Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A 3 Year Contract for a 31 Year Old Romanian Rat? Findus did a better deal!

Ok we need a left back, but £35k a week for a Romanian left back who has been plying his trade in the Ukraine? What a joke! And it gets worse. The guy is 31 for pity's sake, and we are reportedly offering him a three year contract. Madness.

I suppose the absence of a transfer fee makes the deal a little less crazy but I currently live in Romania and, believe you me, you need to look every gift horse in the mouth before you agree to include it in your beef lasagna.

And it's not as if the club have happy memories of Romanian players is it? Roland Rat is probably planning his shopping trips to Harrods even as we speak!

Hang on, sourcing a dodgy old Romanian nag? Dodgy lasagna? We must be planning for Tottenham!

Aston Villa 6 Il Duce's Sunderland 1 - When did an Allardyce side last ship six goals?

All those West Ham fans wetting themselves at the thought of Di Canio managing the club might like to reflect after tonight's Blunderland horror show.

Just like his idol Mussolini, Di Canio started well at the Stadium of Plight, but the Premiership is a 38 game season and a couple of victories count for little in the long run. The win over Newcastle was courtesy of some dreadful decisions by the officials and Everton should have left the North East with at least a point. Tonight's performance and result have put everything into true perspective.

Now tell me, when was the last time an Allardyce team surrendered so pathetically? We were very poor at Sunderland and shipped 3 goals, and it's true that Arsenal tore us apart at the Emirates - but Arsenal are a much better team than Villa! Of course, the same excuse cannot be given for the 5-1 mauling at Ipswich last season but Allardyce was focused on the transfer window that night.

Il Duce Di Canio may prove me wrong but I don't expect him to be a Premiership manager this time next year. Allardyce, on the other hand, will keep doing what he is best at: organising his team to play the percentages and punch above their weight. Like we did at the weekend, when we pushed Mancini's millionaires close.

Allardyce is like the Nationwide Building Society - boring but reliable; trusting Di Canio is like putting your mortgage on zero in a casino - exciting but very, very dangerous. Sunderland have opted for the thrill ride and may well live to regret it!

So, when was the last time an Allardyce side shipped six goals?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Allardyce Unfairly Criticises Team After Manchester City Defeat

Something must have crawled up Allardyce's arse on his way to the game. How else can you explain his downbeat assessment of a highly creditable and passionately committed performance at the Etihad. Yes we lost, but as I said in my half time report and match report, we gave Unreal City a game, which we had no right to do when you look at the cost of assembling the two teams.

In one way, Allardyce's judgement that we need "better players" is encouraging but it sounded churlish, nay spiteful, after a narrow defeat to the recently deposed Champions. For God's sake, we finished in third place in the Championship last season, 22 places behind Mancini's millionaires. To push them close, and at times outplay them, was impressive.

Instead of moaning, Allardyce should have praised Reid, Collins, O'Brien, Diame, Jarvis and Carroll in particular. There are "better players" out there, but we can't afford the Van Persies, Ronaldos and Messis, so we should acknowledge the efforts of those we have.

I went on record yesterday to say I was proud of the team and praised Allardyce for our performance. I don't know what game he was watching, or what he expected, but it was a valiant and praiseworthy effort based on what I saw!

(Match report here: http://thegamesgonecrazy.blogspot.ro/2013/04/manchester-city-2-west-ham-1-dignity-in.html )

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Are Pardew's Newcastle too good to go down?

It's 0-6 at home to Liverpool as I write. And Suarez isn't even there to bite Pardew on the arse if he drops his pants!


Manchester City 2 West Ham 1 - Dignity in Defeat!

Bloody hell, we looked Unreal City's equals for much of that second half. True Toure's goal was brilliant and Carroll's was bloody lucky - with Mother Superior Jussi telling that young slut Hart the virtues of keeping your legs shut after the game - but we passed the ball well, got forward frequently and played with tremendous spirit. Another difficult game for Allardyce's critics to explain, because the manager deserves huge credit for the team's organisation, commitment and, yes, skill levels.

How often did we lump it long? Not often. How often did we pass the ball through midfield? Most of the time. Yes we worked it wide to the flanks, and yes we crossed the ball high into the box, but when you have a weapon like Carroll in the team, you would be stupid not to. Liverpool fans who mock our loan signing might like to watch a tape of the game. Carroll was always in the game and his contribution wasn't all elbows and thumping forehead.

There were so many West Ham heroes out there. I can only assume that Collins, Reid and O'Brien are running a competition on who can get in the most blocks this season. If Vaz Te and Demel had showed the same sort of commitment, Unreal City would not have notched their opening goal. Jarvis ran and ran and ran, and got in a few decent crosses too. Carroll, as said above, gave 100% and showed some surprising touches of skill. O'Neil stuck to his job. Nolan linked the play well. And Diame was a bull, our version of Toure. On the balance of play, we didn't quite deserve a point, but given how much Man City have spent, we should have been awarded one anyway! I have rarely felt so proud of a West ham team in defeat.

Jussi, however, had a bit of a mare and was lucky he wasn't punished more severely. He has been hugely impressive this season but this game was, perhaps, a timely reminder that he isn't getting any younger; and a new keeper might be needed for next season. And you have to wonder why Taylor is continually used; he has passed his sell by date for sure!

But let's not end on a negative. Let's remember the Reid block to prevent Tevez scoring. And the O'Brien block inside his own six yard box. And the Collins block. And the panic in the Man City defence every time we crossed the ball into the box. And that superb passing move, back to front, through midfield, in the last couple of minutes of the first half.

Player ratings: Jussi 4; Demel 6, Collins 7, Reid 8, O'Brien 8; O'Neil 7; Vaz Te 6, Nolan 7, Diame 7, Jarvis 7; Carroll 8  Subs Collison 6, Taylor 4, Carlton 5

Half Time: Manchester City 1 West Ham 0 - Second best but not by £200m!

Well we are behind, but only just, and only because Jussi woke up feeling a little arthritic this morning. The Unreal City goal was brilliantly worked, but Jussi spread himself like a frigid Mother Superior with cystitis, and seemed more obsessed with keeping his legs shut than getting his hands to the ball. Two minutes later, he almost handed City another when showing a similar reluctance to widen his legs and stretch. He's been excellent this season but, thus far, he has had a poorish game.

We haven't offered too much going forward, but Hart was at his butterfingered worst when saving from Diame, and Carroll has had a couple of half chances inside the box. What's most pleasing is our discipline, organisation, commitment, and our willingness to build from the back. True, both moves ended in a high ball into the box, but in the last two minutes of the first half we strung together two excellent passing moves which belied Allardyce's reputation for hoof ball.

Mancini's millionaires have focused most of their raids down our right, and it was no surprise when the goal came from that flank, with Vaz Te failing to track back, Demel exposed in consequence and the entire defence ripped apart by quick, pin ball style passing. The goal was scored from inside the six yard box, but Jussi should have done better.

Carroll has been booked, unfairly. Jarvis won a free kick for head butting Kompany's chest and was clearly still concussed when running into an offside position to collect the free kick. Allardyce was apoplectic. Somebody should tell him we are safe or he will be back in hospital for heart surgery!

Paulista to feature this season and Morrison next?

Dear God, the thought of it is probably giving Allardyce sleepless nights. He has a talented South American in his squad and, with survival all but guaranteed, he might feel under a little pressure to give the guy a game.

You what? Actually play the lad? But he has the F word. He has flair!

And then there's the impending threat of the Return of Ravel. This guy's a shit, no doubt about it, but Lee Clark is enthusing about him after recent performances and even Unreal City have been rumoured to be interested.

Just imagine if Paulista stayed, Morrison returned, and they were selected along with Joe Cole. Allardyce would have an epileptic fit. For crying out loud, will somebody tell them to stop arsing around and lump the bloody ball forward!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sporting Life headline provokes trembles at QPR

Dear God, the Sporting Life really should take more care with its headlines. Just imagine the anxiety in Shepherd's Bush as the headline "Green reported to the Fraud Office" appeared on the News Now boards!

"Dear God, even the authorities have seen through Butterfingers!" a voice must have squealed in the PR office. England keeper? Worthy of a salary of 50k a week? A Premiership keeper? No wonder the bloody Fraud Office is involved!

But calm down, calm down, it's another Green entirely! Rob hasn't been found out.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Butterfingers Green at fault again as QPR lose to Stoke

How amusing. As Jussi pulls off a breathtaking save to keep us ahead against Wigan and on course for a victory that guarantees our Premiership survival, England's 666, Butterfingers Green, gets a weak hand to Crouch's low velocity shot, and fails to prevent it going over the line.

I'm not sure what Jussi is earning at Upton Park, but you can bet your life it is nowhere near the 50k per week that Green is being paid by Foolish Fernandes and, kicking apart, there's no disputing who is the better keeper.

Rob Green is now on the point of completing a hat trick of relegations as somehow, glory keeps slipping through his fingers. Relegated with Norwich. Relegated with West Ham. Now relegated with QPR. A pattern seems to be emerging.

But he still has his fans at West Ham. Some would still welcome him back with open arms. Mind you, some would welcome Fernandes to the Boleyn!

Green has got what he deserves in my book. He was once a great shot stopper but an average all round keeper. Now his great shot stopping days may be beyond him. He is nearly back where he belongs, in the Championship, and let's hope his contract allows for a massive reduction of his salary in consequence. Defoe, Parker, Green - they are cut from the same money grabbing Judas cloth!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

West Ham 2 Wigan 0 - It's official, Fat Sam's singing!

Well it was classic West Ham in one sense - we were kept on the edge of our seats until late in the game before our Premiership place was guaranteed for next season. With Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich and Stoke all winning, the team chose the worst possible time to switch off, but switch off they did at half time, and for the bulk of the second half, we were not only second best, we were dire. Collins stayed strong and Jussi pulled off a brilliant save, the rebound fortunately by-passing Kone, but those two apart, the players were on the beach enjoying their hols!

Nolan's goal was utterly undeserved, if we are honest, but the 2-0 scoreline shows why Wigan will probably join QPR and Reading in the Championship next season. At the back they are dire, and up front, they have all the firepower of Carlton Cole!

But Big Fat Sam won't care about any of that! Cole was crap, O'Neil was crap, Nolan, his goal apart, was a passenger, Noble was easing himself back, Jarvis was resting on his laurels, Reid played a couple of abysmal passes, Demel headed the ball back across the face of his own goal, Vaz Te was a joke before his withdrawal. But we won, and winning was all that mattered.

Into the top ten now, level on points with Swansea. Every place is worth a cash bonus. If we can finish in the top half, we will look back on a fabulous season!

Half Time: West Ham 1 Wigan 0 - So Far So Safe

Well again it hasn't been thrilling - unlike the midweek game against Man Utd - but who cares? The chance for Maloney or McCarthy apart - I can't remember which - we have been comfortable and we could have scored two or three ourselves.

In one sense the goal was fortunate - Jarvis didn't intend to net - but in another it was exactly what the cross deserved. It was beautifully delivered by the much maligned winger and both Diame and Nolan were inches away from connecting. Had either done so, it would have been a glaring miss had the ball ballooned over the bar. True both missed, but the cross still bent inside the post, and despite Nolan's attempts to con himself onto the score sheet, the goal belongs to Jarvis.

Wigan's back line have been far more stretched than ours, and our penalty claim was much more valid than theirs. The only worry is Carroll's yellow and his inability to change his game. He is walking a tightrope and Captain Kev has already had a word, trying to calm him down. The last thing we need is for Carroll to see red and to be ruled out of two games.

As things stand, we are comfortably safe, but I won't relax until 40 points are on the board: Stoke, Sunderland and Newcastle are all winning, which is the Perfect Storm of results I talked about yesterday, should Wigan run out winners today and Norwich steal a winner against Reading in the second 45 minutes.

So far so safe, but it's not over until the Fat Sam sings!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Will Wigan's Whelan sue West Ham over Tevez goal?

Oh the irony. Back in the Great Escape Season, it was Sheffield United's McScab and Wigan's Whelan who led the protests over Tevez and who threatened to form a footballing and legal Axis against West Ham.

On the pitch they did their level best to engineer the survival of both clubs, only for Tevez to drive a stake through the Warnock's heart with that epic winner at Old Trafford; and now, all these years later, the maverick Argentine has returned, like a member the undead, to sink his fangs into Whelan's neck.

How deliciously appropriate would it be if  that Tevez goal on Wednesday, and defeat at Upton Park, ultimately cost Wigan their place in the Premiership?

I can feel a legal action coming on! If West Ham had not signed Tevez on that Third Party Agreement, he would never have signed for Man Utd and so would never have moved across Manchester and so would not have scored that winner on Wednesday. If Wigan go down, it will all be West Ham's fault!

Good job Duxbury has moved on, otherwise he might be penning a compensation package even as we speak!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

West Ham 2 Man Utd 2 - Robbed by incompetent linesman!

Bloody hell! That was so close to an epic victory, and yet again incompetent officials determine the result rather than brilliant football. Diame's goal was a classic and deserved to win the game. And so it would have done had the linesman done his job, looked along the line, saw that Van Persie was beyond the last man, and raised his bloody flag.

But that's too much to ask isn't it?  Van Persie was no more than 20 yards away from the dick with the flag and at six foot something, he's not easy to miss. How the hell could anybody fail to see that he was offside? As he netted, I wasn't worried. He was off, obviously off. Even Ferguson knew because he looked anxiously down the line expecting to see the flag before he celebrated. Bloody hell!

And that was so cruel because we deserved to win. This wasn't a lucky point, we out battled Man Utd on the night and scored two excellent goals, both from open play. Jarvis set up the first superbly, mirroring Devonshire's dash to the dead ball line in the Cup Final, and standing up a superb cross that screamed out to be directed into the net. Carroll got his radar wrong, but there was Vaz Te, diving in at ankle height to head home. It was too early to score, the Mancs were always going to equalise, but boy was it sweet!

Of course Man Utd equalised, but that goal apart, we were comfortable at the back with Collins again superb, making superbly timed interceptions and blocking shot after shot. I would say that he is back to his best but that would be wrong. He is far better than he has ever been on the evidence of the last three games. How stupid were we to sell him?

Our second was a joy. Back heel from Vaz Te, nice dinked pass from Demel, superb bent shot from Diame, and clever evasive action from Nolan. Brilliant!

O'Neil cleared one off the line after poor marking at a corner and Jussi made a couple of saves - oh and Carroll made a fantastic last ditch intervention in his own six yard box to stop Hernandez scoring. But we didn't look stretched or stressed - in fact we were looking the Champions Elect equals, passing the ball neatly  - one terrible O'Neil square ball and one Collison error apart. Long ball football? No. We hit the channels yes, but for the most part we played out from the back with impressive confidence.

Only for the twat with the flag to rob us of a famous victory!

No matter. With Wigan losing, we are safe. Even I'm happy to say that now!

Player ratings: Jussi 7 (should have held Rooney's shot that O'Neil cleared off the line): Demel 6, Collins 9, Reid 8, O'Brien 6; O'Neil 7; Diame 8, Nolan 7; Jarvis 7, Vaz Te 7; Carroll 9 Subs: Noble 6, Collison 5, Taylor 5

Half Time West Ham 1 Man Utd 1 - And Wigan are drawing at Man City!

As I keep warning, this bloody relegation battle could yet get messy. You look at all the permutations and you think, surely we can't go down, but should Wigan get a result at the Etihad, the nightmare may yet happen. Unless we can get something tonight!

To be fair, we did not look like relegation candidates during that first 45, but we all know how the Mancs come on strong in the final third of a game. You'd have to fancy them to win at this stage as Demel tires and they start to exploit gaps down our flanks.

The goal apart, Collins has again been superb, but he was pulled out of position when Demel went missing and from there, the entire defensive unit was at sixes and sevens. Reid was sucked across too and missed his block and even Carlton would have netted in Valencia's position.

Our goal was excellent. Jarvis made it to the touchline in a throw back to the days of Devonshire and stood up a lovely cross. Carroll was going for goal, but Vaz Te was on hand to head home as the ball was heading wide.

Carroll has played like a bull. Nolan is playing the picador and Jarvis has been something of a matador. Here comes the second half. Come on Man City!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Why is Princess Brady desperate to justify money spent on Jarvis?

(With thanks to Stani)

There's no doubt that Gold, Sullivan and Brady have done a lot of tidying up regards the financial side of our club in order to stabilise us, so they should be given credit for that. But let's not ignore the fact that it was first and foremost in their own interest that they did so.

With that positive acknowledged, what concerns me with them is their tendency to make huge errors in judgment. Avram Grant is an obvious one. Another in my opinion - with the assistance of the manager - was the purchase of Matt Jarvis for potentially £11 million pounds. If you think the owners are feeling that they made a mistake there, then you're mistaken. Even as recently as 6th April, in her column in the Sun, Brady was trying to justify it:

"TWO goals from Andy Carroll and three points closer to the shoreline. By any reckoning, our man Sam was right to insist that we bought winger Matt Jarvis from Wolves last summer. Stats shown to me today reveal Jarvis as the Premier League’s leading open-play crosser of the ball with easily the most successful attempts at 42 from 171.

Analysts suggest this is because Sam Allardyce prefers traditional wingers aiming the ball for big strikers. Perhaps, but that’s a gross under-estimation of Jarvis, who can be quietly devastating.

It worked today as Andy scored twice but we have to be without our loan player at Liverpool this Sunday and someone else will have the pleasure of meeting Jarvis’ crosses."


Firstly, you would have to ask why someone has felt the need to show her stats on a player. Have there been questions raised about the purchase of this player behind the scenes? Is someone trying to justify the purchase with stats?

Secondly, anyone that puts the stats to one side and watches the actual football will see what Jarvis produces. Yes they are crosses but they are 9 times out of 10 lacking in any pace, direction or quality. Jarvis' sole aim it seems is to get to the byline and get the ball in by any means, seemingly unconcerned about it's effectiveness as long as it counts as a cross.

Lastly, Brady's words suggest that Jarvis and his crosses somehow played a part in Carroll's two goals when neither of Carroll's goals in fact came from Jarvis' crosses.

Regards Allardyce's comments on not being able to afford Carroll because of the financial rules...I think this is a deliberate attempt by the club to bring down the price of the player. Now consider the fact that had we not wasted £11 million on Jarvis, we would have been in a far better position to buy a more effective player in Carroll. On the evidence of what Jarvis has provided so far, I dont think he'd have been missed if he wasn't brought in.

I would like to make clear that I don't really want to castigate the player...I'm merely arguing that he is not worth £11 million. That is an international class price tag and Jarvis I'm afraid is not international class.

Going forward, it is their propensity to make such errors in judgment that concerns me about our owners.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Will Financial Fair Play scupper West Ham's rise or make it easier?

The Financial Fair Play rules are on their way and are already being offered as an excuse for not buying Andy Carroll. However, the club must be in a much healthier state now than when Sullivan and Gold took over. Heavy weight wage earners such as Dyer and Parker have been shown the door, and a whole host of over rated, over paid and over here clowns have been shipped out.

That said, Nolan didn't join us for love, even if he knew that Sam would play him come what may. Jarvis must be on a hefty package too. Joe Cole won't have come cheap. And Carroll's wages are massive.

So it all sounds bad news until you think it through. If we have problems, so will other clubs. Do Liverpool want Carroll on their wage bill. Absolutely not. And they will do pretty much anything to offload him. So suddenly his transfer fee is likely to fall, and a deal on meeting some of his wages might be in the offing too.

Carroll might well be destined for Newcastle, but clubs will be looking to offload a host of players who are not pulling their financial weight. Jordan Rhodes has been linked, and Blackburn have no choice but to sell him. Will Spurs fancy paying Defoe's wages if it means that they can't afford Bale? What about the fringe players at Man City and Chelsea?

Suddenly new opportunities in the loan market are likely to open up as clubs anxiously look to save on their wage bill to comply with the rules. If West Ham pay 50% of Carroll's wages, that at least saves Liverpool 50k a week!

These are interesting times. Our Premiership place is now all but guaranteed - though I still want to see one more win; the question is, can we now take the next step?

How bad is Pogatetz?

Don't get me wrong, I like Southampton's Rodrigues as a player and think we were bloody lucky he didn't start because of a virus, but Messi or Ronaldo he aint, and Pogatetz made him look like a world beater after his introduction.

How long was the former Miserableboro man on the pitch? About 20 minutes? And in that time he was done all ends up, collected a yellow and, on another day, might have seen a red. He had no way of stopping young Jay other than fouling him.

Based on what I have seen since his arrival, Pogatetz is slow, cumbersome and brainless. Thank God we only have him on loan!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunderland's Victory Over Newcastle Means West Ham STILL Need Another Win and QPR are Down!

Oh dear God, this season is beginning to shape up like 2002/03! How many points are going to be needed to stay in the Prem? I certainly wouldn't fancy staying on 38 and Zola's 35 certainly wouldn't have kept us up! Those draws at Liverpool and Southampton are now looking so, so, so precious.

Still it could we worse, we could support QPR who have no chance now after this one!

I hate Il Duce's politics, but you have to love the guy's passion! It was Keystones Kop football at St James' Park - have either team heard of passing the ball? - and had nothing to do with Di Canio's Italian roots, but the Black Shirts won't care. Three crucial, crucial points and Newcastle's scalp into the bargain!

Il Duce certainly caught Pardew with his pants down, and his straight arm salute went right up him! Ouch!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Southampton 1 West Ham 1 - Allardyce passes acid test thanks to virus in Saints camp

Well it was never pretty - in fact we played more football at Anfield - but who cares? Another point banked means we would be incredibly unlucky to go down from here, even if we contrive to lose four home games on the bounce.

Jussi was superb today. Those who insist Green is a better keeper have no idea about the game. His first half save from Lambert is a contender for the save of the season and two blocks in the second half have all but guaranteed our safety.

Collins was superb again today. Had we kept him instead of selling him to Villa, we might have stayed up two seasons back. Had Villa kept him, instead of selling him back to us, they would not now have a goal difference of minus 24!

And Tomkins deserves a very honourable mention too. He and Collins were so unlucky for the Ramirez goal. Both threw themselves into the block as if they were protecting a child from a bullet, and it took Sods Law with a capital S&L for the ball to bounce, pin ball style, perfectly into the path of the Southampton man.

That said, our goal was soft too. On 99 days out of one hundred, Carroll's tame free kick would never have found the back of the net, but today it did. And as the net rippled, so our safety was all but guaranteed. Especially when Fulham equalised, courtesy of an own goal, and Norwich lost their lead and then went behind thanks to a penalty and another own goal. Doctor Evil's contract with the Devil paid out on all fronts today!

Defensively we were excellent; offensively, we hardly showed up. Carroll put a good chance wide and Collison put one over the bar, but an offence had already been committed. But so what? We came for a point and left with a point. And that is now two back to back defensive performances to make the tacticians purr, even if the purists have opened their wrists in despair!

And we saw Paulista. Not on the pitch of course, but making the bench is progress!

All that said, thank God neither Rodrigues nor Pogatetz started!

Player ratings: Jussi 8 (the kicking was awful!); Demel 7, Collins 9 Tomkins 9, O'Brien 7; O'Neil 6; Vaz Te 5, Diame 6, Nolan 5, Jarvis 3; Carroll 6 Subs Collison 6, Taylor 5, Pogatetz 3

Sothampton Game An Acid Test For Allardyce

After the excellent draw at Liverpool, today's game against Southampton will be an interesting acid test for Allardyce. His supporters argue he has done a superb job, keeping the club just above the relegation pack, but Southampton have climbed above us in the table, and should we lose today, will pull clear and confirm their presence in the Prem next season.

For much of the season, Southampton have struggled and it was a massive feather in Allardyce's cap that he had negotiated a safe route through the first season up, whilst the two other promoted teams looked likely to return to the Championship. I was angered by the replacement of Adkins, but subsequent events seem to be proving the Southampton Board right. The Saints look a much more fluent team going forward and are tighter at the back, whilst Reading don't seem to have gained anything by replacing Nice Guy Brian with Nice Guy Nigel.

However, Southampton's recent run, and our struggles since December have put things into context. We still need three points to guarantee safety, and whilst relegation is unlikely, it is not impossible. If we lose today, and then get stuffed by Manchester United, there may yet be a few anxious glances over the shoulder. Victory for Southampton, in contrast, would confirm a wonderful revival.

And of course, if we stay up, our troubles are not yet over. Carroll needs to be replaced and that won't be easy. Southampton, on the other hand, have a young team that is growing in confidence and should be stronger for their experiences this season. After half a dozen games, they looked dead and buried but our hammering of them at Upton Park now seems a long, long time ago.

Can we win? It's a bit depressing that we even find ourselves asking that question. Remember, Southampton were in the third tier of English football two seasons ago. The climb has been nothing short of breath taking. But we can win but I don't expect us to unless Carroll has an absolute stormer. And there's the rub. Without Andy, we were toothless up front at Anfield - if we lose him for the run in, it could yet get hairy!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

David James and Shaka Hislop Put Jack Boot into Sunderland's Di Canio

Interesting to read both Shaka and David James chipping in their five pennyworth in the Il Duce Di Canio debate.

According to Shaka, Di Canio is not a racist - not that anybody has ever suggested he is - but he does question the Italian's ability to manage in the Prem and suggests he walks a narrow line between "genius and insanity".

David James goes further, saying that he always regarded Di Canio as a "dictator" and says that his straight arm salute to the Lazio fans simply confirmed what he had always suspected, that Di Canio was an unpleasant individual.

Meanwhile 'Arry has asked where all this fascist stuff has suddenly come from, claiming nobody mentioned it when Il Duce was in charge at Swindon. He really should check out this blog more often!

One last thought, will Di Canio wear a black arm band at Newcastle out of respect for Thatcher?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Which Liverpool Game Was Allardyce Watching?

Don't get me wrong, I thought we were superb as my match report reveals, but Allardyce's analysis of the game on Match of the Day was utterly perverse. No mention of the brilliant defensive work of Collins and Tomkins - that was left to Hansen - but instead a strange claim that we had the better chances in the game.

Now I can remember three chances: the Collison header that was cleared off the line - but Gerrard's shot blocked by Tomkins on the line was a better opportunity; Diame's shot from the angle after his brilliant dribble - but that shot was always rising and I was screaming for him to go down for a penalty; and Cole's blocked shot from the edge of the box - but it was Carlton and the ball was heading wide anyway.

It is true that Liverpool didn't have many chances thanks to our brilliant defensive work, but the disallowed goal was only marginally offside, Suarez put his cross shot through the legs of Jussi and only inches wide from an impossible angle, and Jussi was much the busier of the two keepers over the 90 minutes.

It is times like this that Doctor Evil appears such an arse. Instead of being honest and saying we got we came for after doing a professional number on Liverpool, his ego demands that he makes absurd claims to make it appear that we were the better side, when clearly that was not so.

Brendan Rodgers overdid things when he said that only one team was trying to win the game, but I must admit that I was yelling for all 11 men to get the right side of the ball for 87 minutes of the game - and the right side was behind it!

One last thing, well done to Rodgers for complimenting the West Ham fans for respecting the minute's silence and well done to the fans themselves for showing that respect.

Match report here:  http://thegamesgonecrazy.blogspot.ro/2013/04/liverpool-0-west-ham-0-brilliant.html

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Liverpool 0 West Ham 0 - Brilliant Defensive Display!

My God we nearly won! If only Collison's header had cleared the defender on the line!

That was one of the best West Ham displays I have ever seen. Over the years I have grown royally sick of our lay down and die attitude at Anfield, and Allardyce's critics might like to reflect after that showing.

Collins and Tomkins were immense. I lost count of the number of times they tackled and blocked. True Tomkins was a little lucky that the referee didn't buy Gerrard's penalty claim - most would have done in front of the Kop - but that apart, he was flawless.

And Collins? Well he looked like Tony Adams or Alvin Martin at their very best. Three times Suarez tried to dribble round him and three times Collins said, thanks very much, and took the ball off him. Bobby Moore against Brazil? Absurd I know, but it came to mind!

Demel, O'Brien, O'Neil, Diame, Jussi, they all played their part in keeping the score down, whilst Jarvis ran with the ball at every opportunity and Cole did the donkey work up front, with the emphasis upon donkey!

Nolan went missing until he was withdrawn but even Vaz Te dirtied his knees in a couple of tackles!

Heroic. Wonderful. The best 0-0 I have ever seen!

I'm off to celebrate with a couple of beers before watching Steaua. It's a tough life!

Player Ratings: Jussi 7; Demel 7 Collins 10, Tomkins 10, O'Brien 7; O'Neil 7, Diame 9, Nolan 5, Vaz Te 6, Jarvis 7, Cole 6 Subs: Collison 7, Taylor 5, Pogatetz 6

Oh and 10 out of 10 for the ref!

Half Time - Liverpool 0 West Ham 0 - Next 45 minutes or so could be dangerous!

Well that's the best 45 minutes West Ham have played at Anfield for as long as I can remember. In fact, with a decent number 9 leading the line, we could even be ahead!

That said, the defending has been brilliant but last ditch on too many occasions. Vaz Te put in a superb tackle which, if slightly mistimed, would have been a nailed on penalty. Tomkins tackled Suarez superbly deep inside the box - and that was a hair's breath from a penalty too. And Collins and O'Brien have been throwing themselves in front of the ball at every opportunity. A cruel deflection could well give Liverpool the lead. Even Demel has got in on the act, stretching into a tackle to put the ball into touch when exposed as the last man.

Mind you, the best football of the half came from Diame with his brilliant weaving run into the box. Why didn't he go down under the final tackle? Even a homer would have been tempted to point to the spot in front of the Kop!

You felt a Liverpool opener was coming from roughly the third minute to the forty sixth, but we are usually two down by now.

Must go. I have to pray before the second half kicks off!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

QPR and Reading are down, but 40 points still needed to avoid drop

Thank God we beat West Brom. Had that game been lost or even drawn, I would make us amongst the favourites to join the Hula Hoops of QPR and Reading in the Championship next season. But that victory has given the division a false look from a West Ham fan's point of view. We sit in middle table, but we sit on a very narrow perch and there is a massive ravine beneath us.

To be fair, we didn't look like a team haunted by fears of relegation last Saturday. Collins and Reid were immense at the back, and the three goals we scored were all out of the top drawer. I have been a long standing defender of Tomkins and Noble, but their replacements Collins and O'Neill were hugely instrumental in our victory, figuring in all three goals between them. The other stand out player was, of course, Andy Carroll who, frighteningly, is unavailable for today's game at Liverpool.

This round of fixtures is fraught with danger. Even when we are playing well, we get thumped at Liverpool, with 3-0 being a par score. Suarez is on form, Liverpool are buzzing, they need the points, so it looks a banker home game. Keeping the score down may, in fact, be the best we can hope for. And goal difference may yet be a crucial factor.

Our season probably now comes down to three games - all at home against Wigan, Newcastle and Reading. Win all three and we will be in mid table. Win one and draw one and we will be safe. Lose three and draw one and we will probably go down. Lose all four and God help us!

Look at the remaining fixtures for the likes of Newcastle, Norwich, Wigan and Villa, and there are lots of winnable games. Only Sunderland have a nightmare fixture list, and who knows how the Il Duce factor will play out? If he can spare time from draining the marshes, getting the trains to run on time and invading Albania, he may just fire Sunderland into a temporary revival.

Redknapp is aiming at 37 points to sound realistic, but 37 points won't be enough. My money is now on 40 for survival, and that is beyond both QPR and Reading. With Samba losing his beat and the fans turning on the 100k a week man - and 'Arry criticising him for moving himself up front into the bargain - it looks like Redknapp exhausted his miracles when he won that tax evasion trial. You can only buy so many favours from the Devil once you have pledged your soul it seems.

Interestingly, with everybody singing Allardyce's praises, we are still 6 points shy of the points total achieved by the reviled Roeder in the season we went down. And that 42 points total should be a warning to anybody feeling too complacent in the bottom half of the table. Jol said he "thinks" Fulham are ok with 39 points and we still need one more win to get there!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Di Canio, Sunderland, Facism & West Ham's Lucky Escape!

Well, I go away to the mountains for a week and it all happens. I posted last week that I couldn't see a club managed by O'Neill being relegated, and the Black Cats promptly sack him after a defeat at home to Man Utd, courtesy of a cruel deflection. Mad or what?

But that as just the beginning! The appointment of Il Duce Di Canio to replace him was nothing short of surreal! This is Sunderland! This is Old Labour heartland. This is a club with a Milliband on the Board - or a club that used to have a Milliband on the Board! And they appoint Di Canio who might have confused Black Cats with Black Shirts when he jumped at the job!

And look how long it has taken Di Canio to deny that he is a fascist! The no comment approach was tried. The "I am not in the House of Parliament" approach failed. And only when he was backed into a lamp post did the straight arm saluting, self declared admirer of Mussolini offer a categorical declaration of his political allegiance. But then we all know how fascists remain true to their word  don't we? I'm surprised Di Canio didn't hand a piece of paper to the British Prime Minister declaring he is not a fascist and promising peace in our time into the bargain!

Most laughable of all was Di Canio's claim that some of his best mates at West Ham were black! As if that isn't the familiar protest of all racists! Not that anybody has accused Di Canio of being a racist anyway. Fascists do not have to be racist and, on a technical point, it is Jews rather than black skinned people who are generally the object of their hatred. Perhaps Di Canio will cite his Jewish friends as his next line of defence.

Thank God we never appointed him. The focus since his appointment has been on his politics and if Di Canio drops a black player now, imagine the mutterings in the dressing room. Rival fans could well have a field day and a terrace full of black shirts is the very least Di Canio and the Sunderland Board deserve.

Yes we adored Di Canio the player but Di Canio the man has very severe limitations. His reign at Sunderland has started in predictable fashion and I, for one, hope it ends in tears. With English fans under the microscope for alleged racism during the San Marino game, the appointment of Di Canio to manage an English Premier League club is unfortunate in the extreme. He can say what he likes, but that salute to the Lazio fans and his infamous tattoo are all the evidence needed to show that this man should not be managing a club in the top division of English football.