Sunday, 31 January 2010

If only Terry was as impotent as Zola's West Ham!.

Zola has passed judgement on the performance and, for once, he came close to hitting the nail on the head when he said, "We didn`t pass the ball around very well and we didn`t take on opponents and get the ball into dangerous areas."

Great, but why was that exactly? To explain the inept performance, you only have to look at the way Zola chose to set up the team. With an 18 year old kid leading the line on his own and no natural width in the team, how exactly did Zola expect us to get the ball into the box and create chances? Our most likely source of goals was Faubert. Why? Because he was a right footer playing on the right flank and so able to knock in crosses without coming inside. Faubert, however, has an aversion to trying to go around a full back so even his balls into the box were from deep, making it easier to defend and harder for players to get into the penalty box in support. How could we penetrate down the left? Collison and Spector are BOTH right footed, so the ONLY two balls into the box from the left came when Diamanti found himself on the left in the first half and when Parker burst into the box and crossed in the second.

The worry is, how will this change if Zola persists with his bloody mindedness? I was disappointed to see Sears come on instead of Nouble. The game was crying out for the introduction of Stanislas in place of Collison, with Diamanti switched to the left and Junior told to attack the full back on the right, whipping in crosses off his strongest foot. In this way, we would have stood a chance of getting behind Blackburn's back four rather than standing the ball up aimlessly for Blackburn's big defenders to head clear. With Stanislas and Faubert attacking the right flank, Blackburn would have had something to worry about. Instead, Collison and Diamanti kept turning inside into the congested area in the middle of the pitch and Cole and Sears could not make runs for fear of being offside. How often did we get into the final third without even attempting to get the ball into the box?

People are talking about McCarthy as if he is a genius. Well he will need to be given the paucity of supply. I was lambasted when I criticised Behrami 15 months ago, saying he was over rated. I stand by that opinion. Yes he is a dynamo, yes he brings great energy to the team, yes he closes and covers superbly, but what does he offer going forward? When does he play a killer pass? When does he whip in a cross? When does he break into the box and have a crack? Zola was right to take him off yesterday because Noble was doing the defensive midfield job adequately and we needed forward impetus. The trouble is, we then became vulnerable at the back and Roberts really should have won the game for Blackburn, having completely mugged Tomkins. Behrami is unquestionably worth his place in the team but so is Parker, and neither offer a goal threat from midfield so the inclusion of both gives the team a defensive bias which we can ill afford when playing at home to teams intent on suffocating the game. Wolves, Hull, Wigan and Stoke will all come to Upton Park looking to stop us scoring. We have to unpick those defences and we won't do so playing like we did yesterday!

And back to McCarthy - he isn't a genius is he? In fact, he has been off the pace for the last two seasons. We have bought an ageing striker whose best days seem to be behind him - some might describe that as a "shot bolt". Yes he may chip in with the goals needed to save us, but he will only do so if chances are created for him, he is not a Rooney who will magic opportunities out of nowhere.

The problem remains balance. Tomkins is inexperienced and needs to be protected. God help us if Upson picks up a long term injury because with Da Costa and Tomkins at the back, we would ship goals every game. With all the focus on the need to find a new striker, people seem to have overlooked our lack of defensive cover. Tomkins would be a great understudy at this stage; instead he is first pick.

The other problem remains Zola's tactics. We need to be more direct. I don't want to return to the long ball lump of the Curbishley era but why pass ten times when one pass will do the job just as well? Yesterday, the build up was so slow, so deliberate, so telegraphed. Only Diamanti attempted to play killer balls and his delivery was poor for most of the afternoon.

What would I do? Go 4-4-2 at home. My team would read:

Green: Faubert, Spector, Upson, Ilunga; Stanislas, Parker, Diamanti, Collison; McCarthy, Cole.

This would still leave a right footer on the left flank but I would like Diamanti to be freed up to float, and to break into the box more often. Parker would be restricted to defensive duties but that can't be helped given his ineptitude in front of goal. Why the guy can't work on his finishing, I don't know. This side would offer much more of a goal threat surely.

Your views?

What's all this John Terry nonsense?

Here we go again, the great British press trying to undermine our World Cup campaign by "exposing" John Terry's affair. So bloody what I say. If anything, it proves he is captain material because the stupid tart that Bridge was dating was attracted to the alpha male in the group. Terry didn't rape the woman did he? She went willingly into the relationship and managed to fall pregnant whilst about it. Odd that isn't it? In this world of implanted contraceptives and the pill, she still contrived to get a bun in her oven whilst sleeping with the England football captain. Amazing!

It seems pretty obvious what her game is, doesn't it? As for Terry betraying Bridge, what nonsense! He has done the guy a favour by showing this tramp in her true light. If she is so shallow that she will bed Terry and fall pregnant, then abort her unborn child (leaving aside possibly making money by selling the story to the press), then why on earth would Bridge want anything to do with her? Terry wasn't dating Bridge, the woman was! Yes Wayne's pride will hurt for a while but so what? If he is really hurting he should land one on Terry's chin. I suspect Terry would take the blow and say, "Fair enough mate, I deserved that." He might even say, "Why not come round to mine and have a dip in my Poole?"

When all is said and done, if Bridge can't share a dressing room with Terry then so what? He isn't exactly a key member of the team is he? Capello should ignore the whole business, except to use it to say why the WAGS should be nowhere near the players during the tournament! Who should be England's captain in South Africa? John Terry of course!

Results Go Our Way - Not in the bottom four!

Zola seems to have something of a charmed life. Depite a truly inept performance today, all the other results went our way. Pompey, Hull, Burnley, Wolves and Wigan are all deep in the mire still and in Hull's case, a home three pointer was chucked away. When we play Hull, Wolves and Wigan at home, we MUST win all three games! A point at Burnley is also a must! Four crucial points have been surrendered this week, we can't afford to surrender any more!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

West Ham 0 Blackburn 0 Football Assumes Comatose Dimension

That has to be one of the poorest 90 minutes of football ever played. Never mind the goalless outcome, never mind the paucity of opportunities, never mind the defensive tactics employed by both managers (disgracefully by Zola in our position), the complete and utter lack of vision and skill evident in both teams was embarrassing.

What did the game amount to in terms of forward play? Pederson's and Diamanti's free kicks, the first of which hit the bar with Diamanti forcing a good save from Robinson, a straight ball up Roberts who out muscled and turned Tomkins far too easily before making it easy for Green by shooting far too close to the keeper, a good save from Green from a shot that was heading for the top corner and...did we actually create an opening from open play over the whole 90 minutes?

True Diamanti had a couple of shots straight at Robinson but they weren't worked openings. True Collison had a shot blocked. True Parker sent a lovely ball across the six yard box but there was nobody in a claret shirt anywhere near. But what else? What else for God's sake?

We were at home against a very ordinary team and we set up and played as if we were playing Barcelona away. The best opportunities fell to Blackburn, which is hardly surprising given we seemed to have an allergic reaction to getting into Blackburn's box. When Parker's cross shot across the middle of the six yard box, Diamati was on the edge of the box on the opposite side, WALKING. He made NO ATTEMPT to hit the open space in front of him, apparently oblivious to the possibility that Parker might actually cross the ball into a dangerous area. With no penetration down the flanks again because of Zola's insistence on playing a right footer on the left and a left footer on the right, Blackburn knew we had to go through the middle, so they simply packed the middle of the pitch and knew that a freak opportunity apart, they couldn't concede. And so it proved.

People will defend Zola and point to the injuries but his tactics were to blame. If you have a right footed left back, surely you have to have a left footer on the left of midfield, otherwise the opposition full back knows you will go inside every time. The one time we got a cross in from the left (first half), Diamanti had drifted over there. Is that a coincidence? I don't think so!

Where was Stanislas? The game was crying out for some pace down the flanks but he wasn't considered as an option. As I said in my half time report, Noble played so deep that he was in danger of stepping on Upson's toes. The decision to withdraw Kovac and Behrami was spot on because neither showed any attacking intent or invention whatsoever. The formation is fine for away games but for a match at Upton Park? Zola was waving the white flag from the kick off!

We should have started with Diamanti on the left, Stanislas on the right and Cole leading the line. By playing a negative formation, Zola did Allardyce's job for him, turning Upton Park into a morgue. It looked to me more like a pre season training warm up than a must win game! No bookings for ourselves and only one for Blackburn says it all - there was no passion, no desire, no challenge, no invention, no action!

Thank God we have signed McCarthy. But unless Zola changes tactics that won't help us much anyway. You have all the strikers in the world and you will not score if you don't get the ball into the box. Behrami is a great defensive midfielder but, as I said to howls of derision more than a year ago, he offers virtually nothing in terms of defensive flair. Kovac is competent at holding but passes sideways and backwards only. Parker doesn't play with his head up so does not play defence splitting passes. Noble is better holding than in the final third. Diamanti lacks the pace to play wide and the discipline to play in centre midfield. Collison might be more effective if allowed to play off his right foot. And Stanislas? Until Zola plays him on the right and tells him to go at the full back, we will never know.

Did anybody play well? Upson, Spector and Faubert all had good games, as did Tomkins until Roberts did him all ends up (he has learnt nothing since his debut against Everton it seems!). Noble anchored well too. But that's it. The rest looked like they they were going through the motions, happy to keep Blackburn out rather than trying to win the game. That must be on instruction surely? "Keep it tight until Carlton comes on" must have been the instruction. And by the time he came on, the whole stadium was in a coma. Faubert tried to rouse the crowd at the end with arm gestures. How about playing some attacking football instead lads? Dear God, by the end I was yearning for an Upson lump just so I could see the ball reach the Blackburn area!

Remember, we beat Blackburn 4-1 in Curbishley's last game in charge. In Zola we trust? Trust him to cure insomnia perhaps!

Ratings: Green 6; Faubert 7, Tomkins 5 (8 until Roberts turned him so easily - that was when the game should have been won and lost) Upson 7, Spector 7; Diamanti 6, Noble 6, Kovac 6, Behrami 6, Collison 6; Nouble 5. Subs Cole 5, Parker 7 (he created an opportunity!) Sears 5

West Ham 0 Blackburn 0 - Half Time Report - Am I in a coma?

Oh dear God. We are at home against Blackburn and we have set up as if we are playing away to Barcelona defending a 1-0 lead from the first leg! Noble is sitting so deep he is standing on Upson's toes, Collison and Diamanti are detached from Nouble, Kovac looks to have more attacking intent than Behrami - that first half was dire! Has anybody told them we need three points from this game? Does Zola understand that to win, you have to score?

I know Cole is being eased back but surely he should start and be withdrawn, rather than held back and then sent on? "Give me 60 mins today, Carlton and we will go for their throats from the off" should have been the message; instead, Zola seems to have accepted that we can't score without him so we will just try to keep Blackburn out. How negative is that?

Blackburn so nearly scored from that free kick, stupidly conceded by Behrami and I wouldn't bet against a Samba goal from a long throw or corner. We have walked a tightrope despite having no forward momentum what so ever. That was a truly, truly dire 45 minutes. The blonde next to Gold looked like she had fallen asleep. After 32 minutes the shots stats read, West Ham 1 Blackburn 0. By half time, I think it was 1-1 unless you have a very generous interpretation of what constitutes a shot. We need Cole deperately, and we need two up top. Who comes off? Zola will withdraw Nouble, I would take off Kovac.

Hull are winning - but Hull are TRYING to win!

I Know West Ham Are Tottenham's Feeder Club But...

OK, I know we are the Cockyfool's feeder club but surely somebody should draw the line at paying the hotel bills for Tottenham's new signings whilst the contract details are hammered out? Apparently Gold is forwarding the bill for Gudjohnsen's porn film expenses and mini fridge nibbles aqcross to Tottenham - not that there's any chance that Levy will agree to pay them! What mugs we look - AGAIN!

Still, hopefully the chef slipped something into Eidur's soup: we feed them and suddenly Spurs players are spewing up their guts and missing out on the Champions League!

A Make Or Break Match We Simply MUST Win

Unlike the revisionists who shift their opinions retrospectively, I am not going to pretend I thought Curbishley anything other than a disaster as a manager of West Ham. The finger of blame has been pointed at Eggert and BG and Brown and Duxbury, but had Cursbishley spent the money available to him more wisely, we would not be in the mess we are in now. I well remember Curbishley criticising Pardew's summer signings after that epic Cup Final, calling them second rate. Well, in case you have forgotten, those signings were: Cole, Green, Spector and Bowyer. Compare those with Boa-Morte, Dyer, Quashie, Ljungberg and Davenport! Pardew bought all four for what Curbishley spent on Dyer alone! And that's before we look at the impact of Curbishley's signings on the wage bill.

However, today is a vital litmus paper game for Zola because of the opposition. Curbishley's last game in charge was, of course, against Blackburn Rovers at Upton Park, a game we won 4-1. The team that day read: Green: Behrami, Davenport, Upson, Neill; Faubert, Parker, Noble, Etherington; Ashton, Cole. We used three subs, McCartney, Bellamy and Mullins.

So many stories are told by looking at that team. Our bad luck is summed up by the stories of Ashton and Davenport. The sale of McCartney will, of course, merit a chapter in any history of the club because it triggered Curbishley's walk out. The sale of Etherington may well be cited as evidence of Zola's bad decision making - a natural left footed winger did not fit into his plans because he couldn't cope with playing on the right! Neill's name shows how far we fell financially, from out bidding Liverpool's wage offer to not being willing to agree to a two year contract for our club captain when he was demanding half his previous wages! And there is Bellyache of course, just beginning his comeback, scoring and looking as if he might yet repay what Curbishley spent on him. His sale, to be replaced by Savio, probably best explains our slump in terms of performances on the pitch. And then there is the formation of course, 4-4-2. Since that game, we have managed to score four in only two games, Pompey away last season and Burnley at home this. Zola's 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 formations go a long way towards explaining that stat. How many chances did we create at Pompey when, it seemed, seven of the outfield team were dedicated almost exclusively to stopping the opposition from scoring.

Can anybody see us scoring four against Blackburn today? You would have to be a blind optimist surely! Who exactly will score? All our hopes are pinned on Cole, a player, remember, who Curbishley considered second rate and who most still regard as a poor finisher for a centre forward. Where are our new strikers? We were forced to play a kid up front at Pompey - and he missed two nailed on chances - and we play the second "crucial game" this weekend, still without a new striker signed. It's beginning to look to me as if Sullivan and Gold are fiddling whilst West Ham burns. Two points were lost on Tuesday, God help us if we don't pick up 3 today in what is a MUST WIN game. I will take a 1-0 win. But under Turds, I was moaning that we lacked adventure on the pitch! How far have we fallen?

Friday, 29 January 2010

Duxbury Tells Inquiry He Has No Regrets

A defiant Scott Duxbury has mounted a vigorous defence of his management of West Ham, insisting he had no regrets over giving oral cuddles to Carlos Tevez's lawyer and claiming he would do the same again.

In his long-awaited appearance before the Chilcot Inquiry, the former West Ham CEO and club legal adviser denied that he had signed and retained Tevez on the basis of a "lie".

He suggested the club could now be faced with the threat of a Tevez-armed Tottenham Hotspurs if he had not taken action to sign and retain the Argie hitman.

Asked at the end of six hours of testimony by inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot, whether he had any regrets, he said: "Responsibility, but not a regret for signing and playing Carlos Tevez."

"I think that he was a monster and if allowed to join Tottenham would have threatened not just West Ham but the whole Premiership. And in the circumstances that we faced then, but I think even if you look back now, it was better to deal with this threat, to sign him for West Ham."

One member of the audience shouted out: "What, no regrets? Come on". Then as he left, another audience member heckled: "You are a liar," while another added, "And a murderer of our beloved club".

His voice apparently beginning to fade, after what had been a largely assured and fluent performance, he insisted that West Ham - and in particular the Board - should feel an "immense sense of pride" for the role they had played.

"I had to take this decision as the club's legal adviser and then CEO. It was a huge responsibility and there is not a single day that passes by that I don't reflect and think about that responsibility and so I should," he said.

"But I genuinely believe that if we had let Tevez join Tottenham, even with what we know now, we would still have had to have dealt with him, possibly in circumstances where the threat was worse".

"In the end it was divisive and I am sorry about that and I did my level best to bring people back together again but if I am asked whether I believe West Ham are safer, more secure, that West Ham is better, that the club's position in the Prem is more secure, I believe indeed West Ham are."

Tomorrow Duxbury will return to the Inquiry to answer questions on his claim that Harry Redknapp has weapons of mass destruction available to use at forty five minutes notice.

Now Duxbury Has Gone - Is There No Justice?

This is outrageous, disgraceful, so bloody unfair. The Davids arrive with Karren Brady in tow and suddenly there's no room for Claret and Blue Legend Scott Duxbury. Has the new regime no sense of fairness, no sense of justice, no sense of loyalty? Don't they realise what Scott Duxbury has done for the club?

Look, if it wasn't for Duxbury, we would never have signed Tevez. Duxbury was the in house lawyer who perused the contract that brought the Argies to the club and confirmed that it complied with the rules. Now just imagine if we had never signed Tevez! Where would we be now? What if Duxbury had insisted that Tevez joined on a standard loan and not on the basis of a sexed up contract? We might have missed out on the Argentinian then, missed out on seeing a player, who wasn't quite good enough for Man Utd, make 22 starts for West Ham, scoring a total of 7 goals (a goals to game ratio that compares with Cole's and Harewood's records and unfavourably with Zamora's in a West Ham shirt!) Just imagine where we would be now if Mr Duxbury had not then given oral cuddles to Tevez's advisors, reassuring them that they retained control over their player after Curbishley so unreasonably told Tevez and IKEA that he decided who played for West Ham and when! Bloody hell, if not for Duxbury, we wouldn't have incurred a £6m fine in the first place, not to mention the subsequent £25m compensation payment to Sheffield United!

And imagine, for a moment, where we would be now if Duxbury had waited for judgement on whether further financial punishments were appropraite, BEFORE he agreed to pay the compensation to Sheffield United, admitting culpability in the process, so opening the door to other compensation claims. Some argue that the subsequent ruling, that no further penalties were appropriate, suggest that Duxbury jumped too soon and agreed to the compensation unnecessarily. What rubbish! This guy is a lawyer you know! He knows his stuff! Like he knew that Curbishley would lose his constructive dismissal case! Well, be fair, everybody makes a mistake every now and then don't they? Duxbury is only human!

And remember, Duxbury was on the Board in various capacities as Eggert, Turds and BG steered us towards bankruptcy. It was Duxbury, remember, who told us all that the club was in rude financial health even as the publication of the annual accounts were delayed not once, or twice, but thrice. And it was Duxbury, remember, who gave Ashton a bumper new contract and kept telling us that our star striker would be leading the line anytime soon. And it was Duxbury who promised no players would be leaving last January, just days before Bellyache departed, and Duxbury who told us no first team players would be sold just before Collins left for Villa, and Duxbury who declined a new contract for Green and Duxbury who endorsed the judgement of Nani in bringing Savio and Jimenez to the club and Duxbury who told us that Jimenez was the star we had all been craving and Duxbury who gave interviews to West Ham blogs, proving what a thoroughly open and honest and well intentioned guy he is!

Bloody Sullivan and Gold, how dare they allow Mr Scott Duxbury to walk out of the door? What the hell will I have to write about now?

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Jimenez Swaps Hams

So Jimenez has exchanged West Ham for Parma Ham - very fitting given the guy is a complete melon. How much are we paying Nani to source crap like that? £3m a year isn't it? Jimenez, Savio, Da Costa, Di Michele, Tristan...dear God, he really has earned his money hasn't he? We have overpaid for Diamanti too!

Remember the line Duxbury sold us when Jimenez was signed? How the team was going to be built around him? How he was a top midfield player who could play in the hole? How he was the answer to Zola's dreams? What a load of bollox. No wonder The Special One was happy to let him go and that 'Arry did not come in at the last moment to snatch him from us!

I watched Jimenez make his debut in that pre season friendly and blogged then that he was dropping too deep and offering no support to Cole. Nothing changed did it? Lightweight describes the guy perfectly. Good riddance I say!

But weren't we meant to be strengthening the squad? We seem to be pruning it! Bye bye Quashie, bye bye Jimenez and anybody there?

With Zola's Friends, Who Needs Enemies?

Cassius says to Brutus, "A friend should bear his friend's infirmities" but it seems that none of Zola's buddies want to join him on the sinking ship of West Ham. Rats famously abandon sinking ships, but the rats who purport to be Zola's mates don't even want to get on board in the first place! How many of Zola's good pals were supposedly keen to play for him and how many have actually arrived? Nobody from Chelsea, nobody from Italy's U21s, none of Zola's ex team mates. Toni was supposed to be coming to help out an old mucker, so was Kezman, and the latest, of course, was Gudjohnsen. And where are they?

Perhaps Zola thinks that people like him more than they actually do! He should listen to Benjamin Franklin on the subject: "There are three faithful friends, an old wife, an old dog, and ready money!" Meanwhile Euripides said: "I hate it in friends when they come too late to help". Let's hope Zola doesn't hear from a few friends AFTER we have been relegated!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Why would we want Bentley?

I'm confused, why exactly would we want David Bentley - unless one of Behrami or Parker is on his way out of course. S&G have already said that we are short up front and at the back, and overloaded with midfielders, so what's with the rumours that Bentley may be parked in our garage for the rest of the season? He is just what we don't need - a "wide" player who lacks the pace to get past fullbacks. And I've seen him played on the left, where Zola with his crazy obsession of playing wide men on the wrong flank would use him, and he was crap!

So what is going on? Is this just newspaper talk or are we about to cash in one of our prime dealing chips? Bentley (on loan)and Benjani in, with Behrami moving up the road to Unreal City perhaps? That would add up; but make sense? I don't think so!

Gudjohnsen to Spurs? This can't be right can it?

These rumours about Gudjohnsen joining Spurs must be press mischief surely? Why on earth would he do that? Given the choice between fighting for a Champions League place and battling against relegation, I know what I would opt for! Why play for a successful team that creates a hatful of chances every game when you can play for a team that struggles to create three clear cut chances in 90 minutes against the team bottom of the league? Madness!

And as for Tottenham's last minute approach - that is diabolical. Gudjohnsen belongs to us, we agreed to sign him, Tottenham had no right to step in. Where's the Law of Bagsie here? We had first dibs! Shotgun we sign Gudjohnsen! Not fair, not fair, we're not playing any more you dirty rotten cheats. Oy 'Arry, your mum!

And where's 'Arry's loyalty to the club? Just because we sacked him and make his nephew's life hell when we play Chelsea - what an inconsiderate swine! Traitor!

Let's take our ball home and not play any more!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Portsmouth 1 West Ham 1 - Not Much To Write Home About That Haircut Apart!

Stalemate in the first half and not much to report: two excellent chances, both spawned thanks to some inexperience and some excellent keeping. Nouble really should have buried his chance. To be fair, he kept his shot down, Cole of two seasons ago would have blasted it over, but he hit it the wrong side of the keeper and far too close to him. Diamanti's follow up was well saved. Did Faubert put in the original pass? It was superb!

For the second, both Collison and Nouble did excellently until the shot, which Collison tried to bend rather than blast and which was at a comfortable saving height and again too close to the keeper: a good effort but Lampard would have tucked it away at Jack's age.

At the back, Tomkins and Spector did well first 45 (except when Tomkins played Chuckle Brothers with Faubert - to you, to me - and nearly let in Boetang). Upson, however, was poor. Three times he gave away possession carelessly inside our final third.

Second half was close to a carbon copy except each side bagged a goal. Ours was incredibly scrappy, with Upson putting it in with his dick. The Webber goal should arguably have been struck off for a foul on Tomkins, who was obviously injured; but did he jump into Prince Boeteng's arm? The referee was right on the spot so I am inclined to think he called it right, and the ball went straight to Webber who scored, so there was no time to put the ball out for Tomkins to receive treatment. Some will squeal "We was cheated" but I don't think so.

Kovac and Noble both screened the back four superbly and Behrami was up and down the pitch all night, displaying fantastic energy. However, I have always queried his creative contributions and again they were negligible. We still lack penetration and width, which is why we didn't win.

Nouble missed another good chance second half and Behrami missed two half chances but there was nothing else to get excited about going forward was there? Both Nouble and Cole were horribly isolated for most of the game.

Was this a point won or two points lost? I would have taken one before kick off to be honest when I saw that Parker was missing and Cole was only on the bench.

And back to the Green easy save and five errors: when he came to the edge of his box to collect a long punt and didn't get there; a flap at a cross which only pushed the ball to the edge of the box with Kovac's arm blocking the follow up shot; two slices into touch when under no pressure from a Pompey player; and a terrible roll out which put Noble under pressure and led to us losing the ball in the final third. Would he have done better not to charge out for the goal? Difficult call.

Anything else worthy of note? Da Costa's ludicrous haircut. He isn't good enough to draw attention to himself with a stupid haircut, just like Jimenez before him. Zola should tell them to cut it out, they are making themselves and the club a laughing stock.

Ratings: Green 5; Faubert 7, Tomkins 7, Upson 6, Spector 6; Noble 7, Behrami 7, Kovac 6, Collison 6, Diamanti 6; Nouble 6 Subs: Cole 6, Da Costa 1 (disgraceful haircut!)

Portsmouth 0 West Ham 0 - Half Time Report

Stalemate. Not much to report on that half: two excellent chances, both spawned thanks to some inexperience and some excellent keeping. Nouble really should have buried his chance. To be fair, he kept his shot down, Cole of two seasons ago would have blasted it over, but he hit it the wrong side of the keeper and far too close to him. Diamanti's follow up was well saved. Did Faubert put in the original pass? It was superb!

For the second, both Collison and Nouble did excellently until the shot, which Collison tried to bend rather than blast and which was at a comfortable saving height and again too close to the keeper: a good effort but Lampard would have tucked it away at Jack's age.

At the back, Tomkins and Spector have done well (except when Tomkins played Chuckle Brothers with Faubert - to you, to me - and nearly let in Boetang). Upson, however, has been poor. Three times he has given away possession carelessly inside our final third. Kovac and Behrami giving good defensive screening and Noble has played his part in keeping it tight but we are offering very little going forward again. Will Cole and Stanislas be sent on if we still haven't scored after 70 minutes?

McCarthy and Gudjohnsen for combined fee of £2.25 million!

If it is true, that can't be bad can it? Bloody Turds and Egg would have bid £6m for each before even asking what the offloading clubs wanted for them! I know that McCarthy is no spring chicken and that Eidur has fallen on lean times, but they have to be better options than Sears, Jimenez and Nouble don't they? The idea of McCarthy and Cole up top together in home games and of Gudjohnsen playing in the hole in away games makes perfect sense to me. If we can land a utility defender before the window closes, we will have a squad equipped to survive and to kick on next season. Exciting times!

Will Gold Deal With Our Racist Morons?

Interesting to read Gold's comments on how he was bullied as a child because he is Jewish. He is quoted as saying,

"If being poor wasn't enough I had to put up with all the taunts of being a Jewish boy."

"As kids we were spat at because our name was Gold. That's short for Goldstein. The perception was, from the kids via their parents, that it was the Jews' fault for this, the Jews' fault for that. The Jews had taken jobs, the Jews were misers."

"Kids in school were cruel. But after the war when people started to realise about the Holocaust perception started to change."

Presumably, that means he will have zero tolerance for the foul abuse directed at Tottenham fans when the two clubs meet. I have used this blog before to decry the hissing sound used to simulate the sound of the gas chambers which some sections of our fan base find amusing. I hope Gold comes out and states clearly that this will no longer be tolerated. Any fan identified as participating should receive a life ban. Come on David, make a stand for decency!

(No apologies for carrying the pictures above. They may not be racists but they are clearly morons!)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Benni Doing An Ince!

Well we didn't like it when Ince was pictured at Old Trafford before the deal was completed but when the boot is on the other foot everything is just dandy! McCarthy has apparently jumped ship already, coming down to London even though a deal has yet to be agreed with Blackburn!

Can we register him in time for the Pompey game? I don't know how these things work but if he is in London and the paperwork can be rushed through, then he could be heading down the A3 tomorrow!

Visits to Blackburn will be tasty in future! Defoe is our "black Judas"; McCarthy will become the Blackburn Judas!

Who is being clever here I wonder? Little Gian for landing McCarthy, or Big Sam for using the money to buy Beattie? Could be an interesting shoot out between now and the end of the season!

Is Cole Being Rushed Back Too Quickly?

Another day has ticked past and we still, as I write, haven't landed a striker. Ruud proved that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink (even with a £100k a week bribe) whilst the two Bennies have not yet said "It's goodnight from me and its goodnight from him". As for Gudjohnsen, well your Eidur is as good as mine as to whether or not he will actually join.

So we go into the first of a series of crucial six pointers without a new signing to play up front it seems. The solution? To press Carlton back into action. Now, quite apart from any ring rustiness, I do hope that Cole isn't being rushed back too early. We made that mistake with both Ashton and Behrami, and it would be disastrous if Cole's recovery was set back because we he was picked in panic when he wasn't fully fit. The nightmare scenario would see him play for 20 mins and then limp out for the next three months. It wouldn't be the first time would it? Where is Dyer right now? Silly question! But then look at Parker, sitting with an ice pack on his hamstring having been withdrawn early from the Villa game after being selected for the Tottenham game when clearly unfit.

Fingers crossed Cole plays, scores and has no reaction from the injury. The trouble is, with the paper thin squad, I suspect Zola and Clarke will also be trusting to crossed fingers rather than sound medical advice; just as they did with Parker.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sullivan and Gold - Our Dynamic Duo

Just to establish my position on the new owners. Am I pleased they came in when they did? You bet I am! If we get to end of January with Upson, Cole, Behrami and Parker on our books, and with two or three players added to the squad, then short term it has to be great news. If C&B Holdings had been left in charge, we were going down in my opinion - a view I blogged often enough!

Does that mean I will give Gold and Sullivan my total trust? Does it hell as like! I will be watching very closely and listening very closely too. And so should you! This idiotic attitude that criticism and scepticism are disloyal is bloody crazy. I know they are supposed to be West Ham fans but that didn't stop them owning a rival club did it? We needed to win our last game of the season in 2002-03 to stand any chance of staying up. Who were we playing? Gold and Sullivan's Birmingham City in what, for them, was a dead rubber. I might have encouraged the manager to pick the kids if I was in their position but that didn't happen. Birmingham battled all the way and we drew 2-2. I seem to remember noises from the Birmingham owners that West Ham were to blame for their own position and shouldn't look for outside help. Ferguson helped out his old mate Curbishley in the Great Escape year by picking half a reserve team but G&S offered no help in the equivalent position to the club they are supposed to love.

At the moment there appears to be a lot of kite flying going on and a lot of contradictory statements coming from the triumvirate of Gold, Sullivan and Brady. Brady flies the kite of a name change and Gold comes out a day later and says over my dead body. One moment we hear we are massively in debt, the next we are offering £100k a week to Van Nistelrooy. Or was that just PR? Did Sullivan and Gold perhaps know that we didn't stand a chance of landing him (I knew!)so were seeking to win support from the fans by playing Billy Big Boots? That has to be the most likely explanation surely. If we end up not signing anybody by the end of January, then we will know that G & S have been taking the piss completely - bidding below market price for McCarthy and others to suggest that they are trying to bolster the squad. I don't think that is the case but I don't know - and nor do you. Remember, actions speak louder than words!

Long term, I fear for the club under the G&S stewardship. If they sell the ground and use the money to pay off debts and reward investors, then we will have nothing to borrow against in the future. We were shafted by the Icelandic owners but I don't think they did it deliberately: they ballsed up and the banking collapse did for them. Gold and Sullivan are PLANNING to sell off the family home from the outset. Tell me, if your parents were in their 70s and were talking about selling your family inheritance to fund five years of round the world cruises, would you be happy? S&G have a 5 year plan because in 5 years they may be dead. Will they care then if the club goes to the grave with them?

I don't want to appear a doom monger here. I don't want to suggest that disaster is definitely around the corner. All I am saying is that we are not out of the woods yet. I've seen horror films where people have escaped from the house of a psychotic murderer and accepted a lift from a passing car, only to find that the driver is ten times worse that the guy they are fleeing!

I'm not condemning them but I don't trust them either. So, this blog will offer a cautious interpretation of what is going on and being said UNTIL the new owners prove that they are in it for the long run and the good of the club.

Sullivan Seeking Investors - Including Curbishley!

Every time Sullivan, Gold and Brady open their mouths, something stinks. These guys really need to see a doctor, they are suffering from terrible halitosis.

Sullivan's musings on the possibility of Turds becoming an investor just show that every time the guy opens his mouth, he talks shit! He admits that the prospects are virtually zero of course; all he is doing is reminding the fans of how a settlement for Turds is going to eat further into funds available for the transfer market.

Much more worrying is what Sullivan says about how he is seeking to enlist investors. I don't like the sound of helping West Ham to "survive" and I am certainly less than enthused by the carrot of investors doubling or quadrupling their money! Sullivan draws a parallel with "what we did at Birmingham". So, all those thinking that a West Ham heart is going to rule over a business head should think again. This is a man who presents making love as porn, so don't run away with the idea that his passion for West Ham is in any way akin to the passion of Christ!

Any Eidur Who Plays Up Front At Pompey?

Gudjohnsen must be a bleedin' elephant! How long has this deal been in gestation? We go back to Turds don't we, with rumours then that we were signing the Icelander based on the ownership of the club? Now, it seems, his friendship with Clarke and Zola have convinced him to make the switch - on a 4 month loan deal.

Now beggars can't be choosers and given our desperate need for striking reinforcements, I am certainly not going to slam the deal, but I think a few cautionary words are necessary before the dancing starts in Green Street.

Firstly, Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen hasn't exactly been busting a gut to join us has he? He may be mates with Zola and Clarke but that friendship wasn't enough to persuade him to join us ahead of Monaco was it? He chose the easy life in the south of France, although the easy life hasn't proved as easy as he thought.

Since making the switch, Eiður has not been very prolific, in fact he failed to score in his first ten appearances. And his goal scoring troubles didn't start with the move to Monaco. In 72 appearances for a brilliant Barcelona team, he managed just 10 goals! Now I know he was used as a substitute a lot and was also played in midfield, but that misses the point. As Owen is showing at Manchester Olympic, scoring is a habit and once you have lost that habit, it doesn't return easily. It is four years now since Eiður was scoring prolifically. If we have signed him for his goals, we could end up very disappointed.

If Eiður is the first of two signings, great. If he is the only forward we sign, then I predict trouble. I see him as a Di Michele, creating chances for others; I don't see him as the out and out striker we need.

One last thought, if you saw Eiður (the Icelandic spelling) written in a book and tried to read it aloud, how would you pronounce it? Eeyore? Let's hope Gudjohnsen isn't our latest striking donkey! If we get him of course; Liverpool may yet come in with a better offer.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Where's 'Arry Been Sticking His Nose?

Anybody else see 'Arry's nose on MOTD tonight? It looked like it was smeared in strawberry jam! Has he hit the booze at the thought of what might happen in the showers in Pentonville perhaps?

Pinnochio's nose was very red too if I remember rightly, especially after he had completed a tax return!

What's In A Name?

Karen Brady looks out on the pitch at Upton Park. Beneath, the souls of Bobby Moore, Ron Greenwood and John Lyall looks up aghast:

Brady speaks:

What's United? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
So United would, were he not United call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. West Ham, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

New Club Colours Announced By Brady

Following the announcement that the club are to be renamed West Ham Olympic, Karen Brady has revealed plans to change the club colours. The sexy Vice Chairman said, "Claret and blue is very passe and lacks orginality. A number of other clubs such as Barcelona, Aston Villa, Burnley, Scunthorpe and Weymouth share the same colours so there is no unique branding."

She added: "The club has therefore decided to adopt the colours of the Olympic Rings. From the start of next season, we will wear green shirts with yellow sleeves and red piping around the neck and cuffs. The shorts will be black and the socks blue."

She continued: "Our new sponsors, The United Colours of Benneton, are very excited by this change. Anybody saying that this will make us the laughing stock of football must be a little bit crazy and a little bit blind!"

Brady Announces New Club Motto

After changing our name to West Ham Olympic, Karen Brady has announced that we will change our club motto.

Brady explained: "In recognition of the club's traditions since 1981, we have decided to adopt the motto, 'It's not the winning but the taking part that counts'."

"So what that we are bottom of the table? WHO cares? That's the Olympic Ideal! Anybody opposed to this change must be a little bit crazy and a little bit blind!"

West Ham WHO? Brady puts our soul up for sale!

Look at the fuss over renaming St James' Park and Anfield. Rename the ground and fans go mad! But Brady wants to go one step further. Never mind uprooting us from the Boleyn, she's now suggested changing our name. West Ham Olympic? Or 'WHO?' for short!

New ground, new name, new owners, perhaps they will decide on a new sport at some point? Brady explained: "Soccer is dead, with the ethnic base of the local area we have decided to play hockey. The Asian communities love their hockey and we have entered the new Trans Asia League. The advantages are obvious. We will be serving the local community better and hockey players command much lower salaries than footballers. Hockey is the future, soccer belongs to the C20th. We have signed a muti million pound television deal, exploiting the huge market on the Indian sub continent. West Ham Olympic fans can look forward to seeing the greatest players in the World playing at the Mayfair and Penthouse Olympic Stadium from the start of next season!"

According to Brady, anybody opposed to the changes must be just "a little bit crazy or blind". Well check out the name of this blog Karen and hold on a minute whilst I get my white stick. My family comes from Newham has supported WEST HAM UNITED for generations and the family home of our family club has always been the Boleyn Ground Green Street. Some of us value tradition and object to flippant, off the cuff comments about selling the soul of our club.

But hang on, I've just realised, it isn't OUR club anymore is it? WHO do we support?

Friday, 22 January 2010

Sullivan Takes First Pot Shot At Duxbury

Interesting to read Sullivan's comments on the Tevez affair. According to Diddy David, we should never have pleaded guilty. And who was it that accepted Shafting United's claim and agreed to a £25m compo payout? That would be Scotty! It seems The Penguin has it in for The Joker. The only problem is a contract that would cost us £2m if we were to sack The Grand Puppet Master allegedly. I wonder who drew up that contract? "Hello Scott, it's Scott here, I have this contract I would like you to sign..."

£100,000 a game for Van Nistelrooy? That's chicken feed!

The OS has revealed that Quashie has gone but does not explain the terms of his departure. We are told he was "released" but that, presumably, means we bought out his contract. Incredibly, Quashie has made just six appearances in four years at the club, making even Dyer look like a regular! Rumour has it that we paid him £20k a week, having forked out £1.5 million to buy him in the first place. If my sums are right, that means we have paid £5,560,000 for 6 appearances, or just under a million pounds a game, BEFORE any settlement to buy out his contract!

One million a game - for Nigel Quashie! And Turds claimed constructive dismissal! The game really has gone crazy!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

World and his wife linked with West Ham

Here we go again! How many forwards are we now trying to sign exactly? The most laughable suggestion of the lot is that we want Keane on loan - as if 'Arry is going to agree to that! Then there's Van Nistelroy, McCarthy, Benjani, Beattie, Gudjohnson, Cavenajhi - and that's before anybody dusts down the Chamahk and Ballotelli rumours!

Now it is great to suddenly think that something MAY actually result from all these rumours but the longer we leave the deals, the lesss time any new signings will have to bond with team mates and to be integrated into the team. A crucial round of fixtures will soon be upon us and it is imperative that we play as a team in those games.

So, fingers crossed that we land at least one of the targets tomorrow ready for the vital games next week.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

David And David, We Love You!

May I join others in expressing my complete admiration for Sullivan and Gold and my unreserved joy at their securing control of my beloved West Ham United! I know that only last week, 93% of West Ham fans pretended they were against a Gold and Sullivan take over of the club, but now it has happened, we can all come clean and admit that this was what we wanted all along!

Just like Napoleon and Squealer in Animal Farm, we used tactics, yes tactics comrades, to fool everybody into thinking that we favoured Fernandes or Intermarket! What nonsense comrades! As if we would ever have favoured either of those two! They are allies of Tottenham, yes Tottenham comrades! They wanted to destroy West Ham comrades! No, comrades, we always favoured Gold and Sullivan, we always secretly supported their bid, we always had absolute and total faith in their strategy to save West Ham!

It has come to our attention that there are silly rumours circulating to the effect that Sullivan and Gold lined their own pockets whilst owning Birmingham and that they were cruel to the animals on the Birmingham terraces. But that is exactly what they are comrades, silly rumours! Birmingham were never relegated whilst Sullivan and Gold were in charge, in fact they won the Premiership and qualified for the Champions League comrades! I know there are also rumours that Sullivan and Gold intend to sell the ground and leave us without a stadium of our own, but do you really think, comrades, that we would support their ownership if that was their intention? Of course we wouldn't comrades! Remember comrades, tactics!

But comrades, it has also come to our attention that following the takeover, some unscrupulous elements are still questioning Sullivan and Gold, implying that they may be acting out of self interest in some way. That is outrageous comrades and such talk cannot be tolerated! Anybody criticising Sullivan and Gold is an enemy of West Ham, a traitor, a Spud! Comrades, we must unite behind Sullivan and Gold and against the common foe! Ban the dissident blogs, renounce the sceptics, condemn the Spuds who simply pretend to have the best interests of our club at heart! Sullivan and Gold are West Ham gods and don't anybody dare forget that! And as for Billy Bonds expressing concerns, well we know what happened to Boxer in Animal Farm don't we?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

And after the takeover, what happens now?

Presumably Duxbury clears his desk and Brady installs a full length mirror and a sofa bed. Valon Behrami may find himself called into her office early doors, I'm sure Karen will admire his elfish looks and limitless stamina. Or maybe Kovac may appeal more now that she has matured?

Topless waitresses in the hospitality suite perhaps? A double page spread in the programme of a model going down on a chimp under the heading "Blowing Bubbles"? A new look to page three?

How soon before Barratt are marketing Boleyn Mansions, a development of prestige apartments on the doorstep of the City? No wonder Sullivan and Gold want to be caretakers of the Olympic Stadium when it will enable them to redevelop the current ground! And perhaps that's why Straumur fancy retaining a 49% stake!

It has to be good news in the short term but into the future? Why does the name Faustus come to mind?

O West Ham,
Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
And then thou must be damn'd perpetually!
Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,
That time may cease, and midnight never come;
Fair Nature's eye, rise, rise again, and make
Perpetual day; or let this hour be but
A year, a month, a week, a natural day,
That the club may repent and save his soul!
O lente, lente currite, noctis equi!
The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The devil will come, and West Ham must be damn'd.
O, I'll leap up to heaven!—Who pulls me down?—
See, where Christ's blood streams in the firmament!
One drop of blood will save me: O my Christ!—
Rend not my heart for naming of my Christ;
Yet will I call on him: O, spare me, Lucifer!—
Where is it now? 'tis gone:
And, see, a threatening arm, an angry brow!
Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me,
And hide me from the heavy wrath of heaven!
Then will I headlong run into the earth:
Gape, earth! O, no, it will not harbour me!
You stars that reign'd at my nativity,
Whose influence hath allotted death and hell,
Now draw up West Ham, like a foggy mist,
Into the entrails of yon labouring clouds,
That, when you vomit forth into the air,
My limbs may issue from your smoky mouths;
But let my soul mount and ascend to heaven!
[The clock strikes the half-hour.]
O, half the hour is past! 'twill all be past anon.
O, if my soul must suffer for my sin,
Impose some end to my incessant pain;
Let West Ham live in hell a thousand years,
A hundred thousand, and at last be sav'd!
No end is limited to damned souls.
Why wert thou not a creature wanting soul?
Or why is this immortal that thou hast?
O, Pythagoras' metempsychosis, were that true,
This soul should fly from me, and I be chang'd
Into some brutish beast! all beasts are happy,
For, when they die,
Their souls are soon dissolv'd in elements;
But mine must live still to be plagu'd in hell.
Curs'd be the parents that engender'd me!
No, West Ham, curse thyself, curse Lucifer
That hath depriv'd thee of the joys of heaven.
[The clock strikes twelve.]
It strikes, it strikes! Now, body, turn to air,
Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell!
O soul, be chang'd into small water-drops,
And fall into the ocean, ne'er be found!

Thunder. Enter Sullivan and Gold.

O, mercy, heaven! look not so fierce on me!
Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while!
Ugly hell, gape not! come not, Lucifer!
I'll burn my books!—O Mephistophilis!

[Exeunt Sullivan and Gold with West Ham]

I'm So Proud Of This Pile Of Crap!

So anyways, I 'ad a good gander at the motor, took it for a test drive, kicked the tyres and thought, this is one shite motor. No MOT, no service 'istory, no bleedin' engine as good as, so what choice did I 'ave? I 'ad to buy it didn't I cos I like the colour! Anyways, I'm gonna let the missus drive it aint I?

That seems to be the logic behind the Sullivan and Gold purchase!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Why would we want to save Zola exactly?

Our Tory friend Iain Dale has set up a petition to save Zola from the sack; like anybody taking over the club will take any notice of that! Sullivan and Gold have proved already that they don't give a toss what the fans think and Don Cellino sacks two managers every season so won't see the dismissal of his old mate as any big deal. I suspect Duxbury is behind all this anyway, floating scare stories to try to swing the fans behind his preferred choice, Fernandes. He knows his card is marked if the two Davids take control and it is nailed on that the Don will bring in his own heavies. They like to keep it in the family in Italy! I may be wrong, but I suspect Intermarket are out of the running.

But let's say that the rumours are true, my question is why we would want to keep Zola anyway? On his own admission, he has struggled, whilst Clarke has as good as said that the job is too big for the Italian. I know people will talk about the mess Zola has had to cope with, but a lot of the problems are of his own making. He has accepted the role of the nodding dog in the back of Duxbury's car and has failed to stand up for the players and the fans when a strong manager was needed. Remember, Zola said he wanted to work with a smaller squad, so he can hardly complain when a few injuries decimate his team. Remember, he agreed to the sale of Collins, the release of Neill and Di Michelle, and to the signing of Jimenez. If he agreed to a contract that gives him no say whatsoever about who is bought and sold, then he is a complete fool and so deserves the push. Remember, Zola said he had had no contact with Ashton and was looking forward to him returning from injury, even after the Mirror told the world that Ashton had retired! If Zola swallowed that nonsense from Duxbury as the excuse for not signing another striker, then again you have to say he is a fool.

Then we come to tactics and Zola's pig headed stupidity in playing a 4-5-1 system that the players clearly could not cope with. His win to games played ratio is awful - worse than Pardew's, worse than Redknapp's, worse than Curbishley's and yes, worse than Glenn Roeder's. He is officially the worst manager in living memory based on games won to games played. But he plays the game the West Ham way! Were you watching on Sunday when our only ambition was to keep a clean sheet?

So tell me, apart from him being a nice guy, why would anybody want to keep him? In Zola we trust? Look where it has got us: we were fourth in the Prem when Curbishley walked; we are now fifth from bottom. Sign a petition to keep him? Why not build your own gallows whilst you are about it?

Takeover News - Anybody?

So it hasn't happened yet. The News Now Board is full of stuff about Zola losing his job but there's nothing whatsoever about new owners. What is going on exactly?

If anybody out there knows anything, please share. I, for one, am sick to death of this!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Why Green Deserved 5 For His performance At Villa

Once again, any hint of criticism provokes accusations of being negative. I rated Green 5 out of 10 at Villa today, with 6 being a rating for an average, nothing special performance. So, how do I justify that?

Well, over the course of the game Green made three "saves". The first involved him clawing out Young's cross shot. Yes he did OK but, in truth, he was too far off his line and was simply making good his initial error. Had that gone in, the blame would have been placed very much at Green's door.

The second save was very much bread and butter. It was close to Green and at a good height to save. Had that gone in, there would have been calls for Green's head.

And talking heads, it was Green's head that blocked Ivebonkedawhore when he was clean through in the last minute. This was a good block by Green but the Villa man had played the ball too far ahead of himself and so was not in control of his shot. Green saved it so no complaints from me that it was his face and not his hands that got in the vital block, but again, you would expect a Premiership keeper to save it after Ivebonkedawhore mis-controlled it.

Without any errors, that would justify a 6 or 7 performance for me. Competent, nothing special, doing the basic job well. The trouble is, there were errors - three to be precise. The first saw Green flapping at, and missing, another cross in the first half. The second saw him spill a grubbing shot in an embarrassing way. Happily the resultant "goal" was ruled offside but imagine if it hadn't been; the goal would have been down to a dreadful Green howler. And the third came with another woeful Green clearance as he dwelt on the ball too long, then panicked and kicked the ball straight to a Villa player. Again, had Villa capitalised on the chance, Green would have cost us the match.

So, in summary, Green made one good save and two easy ones, one of which was necessary due to his initial poor positioning, and made three mistakes which could have cost us the game, two of which were dreadful errors. I could add to that a number of clearances which put his players under pressure, another occasion when he left his line and collected a cross successfully but behind a Villa player who, had he climbed six inches higher would have had an empty net to head into, and three times when he only just reached crosses which a more assured keeper would have collected comfortably.

How, on the basis of that, did Green merit more than a 5?

Aston Villa 0 West Ham 0 - Organisation Suffocates Limited British Talent

Excuse me eating whilst I type this but I have a bloody great Humble Pie to get through this evening after I foolishly blogged that I saw no way of coming away from Villa with a result today. I predicted that, without Diamanti, we would be devoid of creatively going forward and that Villa were nailed on to score twice. I called the team selection a disgrace before kick off - so what do I know?

Well Villa were tame today but a great slice of credit for that is due to the West Ham players and to Zola and Clarke for the way they set them up and motivated the team to fight for the draw. Tomkins looked like a future England defender again today and Spector was a revelation at left back. Not only did he defend superbly, he was also involved in our best moves going forward. His fouls apart, Kovac was excellent, and Upson looked to be back to his Steady Eddie best. Faubert, two poor passes apart, played well too. Up front, Nouble was heroic given the odds were stacked so heavily against him. What a run in the first half and what a shame he couldn't keep the shot down.

What is there to report on the game? Green made two goodish saves in the first half and was quick out of the starting blocks to deny Ivebonkedawhore in extra time. On the flip side, he made a hash of another cross and so nearly lost us the game by losing possession after dwelling on the ball too long and spilling that shot, thankfully for the resulting "goal" to be ruled out for offside. He is still badly out of form and must not go to South Africa. Mind you, on the evidence of this, Ivebonkedawhore, Young, Milner, Downing and Heskey shouldn't be on the plane either. All were decidedly average on the day. It was a great game to watch as a West Ham fan but Capello must have been shaking his head in disbelief at the lack of invention and creativity - and I include Parker and Noble in that too!

Going forward, that Nouble solo effort apart, we were all but non existent, although once Diamanti and Stanislas were on, we did at least make it into Villa's final third. In fact, for a five minute spell, Villa actually found themselves under pressure. Not that this was a deliberate attacking move by Zola. Parker was injured and Kovac had to be withdrawn. I suspect the Czech stayed on the pitch because the referee realised subsequently that the first booking was harsh. How Kovac avoided a yellow for THAT tackle in the second half is otherwise inexplicable. Given he was on a yellow, he should have seen red.

What do we make of Noble after that game? To me, he still looked off the pace and very much the weaker of the midfield unit. In that sense, I still maintain that Zola picked the wrong side: Diamanti has to be a better option in my opinion. Collison was also disappointing today. He offered nothing going forward and lost possession in our final third a couple of times.

As a game, the match was a non event. Green was rarely troubled and I don't think Friedal actually made a save all game. This was a great bonus point, lifting us two places above the relegation zone. The next four games will decide whether or not we survive in the Prem. Let's hope Fulham can come back and pinch a result at Blackburn!

By the way, Humble Pie tastes pretty good!

Player ratings: Green 5: Faubert 6, Tomkins 7, Upson 7, Spector 7; Behrami 7, Parker 7, Noble 6, Kovac 7, Collison 6; Nouble 6 Subs: Diamanti 6, Stanislas 6

Team Selected Today Is A Disgrace

No Diamanti and Spector at left back. Sack Zola now. Prepare the humble pie if we get a result but, honestly, who will score in that team and how will we stop Villa scoring? I despair!

Villa v West Ham. Where will the motivation come from?

Just imagine what it will be like in the dressing room today, forty minutes ahead of kick off. All the talk will be about who will own the club by the end of next week and what that will mean to the players and management. As Zola tries to inspire the team, Upson could turn to Parker and say, "I don't think it matters what he thinks now".

Zola sounds down and depressed and is speaking like a man on borrowed time. He has admitted to mistakes and talked about the stresses of the job. That's great for a psychiatrist's couch but you don't want to hear that your leader is depressed on the eve of a battle. As a West Ham fan, it is great to hear Zola say, "My duty is to entertain people. It was my duty as a player and now it is to teach other people to entertain" but I doubt that word "entertainment" featured once in Phil Brown's vocabulary in the build up to yesterday's game at Tottenham. Bugger entertainment, Brown prepared his team to scrap and stifle and nullify and negate. I hated Curbishley but at least the guy was pragmatic when he needed to be. Let's imagine Stanislas loses the ball trying to dribble in his own half this afternoon. Can't he turn to Zola and say, "My duty is to entertain people boss."

Zola goes in to today's game with Nouble leading the line, a player he admits is not ready for the Prem. How inspired must the team feel when they hear Zola say that Nouble "needs to learn the movements but he is on his way"? Great, thinks Parker. I run through walls for the team and the guy up front doesn't know what to do if we get the ball into their box.

Meanwhile, Sears has been ignored. Zola talks about Nouble's progress but says nothing about the former Boy Wonder.

I hold out zero hope for today's game if I am honest. Villa are perfectly equipped to exploit our weaknesses down the flanks and I cannot see how we are going to score goals. I bet Parker is thinking much the same.

What team would I pick? It has to to 4-5-1 I suppose. I will beat the Stanislas drum again but I know Zola won't pick him on the right flank where he belongs, even though that run and shot against Arsenal shows the damage he could cause if used on the correct flank - the right.

My side would be:

Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga (assuming he is fit)
Behrami Parker
Stanislas, Diamanti, Collison

I would urge Stanislas to run at the defence and get in crosses and encourage Diamanti and Collison to get into the box at every opportunity. To win, we will need to score three, to draw we need two, so let's attack and to Hell with it! Everything changes next week, one way or another!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Back In The Bottom 3

We went to Tottenham and were murdered; Wolves and Stoke took away all three points from the Lane and today Hull came away with a point. Those results could prove very costly come the end of the season!

In truth, we are effectively second from bottom at the moment given Bolton's two games in hand. It was good to see Burnley lose again, although apparently they played with great spirit, and I suupose the Wolves defeat was good news, although I fancied a share of the spoils with Wigan would have suited our needs better. Are Sunderland being sucked in?

Telegraphed Take Over News - How Much Is Duxbury In The Loop?

Interesting that The Telegraph is leading the way in breaking news on the take over again today. The very latest seems to be that Fernandes and Sullivan are in the lead as we enter the final furlong, with Massimo Cellino possibly disqualified for misuse of the whip and Intermarket labouring six lengths behind after a late change of jockey. The journalist is again Duxbury's friend Jason Burt; remember, the guy singing Scotty's praises earlier this week. I said then that the reward would be exclusive news on the takeover courtesy of the Grand Puppet Master and that is exactly how it is unfolding.

The interesting thing is that the Telegraph's "source" does not seem to know exactly what is happening himself. News is now being released regarding Zola's future, perhaps because Scotty understands the popular support for Zola amongst the fans and players. Duxbury's best hope of surviving in his present role must surely lie with Fernandes succeeding in his bid and so we are being told that the two Davids and Don Cellino are planning to replace the popular Italian. I suspect that Duxbury is trying to build up support for his preferred candidate, hoping to prove his loyalty to manager and new owner should the dice fall the right way.

But Duxbury knows he is powerless here. The banks will sell to the highest bidder, although there does now appear to be a desire to offload sooner rather than later. The spectre of relegation hangs over the club and the accountants have clearly been doing their sums.

According to the Telegraph, a decision is expected today or Monday and as every day ticks past, so our chances of surviving in the Prem recede. Who will play up front at Villa? Nouble? Sears? Collins is in for an easy afternoon if he plays isn't he? The January window is open and we desperately need to recruit a striker but until the ownership issue is resolved, we are out of the market.

The big question is, if any of the bidders are serious, why the hell didn't they start this process earlier? Unless, of course, it is a convenient excuse for keeping their hands in their pockets in January. "Sorry, due to the delays, we have been unable to invest in the squad this January but we would like to give assurances to the wonderful fans that money will be committed to improving the squad in the future".

Friday, 15 January 2010

£115,000 Fine Is Outrageous

What a bloody disgrace! A fine of £115,000 just because a Millwall fan was stabbed and our fans invaded the pitch twice, bringing back memories of the bad old days when football in this country was nearly brought to its knees. Have the idiots who set this punishment no sense of perspective? £115,000! Don't they understand that £115,000 is what we pay Kieron Dyer for 11 days of lying on a treatment table? How can you compare a stabbing with the money earned by a footballing superstar to compensate for the agony of hamstring injuries?

Apparently the club are considering an appeal and I say, the sooner the better! I'm sure our lawyers deserve the opportunity to feed from the trough a little bit more - I mean they have a 100% record so far; every time we go to court, we lose!

Let's get up a petition, let's protest. The police have spent a fortune of tax payer's money trying to track down the culprits and there was probably a hefty cost to the NHS too as they treated the worthless Millwall piece of scum who got himself stabbed by turning up to a football match to see the team he supports; so why should we pay a huge fine like this? As if paying Ljungberg £4m to tear up his contract wasn't enough; as if paying Quashie £20k a week to train with the kids wasn't enough; as if agreeing to pay Shafting United £25m for playing Tevez wasn't enough; now this!

£115,000 for a stabbing and two pitch invasions? That must be a proportion of the gate money for the game! Bloody absurd!

Don Cellino Will Fit In Perfectly!

So, our new "is-he-isn't-he" owner has been exposed as a convicted fraudster; so bloody what? That just means he will fit in perfectly at Upton Park! The previous owner has done porridge hasn't he and, like a Bond or Superman villain, has single handedly brought the entire planet to the brink of financial meltdown! Our greatest ever player was arrested in Bogotta for a heist in a jewelery shop. Mark Ward has only recently been released from a stint at Her Majesty's Pleasure and didn't Frank McAvennie have his collar felt too? Bishop and Morley were allegedly bandits and then there is Davenport, currently awaiting trial, and Anton whose brief got him off an assault charge. And I haven't even started on 'Arry!

Or cuddly Duxbury either!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

When Don Cellino Buys West Ham, Being A "Family" Club Takes On A Whole New Meaning!

So, we were worried when the porn merchants fancied a piece of the action but now we move into a whole new ball game. A couple of days ago, I posted about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, now the heads of the bloody horses will be arranged in Duxbury's bed! What's that famous line that never actually appeared in The Godfather? "A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns." The trouble is, Duxbury keeps getting caught and that won't go down well with the new Don will it?

According to one report, Zola is top of Don Cellino's hit list. I can hear the conversation now!

As Zola and Clarke walk to the carpark they are met by Duxbury.
Duxbury: The boss says he'll come in a separate car. He says for you two to go on ahead.
Zola: Hell, he can't do that; that screws up all my arrangements.
Duxbury: Well, that's what he said. I can't go with you either, Gianfranco.
[as bodyguards materialize around them, Zola understands everything]
Zola: Tell Massimo it was only business, I always liked him.
Duxbury: He understands that. [Removing Zola's car keys] Excuse me, Gianfranco.
Zola: Can you get me off the hook, Scott? For old times' sake?
Duxbury: [shakes his head] Can't do it, Gianfranco.
[Duxbury watches sadly as Zola is led to a waiting car]

What will the Don do with Duxbury? I can hear him say, ""My father taught me many things ... keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." For now...

The basic tactics to be employed? "I loved baseball ever since Arnold Rothstien fixed the World Series in 1919."

What to do with wage drain Dyer? "I'll make an offer he can't refuse. Don't worry."

When David Sullivan meets Massimo? "I don't like your kind of people. I don't like to see you come out to this clean country in oily hair, and dressed up in those silk suits, and try to pass yourselves off as decent. I despise your masquerade; the dishonest way you pose yourself, yourself and your fucking family."

Zola to the Don: "Why do you hurt me, Massimo? I've always been loyal to you."

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Another Day Another Defeat - Even With Games Snowed Off

It never rains but it snows! I'm at home after being shunted up the rear on my way to work. Huge impact - I half expected to see Barrymore getting out of the offending car. Mine is a right off and I am now officially a pain in the neck thanks to whiplash! He, of course, was driving a BMW and, I realised afterwards, didn't even apologise!

So back home to still more bad news, with the club being found guilty on two charges over the crowd trouble at the Millwall game. At the time, I suggested heading all this off by resigning our place in the League Cup and offering an unreserved apology. I was howled out of court at the time but defeat in the next round at Bolton just illustrated what a clever PR stunt this would have been.

The club, led by Scotty D, of course knew better and, despite a rather miserable record in defending actions, decided to fight the charges. True to form, we lost again! Is there any truth in the rumour that Duxbury is a lawyer? If so, it's no wonder the guy isn't doing his day job, he's lost more cases than Perry Mason's hapless opponent. Just imagine turning up in court and finding Scotty is your brief! You'd arrive defending a charge of speeding and find yourself going down for 10 years for manslaughter. Mind you, Scotty would assure you all the way through the case that things were going tickety boo! "Don't worry, you will thrive in Pentonville!"

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Sullivan's Apocalyptic Prediction

I have bedimm'd
The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault
Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder
Have I given fire and rifted Jove's stout oak
With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory
Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up
The pine and cedar: graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth
By my so potent art.

So says Prospero in The Tempest as he describes the Apocalypse. Sullivan's vision of football finances is just as apocalyptic. If you believe Sullivan, football is standing on the brink, peering into the abyss, and at least one Premiership club will be buried "certain fathoms in the earth" before the year is out.

Sullivan tells us how Duxbury has kept West Ham afloat, by mortgaging our future - future season ticket sales, future television revenue, future sponsorship income, you name it, we have borrowed against it. That explains the debate over the extent of the debt. Sullivan and Gold see that future revenue streams are already being gobbled up to service the existing debt; Straumur only want to admit to the debt currently showing on the balance sheet. The reality is much worse than Straumur wish to admit.

It seems that Intermarket may now be out of the running after the death of CEO Bowe. As each day ticks by, our plight deepens. Franco may be out for a month, Cole isn't yet ready to return: we are left with Sears and Nouble as a strike force. God help us! The trouble is, in the Apocalypse we are all judged, and the Tevez affair may well count as a mortal sin!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

If I was McCarthy...

...I would be enquiring when, exactly, West ham knew about Franco's injury. I was in London today and couldn't see snow or ice anywhere. Quite why the game couldn't be played is beyond me. Except, of course, we had nobody to play up front in a crucial relegation six pointer. Coincidence? Of course!

The Duxbury Telegraph Airbrushing History

What an amazing article in the Telegraph. It opens with the revelation,

"Executives at West Ham knew there was something wrong when they tried to sign Adriano from Inter Milan. It was August 2007 and they travelled to Italy, met with Inter and were presented with a copy of the Brazilian's contract which showed he earned the equivalent of £110,000 a week. The West Ham representatives thanked Inter for their time – and called chairman Eggert Magnusson to inform him that the striker wouldn't countenance a pay cut and his contract was therefore prohibitive. Time to go home.

"Give me two hours," Magnusson said. He called back and said he had consulted with owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson. "Go for it," Magnusson pronounced. Everyone was astounded; not least Inter. Could West Ham really afford such wages? Was Adriano worth it? Was Gudmundsson prepared to pay such a salary plus a £15 million transfer fee? What a coup.

In the end, Adriano decided he did not want to go for the move and the deal, talks over which were confirmed on the club's website just as manager Alan Curbishley went on television to claim it was pure speculation, inevitably collapsed.

It was an episode which summed up the precipice over which West Ham were unwittingly staring – and have subsequently fought tooth and nail to keep themselves from spiralling down into."

Now what do you notice about that opening? What I notice is that the journalist names names and attributes quotes to Gudmundsson and Magnusson, and has a dig at Curbishley, yet strangely does not identify the "Executives" at West Ham or the "representatives" in Milan who had more sense than their masters. Why? Well to blow the Duxbury trumpet too early in the article would give the game away. When you are airbrushing history, and applying a revisionist "touch up", a degree of subtlety is required. Keep you cards hidden at first, then play them for maximum effect!

For now, I pose two questions: Where is this information coming from do you think? And why is it being released now?

After suggesting an imminent resolution to the takeover (the answer prehaps to the second question), the article continues,

"What has been remarkable is the fact that West Ham, following the meltdown of the Icelandic economy and the collapse of Gudmundsson's business empire, have managed to avoid administration, have traded with relative stability and have survived – and in some, counter-intuitive, ways thrived – through a series of dramas and crises not all of their own making: from the Carlos Tévez saga to the premature retirement of Dean Ashton."

Bloody hell, how's that for revisionism? How exactly have West Ham "thrived" since the collapse of Gudmundsson's business empire? Is sitting level on points with the club second from bottom in the Prem "thriving"? Is stripping your squad down to the barest of bones "thriving"? Is finding yourself without a first choice right back "thriving"? Does having to play a raw 18 year old as your sole striker respresent "thriving"? Is relying on a free transfer to provide your only attacking cover "thriving"? Is selling your first choice centre back one month into the season evidence of a club that is thriving? Does a thriving club allow two members of the England squad to run down their contracts because they can't afford to pay them more? Does a "thriving club" need a loan from its sponsor to complete the purchase of a player from the second tier of the Italian league? When Gudmundsson took over, we were supposed to be challenging to become the third biggest club in London. Now we are hopelessly adrift of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham and well behind Fulham too. Thriving? Funny, it has felt like we have been close to dying for the last 9 months!

And tell me, how was the Tevez affair not of our own making? Who forced us to sign Tevez? Who held a gun to our head when we entered into a third party agreement that broke the rules? And who made Duxbury provide "oral cuddles" to Ikea and his lawyers? That all seems to be very much of our own making to me...and who was at the heart of it all...hang on, that would Scott Duxbury wouldn't it? The executives at West Ham were apparently alarmed by the attempt to sign Adriano but did not have the slightest whiff of a rat when two current Argentinian superstars agreed to join us. Funny that! If we are talking "counter intuitive", that seems a reasonable definition to me!

The article says that alarm bells started ringing with the signing of Dyer, Parker Bellamy and Ljungberg. No they did not! They started ringing when we signed Tevez and Mascherano, BEFORE the Icelandic takeover, and were clanging away when Neill was offered higher wages than Liverpool could afford to pay him. Upson, Davenport, Neill, Boa-Morte and Quashie were all signed that January and only Neill contributed positively to our Great Escape. I remember Alan Green describing Curbishley as like a little boy in a sweet shop that January, the following summer simply continued a trend.

It's funny how the article focuses on the failings of the Icelanders but doesn't mention the cock ups before or since. The article talks about the signing of Bellamy but overlooks his sale and the disastrous use of the funds to sign Savio. The Tevez affair merits no more than five words, but most would accept that this was the starting point of the crisis we find ourselves in. But Duxbury was heavily involved in this so, of course, the article skips over it.

The killer paragraph reads,

"West Ham have, certainly, been indebted to some shrewd husbandry from chief executive Scott Duxbury who, throughout all of this, has stuck as much as he could to a business plan – The Football Project – he drew up and presented to Gudmundsson as a way forward and a move away from the "haphazard way of spending money". Duxbury has craved stability and wants to turn West Ham, as much as possible, into a self-sustaining entity."

Now, why do I have this picture of the journalist, Jason Burt, asking, "Is that exactly how you would like it worded Scott, or would you like to tweak it in any way?"

And what might Mr Burt get in return for this excellent piece of propaganda? Well, apart from a very good dinner, maybe a tasty exclusive on the take over may appear in The Telegraph shortly. Cynical, mois?