Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Andy Carroll: Will the FA officially sanction cheating today?

I only saw the Chico Flores-Andy Carroll love tussle for the first time on MOTD2 last night, and on first viewing, I must admit my heart sank. From one angle, Carroll definitely swings his arm back and appears to make contact. And that's the view the referee had.

But seen from the other side, all becomes clear. Yes the arm moves backwards, but not maliciously, and the reaction of Flores is absolutely pathetic.

So now the FA face a challenge. What is more serious, a swinging arm that if it makes contact can result in a broken cheek bone or nose, or out and out cheating? I fear they will stupidly err on the side of personal safety, and in so doing, do untold damage to the game.

The sensible course of action would be for the red to be reduced to a yellow and for Flores to be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. And when found guilty, a significant ban and fine should be imposed because if we do not drive this appalling simulation out of the game then cheating will grow like a cancer.

So, is the risk to the health of one player or the risk to the health of the entire game more important? It's clear what the panel should decide - even Laudrup admits Carroll shouldn't have seen red - but I'm not holding my breath!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Any three from ten as relegation waters muddy with West Ham's win over Swansea

Well it looks like being one hell of a scrap to avoid the drop this season. We were briefly out of the bottom three, only for Moyeschester United to choke yet again - this time at Stoke. So now three points separates tenth placed Stoke and relegation - and that is crazy with more than half the season in the can!

What's even crazier is that our survival could now depend on an appeal to Carroll's red card. Nolan's two goals today showed how important the pairing are likely to be - and one without the other is about as useful as a single chopstick. Laudrup has sportingly said that the red card was harsh and hopefully that will help - and given Swansea are themselves deep in the mire, that was a very noble gesture indeed.

I couldn't see the game today as I am in hospital; and following it by constantly refreshing the Official Site match report was more painful than my operation to remove my gall bladder - especially after Carroll's dismissal. What's truly amazing about the last two games, of course, is that we have kept clean sheets without starting Reid and the new signings have been periphery too. Thank God in the case of Johnson!

What is clear from this window is that Sullivan and Gold are costing in relegation. No money was spent and the wages of the loan signings will not be carried over to the Championship. The decision to part with Rat was disappointing for me, but Allardyce clearly doesn't rate him. Let's hope the new Colombian is more professional than Montano; and the life of his family doesn't hinge on West Ham losing a key game!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Max Gradel set to reject "little Leeds United" in favour of Premiership Giants

Well that would be a kick in the David Haighs wouldn't it? Former Leeds United favourite Max Gradel is rumoured to have rejected a move to the 'Yorkshire Briefly Greats' after West Ham made a late, late move for the fleet of foot maestro.

Gradel himself was unavailable for comment but a source close to Leeds, Mr Lee Vitout said: "Obviously everybody at Leeds is disappointed that Max has decided not to join our campaign to finish in mid table in the Championship, but we fully understand his reasons."

"It is true that Leeds United briefly soared across the English footballing firmament like a mighty comet but we must all now accept that the glory years are long, long gone. If a week is a long time in politics, then a decade must be an eon in football. And it is ten years now since we were in the top division of English football."

"The facts may be unpalatable but are nevertheless undeniable. We do not own our ground and we do not own our training facilities. There is a very clear divide between our owners and our manager, and the position of David Haigh looks increasingly untenable."

"What's worse is that an Italian crook is now looking to take control of the club."

"A succession of managers have come and gone and the squad put together by Warnock and McDermott is ordinary in the extreme. And any hope of being in the Prem next season has long since evaporated. So why would any player with a sense of ambition choose to join us when he has the opportunity to play in the Prem, especially for the club that won the World Cup for England?"

He concluded: "If Max joins West Ham he will do so with the blessing of all Leeds United fans who understand that an ambitious player wants to play for the biggest team he possibly can. Our only hope now is that this will kill off West Ham's interest in McCormack because otherwise GFH Capital may be tempted to sell him just before the window closes in a desperate attempt to claw back some of their misguided investment and possibly even stave off administration."

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chelsea Choked By Hammers Heroes!

Well what a fantastic rear guard action! The performance echoed our draw at Anfield last season, but was still more amazing because we have been leaking so many goals lately - and because Chelsea are a better team than Liverpool were last season.

There's little point in writing a match report as such, because all night it was a case of West Ham players closing, chasing, harrying, tackling, screening and throwing their bodies in front of shots. Critics of Allardyce must again accept that no other West Ham manager in our life time has organised a team so effectively defensively - and Allardyce is not blessed with a Bobby Moore, a Frank Lampard senior, a Julian Dicks, an Alvin Martin, a Tony Gale, a Billy Bonds or a Phil Parkes (with apologies to any of our star defenders down the years that my tired old brain may have forgotten.

Instead Allardyce had a back four featuring the lumbering Demel, the resolute but limited Collins, the not quite got it Tomkins and the right footed O'Brien playing at left back. You would expect Hazard, Eto'o, Oscar, Ramires and Lampard to make mince meat of them, and they probably would have done but for two absolute stars in front of them.

So once again, I call upon the critics of Noble to hold their hands up and admit to being wrong; whilst I happily concede that I have horribly underestimated Matty Taylor. These two guys were truly immense tonight, tracking runners, closing space on the edge of our box and throwing their bodies in front of shots. And when we had the ball - which wasn't often! - Noble used it better than any other player in a West Ham shirt. In fact the guy was typified by his refusal to be substituted, staring down Allardyce when his number was shown and making it clear that he was only leaving the pitch over Big Sam's dead body - so Nolan was pulled off instead! Brilliant stuff.

Adrian was superb too and his last second save from Lampard will be one of the great moments of this season, if come the season's finale we remain in this division!

And is there anything else to say? Carroll's air-shot may have cost us two bonus points, but equally it may have enraged the Chelsea bull and resulted in a trouncing, so let's not be too greedy. We remain in the shit, but if we play with this spirit for the remainder of the season, we should be good enough to stay up!

Player ratings: Adrian 10; Demel 7, Collins 10, Tomkins 9, O'Brien 9; Noble 10, Taylor 10; Downing 6, Nolan 7, Diame 5; Carroll 6 Subs Jarvis 6, Cole 6, Nocerino 4

Friday, 24 January 2014

Leeds United's McCormack to West Ham? Over Allardyce's Sacked Body!

OK we have bought some shit down the years, but Ross McCormack would really take the biscuit - providing Benni McCarthy didn't eat any left behind by Eggert Magnusson and the barrel has been kept hidden from Allardyce.

True the Scot has banged in a few goals in the Championship but how many players are capable of making the step up? And he's no spring chicken is he?

It doesn't take a high wattage bulb to shine in the darkness, and in the current Leeds team, a Lions Midget Gem would shine like the Koh-I-Noor. Good God, when you are compared with the likes of Podgy Kenny, Warnock Junior, Reg Varney, Shit Brown and Hell Hadji, you'd have to have two prosphetic left legs and be right footed not to stand out from the crowd.

If we are really interested in him then it can only be because we are planning for next season in the Championship. McCormack has Ted MacDougall and Derek Hales stamped all over him, a decent player in the lower divisions but hopelessly out of his depth in the top division.

And as hard up as Leeds are, they won't sell him for what he is worth which is somewhere between £1.5m and £2m.

Leave well alone for God's sake - just look at what Becchio has "achieved" at Norwich!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Former West Ham Star Treated Disgracefully

How outrageous! West Ham fans up and down the land will be venting their fury at the news that former favourite Paul Ince has been shown the door by Tangerine Dreamers Blackpool. How very dare they?

What has Ince done to deserve the sack exactly? He took over a moderately crap team - his son apart - and nearly a year later, he leaves behind a moderately crap team. Since when has that been a reason for a guy to be sacked exactly?

Ok, Blackpool started the season fabulously, and have fallen away horrifically, but Blackpool has built it's reputation on roller coaster rides so Ince was just doing his bit to support the resort's branding.

And it's true that the Guvnor made a prize arse of himself when he "violently shoved" a fourth official and collected himself a stadium ban - but that's not his fault, for its a well known fact that you can take the boy out of the East End, but you can't take the East End out of the boy.

So what that Blackpool have lost nine games out of the last ten - any team can have a bad run can't they? And so what that the club's supporters wrote to the Chairman demanding that Ince be shown the door? What the hell do football fans know?

Ince is a legend in his own mind and is a great manager just waiting for the right opportunity. His failures at Blackburn, Blackpool, Notts County and MK Dons (the second time around) are simply blips.

Blackpool will surely live to rue the day they parted company with the high and mighty Paul Ince. Maybe he will replace Moyes at Manchester United. Maybe Arsenal will sack Wenger in order to snap him up whilst he is on the job market. Pellegrini must be sweating after Unreal City only netted three at Upton Park. And even Brendan Rodgers must feel anxious, knowing that Ince has the man management skills and tactical acumen to get the very best out of Suarez.

One thing's for sure, it's a sad day for football and the whole football family will be desperate to see Incey back in the game as soon as possible.



Saturday, 18 January 2014

West Ham 1 Newcastle 3 - Carroll thinks he's playing for Newcastle!

Oh dear. Second half we were so much better, but in the first half the Geordies played us off the Upton Park. On came Morrison and, belatedly, Carroll after a lucky goal in the last minute of the first half, and suddenly Newcastle were on the back foot. First Taylor delivered a delicious cross from the right (with his right foot) and with Carroll not yet on the pitch, Carlton managed to slice wide of an open goal. Miss of the season contender one. Then Downing took the ball to the by-line, crossed perfectly onto the foot of Carroll, who with half the goal gaping empty, blasted the ball into the top tier of the stand.

Mind you, £15m Andy wasn't finished yet. No sir! Chasing back, he committed the sort of foul on the edge of our box that suggested he had not watched any of our games whilst side-lined. Adrian lined up his wall, took up position and, like Jussi, invited a shot into an unguarded corner of the net. Cabaye licked his lips, stepped up, and placed the ball exactly where Adrian invited him to put it. The Spaniard got a despairing hand to the ball but inevitably, it made no difference. 1-3, game over.

Allardyce will again bemoan injuries and missed chances, and with good reason I suppose. Going forward, Taylor was excellent, but at right back, he was hopelessly out of position and he was badly at fault for Newcastle's second. But where were Johnson and Collins as the cross cleared the ex Bolton's man's head and landed onto the foot of Remy - a player we could have signed this summer by the way!

Johnson looked what he is, a Championship defender playing in the Prem.

Jarvis was awful and his withdrawal was long overdue. Time and again he had the opportunity to cross, and time and again, he picked out a Newcastle defender unerringly. The last straw saw him with time to pick a cross on the edge of the box, only for him to literally pass the ball at shin height into a cluster of Newcastle defenders; not only didn't he clear the first defender, he failed to clear the first three! And that was with Carroll and Carlton to aim at! Hopeless!

And Diame was also poor. He seems to have lost the heart for a fight and, behind the striker, was totally at sea.

Which brings us to Allardyce's tactics. We all know that Diame is at his best in the engine room of midfield, so why is he being pushed wide or too far forward? Even with Morrison on the pitch, Diame was the most advanced forward, and given his poor finishing and Morrison's scoring record, that makes no sense at all.

So, another home defeat and now only goal difference keeps us off the bottom. It's Chelsea away next in the League so there must be a good chance that we will be bottom of the pile after that one. Yes Carroll is back, but as Carroll showed today, he is not Messi!

Player ratings: Adrian 7 (Good apart from his positioning at the free kick.); Taylor 6 (superb going forward, desperate when forced to defend) Collins 6, Johnson 5 (one excellent block) Rat 6 (like Taylor, much better in the opposition's half!); Noble 6, Collison 4, Diame 5, Jarvis 1, Downing 6, Carlton 5 Subs: Morrison 5, Carroll 3, Joe Cole 4

Half Time West Ham 1 Newcastle 2 - Skin of Teeth Time

Well we are still in it, but God knows how! Newcastle completely dominated the half and but for two Adrian saves, some poor finishing and half a dozen last ditch blocks, we could have shipped six or seven. Then, on the stroke of half time, Rat showed Jarvis how to cross, Carlton chest controlled the ball into Williamson's path, and with his keeper on the deck, the Newcastle man supplied a clinical finish to bundle the ball over the line. Back from the dead! Maybe!

To be honest, it's looked as if Newcastle have three extra players on the pitch. Going forward, we can't see the goal for a forest of barcodes, and when Newcastle have the ball, we are being cut to ribbons. Taylor is all at sea at right back, Diame is all at sea just behind Cole, Collison is all at sea chasing Newcastle shadows, Jarvis and Downing are not tracking back and have failed to pick out West Ham players from numerous crossing opporties and Johnson looks like a man experienced in relegation scraps - experienced at losing them!

It will be a miracle if we get anything out of this one, but for it to happen, surely Morrison and Carroll will have to be introduced. That may just give the team and the crowd a lift and may just give Newcastle something to think about defensively. Because until the last kick of the first half, the Gallic Geordies have had a stroll in the Upton Park.