the death of David Gold, and now the Wilts Herald and Gazette have written David Sullivan's obituary too! It seems that owning West Ham is a real killer!

Of course, Mr Gold was relieved to discover that reports of his death were somewhat over stated - he was indeed alive as he read the articles, for the David Gold in question was the front man of Woods of Ypres. And now the Gobby One will no doubt receive assurances from his personal nurse - kitted out by Ann Summers - that he still has a pulse, for the DS in question was the Devizes rugby coach.

So it is relief all round at Upton Park. Let's hope Saturday's game isn't too tense - after both being reported dead in the last couple of months, the last thing either need is any heart stopping moments!

(Meanwhile, to stop the PC brigade from wading in, condolences are extended to the family of the David Sullivan who has left us.)