Saturday, 28 December 2013

Allardyce Offers Still More Lame Excuses

Well, come the end of the day, the result wasn't as disastrous as it could have been, thanks to every other result going in our favour, including the draws. Hull Tigers are showing what we could be achieving with a half decent squad but, of course, we haven't got one.

So Allardyce has hit the excuse button yet again. Now there's a surprise! This time it's the injuries, the lack of recovery time and the fans that are to blame. The injuries that have deprived him of his "All the eggs in one basket" investment in Andy Carroll and that has left him without a single centre back.

Fair enough, some may argue, but others might question why we only have three centre backs at the club, meaning that one injury or suspension takes us down to the bare bones. Is that clever planning? Is that good management? It aint in my book!

And then there is the problem at the other end of the pitch, with no cover for Carroll until Carlton was reclaimed from the junk yard. So, I've asked it before and I will ask it again, why did Allardyce spend money on Downing when we obviously needed cover for other positions? Why aren't any of the journalists brave enough to ask that question on camera?

Once again we had three midfielders on the bench with two out injured and five on the pitch. But three centre back injuries cripple us, and one striker injury leaves us limp up front. And remember, if pushed, Tomkins and O'Brien can play in midfield as well! And personally I would rather see Rat on the left wing to Jarvis. So why, why, why was Downing bought?

So, to today's fiasco. West Brom must be pretty poor because we scored three goals, but if we are honest, they were the better team on the day and deserved to win. Our opening goal was polished route one, with Jussi's long kick headed on by Carlton and then played through deftly by Nolan to Joe Cole, whose shot beat Foster at the near post. It was well taken, but it was a keeper error.

Then came Tomkins' injury and it was only a matter of time before West Brom equalised. When Anelka did score, it was all so easy, with a pass between our make shift centre backs and a simple finish for the anti Semitic saluting Muslim. One was always likely to bring two, and so it was no surprise when a dozy Demel allowed a header to rebound off his body tamely, allowing Fatwa Anelka to bury another easy opportunity.

The second half then didn't go to script. Allardyce declined to go 4-4-2 and sent on Mogadon Maiga to win this must win game. Desperate times call for desperate measures! But Maiga nearly obliged, courtesy of a dozy linesman and an even dozier Foster. Mogadon was offside by half a yard and his shot deflected off of Nolan's hand before beating the former England keeper's Adrian like attempt to save.

And no sooner was it 2-2 than it was 3-2! A deep cross found Maiga leaping salmon like and heading back across goal to Nolan, who scissor kicked into the inviting net from 5 yards. A typical Nolan finish illustrating why, even now, Allardyce dare not drop him.

Could we hold on for 20 minutes? We couldn't even hold on for one minute! Demel stood off of Berahino who said thanks very much and buried the chance beautifully. 3-3 and with West Ham players looking shattered, it was time to pray that West Brom would not take their chances. And fortunately Berahino struck the post with a free kick stupidly and brutally conceded by Diame, who had been running on empty throughout the second half.

So the must win game was drawn and Allardyce blamed the fans, the injuries and tiredness. We are still alive but we are in deep deep trouble courtesy of the stupid decisions made in the summer.

Player ratings: Jussi 5; Demel 1, Tomkins 5, McCarthorse 5, Rat 6; Diame 4, Noble 5, Nolan 7, Joe Cole 6, Jarvis 1; Carlton 5 Subs O'Brien 4, Miaga 7, Collison 4

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Outclassed and into the bottom two! Blame Allardyce!

I haven't had a chance to listen to Allardyce's whinges yet, having just got back from the game, but it's a pretty safe bet that he is bemoaning missed chances, injuries and silly mistakes.

What he will almost certainly not say is:

"We are second from bottom and rightly so. Our football has been shit for most of the season and there's no point in me moaning about missed chances because I have constructed a squad of players who, historically,  have a dreadful goals per games played scoring record."

"Arsenal outclassed us for 86 minutes today and although we took the lead, there was only ever going to be one winner in that game. True, they took longer to score than we had any right to expect but once they got one goal, they were always going to get three or four."

"What can you expect when you offer next to no threat going forward and when you end up with Tomkins and McCarthorse as a centre back pairing? But don't blame them, in fact don't blame anybody except me. I was given £20m to spend this summer and I spent it on Carroll - even though he was injured - and Downing - even though we had an abundance of midfielders and a shortage of strikers and defenders."

"Look at today, even with Downing and Morrison out, I still had Taylor, Diarra and Collison on the bench despite having five midfielders out on the pitch. But what cover did I have for the striker and defender positions? I signed Rat in the summer but prefer McCarthorse at left back, even though the Romanian featured in a Shaktar team that beat Arsenal not so long ago."

"Yes we missed chances but Carlton has only ever scored two goals in the same game a handful of times in his whole career, so once he had netted, there was next to no chance of him getting another. I know my statistics after all! It was a delicious ball in from Rat, but to expect Carlton to deflect it into the net, you would need to be optimistic to the point of being foolhardy."

"And when Noble played that brilliant pass to Jarvis, we all knew Matty would miss. Again, just look at his goal scoring record and the stats tell you that, after scoring so recently against Spurs, it will be a couple of months at least before he bags another."

"Then there was the Joey O'Brien chance. But why was he in the penalty box anyway? He should have scored but if he can get into the box, why can't Nolan and Diame? Shame about that missed chance by Nolan from Noble's free kick too. He scores every time in training but he's missed three times in game time now."

"At the back we were valiant, but we were marking fast moving shadows. And as for the Arsenal equalising goal, well what can you say about that? Apart from, what cnut picked Adrian ahead of Jussi?"

"So, hands up, I am to blame, totally, utterly and completely, 100% to blame. I spent £20m unwisely in the summer and I have an imbalanced squad in consequence. And I'll tell you something else, we are worse off points wise than we were under Grant at this stage of the season. Now that is bloody worrying."

"One last thing, I want to apologise to the fans for the crap football we are playing. Don't get on the players' backs guys, I'm the cnut who signed them!"

Player ratings: Adrian 1; O'Brien 5, Tomkins 5, Collins 5, McCarthorse 6; Noble 7, Diame 5, Nolan 4, Joe Cole 4, Jarvis 1; Carlton Cole 7 Subs: Demel 5, Rat 6, Taylor 4

Sullivan excited by Nigerian deal

A transcript has emerged of the telephone call which alerted West Ham to the availability of ex Sunderland striker Asamoah Guyan, courtesy of a company working for Tottenham Hotspur:

Voice down phone: Hello? Hello?
Sullivan: David Sullivan here, owner and chairman of West Ham United Football Club and Merchant of  High Quality Porn.
Voice down phone: Hello? Is that Mr David Sullivan?
Sullivan: Sullivan here.
Voice down phone: Mister Sullivan I am honoured to be speaking to you. This is Mr Samuel Obogo and I am calling you in relation to a fantastic opportunity. You see, I have this fantastic striker who is worth thirteen million pounds but at the moment he is stranded in the United Arab Emirates and regulations mean that it is impossible to get him out of the country without your help. All you need to do is transfer the sum of three million pounds to a bank account in Nigeria and, in return, I will arrange for this fantastic striker, worth thirteen million pounds, to be transferred across to the United Kingdom within five days of your money clearing through the account. This is an unbelievable opportunity and a fantastic deal because you pay only three million for a striker worth thirteen million, but you have to transfer the money within the next 48 hours otherwise government regulations will prevent the deal from going ahead...

Expect Asamoah Gyan to arrive in the first week of January and disappear before the end of the bloody month!

A transcript of the phone-call leading to the capture of Andy Carroll has also emerged:

Voice down phone: Eeeee is that David Sullivan?
Sullivan: Sullivan here.
Voice down phone: Eeeee Sullivan, Liverpool FC here. You are honoured to be speaking to us.  I am calling you in relation to a fantastic opportunity. Eeeeee....we have this fantastic striker who is worth three million pounds when fit but at the moment he is stranded in our reserves and his ludicrous wages mean that it is impossible to get him out of the club without your help. All you need to do is transfer the sum of fifteen million pounds to a bank account in Liverpool and, in return, we will arrange for this fantastic striker, worth three million pounds, to be transferred across to West Ham United within one day of your money clearing through the account. This is an unbelievable opportunity and a fantastic deal because you pay only fifteen million for a striker worth three million, but you have to transfer the money within the next 4 hours otherwise Newcastle may sign him instead which means there is no time for a medical. Eeeeee but you can trust us wack, we're not a bunch of Nigerians.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Curbishley's back! At Fulham thank God!

Well we thought he had shot his bolt when he walked off in a huff because of the sale of Anton and McCarthorse. Curbishley was linked with a whole string of jobs but nothing materialised and even his talking head appearances on TV seemed to have dried up; not surprisingly given his hang dog look and East End accent.

But Turds is back! And not as a coach, nor a manager. No! He is back as the "Technical Director" - and I bet he is writing out the word technical over and over again in the hope of learning how to spell it!

You can picture him in his caravan down at Stone, saying to his wife: "Look at that love. Go on read it. Technical Director. Not manager. But Technical Director. Now what do you think of that then?"; only for his wife to reply, "I think that tea will get cold if you don't drink it up. Another spoon of condensed milk perhaps?"

Poor Muelensteen must realise that Turds is there to replace him, should results not turn around quickly. And how ironic would it be if the former West Ham manager were to pull off another Great Escape, this time at West Ham's expense? Mind you, there's no Tevez to help him this time!

Monday, 23 December 2013

James Tomkins faces prison sentence after alleged assault on police officer

Bloody hell, West Ham had better find a crack lawyer and quick. Following his arrest, the club somehow needs to prove that the doorman and arresting officers are Tottenham fans and that this is a working class equivalent of Plebgate; because if the Plod are telling the truth, then JT could well find himself doing a stretch inside.

Drunk and disorderly is one thing. Chinning a pleb is usually admissible if you are a superstar footballer. But resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, well only the Masons get away with that sort of thing!

Meanwhile, if found guilty, JT might like to ask for his assault on Hernandez on Saturday to be taken into account when being sentenced. And his criminal display against Liverpool for that matter!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Manchester United 1 West Ham 1 - Let's ignore the first 45 minutes!

Well it could have been much, much worse. A goal down far too early and two goals behind at half time, the clever money was on the Mancs to run in four, five or six. But credit where credit is due, we maintained our effort levels and actually drew the second half 1-1.

To be honest, with Rooney pulling the strings brilliantly, we were always up against it. If only injury had kept him on the side lines, we might have come away with something - but West Ham just aren't that lucky.

So we set up again to frustrate and hoped to steal a goal - and things were going to plan until we dozed off for a free kick, which United took quickly before slicing through us like the proverbial knife through butter. Rooney played a lovely pass to Welbeck and he shot under Adrian's body into the far corner. Would Jussi have stopped it? Possibly. And Collins falling on his arse as he tried to keep up with Welbeck didn't help matters.

The second and third goals were brilliant. Poor Ginge was done all ends up by Januzaj who finished superbly, and for the third, Rooney fed Ashley Yong who hit the ball first touch with a beautiful bend into the top corner. No chance for any keeper in the world for either of those two!

And with the landslide poised to crush us, suddenly we went up the other end and scored. Maiga slipped a decent pass through to Carlton Cole, beating the laughable attempt at an offside trap, who closed in on goal and, miracles upon miracles, nut-megged the keeper to score. Who needs Andy Carroll when you have the mighty Maiga and Cole, the new Cottee and McAvennie!

So, we left with our heads held...well at least not hung in shame. Collins was withdrawn - we can't afford to lose him as well as Reid, but McCarthorse and Tomkins kept Rooney and Hernandez at bay, albeit both might have been shown red cards.

Typically Allardyce is moaning about the referee because a penalty wasn't given when Morrison's shot slammed against Cleverley's hand from two yards - he might like to reflect on a shocking foul by McCarthorse which would buy a red six times out of ten and a Tomkins foul that stood a 50-50 chance of inviting dismissal.

Best thing about today was the other results! We are STILL not in the bottom three! Fulham and Palace lost at home, Sunderland couldn't beat Norwich, West Brom and Hull shared the spoils and Cardiff moved a step closer to sacking Mackay. Surely with Carroll back, we will be better than that lot!

Playing ratings: Adrian 6; Demel 5 (the two first half goals were created down his flank) Collins 6, Tomkins 5, McCartney 6; Noble 5, Taylor 5, Morrison 5, Jarvis 3, Diame 6; Maiga 5 Subs Collison 5, Rat 5, Carlton Cole 6

After his Tottenham goal, can Maiga deliver at long last?

For 18 months the guy has looked pretty bloody hopeless but, following his match winning goal against Spurs and sparkling all round performance after coming off the bench, there is the hope that he may be about to deliver.

True it was only against Spurs, and even Vaz Te and Jarvis can score against Spurs this season, and true one goal does not a Premiership striker make, but confidence is such a key commodity and, for some time now, Maiga's confidence tank has been running on empty; so now with that goal injection, who knows what may happen?

Take a positive view and the guy has been getting better. True he has missed a stack of chances, but that means the old cliché applies, "You can't score if you don't get into positions to score", so let's be positive and say that Maiga has been getting into the box and getting on the end of things. And give him his due, even when in unlikely scoring positions, he has still let fly; well let float if we are honest but let's not quibble over the credibility nor velocity of his attempts!

What was really encouraging against Spurs was not only that he scored that goal - and he rose superbly and connected brilliantly to do so - but also that he hit the bar with a rasping shot full of vim, seizing on his chance in a flash and actually looking like a striker as he did so. Had that one gone in, I fancy it would have broken the net!

There's still the worry that he doesn't think like a striker because he is always that split second behind the play, chasing down a cross after it has been delivered, or running headless chicken style into the six yard box when a clever striker would check back and so create an opportunity, but maybe that is down to confidence too. Allardyce has presumably seen something on the training field because he keeps giving him a start.

Of course there's also a problem with timing - he could have picked a better game to score his first goal, given we have Manchester United and Arsenal coming up - because if Maiga's goals are going to come along like proverbial London buses, then, allowing for the quality of the opposition, he must be much much tastier than any of us have ever given him credit for!

So is he the real deal? Let's hope so! For now, I'm happy to admit that he is more useful on the pitch than a square football - marginally - but after all the negative things I have said about him, boy would I love Mogadon to prove me massively wrong between now and Carroll returning!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Tottenham 1 West Ham 2 - Truly remarkable! What do I know?

Well has anybody ever been more wrong? I lambasted the team selection. I said if Spurs scored, there would be no way back - and we could have scored five! And I mocked Jarvis and Maiga, the two goal scorers. Add in criticism of the inclusion of Adrian, who was excellent, Diarra who played with real composure, and Taylor who set up the Jarvis equaliser brilliantly and also forced a superb save from Lloris, and I couldn't have been more wrong. But I'll take being wrong like that every week thanks very much!

What a heroic performance all round. At the back, Collins was huge, marshalling O'Brien, Rat and McCartney superbly. The Spurs goal came from a break-away with Collins stranded up top from a corner, and that was the only way they were going to get past Ginge. Just as at Liverpool last season when he kept Suarez in his pocket, the Welshman was absolutely brilliant. And he nearly scored when trying to give the ball back to Spurs after a re-start following an injury.

But the other defenders were excellent too - even Linda McCarthorse! And when he was called upon, Adrian looked decent too. Not that he had too much to do!

In midfield, Collison and Taylor ran and ran and ran. They covered, they closed, they pressed, and once we were behind, they rampaged forward. Taylor so nearly scored with one shot, and his pass through to Jarvis for our first goal was sheer class.

Diarra too was impressive, especially given the fact that he is back 6 months early from injury and that he was desperate to leave the club last season.

Diame and Morrison came on and transformed us from a defensive unit to a well balanced team and, miracles will never cease, both Jarvis and Maiga scored! And what's more, Maiga rattled the bar with a fantastic effort!

Add in the tireless efforts of Carlton Cole, until he tired, and the only disappointment on the night was Joe Cole.

So, to the goals. The first saw Maiga flick on to Taylor who, with back to goal held the ball up, then played a delightful pass between Tottenham defenders for the on rushing Jarvis, who buried the chance with aplomb.

If that was amazing, it was nothing on the second! Our chance seemed to have gone when Diame over-hit a cross, but we won the ball back, Morrison played a clever ball back out to Diame, who looked up and picked out Maiga, who soared like Andy Carroll at his very best and buried the header. As useful on the pitch as a square football I called him after the Sunderland game! I take it all back! Maiga we love ya!

Playing ratings: Adrian 7; O'Brien 7, Collins 10, McCartney 7, Rat 7; Diarra 7; Collison 7, Taylor 8, Jarvis 7; Joe Cole 5; Carlton Cole 7 (superb when defending corners!) Subs: Maiga 8, Morrison 7, Diame 8

Half Time Tottenham 0 West Ham 0 - Backs to the wall stuff!

Well, that's another payday for anybody who bet against West Ham scoring in the first 45, but credit where credit is due, Allardyce's team of stiffs has defended stoutly thus far. Spurs have had chances, but not many, and Collins, McCartney, Diarra, O'Brien and Rat have been chucking themselves in front of shots and crosses as if their lives depend upon it. Anybody who wants Allardyce sacked should think about how committed this bunch of players are - until they go behind of course!

Quite how we can score is anybody's guess. Every player, even Carlton, has been defending so, on the rare occasions that we have the ball, there's nobody in an offensive position to hit with an out ball.

So, if Spurs score, what happens then?

Allardyce shows contempt for fans with selection of a team of stiffs

Ok, he doesn't have many options, but why the hell are Taylor, Adrian and Diarra starting? I know some regard the Capital One Fan Cup as a nuisance distraction, but we are playing Spurs for pity's sake, and we are one win away from a place in the semi-final.

The team screams confused priorities. If we are saving players for the weekend - and what's the point of that given we are playing Manchester United at Old Trafford - why are the two Coles playing? Surely after last Saturday's inept performances by Miaga and Jarvis, Carlton and Joe must be pencilled in to start against the Scum!

West Ham Link To Spot Fixing Investigation

So our former big white Colombian hope, Christian Montano has been dismissed by Oldham Pathetic because of the Spot Fixing allegation. Young Montano is presently launching a claim for unfair dismissal (he learnt something from Curbishley then!) but it seems strange that the club would do something so drastic without being pretty sure of their ground.

Of course, this is not the first time there has been a link between West Ham and Spot Fixing.Years back there was a rumour centred around a throw-in conceded immediately from kick off, with a player - who I will not name for legal reasons - belting the ball high into the stands by way of starting the game. Word around the training ground was that he had placed a bet on a throw in being conceded within 15 seconds of kick off.

All that is in the past though, the worry is the present and how much the present squad may be investing in us not scoring a goal over 90 minutes of a game. As soon as Jarvis and Maiga are named in the team, they could be buzzing friends to give them the nod. "100k on West Ham not to score in the first 45 minutes, another 50k for us to be goal less after 70 minutes, and another 10k on no West Ham goal scorer by the end of the game." Dear God, we could all be multi millionaires on that basis!

Maybe that's how Sullivan & Gold are planning to clear the debt!

Monday, 16 December 2013

West Ham face Financial Fair Play penalties as new striker is lined up

So, Allardyce is in "advanced talks" with an unnamed striker and is trying to thrash out a deal with the player's agent and his club. Great. The trouble is, it's three months too bloody late!

According to Allardyce, owner David Sullivan is "the quickest owner of a football club I have ever had. He doesn't 'ooh', 'aah' and 'um' like most of the other owners I have been involved with"; which is a bit rich given an elephant has a shorter gestation period than it has taken the club to realise that Carroll is crocked and Mogadon Maiga is about as useful on the pitch as a square football.

The BIG question is, what has suddenly happened to the Financial Fair Play penalties that Sullivan cited as his reason for sitting on his wallet in July and August? How bloody foolish were the mugs who, when I called him out on this blog, leapt to his defence! According to the Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil Claret & Blue Klan, I had no idea what I was talking about. Our hands were tied, there was nothing we could do. Just as Uncle David told us!

Well since then we have added Cole and Petric to the squad, and now, half way through the season, we are about to add another striker - who presumably won't be coming cheap!

In fact, we are now over the proverbial barrel with our trousers and pants around our ankles. Club, agent and player will know we are desperate, so here comes another Benni McCarthy or Demba Ba deal - either the player will be on hugely inflated wages and crap into the bargain, or he will have an absurd release clause written into his contract.

And why has this happened? Because Sullivan and Gold spoilt the ship for a hap'orth of tar, hiding behind the excuse of FFP to save a few million quid. And how that has exploded in their faces!

Financial Fair Play penalties? Don't make me bloody laugh. They don't cut in for three transfer windows and everybody with his head out of his arse knows that Sullivan took the club's fans for mugs when he used this absurd excuse even as QPR went deeper and deeper into debt.

Well, as Benjamin cried when Boxer was carted off from Animal Farm, "Fools! Fools! Can't you see what's written on the side of that van? Sullivan & Gold, pedlars of lies! Can't you see? They're taking West Ham to the knackers!"

Saturday, 14 December 2013

West Ham could always re-appoint Watford's Zola and sacked Steve Clarke

With Watford losing their fifth home game on the trot and West Brom sacking Steve Clarke, the tantalising prospect of re-uniting the management dream team at Upton Park has become an outside possibility.

Many West Ham fans believe that Zola has unfinished business at the Boleyn and absolve the lovable Italian of any blame whatsoever for the decimation of the half decent team that Curbishley handed over when he walked out in a Claret and Blue huff over the sale of McCartney and Anton.

According to the Italian's acolytes, Zola was not at fault when we escaped relegation with a record low total of points in his second season in charge - in fact it was his genius on the training field that kept us in the division!

No, our relegation in the subsequent season was entirely down to Grant. Never mind that there is not a single Zola signing still at the club (whereas it was Grant who recruited our single best player - Winston Reid), the Italian is still hailed as a misunderstood genius by a body of our misguided fans.

And, of course, Clarke was the best assistant manager we have had since John Lyall understudied Ron Greenwood. Mr Bibs and Cones was, according to these fools, the brains behind Jose's success at Chelsea first time around.

And how the Zola and Clarke lobby revelled in last season's successes! Zola took Watford to the Championship play off finals and Clarke guided West Brom to heady heights in the Prem. How foolish were Sullivan & Gold to sack them? What a twat Hammersfan was for questioning their credentials!

Well now we can have them back. Clarke has been shown the door by the Baggies and, even as we speak, Pozzo is selecting a horse's head to leave in Zola's bed! So, who wants them back?

Allardyce's reputation is based entirely on the fact that he has never suffered relegation as a manager. Well neither have Zola and Clarke. So the question is, why have one fat c*nt when you can have two c*nts for the price of one?

Bring back Zola and Clarke I say! It's panto season after all! Look out Allardyce, they're behind you! And Scotty Parker could even return with them!

West Ham 0 Sunderland 0 - One of our worst performances ever!

Dear God, that was truly dire and illustrated perfectly the folly of the "all the eggs in one basket" transfer strategy over the summer. No Carroll, no hope. And it's not as if Carroll is a goal machine when fit!

Sunderland could have won 5-0 today and should have won by two or three clear goals. Thank Christ their strikers are as inept as ours and that Poyet doesn't know Fletcher's scoring record at Upton Park. Had the Scot started with Johnson, who also has a decent record record against us, I fancy Blunderland would be heading home with three points tonight. As it was, we had Jussi and the crossbar to thank for a clean sheet.

Going back, we were stretched time and time again, and poor Collins, Tomkins and Jussi must have wondered if they had taken to the field on their own. Poyet's formation meant that we were always outnumbered in the crucial area between the half way line and our back four, and Allardyce seemed to have no idea how to address it. The answer was bloody obvious to me, pull Diame back to assist Noble, and play through the middle via Cole and Morrison, rather than trying to keep the game stretched wide. But, weirdly, Diame spent the whole of the first half ahead of Morrison, and Ravel was completely out of the game.

Second half, nothing really changed. Jarvis came out for the second 45 despite being absolutely inept for 45 minutes, and Mogadon Maiga was spared an early substitution by an injury to Demel, though quite why he was left on when Carlton was introduced was completely beyond me. Joe Cole on the shoulder of Carlton Cole has to be a better option than the footballing vacuum that is Mogadon. But Sam thought differently.

Was there anything positive about our performance, Jussi, Collins and Tomkins apart? Nope. Diame faded. Noble turned circles looking for team mates in space and found nobody. McCartney had our best effort on goal with a miss hit cross. Ravel dribbled up blind alleys. Demel's crossing was terrible. Joe Cole was largely invisible. Carlton looked like Carlton at his worst. And so on and so on.

And Jussi? He made one brilliant save and two very good ones to spare us from humiliation. If Sullivan thinks one signing in January will save us, he is dreaming. And questions must now be asked of Allardyce. This team looks utterly clueless and he has no idea how to change things. Remember, it took a fluke of a goal from Diame to get us started against Fulham and it is difficult to see how this team will score enough goals to survive.

Player ratings: Jussi 9 (it would have been ten but his kicking was awful); Demel 5, Tomkins 6 Collins 7, McCartney 5; Noble 5; Diame 6, Morrison 5, Joe Cole 4, Jarvis 0; Maiga 2 Subs Collison 5, O'Brien 5, Carlton 3

Half Time West Ham 0 Sunderland 0 - Lucky not to be dead and buried!

What a truly dreadful 45 minutes. Sunderland should be at least two goals to the good, and even though Marriner seems to be in the pay of Poyet, that is disgraceful.

Maiga, as usual, has been hopeless, failing with his two good chances to hit the target on either occasion, whilst Jarvis has been even worse. How many chances has he had to cross the ball, and how many times has he hit the ball yards wide of any West Ham player?

But they are not alone in being inept! Where is Joe Cole? Did Allardyce sub him after 3 minutes, because he hasn't been in the game and has offered zero cover for Demel as Sunderland have penetrated down our right time and time again.

And Ravel? Two dribbles apart, you wouldn't know Morrison was on the pitch.

Collins has been chucking himself in front of the ball. Tomkins has played his part in keeping Sunderland at bay. And Diame has been a tiger in midfield. But those three apart? Well never mind not being at the races, we look as if we are in the knacker's yard!

Sooner or later Larsson is going to find a Sunderland head from a corner or free kick and then God knows how we will find a reply.

What changes can we make? We are being outnumbered in midfield so God knows. No Nolan, so do we turn to Taylor? Perish the bloody thought! Sullivan has one signing lined up for January, he needs five or bloody six!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Half Time Crystal Palace 1 West Ham 0 - Pathetic!

This is disgraceful. This is a dire Palace team and they have been playing dire football for 45 minutes but we go in a goal behind for the same old reason, we can't score.

We were as much in control in that half as we were in the first 45 against Norwich, but there's no point in dominating if you can't put the bloody ball in the net. Now, if anyone can explain the logic of starting Diame wide and leaving Joe Cole on the bench, I would love to hear it. We know why, of course, to accommodate Captain Kev, but Diame is half the player when pinned to the left flank, and Cole is twice the creative threat of Nolan and Diame combined.

So, Allardyce needs to move on. He needs to see that Nolan is not now his best option. We saw the best available team in the second half against Fulham, and the team included Downing, Cole, Morrison, Noble and Diame in midfield because that midfield is balanced and that team poses problems for an opposition defence.

What threat did we offer in that first 45? Cole nearly set up Downing and Nolan missed a great opportunity from a carbon copy of the free kick .he failed to convert against Spurs. This Palace team are there for the taking, but only if you have players with the ability to score.

Verdict on team selection and that first 45? Pathetic.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Fulham's Parker Performs Perfectly at Upton Park

Bless him. Scotty rocked up at the Boleyn and put in his typical performance: 100% commitment, running himself into the ground, diving in front of shots, covering as many blades of grass as his ageing legs and lungs would allow, even charging into the penalty area on one tunnel-visioned run - and, of course, getting caught in possession twenty five yards out from his own goal, thereby setting up West Ham's opening goal!

If any game summed up Scotty, this was it! He had that trademark exhausted pout on his face from first minute to last and, all so typically, he accepted after the game that it was the players and not the manager who were to blame for the team's truly shocking performance. He said the same about Curbishley, Zola and Grant when at Upton Park, because Scotty knows where his bread is buttered!

So, how many shots did he have on goal? None of course. And how many chances did he create? None of course. And how many of our goals could he be held directly accountable for? At least one because he lost possession as he dwelt on the ball; and you have to wonder where he was during the last 15 minutes of the game as West Ham players ran through unchallenged on the Fulham goal.

Mind you, that didn't stop the match day commentator raving, "Apart from losing possession for the opening goal, Parker was the one blameless player in the Fulham team." Unfortunate then that we probably would not have won the game but for that all so crucial and all so trademark Parker mistake! But there, in a nutshell, is why Parker was ludicrously named "Player of the Year" in the season we went down - because the press love a trier and Scotty tries and tries and tries; he doesn't succeed, but boy does he try and so many can't see beyond the mask of his effort. Never mind the quality, feel the bursting lungs!

So, here's an interesting thought - Scott Parker is now on course for his THIRD relegation from the Prem, achieved with THREE different clubs. Now that's quite some record for a player who some claim is a "great" of the game!

And for all those who idolised him for running around like a headless chicken in his West Ham days, compare the contributions of Parker and Noble on Saturday. I know who I would rather have in my team!

West Ham 3 Fulham 0 - Breathing Space!

Well, looking back after the event, it was all very comfortable wasn't it? Based on that showing, Fulham are in deep, deep, deep trouble and we look too good to go down. But let's take a deep breath and look at things honestly.

The team that started the game had scored just two goals between them all season. Some leapt on my negative half time report, in which I made Fulham favourites to run out 1-0 winners, based on the fact that they had goal scorers in their team and we didn't, but they failed to take note of the fact that our opening goal was incredibly lucky - Diame's shot was grubbing into the keeper's waiting hands until it took a deflection - and our second and third were netted by players not on the pitch in the first 45 minutes. Had that "Diame goal" not gone in, I suspect we would have huffed and puffed all afternoon without blowing the Fulham cottage of straw down.

Listen to Les Ferdinand on Match of the Day and you would think Maiga had a good game, but nothing could be further from the truth. The guy was his usual incompetent self. Yes he hit the post and forced a good save, but time and again his appalling decision making and poor control let him down. He struck the woodwork from two yards, deflecting Noble's perfect free kick with his shoulder, when it was far easier to score. Time and again he rose high and headed the ball on, even though there were no players goal side of him. Twice he was through on goal and failed to work the keeper. And his poor thinking skills were perfectly illustrated when caught offside when literally standing on the touchline next to the linesman and then when he played a pass to Joe Cole who was obviously five yards off himself and so had to allow the ball to roll behind for a goal kick. If Maiga is the answer, it really is a bloody silly question!

Ferdinand's point, of course, was that a striker - any bloody striker, even Maiga - gives us shape and when Jarvis and Downing start, there is an obvious need for a target man. But why wasn't that man Carlton Cole who scores goals against Fulham for fun? If Carlton had played every game of his career against Fulham, he would now be hailed as the Jimmy Greaves of the C21st! And sure enough, when Carlton came on, we looked so much more incisive. Ferdinand felt Maiga was unlucky not to be on the pitch to receive Downing's inch perfect cross, but he fails to appreciate that Maiga would still have been on his heels as Downing rounded the full back, and would only have reacted when Downing put in the cross - and so would have arrived that crucial half a second too late. He doesn't read the game and doesn't gamble, that's his problem.

The other liability in the team going forward was Jarvis. How many opportunities did he get to cross the ball and how few times did he find a player in claret and blue? The guy put in more crosses than any other player in the Prem last season, but wasn't credited with a single assist. That is a frightening stat, and if you want to know how that's possible, just watch back this game. True he almost set up Nolan, but even that pass was just behind Nolan and slightly too high, making the volley all but impossible to execute.

In contrast, Downing was superb. Time and again he skinned Richardson, and time and again he got into the box, to the by-line, worked the keeper or played in dangerous crosses. This was his best game for West Ham so far.

The other star of the show, until the substitutions, was Noble. His range of passing is now superb and whilst his critics will seize on his occasional misplaced passes, they must surely concede that when one man plays so many passes over the course of a game, some will inevitably go astray; not even Brooking or Hoddle had a 100% completion rate! Look at that Maiga header against the post. The freekick was won because Noble played a delicious pass inside Richardson for Downing, forcing the Sunderland man to bring down his flying opponent. Then Noble stepped up and planted that freekick onto Maiga's shoulder! Had Carroll been on the pitch, the back of the net would have been ripped out because of the pace on the cross - it only needed contact with a forehead and not even Banks at his very best could have kept the ball out. Then there was that time when we were boxed in close to our by-line. Noble made himself available, played a couple of one-two passes and then, having engineered a yard of space, looked up and swept the ball out onto the opposite flank where Demel awaited. Had Gerrard done that for Liverpool, the ITV commentary team would have creamed their pants; because it is Noble, it barely warrants a mention and doesn't feature on the MOD highlights! Add in his closing, covering, surging runs, energy, interceptions and tackles, and Noble is looking more and more like an England player to me. Just compare his performance with Parker's!

Defensively, we were secure enough but four grannies recruited from the local geriatric ward could have kept out this Fulham team. Going forward, they were truly, truly dire once Taarabt lost interest.

Then, of course, there's Morrison and Joe Cole to discuss. What a difference they made! The third goal was brilliantly worked between the two of them. Unlike Jarvis, Joe Cole has the intelligence to move inside, swapping positions with Ravel, and unlike Nolan, Morrison has the skill and pace to move out onto the flank and terrorise a full back. Ravel's weaving run was brilliant, JC took up the perfect position, Morrison had the time and composure to spot him, and the finish was perfect. It was a great goal. As was Carlton's finish from Downing's wonderful cross. And neither would have been scored with Maiga, Nolan and Jarvis on the pitch. Great substitutions or poor team selection in the first place?

Anyway, the monkey of poor home form is off our back for now, but we must not get carried away, this game has just given us some breathing space. To be on target for survival, we need 20 points at the half way mark, and that means 7 points from the next 6 games, six games that include fixtures against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. There's not much of a margin of error is there?

Player Ratings: Jussi (Nothing to do!); Demel 6, Tomkins 5 (He should have been sent off in the first half!), Collins 6, McCartney 6 (But imagine him against Arsenal!); Noble 9, Diame 7; Jarvis 4, Downing 8, Nolan 6, Maiga 5 Subs: Carlton 7, JC 7, Morrison 8

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Half Time Guess What West Ham 0 Fulham 0

So Allardyce's program notes list the strikers he tried to buy, but trying isn't good enough. They wouldn't join because they knew they wouldn't get a game if Carroll was fit and available. Mind you, that was always going to be one hell of an IF!

Today, Allardyce has returned to plan A. Maiga up front, Nolan behind, Jarvis and Downing out wide and Diame and Noble providing the midfield engine - and that might work if Jarvis could cross and Maiga could score. But Jarvis wastes opportunity after opportunity to put the ball into dangerous areas, and Maiga shows all the goal scoring potential of 'Arry's mum. And I use that simile advisedly because Bent, who famously missed a chance that Redknapp's mum would have buried, is in the Fulham team - and my money is on him or Taarabt to score second half.

And that's a real worry, because Fulham have goal scorers in the team - Bent, Taarabt, Duff, Sidwell - and we haven't. So in a game that has 1-0 written all over it, you have to mark Fulham as favourites to run out the winners.

McCartney is on a yellow and is a good bet to get red as he tires. I would take him off. Tomkins is lucky to be on the pitch as it is, because the challenge which secured yellow had red written all over it for me. Late, dangerous, at pace - it was an ankle breaker and he is a lucky boy to still be on the pitch.

We have had chances, but chances are no good without people able to take them, and Maiga summed it all up horribly when he shouldered Noble's free kick onto the post from two yards out.

Fingers crossed things get better second half, but it doesn't look promising!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Welcome to the West Ham Ministry of Silly Relegations!

West Ham are going down. No they are not! Yes they are. No they not! Yes they are. No chance of staying up. Yes there is! No there's not. Excuse me, is this the five minute argument or the full half hour?

So, Monty Python are returning, but who needs a ticket for the 02 when you can watch a bunch of dead parrots, silly walks and the very wettest of wet spam menus at the Boleyn? False number nines, Allardyce total football, pushing on from tenth place last season - the script is more absurd than anything Cleese and co could ever have come up with and the rest of football, outside of White Hart Lane, are falling over themselves laughing!

Of course, the complacency around the place is, as ever, alarming. How the hell the management and board sat on their hands until the transfer window slammed shut before they even thought about recruiting a striker, only the Great God Palin will know! Apparently some time around the end of July, Allardyce was called in to see Sullivan and the conversation went something like this:

Allardyce: Good evening, Your Holiness.
Sullivan: Evening, Allardychio. I want to talk to you about this squad of yours, The Latest Last Supper. I'm not happy about it.
Allardyce:  Oh, dear. It took me all summer to assemble.
Sullivan: Not happy at all.
Allardyce: Is it the goalie you don't like?
Sullivan:  No.
Allardyce: He does add a degree of reassurance, doesn't he? Oh, I know, you don't like the kangaroo.
Sullivan: What kangaroo?
Allardyce: No problem, I'll send him out on loan.
Sullivan:  I never saw a kangaroo.
Allardyce: Uh, he's right at the back in the squad photo. No sweat, I'll make him into a striker. All right?
Sullivan: That's the problem.
Allardyce: What is?
Pope  The strikers.
Allardyce:  Are they too Jewish? I made Maiga the most Jewish.
Sullivan:  No, it's just that there aren't any!
Allardyce: There's Andy Carroll.
Sullivan: That striker is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the pitch it'd be pushing up the daisies! It's metabolic processes are now history! It's off the twig! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off it's mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! He IS AN EX-STRIKER! The latest Dean Ashton!
Allardyce: I need some money to buy a striker then.
Sullivan: Money? Money? Do you know how difficult things are? Do you know what we had to go through before we were able to buy this club. (enter David Gold and Karren Brady) You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down the mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!
Gold:  Luxury! We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!
Brady:  Well, we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.
Sullivan: Right. steels himself I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."
Brady: But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'.
Sullivan: Nope, nope. And anyway, there's always the Financial Fair Play Inquisition!
Door is thrown open. In jump a clutch of FA officials dressed as cardinals!
FA Official: Nobody expects the Financial Fair Play Inquisition. Our chief weapon is surprise... surprise and fear... fear and surprise... our two weapons are fear and surprise... and ruthless efficiency. Our three weapons are fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the balance sheet.... Our four... no... amongst our weapons.... We'll come in again but we are not going anywhere near Loftus Road or White Hart Lane!
Allardyce: No money? Ok I will make do with Maiga. I will cut down the greatest teams in the division with a red herring! If he weighs the same as a duck he's made of wood and therefore he's a striker!
Sullivan: But he's crap!
Allardyce: Well that's cast rather a gloom over the season hasn't it? Look what have the strikers ever done for us? They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers' fathers. And what have they ever given us in return?!
Sullivan: Goals?
Allardyce: What?
Sullivan: Goals?
Allardyce: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that's true. Yeah.
Sullivan: And victories?
Allardyce: Yeah. All right. I'll grant you the goals and the victories are two things that the Strikers have given us.
Sullivan: And the entertainment.
Allardyce: Well, yeah. Obviously the entertainment. I mean, the entertainment goes without saying, doesn't it? But apart from the goals, the victories, and the entertainment--
Gold: Premiership survival.
Brady: I married one.
Sullivan: An out ball.
Gold: A World Cup in 66.
Sullivan: An FA Cup in 75.
Gold: An FA Cup in 64.
Sullivan: A Cup Winners Cup in 65.
Allardyce: Well I'll give you goals, the entertainment, the victories, Premiership survival, marriage material, the out ball, a World Cup, the FA Cups and the Cup Winners Cup, but apart from that, what have the strikers ever done for us?
Enter a fan who points at Allardyce
Fan: Why are you manager? I didn't vote for you!
Allardyce: You don't vote for managers.
 Fan: Well how do you become manager then?
Allardyce: The Brady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Allardychio, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your manager!
Sullivan: Look this is getting us nowhere!
Allardyce:  All right ... I confess I haven't bought any strikers ... I hate West Ham.  I have this terrible un-un-uncontrollable fear whenever I see the words The Academy of Football. When I was a kid I used to hate the sight of West Ham playing free flowing football. My mother said I was a fool. She said the only way to cure it was to become a West Ham manager. So I spent five ghastly years at the FA coaching academy. Can you imagine what it's like studying how to pass the ball on the ground for five years? I didn't want to be a West Ham manager anyway. I wanted to be a Real Madrid manager. Thumping the ball long for Ronaldo to chase after it...

 And now for something completely undifferent! Yet another season of heartbreak!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

West Ham help Gillingham to tune up for victory at Sheffield United

As warm up games go, the 9-0 hammering by a West Ham Eleven in mid week wouldn't normally be what the doctor orders ahead of a key relegation 6 pointer. But the hapless Gills were still able to dust themselves down, travel North and spank hapless, helpless, hopeless and piss pot less Shafting United at the weekend.

And as a result, the Blunted Blades are right back where they belong - in the bottom 4 of the old Third Division - second from bottom to be precise, just 2 points ahead of Notts County who hold up the entire shit pile.

The damage was done this time by Carlos Tevez-Kedwell and Carlos Tevez-McDonald, both of whom deserve a "Well Done" card from West Ham fans.

It's beginning to look as if even a Clough can't save them! But even a Clough can't overcome a curse! Give back the money or the nightmare will never end!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Mystery Trialist Scores in Nine Goal Thumping of Gillingham

So, who is he? Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and Jack Frost are on the case as we speak, trying to track down the mystery man who replaced Carlton Cole on 60 minutes in the nine goal stroll, the mystery man who is repeatedly called "Trialist" on the Official Site!

We shouldn't get too excited, of course - even Carlton and Maiga scored, which tells you everything you need to know about Gillingham - but, let's face it, we will take anybody with a goal in him at the moment.

Quite why the Official Site declines to name him is anybody's guess. Maybe he is an illegal immigrant, or possibly he is on the run from the CIA. Bloody hell, where is Wikileaks when you really need it?

Or maybe the guy is simply called Trialist!

Who cares. He scored! Sign him! Start him against Chelsea! Who needs Carroll when you have A Trialist?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Too good to go down?

The phrase has an uncomfortable resonance. Kanoute, Cole, Di Canio, Defoe, Johnson, Sinclair, Les Ferdinand - how could a team blessed with such talent possibly drop out of the top division? Well Allardyce knows, because Allardyce's Bolton condemned us to relegation; and Sullivan and Gold know, because Sullivan and Gold's Birmingham drove the final nail into our relegation coffin in the last game of that miserable, miserable season, a game we had to win but drew 2-2.

The trouble that year was an imbalanced squad. Yes the team was blessed with genius, but at the heart of the defence there was a void, and for all the talent in the team, there was a shortage of steel outside of Repka and Lomas. The team was almost all silk with very little backbone.

Well here we go again. Joe Cole is common to both teams, of course, and it would be a sad postscript on his unfulfilled career if it were to be sandwiched by two relegations with the club he claims to love. And outside of Cole, there is Morrison, Rat, Reid, Downing, Noble and Carroll - all far too good to be relegated! But are they?

Downing has been relegated before. So has Joe Cole. And Winston Reid. And Mark Noble. And Andy Carroll. And, of course, Tomkins, Jussi, O'Brien, Jarvis, Collison, Jussi, Taylor, Vaz Te, Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan. Too good to be relegated? This team is cut from relegation cloth!

Yesterday's game was terrifying. For 45 minutes we bossed the match in a way I cannot remember us bossing a game. I posted at half time that it was like an exhibition game. We were the Harlem Globe Trotters and Norwich were a bunch of stiffs sharing the arena just to make us look good. At half time it could have been 4-0 and should have been 2-0 at the very least. Our control and domination were total.

So what the hell happened? Well first of all, this team can't score goals. You know it, I know it, Allardyce refuses to admit it, and ultimately Chris Hughton knew it. His instruction at half time was straightforward - get higher up the pitch, press the man on the ball, don't worry about gaps at the back, we can give them four chances and they won't take more than one.

I knew what was coming. At half time I wrote, "To be honest, the biggest worry is that Norwich will press us higher in the second half and one of Tomkins, Collins, Noble, Collison, Morrison or Demel will be caught in possession. Delia's darlings might as well be hung for a mutton stew as for a lamb casserole after all, so worrying about gaps at the back may now be off the agenda." OK, I didn't identify the right culprit, but based on his performances so far this season, who would have expected Jussi to hand the equalizing goal on a plate to Norwich?

That Jussi mistake was as bad as anything Green ever did and he compounded it with the unnecessary challenge which invited the award of the penalty. But why the hell did that goal make such a difference? It should have been a blip. Normal service should have been restored immediately. Like the Harlem Globe Trotters, we should have just stepped up a gear, re-established a lead and then cruised through to victory. But suddenly everything fell apart. Suddenly nobody was able to find space. Suddenly Norwich were dominating possession. Suddenly we were a complete shambles.

Then came that free kick. What the hell was Jussi up to? He left so much of the goal unguarded that I could have stepped up and scored. Bloody hell, my 82 year old mother might have fancied her chances! If the guy can't defend free kicks - and the evidence is clear that he can't - then we have to stand a defender on a post to help him.

What followed was humiliating. Carlton Cole is a shot bolt. Bringing him on is ludicrous. Taking off Joe Cole was madness, meanwhile. He has a goal in him, unlike Carlton and Diame and Jarvis. As soon as Joe departed, all hope of victory evaporated. Fine, bring on Mo, but don't take off Joe - Jack Collison was the obvious choice.

And then removing Noble? Crazy. Look how exposed Tomkins was for the third goal! And who was knitting our game together in the last five minutes?

Yesterday's result should be a wake up call to all those who believe that the possibility of relegation is unthinkable. Without Reid, our defence is little better than the defence of 2002-03 - and Reid is out for a stretch; and without Carroll we don't have an attack, never mind an attack to compare with Defoe, Kanoute and Di Canio!

But let's not worry. We have Joe Cole. And Defoe may return in January. And if some idiots have their way, Di Canio could replace Allardyce!

Who finished bottom in 2002-03? Sunderland.

This is getting spooky!

Player Ratings First Half: Jussi 6; Demel 8, Tomkins 7, Collins 6, Rat 9; Noble 8, Morrison 8, Nolan 7, Collison 7, Downing 7, Cole 7

Player Ratings Second Half: Jussi 0; Demel 6, Tomkins 4, Collins 5, Rat 6; Noble 6, Morrison 6, Nolan 4, Collison 5, Downing 3, Joe Cole 4; Subs: Diame 4, Carlton 0, Jarvis 1.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Half Time Norwich 0 West Ham 1 - Exhibition football so far!

Well, for much of that first 45 minutes I thought I was watching a training game - or at most a pre season friendly. Our passing has been unnervingly precise, the movement has been wonderful, and with better luck and better finishing, we could be three goals ahead. Nolan has forced two saves from Ruddy, and really should have buried one of them, and Demel has hit the bar with a header from a corner. Meanwhile, Norwich have been chasing shadows and, when they have got the ball, have looked clueless. Hang on, this can't last, can it?

The goal was superb. Noble played a lovely pass inside the full back, Rat sent over a delicious cross, low and hard to the near post, Nolan tried to flick it home but when his effort was blocked, had the composure to retrieve the ball on the by-line, look up and pick out Morrison, who slid it into the gaping net.

To be honest, the biggest worry is that Norwich will press us higher in the second half and one of Tomkins, Collins, Noble, Collison, Morrison or Demel will be caught in possession. Dehlia's darlings might as well be hung for a mutton stew as for a lamb casserole after all, so worrying about gaps at the back may now be off the agenda.

Of course, this is all utterly surreal. An Allardyce team passing the opposition to death! Who would believe it? Fingers crossed the Canaries don't burst our bubbles second half!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Reid as big a loss as Carroll!

Norwich City's luck has turned just days after the drubbing at the Etihad. Already without an attack because of the absence of Andy Carroll, West Ham must now take to the field at Carrow Road without the man who knits the entire defence together, Winston Reid.

Suddenly, the game looks like a bloody minefield. We should be rubbing our hands together at the prospect of playing a team beneath us in the table., especially after they have just shipped seven goals, but because we are so dependent on Carroll and Reid, it feels like we will be playing with less than half a team!

Take out Noble and Jussi and the side would be completely without a spine. It could be a long 90 minutes!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Judas Loved Jesus Shocker as Defoe seeks Spurs exit!

Life is full of regrets isn't it? Judas, of course, hanged himself after betraying the Messiah, and, whilst sopping short of that, Germstain Defoe is apparently keen to put his head in the Upton Park noose after expressing regret about his infamous transfer request and expressing his love for West Ham.

And why exactly? Because in a World Cup year, he is desperate to find himself a berth at a club where he will see first team football. Yes he loves West Ham, in exactly the same way as all mercenaries love the nation that pays their wages!

Do we want him back? Personally, I can't see the point because Allardyce won't use him. 4-6-0 will revert to 4-5-1 at some point, and Defoe is not tall enough to get on the end of 38 crosses into the box is he?

What did Jesus say as the noose tightened around Judas's neck? "Father, let him rot in hell!" And Defoe should be left to rot in Tottenham's reserves.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Elliot Lee gives Allardyce a nudge as Sheffield United slip back into bottom four!

Ok, it was only Rotherham, but nevertheless, young Lee netted a crucial equalising goal in the last minute of the Divison 1 clash. And even more pertinent, given we are talking Allardyce, he scored with his head! So Sam, 38 crosses failed to find a West Ham nut against Villa, whilst Elliot Lee got his nodder on the end of one delivered by a Colchester team mate. Worth a chance perhaps? The kids did well at Burnley!

Meanwhile Shafting United's revival proved deliciously short lived. A 2-0 defeat at lowly Shrewsbury put them back exactly where they deserve to be, in the bottom four! The Tevez curse continues. Pay back the money McScab and Sheik Dusty Bin and the nightmare will end!

Allardyce Looking Down Wrong End of Telescope!

Apparently Allardyce thinks we were unlucky not to beat Villa. Well on that basis, he was watching a different game from me! How many genuine saves did Guzan have to make? Two, if we count the Jarvis scuff and Joe Cole's effort from a near impossible angle. And Villa? Well Jussi made two brilliant saves (from Wiemann in the first half and Benteke in the second) and the Villain's Belgian also hit the underside of the bar from a position you would even back Carlton Cole to score from. We were not unlucky not to win, we were bloody lucky to draw!

Allardyce again quotes stats and suggests that sooner or later it will come right, but if you don't have goal scorers in the team, how are you going to score goals, exactly? I have given the alarming goal scoring stats for this team before - these players aren't just goal shy, they are goal comatose! Did anybody think Jarvis would score when Nolan played him through? Did anybody expect Downing to hit the back of the net when he twice cut inside? Did anybody expect Noble to bury that free kick? Dear God, unless we are awarded a penalty, this bunch have no idea where the back of the net is!

How desperate is it when the fans stand to applaud the introduction of Carlton Cole, a player who couldn't find a club after we released him? Now I'm not having a go at the guy here, but when you NEED A GOAL, who is the last man you turn to? The Upton Park faithful stood as one man to encourage Carlton on his introduction, but it was an act of kindness, not an expression of expectation. And following his introduction, we looked more stretched and Villa should have scored twice whilst we created that solitary half chance for Joe Cole.

The six man midfield can work, if the personnel are right. Jarvis, for one, is a waste of space. Allardyce quotes the 38 crosses we put into the box, but Villa had three tall centre backs parked in there and we had Nolan on his own. Now Captain Kev is great when he ghosts in unnoticed, but when he is the target man, his effectiveness inside the penalty area is lost. And who else broke into the box? Morrison a couple of times, Collison maybe twice, Jarvis himself, and Downing, but never in a central position - until Joe Cole came on.

The formation surprised me. When I saw the team, I expected Collison to be at the front of the six, possibly swapping places with Morrison and Nolan. Instead, Allardyce changed a fluid six into a rigid five plus one. Jarvis and Downing played like Redknapp and Sissons in their prime, only without Hurst and Byrne to hit in the box. Time and again, Villa's full-backs were beaten but when the ball came over, it hit a West Ham No Man's Land because we had nobody in the box. I could have been at the centre of Villa's defence and the Midlanders would still have kept a clean sheet!

So where do we go from here? Well unless Petric is up to it, I suspect we have to persist with the "false number 9", but then we simply have to get as many goal scorers into the team as we can. That means no place for Jarvis and a start for Joe Cole, irrespective of his defensive liabilities.

The start point must be Noble and Diame at the base of the six. They are the best defensive midfielders in the squad and Diame is a beast when on form, whilst Noble increasingly controls the midfield. The other four players then have to be used in a fluid way, interchanging with each other so that the opposition defenders don't know who to pick up. My four would be Morrison, Nolan, Downing and Joe Cole, with Collison introduced for the last twenty minutes when Nolan's legs tire. Like Nolan, Joe Cole instinctively breaks into the box, and runs at clever angles. He came on and had two shots on goal, and might well have scored the winner had Noble's attempted pass not been intercepted as he broke behind the Villa centre backs.

One thing's for sure, there's no point setting up to feed Carroll when Carroll isn't on the pitch! Yes he might have scored three on Saturday given those 38 crosses, but he can't score when he's sat in the bloody stands! Allardyce needs to stop harking on about luck and start working out genuine solutions. He was the twat who opted for Downing whilst Remy was allowed to join Newcastle. The need for a striker was obvious to everybody else because everybody else understands that 38 crosses to nobody are absolutely bloody pointless!

Player Ratings: Jussi 9; Demel 7, Tomkins 6, Reid 6, Rat 5; Noble 8, Collison 6; Jarvis 6, Morrison 6, Downing 7, Nolan 7 Subs Carlton Cole 5, Joe Cole 6, Diame (not on long enough).

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Half Time West Ham 0 Aston Villa 0 - No surprises there then!

So, the inclusion of Collison has meant that we have reverted to a half way house between 4-5-1 and 4-6-0, with Nolan moved forward to play the lone striker come advanced play maker role. The possession stats are superb - something like 60-40 in our favour - and all allegations of long ball football must be consigned to the rubbish bin, but sadly for all our possession, we look absolutely toothless up front, and worryingly vulnerable to a Wiemann led break.

In truth, the best chance fell to Villa in that first 45, with Villa knocking a long ball over the top and Wiemann outstripping Tomkins. To be fair to JT, Wiemann is a speed merchant and Tomkins stuck at his job, staying on the Villa's man's shoulder, whilst avoiding making a red card inducing challenge. As a result, Wiemann was always conscious of the defenders presence and so was unable to compose himself for his finish; and Jussi did what Jussi does best, spreading himself wide and blocking the effort.

Wiemann had another chance minutes later as Villa sprang forward from our corner, but Morrison stayed with him and Webb was kind when waving play on after a six of one and half a dozen of the other tussle. On another day, a free kick might have been awarded and a dodgy red card shown. Maybe the luck is with us.

Going forward, Jarvis and Downing keep crossing in to the box, but with three big centre backs marking an advanced Nolan, it's all been far too easy for Villa to defend. Where can we conjure a goal from? My bet would be Joe Cole, with Jarvis sacrificed second half. The trouble is, Villa may be ahead by the time he is introduced!

Return of Collison could be key

Interesting. Allardyce has apparently stuck with 4-6-0 but has dropped Diame and replaced him with Jack Collison, who will presumably exchange with Morrison as the "False Number 9".

This is an interesting one. We looked so much better against Burnley when Collison replaced Diame, and he is much more naturally suited to breaking in to the box. Of all the players in the squad, he and Joe Cole seem best suited to the fluid formation that Allardyce has been forced to adopt.

The inclusion of Jarvis ahead of Cole is disappointing in my book, and the "ideal 6" would probably have Diame and Noble at its base, with Morrison, Joe Cole, Collison and Downing providing the attacking foursome, but that, of course, would mean leaving Nolan out - and to be fair to Captain Kev, he won the first penalty at Turf Moor.

This is a big, big game and we desperately need to return to winning ways. No Petric again, not even on the sub's bench. Is he injured or just crap? Time will tell!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Reid to Arsenal for £6m? £26m more like!

Well I know we have been taken for mugs more than a few times in the past when selling players, but not even West Ham would consider letting Reid leave for anything less than £15m. And given Arsenal now have money to burn, if they really want Reid the bidding should begin around the £25m mark.

Dear God, how many years is it since we sold Rio for £18m to Leeds? The idea that Reid could go for a third of that sum is absolutely laughable.

Just look at our defensive record this season. Okay, Man City tore us apart, but leaving aside that game, we have looked wonderfully organised defensively, and Reid is the best player in that superbly performing back five.

It's probably a nonsense report, but it would be reassuring to hear Sullivan and Gold telling Wenger that he would need to beat the British transfer record for a defender if he wants to prise the New Zealander away from us!

Capital One delighted to keep Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham & Chelsea apart!

Well that was convenient wasn't it? Unless you support Leicester, West Ham, Stoke, Sunderland or  Southampton of course!

You sponsor a mean nothing cup so what's the best way to generate interest? Set up two 2-leg semi-finals between the three biggest teams in England and one of Spurs or West Ham - and as Spurs are the marginally bigger club (until West Ham occupy the Olympic Stadium), give the Cockyfools home advantage!

Meanwhile, given the hammering Tottenham took at White Hart Lane at the hands of West Ham, an executive from Capital One may well be on the phone to the FA this morning with an additional request: "We would very much like the game at White Hart Lane to be refereed by Kevin Friend".

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

West Ham's reserves and kids urinate in the Claret!

So Burnley are running away with the Championship. Interesting. And according to Leeds and QPR fans who respond to this blog, West Ham are heading for the drop. Interesting again. Well, on the basis of last night's game, there's not much point in any side winning promotion from this season's Championship then because the gulf to the Prem is patently huge!

West Ham took to the field just 48 hours after playing Swansea. A combination of reserves and kids were selected. The management had precious little time to prepare, with a journey from Swansea to London and London to Burnley involved in completing the back to back fixtures. The West Ham team included Potts, Chambers and Ruddock, three young kids. There were nine changes from the starting 11 against Swansea and both Diame and Tomkins, the two retained, were substituted to save their legs. And West Ham utterly dominated the second 45 minutes.

It's true that two penalties were required but both penalties were conceded to prevent goals being scored, and the referee was kind to the Clarets when producing only one red card. In the twenty minutes building to the first goal, poor Burnley could not get the ball, chasing shadows to such an extent that you would think West Ham's stiffs were Barcelona. So how the hell are Burnley top of the division?

From a West Ham perspective, it was all very pleasing. The three kids look good and may well have a future. Maiga didn't look out of his depth - perhaps THIS is his level. Collison and Downing combined well when brought on. Adrain looked our best understudy keeper for a few seasons now. And there's the consolation that if we were to go down, even selling the major wage earners, we should storm the Championship!

As for QPR, Leeds and co - God help them if they do get up! Because, like Burnley, they will then find out what the Premiership is really about!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Half Time: Swansea 0 West Ham 0 - Hammers should be leading!

Well, not for the first time this season, it is so far so good after 45 minutes. We have been the better team and have created the better chances, and with a goal scorer in the team would be ahead by now. Amazingly, we have been the better passing team and Swansea and it is Laudrup's team that have played more long balls. If this goes on for the next 45, Sam will be calling himself Allardrup!

In fact, Demel should have scored twice, clearing the crossbar on both occasions from inside the six yard box. Nolan has also put a chance wide after an excellent run and cross by Jarvis, and Downing has forced two saves from Vonn. At the other end, Jussi stopped a header with his shoulder and Tomkins put in a brilliant blocked interception to prevent a cross finding Michu deep into our area.

Defensively Tomkins, Reid, Rat and Demel have been excellent thus far, whilst the midfield have again harried and closed. The stand out man in the middle of the park has again been Noble, whilst Diame has been the doziest to date.

Jarvis is on for the all too brittle Vaz Te. Let's hope we can keep this up and pinch a winner, especially after Sunderland's victory!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

West Ham set to continue with false number 9 at Swansea

Let's face it, whatever team Allardyce selects, we will be using a false number nine at Swansea. Analysts went way over the top after our win at Spurs, hailing the self proclaimed tactical guru for his genius in unveiling his new "False Number 9" formation, failing to understand that Alliadichi  had been employing the same tactic since the start of the season.

Be honest, you couldn't find a more "False Number 9" than Mogadon Maiga could you? In fact, the guy is a "False Footballer" based on everything I have seen so far. Brainless. Clueless. Gutless. Passionless. The big difference at White Hart Lane is that we started the game with 11 players on the pitch instead of the 10-players-plus-Mogadon formation employed by Allardyce up until that game.

Now, it seems, Carlton Cole may start. It is true that Carlton, unlike Mogadon, has a presence but he has been a "False Number 9" all his career, being a striker with an allergy to the back of the net! Carlton is an excellent footballer, just as long as he has his back to the goal. However, show him those terrifying white posts with that dizzying crossbar connecting them and the nauseous inducing netting behind, and the poor guy loses the ability to control his body: his eyes glaze over, his head spins and his legs turn to jelly.

And the final option, Petric, hasn't scored a goal since Christmas.

Poor Laudrup must have been having sleeping nights ever since that 4-0 thumping of Blunderland!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Will young Lee show Freddie Sears what might have been?

So another Academy product is out on loan and, based on recent history, that may be very bad news indeed. Yes Noble and Tomkins both had their loan stints - as did Rio and Judas Defoe of course - but more recently, when a kid is sent to the lower divisions, it generally means that he doesn't quite have what it takes to cut it at the top.

Whereas Spurs have sent young Carroll into the Championship, our youngsters tend to end up a rung or two lower on the ladder, and whilst they look good playing in amongst dross, they find playing with the bigger boys in the top division beyond them. There have been a few we have been excited about but Hines, Stanislas and Sears all proved to be duds and Potts may not be training on.

We had hopes about Lee when even Allardyce brought him on at Old Trafford and against Stoke, but if he is going to hack it, he needs to tear up the First Division and score stacks of goals. Freddie Sears has found his level at Colchester; the hope is that Lee will prove more than one cut above the man once hailed as the new Tony Cottee!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Allardichi 1 Pellegridyce 3 - But no disgrace in that.

Ok we lost and, if we are honest, we lost pretty heavily, but Man City were pretty bloody good and, our centre backs apart, we were decent. And to be fair to Tomkins and Reid, they were horribly exposed by Man City's quick passing football and excellent movement. Last game, Big Sam thought he was the dog's bollocks, now he understands that his claims to have revolutionised football with his 4-6-0 formation were pure bollocks.

First the goals. Agüero's opener was a bit tasty. True the ball travelled far too far through the middle of our midfield and defence, but the dummy by Negredo was breath-taking. The ball went so close to him that his decision to simply ignore it would have bemused Moore and Beckenbauer, never mind Tomkins and Reid. Agüero's run was perfectly timed and Reid was still on New Zealand time as the Argentinian ran in on Jussi and buried the chance superbly.

The second goal was not so easy to excuse. Reid was drawn out wide and was done all ends up by Negredo, who was then sandwiched as Demel joined the Kiwi in trying to close out the threat. The result was yet another stupid free kick conceded in a dangerous area. Over came the free kick and the only surprise was just how much space Agüero had on the edge of the six yard box as he rose to head home. Who was marking him? Nolan I think, but the entire West Ham team stood and watched as he scored - Jussi apart who valiantly tried to deflect the ball over and wide, simply pushing it into the top corner.

And that was that, we thought. It was now just a question of how many. And then up popped Vaz Te, who had been largely anonymous until then, with a deft overhead kick into the bottom corner. There were suspicions of offside in the build up - and I think Diame was off before  he crossed - but who cares. 1-2 and game on!

Briefly, very briefly, Man City creaked, but as we pushed forward, more and more gaps appeared in the middle of the park, and Jussi made save after save. So when the third City goal came, it was no surprise. Agüero ran at the heart of the defence, Reid missed the opportunity to put in a tackle, Tomkins prevented him getting in a shot but the ball was pulled back to Silva, whose finish was sublime. 1-3. Job done for Pellegridyce's men!

And the bits in between? Well Noble was superb, putting in three fantastic tackles and recycling the ball superbly. Diame ran around a lot but looked uncomfortable in the formation much of the time. Nolan did ok, but he is wasted sitting deep and when he moved forward, he hardly got a sniff of the ball apart from deflecting wide after Hart had saved from Diame. Morrison was ordinary and received a timely reality check. Vaz Te was largely anonymous apart from his goal but the decision to withdraw him was still odd after he had scored. Downing was decent but never devastating.

Sadly, defensively, we were poor. Demel did well until he went off injured but O'Brien was far too easily bypassed after he came on. Boomtown was poor. And Tomkins and Reid had their worst games for some considerable time. Jussi, however, was excellent.

But let's not be too glum. Sunderland were thumped. So were Norwich and Cardiff. Palace will go down. So even without Carroll, we should have enough to stay up. Shouldn't we?

Player ratings: Jussi 10; Demel 7, Tomkins 4, Reid 3, Rat 4; Nolan 5 Noble 9; Morrison 5, Diame 6, Vaz Te 5, Downing 6  Subs: O'Brien 3, Jarvis 6, Petric (not on long enough to rate).

Collins and Maiga don't make the bench!

No surprise that Allardyce has stuck with the eleven that beat Spurs, but the absence of Collins and Maiga from the bench is perhaps a little strange.

So, Carlton Cole has already proved himself better than Maiga! It makes you wonder why he was released and rumoured suitors for Mogodon were rebuffed. Now we will struggle to give him away!

And what happens if Tomkins or Reid are injured? O'Brien, Rat or Demel at centre back I suppose.

No surprise value this time around, of course. And Man City are better than Spurs! So, let's hope but not expect too much!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

El Apache Clarke sends Sheffield United to bottom of old Third Division!

Sacking David Weir didn't do much good then did it? But then, nothing will save Shafting United until the curse of Tevez is removed; and that will only happen when McScab and his Dusty Bin Arab co-owner repay the £25m blood money extorted from West Ham.

Tevez was at it again today, disguised this time as journeyman Coventry striker Leon Clarke, who single-handedly scored two goals, thereby beating the Blunted Blades on his own and sending the Full Monties to the foot of the Old Third Division.

In front of a gate of just 2,078, Sheffield United lost 3-2 and took another decisive step towards utter and total humiliation; and how we West Ham fans are loving it!

Allardyce shows the world of football how to play the game!

Ok, it was only one game and ok he only employed the tactic because Carroll was injured and we don't have another striker worthy of the name, but that's not stopped the English Jose from claiming that his 4-6-0 formation has changed the game! The silly old sod genuinely seems to believe that the "false number 9" tactic was his own invention, crystallised in his own mighty footballing brain, fashioned on the West Ham training ground, and executed for the very first time as West Ham wiped the floor with Tottenham.

Now, it might be a little rude to mention Spain and Barcelona as Allardyce waxes lyrical about his own tactical brilliance, so perhaps we shouldn't at this stage.

And it might be cruel to pour a little cold water on Sam's ego by pointing out that the tactic only worked brilliantly for 13 minutes of the game - during which time all three goals were scored.

And it might be deemed wicked to say that one of the three goals came via a centre back at a set piece, a more traditional Allardyce approach to the game.

It would also be very unfair to mention the opening two minutes of the second half when Spurs ripped us to shreds twice. Had Defoe netted when clean through, you can bet your life that Petric would have been on the pitch before Spurs had the chance to score a second and move out of sight. Except he might not have had time to get stripped off before that second goal went in!

Based on the first 45 minutes, what was there to suggest that we would score three goals? Nolan had a great chance, but from a set piece. And Nolan had a half chance, from a header following a very traditional looking cross. Does anybody remember a brilliant diagonal pass releasing Vaz Te to run in unchallenged on the keeper? Or of Morrison running at the heart of the Spurs defence, released by the "false number 9" Diame? I can't! Nope, the first 45 was all about closing, chasing and harrying - pretty much like the tactics employed at Southampton and Newcastle, but without the liability that is Maiga! And, let's not forget that the half finished 0-0 and I can't recall a shot on target!

So what really beat Spurs? A corner. Reid got his head to it and thumped home the rebound off of Nolan. And then Spurs panicked. They threw too many men forward. They left themselves vulnerable at the back. Then Noble played a brilliant pass and Vaz Te got lucky. And Morrison came over all Ravel and justified his hype.

I don't want to prick Allardyce's bubble, but he really does need to get a sense of perspective. He remains Allardyce, not Alliadiche, and had Carroll been fit, we would not have seen that formation in a million years.

I was awoken at 4.30 am last Sunday morning with my bed swaying  up and down as if I was aboard a ship in a swell. I thought the scientists were right, that it had been caused by an earthquake registering 4.6 on the Richter Scale,  but it seems I was simply feeling the tremors radiating out from Allardyce's tactical brain, warning of the "Big One" that would hit later that day as Big Sam released the earthquake that would change the game of football for ever.

Well until Petric or Andy Carroll are fit, anyway!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Hodgson Snubs West Ham again as Liverpool man is called up

Did Hodgson have a snooze through the Tottenham game one wonders? How else can you explain his decision to overlook Ravel in favour of Raheem Sterling?

Both are highly talented bad boys, of course, but surely Morrison has done more to justify a call up than the Liverpool man? His goal against Spurs was nothing short of sensational and his play has been consistently impressive since he came into the side. And given Cleverley is the man who has dropped out, Morrison looks the more natural replacement.

In fact, it is beginning to look as if Woy has a prejudice against West Ham men. He has, after all, consistently ignored the claims of Noble, Nolan, Joe Cole, Tomkins and Downing. Meanwhile, old nag Milner gets picked in every squad, even though he isn't good enough for his club team and he looks distinctly mediocre every time he pulls on an international shirt.

It's time for the Davids to speak out, challenging Woy to justify his policy of overlooking the claims of West Ham players in a World Cup year. Do you know who won the bloody World Cup in 1966 Hodgson?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Ravel uses Tottenham warm up to prepare for altogether tougher challenge

It's good to see that Ravel used the Tottenham game to warm up for the much more challenging match against San Marino U21's. Sadly, our new £19m Release Clause man couldn't get on the score sheet - a feet achieved with sublime ease against Tottenham's £100m team - but he did play a full part in helping England's next Golden Generation to overcome the might of the 61 kilometre squared giants of international football's kids.

Spurs manager AVB will, no doubt, take solace from the fact that even the Most Serene Republic of San Marino's budding super stars could not fully shackle the former Manchester United tearaway, whilst delighting in the news that  his very own superstar in the making, young Kane, put the mighty Italian opposition to the sword with a truly stunning hat-trick.

And with Andros Townsend netting for the full England team tonight, some might be wondering why AVB spent so much of the Bale money bringing in mercenary foreigners. Because as West Ham proved at White Hart Lane and England proved tonight, English players can play a bit if given their head!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Where now for Big Sam?

So, after the  stunning victory at Spurs, the big question is, 'What does Allardyce do now?' After decades of playing one way, he has suddenly discovered that you don't need to hit long balls forward to an immobile forward and that players can actually interchange positions over the course of a game. Talk about a conversion on the road to Green Lanescus!

The transformation on Sunday was so spectacular and the result so sensational that Doctor Evil may have painted himself into a corner. He was clearly loving the adulation post performance, and all that Alliardicci clap trap only confirmed what we already knew, that the English Jose really does think he is God's gift to football management.

So what does he do now? Does he revert to Plan A and court ridicule if Man City rip us to shreds as we pump long balls up to no one - alias Mogadon Maiga - or does he bid for immortality by turning the club into the Premiership's very own False Number Nine Barcelona?

If anything, the return of Joe Cole makes the fluid formation even more tempting. Diame or Cole to alternate with Vaz Te? On paper it sounds like a non contest. Indeed, the prospect of  Nolan, Morrison, Cole, Vaz Te and Downing all interchanging positions, means that the attacking permutations could be very exciting.

There is a Plan P of course, with Petric expected to be fit, and to be fair, he is not a totem pole either. And with Morrison away on England duty, there's always a risk of Sod's Law striking and Ravel being injured.

What's great for now is that, for the first  time in a long time, we really don't know how Allardyce will play it. And if we don't know, what hope have the opposition of knowing? I admitted at half time that I was struggling to work out the formation, so just imagine what it was like for the Tottenham defenders who would have been drilled on how to deal with long balls up to a big number 9.

Fingers crossed that Allardyce decides to give it another go and that the players pull off another miracle against Unreal City. Because then we might actually have a chance of watching football at Upton Park for the first time in ages!

Monday, 7 October 2013

After the Tottenham Trouncing, Captain Kev Sounds Like Manager in Waiting

Nolan has his critics but I have always been a big fan, so much so that I nominated him as the Player of the Season the year Parker was stupidly given the award. And listening to his post match interview after Tottenham's tonking, you can see exactly why Sam Alliadichi loves him so much. The guy is captain, mentor, player and player manager rolled into one.

Of course, our Kevin knows which side his bread is buttered, so he astutely sings his manager's praises, but it is the way he talks about Morrison and his threat to kick RVT up the backside that is so impressive. This is no ordinary captain, this is a father figure on the field, somebody who marshals the troops, keeps the spirits up, and communicates the manager's wishes in a language the players can understand.

He even got it right with Maiga, acknowledging that the guy was on the bench, but indicating that the next two weeks were crucial because of the opportunity it gave to get Petric fit. Interestingly, Carlton was not mentioned, which may be a clue that we are not quite as desperate as we were a week ago.

So, he may not be the quickest, nor the most mobile, but Nolan promises to be a fixture in the team for a little while yet. And who would back against him finishing the season as our highest goal scorer and on him becoming assistant manager to Alliadichi in a couple of year's time?

Tottenham reaction to West Ham humiliation

They hath disgraced us and hindered us ninety eight million, laughed at our losses, mocked at our gains, scorned our new stadium, thwarted our bargains, cooled our friends, heated our enemies—and what’s their reason? We are Tottenham men. Hath not a Tottenham man eyes? Hath not a Tottenham man hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a West Ham man is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not crawl into the corner and complain about how unfair it all is? After the trip to Moscow, we needed a rest, we will dissemble now in that. If a Tottenham man wrongs a West Ham man, what is his humility? Revenge. If a West Ham man wrongs a Tottenham man, what should his sufferance be by previous example? Why, to complain. The villainy they have inflicted upon us has been executed—and it shall go hard on AVB as we will now have to spend another fifty million!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Tottenham 0 West Ham 3 - Were you watching Benjamin Netanyahu?

Were you watching Moses? Were you watching Shylock? Were you watching David Ben Gurion? Were you watching Golda Meir? Our lads gave your boys one hell of a beating!

Where to start? The first half performance was good, but the warning signs were there. Townsend had the beating of Boomtown and Tottenham were beginning to camp in our half. True we had fashioned the best two chances of the first 45, with Nolan heading wide from Downing's cross and then volleying wide from Noble's brilliant free kick, but there was a sense that with those opportunities spurned, the second 45 was going to follow a familiar course, with the best we could really hope for being another 0-0 draw.

And when Tottenham came out of the second half traps like Mick the Miller on anabolic steroids, the writing really did appear to be on the wall. Tomkins had a nightmare two minutes and with Jussi saving well from Defoe, it seemed for all the world as if we were going to cave in to a three or four goal defeat.

But then something remarkable happened. We regained our composure. We took hold of the ball. And miracle upon miracle, we passed the bloody thing to players in claret and blue.

It was about 10 minutes into the second half. Rat won the ball deep in our half and passed it sideways to Tomkins. The ball was played up to Noble, who played it back to Tomkins, who played it sideways to Rat. By this time I was apoplectic. "Get it out! Play it long" I found myself yelling, so conditioned to Allardyce football. Instead the ball went forward some five yards to Diame. Who played it back to Rat. Who played it sideways to Noble. Who dinked it forward to Nolan. Who.... But this was getting bloody silly! This was an Allardyce team playing the ball on the ground, making passing patterns and moving the ball forward in a controlled fashion. Against Spurs! Incredible!

And meanwhile, the movement was excellent. Diame was playing so high up the pitch, drifting infield, pulling wide. Vaz Te was dropping deep, then pulling wide. Morrison was looking to get ahead of the striker. Downing kept popping up here, then there. Noble was everywhere, collecting the ball and prompting another forward move. Rat was dashing forward. Demel was dashing even further forward. It wasn't quite total football, but it certainly wasn't the usual Allardyce bollocks! So when we scored, we bloody well deserved to!

True it was from a set piece, but who cares? Over came Downing's corner, Reid soared, headed goal-wards, Nolan did a Tevez by blocking the shot on the opposition's goal line, but the ball rebounded to the Kiwi who gleefully smashed it home! 1-0! And be honest, like me you thought, too bloody early, Spurs have time to score two or three in the time remaining!

But Spurs didn't score! We did. Noble played a sublime ball through to Vaz Te who, clean through on Lloris, played a one two off the keeper's body before deflecting the ball into the gaping net. True RVT was a little lucky, but you make your own luck in football, and Maiga wouldn't have made it into the box and wouldn't have hit his initial shot on target, so all credit to the man who Allardyce tried to freeze out.

But the best was yet to come. Diame flicked the ball on to Morrison who drove at the heart of the Spurs defence, riding two challenges before drawing Lloris and dinking the ball over him into the net. It was a sublime goal from a young man with a very special talent. He is raw, he is probably still a very flawed human being, but if he scores a few more like that, we may find a club or two triggering his £19m release clause!

Mind you, there were still eleven minutes to go, plus injury time, and there was still that dread of what might happen should Spurs score. How absurd! Not only didn't Spurs score, they didn't look like scoring! Collins came on and Reid seized the opportunity to step up into midfield and played a lovely ball out wide to Downing. Spurs huffed and puffed, but we controlled the game.

And whisper this quietly, but it could have been 5-0! Tomkins forced a superb save from Lloris and Diame was denied a penalty when definitely tripped in the box.

Amazing. This really was better than sex! In fact, apart from that Great Escape victory at Old Trafford, this has to be the most amazing West Ham result of the C21st! Truly, truly incredible. Who needs Andy Carroll?

Player ratings:
Jussi 6 (One decent save but was in no man's land under a Spurs free kick);
Demel 9 (He was immense, up and down the touchline all afternoon.)
Tomkins 7 (Excellent except for his 2 minute nightmare at the start of the second half)
Reid 10 (Superb all afternoon and scored!)
Rat 8 (Had a torrid time against Townsend but stuck to his job and came out on top in the end. One brilliant run into the Spurs box was the trigger for our revival);
Noble 9 (What a free kick and what a pass for Vaz Te. He was everywhere, linking the play, closing down Spurs players, stealing the ball away, tackling. Come on Sav and Stani, point out that one bad corner!)
Nolan 7 (He was selfless, plugging gaps, closing, chasing, challenging)
Diame 9 (Back to his best in this one. Lovely pass for Morrison's goal, and ate up the ground all afternoon)
Downing 8 (Looked like a good buy! So much more intelligent than Jarvis!)
Morrison 8 (Great, great, great goal. One very bad error when lost possession when running back towards his own goal, but so what?)
Vaz Te 8 (He scored! A forward bloody scored! And his movement forced Allardyce to find a Plan B!)

Subs: Collins 7, Cole 6, O'Brien 10 (For the bloody great big smile as he came on with a couple of minutes to play!)