Saturday, 31 July 2010

High Fives For Avram's Boys!

Another game, another win, and another Carlton Cole goal. That's four in five for Carlton. Avram has looked at Milton Caraglio and apparently wasn't too impressed. Remy obviously doesn't want to join us so I think we would be mad to replace Cole. He will go into the new season brimming with confidence and striving to win back his England place. Why on earth would he agree to go to Stoke City even if Sullivan and Gold wanted to sell him?

A 1-0 win at Ipswich isn't an amazing result but, yet again, we have kept a clean sheet. Ben Haim looks likely to join so we now only need a full back and a reserve striker to have the full squad that Avram is looking for. I fancy a loan signing or two over the next week personally.

The Parker issue remains. Avram said again that he is going nowhere but I thought he paused when asked what would happen if a really big offer came in. I have predicted that Parker will go and my money is still on that happening but, I must admit, that I wouldn't want to sit down at a poker table with Grant.

If we ignore the substitutions, we again see Grant using a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 formation with Cole leading the line, Faubert and Dyer in midfield and Tomkins at right back. This formation / personnel has been used so often that you have to think this is what Grant has in mind as his first choice line up, perhaps with Barerra accommodated in place of either Boa Morte or Dyer. Disappointingly, Noble didn't start. Upson only lasted 23 minutes which is worrying. Hopefully his injury isn't serious.

Anyway, the Upson withdrawal apart, it is all good news again! If we can keep this going until the season's big kick off, we should take the field brimming with confidence. What a difference a couple of months makes! Are you watching Zola?

West Ham and Tottenham at Phoney War over Parker

I nearly said that David Sullivan has been reading "1984" but that is so implausable that I corrected myself at the last moment - he has clearly seen the film!

Of course Big Brother Sullivan understands perfectly that "War is Peace" (Just like he understands "Pornography is Love"), and Tottenham Hotspurs represent the perfect Goldstein, of course, because of their Jewish links. As Orwell tells us, "the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival." At the moment Sullivan is orchestrating Hate Week!

Sullivan also understands that "the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty." Mind you, Duxbury left behind the Idiot Guide on this when he made his hasty exit from the CEO office!

Not that Sullivan necessarily understands what he is doing, of course. Just like the Three Monkeys Brigade within our fan base, Sullivan is probably fully conditioned by Doublethink, described by Orwell as "the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in ones' mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." So, Sullivan probably believes his statement on the OS, whilst at the same time knowing that Parker will be sold, just like the posters on here who tell me that West Ham will not sell Parker but that Parker will probably leave anyway!

And ahead of the reaction of the Three Monkeys Brigade to this post, let me share with you how Orwell has predicted your mental health:

"We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards West Ham. There will be no love, except the love of David Sullivan. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent there will be no need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever."

Look in the mirror guys, Orwell saw you coming!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Avram's New Improved West Ham Ready To Take Centre Stage

Well, at long last, Barerra and Piquionne are about to be unleashed in the weekend friendly with Ipswich. With Der Hammer also likely to play, and Dyer penciled in to continue his rehabilitation against his first club, we will have a chance to see Avram's new improved model performing in public for the first time.

So far, pre season has gone like a dream. This time last year we lost to Tottenham out in China and Boa was ruled out for the season. This year, common sense has prevailed and the team have not been asked to travel crazy distances. Whilst 'Arry moans about unnecessary games, Avram has slipped in an extra friendly against Southend with a view to bringing his team perfectly to the boil for the big kick off.

Let's hope that the winning run continues and that Roy Keane understands that this is a friendly. The last thing we need is for the Ipswich boys to kick Barerra up in the air by way of a Keano style "Welcome to England"!

Tottenham's Redknapp Rants Against The World!

Dear old 'Arry 'ad the arse last night didn't he? After defending Tottenham's unscrupulous attempt to unsettle Mr West Ham, 'Arry turned his attention to the fixture pile up Tottenham face BEFORE the season kicks off!

Now if dear old Droopy was moaning about the Easter program then fair enough, games sometimes come thick and fast in March and April if you are having a successful season, but this is the first time I've ever known a manager moan about Friendly Fixture pile up!

"I didn't want tonight's game" 'Arry whined after the 4-1 thumping and he then moaned about two more "pointless" friendly games. "All we do is play and recover" 'Arry complained. "I need to get my players on the training field."

Then it was the turn of the pre season friendly internationals. Apparently the England boys are "sick of the sight of each other"! Fabio has clearly built a great team spirit in the England camp then!

'Arry sounded like a man under pressure, getting in his excuses early. He saw how poorly equipped Spurs are to cope with the massive challenges ahead and knows that Tottenham managers are given long service awards if they make it through three full seasons. If the Cockyfools suffer a few injuries to key players, I reckon 'Arry could be gone by October!

Is Etherington Tapping Up Carlton Cole?

If Sullivan is unhappy with Tottenham because Levy rang him to put in an offer for Scott Parker, what does he think about Matty Etherington openly encouraging Carlton Cole to move north to Stoke? KUMB ran a nonsense story yesterday about Jamie Redknapp tapping up Parker because they were on holiday together - ignoring the fact that they are good mates and speak to each other regularly on their mobile phones - but I haven't seen Jamie telling Scott to join Tottenham through the press!

Is this acceptable? What does constitute "tapping up" exactly? If Etherington is allowed to explain to journalists why a move to Stoke would be great for Carlton, it seems that pretty much anything goes!

Any chance that Matty has had a bet on Carlton joining Stoke? Let's hope so, because that will guarantee our goal machine continues to play in Claret and Blue!

Rallying Cry From Captain Upson!

Dear God, you wouldn't have wanted to be in the trenches with Captain Upson would you? Here we are, a matter of weeks away from the great kick off to a new season, after the most disastrous season in the club's Prem history in terms of wins and points, and the best Upson can come up with is, "The manager has bought some good players and HOPEFULLY we'll improve on last season"! Hopefully Matty? Hopefully? Well let's bloody hope so because otherwise we are nailed on to go down. Blackpool apart, the teams coming up are better than the teams that went down!

It's July, 1916 and we're in the trenches on the Somme. Men are standing beneath the ladders awaiting the order to go over the top. Captain Upson is about to blow the whistle but decides to give a little pep talk first. He clears his throat and begins:

"OK chaps, listen up. Yesterday, good men just the same as yourselves went over the top. They were cut to ribbons. Nobody came back alive. If you listen, you can still hear the screams of the injured out there in no man's land. The Boche know we are coming. Their machine guns are armed and primed. Now, on the sound of the whistle we go and HOPEFULLY we will do better than yesterday!"

For God sake appoint a new captain quick! Appoint Captain Parker! Er....maybe not!

Tottenham's 'Arry Stirs The Parker Pot

So 'Arry reckons we encouraged Tottenham to bid for Parker! He isn't specific about the nature of that encouragement of course. Perhaps he ordered some porn off of Sullivan and when it arrived in the traditional brown Manila envelope, 'Arry thought, "Brown Manila envelope. Transfers. G G cash back. Sullivan and Gold want me to bid for Scott Parker!". Or maybe the fact that Levy was put through to Sullivan on the phone was encouragement enough. It seems that the chairman at Tottenham does not allow 'Arry within sniffing distance of the money transaction for some reason. I guess we will never know what really happened.

What we do know, however, is that it is perfectly within the rules for one chairman to ring another and make an offer. 'Arry is spot on there. And we also know that it was West Ham and not 'Arry or Tottenham who told the world about the offer. If you want to keep things quiet, it is a bloody odd thing to do to make a statement on the club website!

Not that we could complain if Tottenham had tapped up Parker of course. What exactly have we been doing with Beckham? In fact, Gold declared our interest to the press without any prior contact with the player, his agent or the club. That puts us in a bit of a dicky position should we feel unhappy about the conduct of Tottenham or any other club doesn't it?

I was always told, "Do as you would be done by" and I reckon that clearly applies here. Of course we then come back to the big question, why exactly did Sullivan choose to go public on the offer? To alert Villa and Liverpool perhaps? Perish the thought!

Anyway, after the 4-1 thumping last night, 'Arry came out and said "You win nothing with kids". Despite having what was widely regarded as the best squad in the Prem last season, 'Arry feels in need of experienced recruitments. Normally agents all across Africa woud be on red alert at this news but with Levy in charge of transfer deals, 'Arry is suddenly focused on British based players. He says he wants Parker, but he can admit that publicly now Sullivan has taken the deal into the public domain. He also says that it is up to the chairman whether Tottenham come back with an improved bid for our Tottenham supporting, close friend of Jamie Redknapp, Mr West Ham.

Can anybody spot where this one is going? Any guesses what Jamie is saying in that picture? "And White Hart Lane is the first on the left" perhaps?

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Redknapp on borrowed time as Tottenham crash!

Well that's Redknapp's card marked then. A 4-1 thumping against Villareal will get those loyal Tottenham fans sharpening their knives, ready to plunge them into 'Arry's back at the first opportunity. Bedsheets have already gone missing from marital beds, with marker pens scoring the words, "Redknapp Out!" across the accumulated stains.

Memories of Glenn Hoddle, Martin Jol and Oneday Ramos will be haunting the Cockyfools tonight. What if, after all these years of waiting, they fail to negotiate the final hurdle to qualify for the Champions League? What if they are in for yet another desperately poor start to the season?

One thing's for sure, if Tottenham do crash out before the group stage, 'Arry's position will be as secure as an Icelandic bank built on the vent of a volcano. Poor Mrs R aint going to get much sleep tonight with all the head twitching on the pillow next to her.

Another thing's guaranteed, 'Arry will be pressing Levy to increase that bid for Parker, especially with Jenas limping off injured tonight. And with his defence shipping four goals, 'Arry might just make an offer for Upson too!

Time for Gold and Sullivan to come clean!

I know that's an unfortunate headline loaded with innuendo but I couldn't think of anything better.

Since their arrival, West Ham fans have been divided into at least two camps in relation to Sullivan and Gold. At one extreme, there is the Happy Clapping Claret and Blue Klan, or the Three Monkeys Brigade as I call them, the mob who wear Claret and Blue tinted glasses and think everything in the garden smells of roses, even the pig shit used as manure.

At the other extreme are the Sullivan and Gold haters, guys who are almost longing for the Fraud Squad to arrive to close West Ham down, so they can say, "I told you so. Mess with pornographers and what do you expect?"

It may surprise some to learn this but I am almost slap bang in the middle on this one. I don't trust the Davids as far as I can throw them, but they are certainly smart business men and every business benefits from success. They won't bankrupt themselves chasing glory on the pitch, but I can't see them risking relegation either. The policy of buying before selling speaks sound business sense to me. But to expect them to keep spending without recouping is naive in the extreme. That debt remains.

What I do object to, however, is the way Sullivan and Gold are prostrating themselves in a desperate quest to be the lead story on the back pages of the newspapers. The Beckham story has revealed our Emperors in their full naked new clothes glory. How long has that Beckham story been running? And yet Beckham and his agent say that there has been NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER with West Ham. So the story was always crap, yet we know the source was none other than David Gold.

Now some of you guys may not object to being taken for idiots - well, to be honest, some of you ARE idiots - but the intelligent amongst us are beginning to find this more than a little irritating. Isn't it time for Sullivan and Gold to come clean, explaining why we were being told that Beckham might see out his playing days with us, when there hadn't even been any contact with the player or his agent. I think the great West Ham fans deserve that, don't you?

And it does make you wonder, if the Beckham story is total bullshit, can we trust ANYTHING that the Davids are telling us? Talking of Daves, how did Mr fKing get into that photoshoot?

Beckham To West Ham Shock!

Would you believe it, David Beckham's agent has come out and said that Beckham is NOT interested in joining West Ham. Can you believe that? The boy who chose Manchester United over his local club as a kid and who has repeatedly said that he could never play for ANY other English team, has turned his decorated back on the opportunity to play in Claret and Blue.

What on Earth can the guy be thinking of? Surely he is not holding the obscene chants of our fans against the club; it was all in good humour David! Surely he doesn't remember our fans hanging that effigy of him after his World Cup sending off? The guys were only have a laugh David. It was only banter mate!

I am at a complete loss to explain this decision. Beckham wants to be a front man of the 2012 Olympics so why on earth isn't he willing to lend his exclusive support to one of the parties bidding to take over the stadium after the Games? I'm sure nobody would see a conflict of interest there!

And then there is the opportunity to play his football in East London! Why, on earth, would the guy prefer LA or Milan to Newham? Posh could buy a lovely tangerine or electric blue sari in Green Street! And I'm amazed that Beck's agent hasn't explained the possible synergies with Posh's career. I mean, Sullivan and Gold could probably offer her a career in modelling or even in films! Why would the Beckhams be reluctant to associate themselves with the two Davids for goodness sake?

My heart goes out to David Sullivan. He keeps trying to bring in these celebrity superstars and keeps suffering knock backs. Still, I'm sure his ears have pricked up at the news that Marlon King has been released from prison and is available on a free!

Parker On Holiday With Redknapp!

KUMB are scraping the bottom of the barrel I see. They have revealed that Parker took a holiday with Jamie Redknapp and Frank Lampard this summer and floated the idea that this is evidence that Scotty was tapped up! You see, the Redknapps have been plotting to unsettle Mr West Ham all along! Bloody nerve, footballers taking a holiday together, it shouldn't be allowed.

KUMB might also be interested to know that Parker spent some time in the summer in the company of Defoe, Huddlestone, Lennon, King and Dawson - clear proof obviously that he was tapped up by Tottenham! Mind you, Carragher, Johnson and Gerrard were there too, so maybe he will join Liverpool instead. Or maybe the presence of Milner, Warnock and Emile may have tempted him down the Villa route!

Of course, the killer was probably when one of this unscrupulous bunch said, "Look around you Scott. See all this? It is all part of a greater land mass known as Europe. Of course, if you weren't at West Ham you would have the opportunity to play in Europe!"

I bet that fair turned the lad's head!

Absence of interest in Behrami makes sale of Parker more likely.

Sullivan and Gold started the summer expecting to generate cash from the sale of Green, Upson, Cole, Behrami, Noble and Diamanti. As the weeks have gone by, so the interest in our "blue chip" assets has evaporated. With Green leaking goals like a BP rig spills oil, Upson looking as solid at the back as an impotent Dale Winton, Diamanti only interesting a Greek team, Cole reluctant to trade the Boleyn for "life" in the Potteries and Noble no longer on the radar of Arsenal, it all came down to Behrami as a trading chip. But would you know it, after a disappointing season and an injury and red card ravaged World Cup, suddenly all Valon's suitors are looking elsewhere.

What's a chairman to do? There's this new manager wanting to spend money and a debt of something of the order of £100m hanging around the neck of the club. "We have to sell something," says Gold, "and we traded our souls years ago!"
"How about Karren?" asks Sullivan.
"Past her best, more Beckham than Posh."
"Well how about the ground?"
"Already factored that in and we won't see the cash until 2013 at the earliest. We could be stoking the fires of Hell by then."
"There's the tickets for the Di Canio Suite."
"Chicken feed my friend."
"Then what do we do?"
"Well Villa want Parker. If we can suggest that Tottenham want him, maximise publicity by making a statement that we will not sell him at any price..."
"But we will look total cnuts when we sell him!" protests Sullivan.
"Since when has that ever stopped us?" asks Gold.
"Fair point!"

Tottenham want Parker and Bellyache for a combined £11m

After bidding a derisory £7 million for Scott Parker, Tottenham are now preparing an offer of £4m for Welsh windbag, Craig Bellamy. If they land the much travelled moaner for that figure, it will surely represent very shrewd business indeed. Where else can you secure instant dressing room upset for a figure of just £4million?

Remember that Duxbury statement?

"I made it quite clear to Craig that there wasn’t any possibility of him joining Tottenham,” said Duxbury. “There is a change of philosophy at this club. I keep referring to the football project and it’s a business plan we stick to. Part of that is we need to be aware of our fans’ expectations, we need to be aware of who our local rivals are and there is massive rivalry between ourselves and Tottenham. It’s nothing about Tottenham but why on earth should we sell any player that would strengthen their team? It just makes no sense to me. I won’t sell any of our players to our local rivals.”

Nope, we will sell them to Man City instead and then Tottenham can save themselves £7m by signing them 18 months later! (Whilst qualifying for the Champions League in the meantime whilst Bellamy fires Unreal City into fifth place!) Brilliant. You couldn't write it, could you?

Oh, by the way, did anybody notice that "There is a change of philosophy at this club. I keep referring to the football project and it’s a business plan we stick to. Part of that is we need to be aware of our fans’ expectations" line used by Duxbury? What did Sullivan say in his statement yesterday? "This is a new era. We are building a bigger, better West Ham and when we make a promise we honour it." Sound familiar? Welcome to Groundhog Day!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Another friendly victory and three trialists on show!

The Avram road show moved into Milton Keynes and we were taking no hostages again, not even concrete cows! Four games played now, and four away victories under our belt. Did Zola win as many away games in his entire spell in charge?

Good to see Cole on the score sheet yet again. To sell him would be madness in my opinion, almost as mad as selling Parker for just £7million! It's also good to see Faubert on the score sheet. If we can identify a right back, it's looking increasingly likely that Faubert will be used in an advanced position by Grant. Tomkins was again employed at right back anyway which suggests that this is his earmarked role for the coming season. Did Zola ever try him at right back? I think Curbishley did but my memory may be playing tricks on me.

No idea how the trialists played but it is interesting that they are at the club. Anybody knoow anything about Ben-Hatira and Caraglio?

Biggest puzzle for me is the continued absence of Barerra and Piquionne. Are they injured? The Official Site report doesn't even mention them. Explanations are given for the absences of Hines, Collison, Behrami and Dyer (being rested!), but no reference is made to the newbies. Odd.

Anyway, four games and four wins. This is looking promising!

The Tottenham offer for Parker was allegedly £7m!

Well bloody hell, no wonder Sullivan rejected the offer out of hand! According to one report on the net, the opening bid from Tottenham was just £7 million! Crikey, although not the greatest fan of Parker, even I would have rejected that offer out of hand!

No wonder Sullivan was able to play Billy Big Balls when the offer was that low, knowing that Villa will be flush with cash after the sale of Milner and Liverpool will be in the market for another midfielder once Mascherano has departed.

As opening gambits go, this Tottenham offer was derisory. Why on earth has Sullivan given it credibility by making his, "I will never betray the fans statement"? It's a bit like me claiming proof of my love for my wife by refusing to trade her for a knackered old camel! (But if anybody has a knackered old camel to trade...)

Sullivan should have ignored the bid completely or said something along the lines of, "Tottenham have made an offer that is utterly derisory. I know 'Arry is in danger of doing time for tax evasion but to compound it by trying to steal one of our players is beneath even him!"

But no, Sullivan has played the superhero because he rejected a joke of an offer. And the consequence? Well, Parker has apparently said he wants to talk to Spurs! Interesting.

I drew a parallel with the sale of Bellamy earlier and do you remember how much Tottenham initially bid for the Welsh whinger? Er £7 million. Like I said earlier, welcome to Groundhog Day!

Following the Parker statement, do you remember what was said about Bellamy?

In case you have forgotten, let me remind you what Duxbury said in December 2008 :

"We have received an offer from Tottenham and it has been rejected. They have been told that Bellamy is not for sale." Sound familiar by any chance? And what happened in January?

And what excuse were we given when Bellamy left? I quote Duxbury again, this time in January 2009:

"We refused him permission to talk to Tottenham last week and were determined to keep him despite repeated interested from them and Manchester City."

"However, on Friday he again made it clear to the manager that he wanted to move on. Late on Sunday night, Gianfranco and I met and he said it was in the best interests to accept the player's request to leave and therefore Manchester City's bid."

Hmmm. I wonder if Sullivan is adapting that statement as I type?

"We refused him permission to talk to Tottenham last week and were determined to keep him despite repeated interested from them and Aston Villa."

"However, on Friday he again made it clear to the manager that he wanted to move on. Late on Sunday night, Avram and I met and he said it was in the best interests to accept the player's request to leave and therefore Tottenham's bid."

Welcome to Groundhog Day!

The Strange coincidence of the unsigned 5 year contract extension and Tottenham's bid for Parker...

Hmmm. Parker is 29 and has 3 years to run on his present contract. That will take him to aged 32 and the point where his all energy style will certainly start to tell. Can you see a 34 year old covering the ground that Parker covers? Can you do that spin whilst holding a zimmer frame?

So why offer the contract extension? Or more pertinently, why tell the Daily Mail that the contract has been offered? Or more pertinently still, why tell the Daily Mail that the contract has been offered the day before you announce that Tottenham have bid for the player? Or more pertinently still, why the coincidence of first telling the Daily Mail about the contract and then the Daily Mail being the first news "organisation" to break the story of the Tottenham offer, just moments after the announcement on the West Ham web site? Anybody detect the faintest whiff of a rat here? Any chance that this has been orchestrated by any chance? Of course not! As if!

But let's go back to that contract. It is worth £20m to Parker apparently. £20m? In wages alone? So, if we reject a £12m offer, that means to retain Parker for 5 years, two of which he will be a spent force anyway, will cost us a cool £32m! Does anybody honestly think that Parker is worth £32m? I remember when we were sweating over a debt of £40m. I remember a debt of £110m nearly bringing us to our knees - and we are willing to retain a 29 year old midfielder with a dodgy injury record and a dreadful scoring record, at a cost of £32m.

I tell you what, if Sullivan is not playing games, if Sullivan really is going to retain Parker at this cost to the club, then he must be suffering from senile dementia! Or maybe it is syphilis! £32m for Parker? You could probably buy Tevez for that and sort out a sponsorship deal to cover the bulk of his wages. Something really doesn't tally here if you think about it for even five minutes!

Now, put yourself in Parker's boots, only swap the clubs around. You are a lifelong West Ham fan but are playing for Tottenham. Tottenham are coming off the back of a terrible season whilst West Ham are in the Champions League. Suddenly West Ham make a bid for you. Tell me, what would you want to do?

Some will say, that's why Sullivan offered the new contract! To bribe Parker into staying. But Liverpool, Tottenham and Villa will not match his current deal anyway. Parker is already a very wealthy man but his career to date is one of unfulfilled promise. He now has the opportunity to prove himself at a big club. So what it costs him a few thousand a week, on his salary, why does that matter?

Parker will go. Watch this space!

Parker will be sold before the start of the season!

The bidding war has begun. Tottenham have tabled the first offer and West Ham have knocked it back. Sulliivan and Gold know that once Milner and Mascherano have been sold, Parker's value will increase.

The "Statement" on the Official Site is a masterpiece in misinformation. Those boys sure learnt a thing or two from Duxbury! The insistence that Parker will stay seems pretty categorical doesn't it? But tucked in there very cleverly is the release clause, the excuse that will be given when Sullivan explains, "There was nothing I could do!"

I quote, "The club informed Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy prior to him making the offer that we would not welcome any approach to unsettle the player". So tell me, why issue a statement confirming that Tottenham have made a bid then? Why not keep it hushed up, forcing Tottenham to breach the rules by going public on the proposed deal? Why not say to Levy, "I am recording this conversation and if one word of this gets into the press, I will report Tottenham for tapping up a player in breach of the rules?"

But no, the club runs the deal up the flag pole and tells the world that Sullivan intends to keep his promise to the fans! What a guy! What a hero! What a great Chairman! David Sullivan we love you! Knocked back Tottenham! Saved our Scotty!

But hang on...Scotty is unsettled. Scotty wants to play in the Champions League. Scotty is a lifelong Tottenham fan. Scotty doesn't want to sign that new contract. Scotty wants to go.

New statement...Scotty is working for Levy! Scotty was working for Levy all along! Scotty destroyed the windmill!

So WHEN Scotty goes, Sullivan will come out smelling of roses and all the shit will be cloyed around the ankles of Scotty Parker. I can hear you guys now, "Bloody exPlastic Yid! Sullivan is always right! Long live Comrade Sullivan!"

But look at the News Now board. Who broke this story? The Daily Mail? No. The BBC? No. The Star? No. Who broke the story about Tootatthem unsettling Scott Parker? West Ham United! Odd that!!!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Brady Anxious About Tottenham's Interest In Olympic Stadium

When I ran the story about Tottenham's interest in the Olympic stadium yesterday, I came in for the usual, predictable, childish abuse. But if it is all nonsense, why has Brady come out today to say she wants a "lock out"? Who is she looking to "lock out" exactly? Leyton Orient perhaps?

Clearly Karren has an itchy gusset for some reason. And in her shoes, if you knew that 'Arry and Levy were sniffing around, wouldn't you want some protection? Just standing too close to those two would be enough to give a girl Chlamydia!

True there is an entertainment group interested too, but there is supposed to be a sports legacy from the Olympics, not another O2 stadium. It sounds to me as if Tottenham have made enquiries, maybe as leverage to secure planning permission for their new stadium or maybe because they realise that the plans for the revamp of White Shite Lane may never get the go ahead.

So, the next time you feel the urge to jump on me for one of my posts, give it 24 hours first; you may find that spares you a few blushes!

Why selling Parker makes more sense than selling Behrami

I know Sullivan and Gold have claimed Parker is not for sale and maybe they meant it when they said fact maybe they still do. But if Liverpool, Villa and Tottenham move into a bidding war, would it really make sense to retain "Mr West Ham" as one poster calls him? It seems odds on that one of Parker or Behrami will be sold, would it really make sense to part with Valon rather than Scotty?

I am not a huge fan of either, it must be said. Both are good players but neither are great. Neither scores often enough to qualify as a top notch midfielder in the modern game and neither plays enough killer balls. Both are prone to dwelling on the ball too long, running head down rather than picking out a pass and both are prone to giving away free kicks in dangerous defensive areas because of poor technique in the tackle.

Before I move on, I can hear the howls of derision already but, moan as much as you like, the statistics confirm all these criticisms. What both offer is high energy, box to box enthusiasm. Both are dynamos, both would be perfect for a Duracel advert, both look better than they actually are because of their total commitment. But effort is not enough, which is why Parker was overlooked for the World Cup.

One of Zola's major errors was trying to accommodate both in his midfield. Behrami was played wide right and wide left but he is a winger who cannot cross, a wide midfield player who cannot shoot either. Whilst Parker is every bit as goal shy. Behrami's true position is in centre midfield, breaking up the opposition's play and releasing the ball quickly to somebody who can do something with it. Much the same as Parker. How many times last season did we see both running up blind alleys and falling over in the hope of winning a free kick, rather than playing an intelligent pass? How rarely did we see a killer pass or cross into the box from either? Yes, you will find examples - the Parker pass in the Burnley game for example - but there weren't enough examples. Collison, when fit, is a more creative player than both.

So why should we sell Parker rather than Behrami? Well Parker's stock is high and Valon's is low. If any of Spurs, Liverpool or Villa offer anything above £12m, we should take it. This time next year, Parker will be worth £6m to £8m tops. In a reasonable team, his errors rather than his commitment to the cause will stand out; and he will be heading towards 31, with, at best two more years in the game.

Behrami, on the other hand, is better than he appeared last season. To be seen at his best, he needs better players around him, unlike Parker who benefits from being the best amongst dross. Behrami is a cuter player, winning more free kicks than Parker, and will play to his limitations if told to do so. Parker thinks he is Gerrard, Behrami knows he aint! If we sold Behrami now, we would be lucky to get £8m, but this time next year, he could be worth £15m if Grant can get him playing to his strengths. Time is on Behrami's side, it is very much against Parker.

So ignoring the fact that Parker is English and Behrami is Swiss, I would take £12m for Scott and say to Valon, now you're our top man.

Tottenham, Liverpool and Villa in 3-way fight for Parker

Well that's it then, Scotty has kicked his last ball in anger for West Ham. With the news that 'Arry fancies him to bolster Tottenham's Chumpions League challenge, and the confirmation that Mascherano is quitting Liverpool, a bidding war for our nearly England man seems certain. And, if I was putting money on the outcome, I'd bet on him ending up with the Cockyfools.

Duxbury, of course, famously said that the days of West Ham selling players to Tottenham were over. Well, you can be sure that S&G will have no such scruples. Parker will go to whoever meets their valuation.

How much is Parker worth? Well, leaving aside that he is English and the concerns I have already expressed in this regard, I reckon £12m would represent good business. On what basis? Well he is no spring chicken, is injury prone and is limited in his ability. He is a good player but he is a long way from being a great player. That £12m could be invested in other areas of the team, especially when we have Behrami in the squad as a like for like replacement. That's assuming we don't sell Valon of course.

But how will S&G justify his sale after all they have said? The blame will be put at Parker's door. "He was desperate to play Champions League football and we couldn't deny a 30 year old that opportunity...blah, blah, blah."

Monday, 26 July 2010

Jol Plotting His Revenge On Ajax

Understandably annoyed by Ajax's decision to hold him to a contract and block his move to Fulham, Jol, it seems, is plotting his revenge on the former European Cup winners. How else can you explain the possible signing of Mido, unless Jol has grown tired of the fatty gags and wants somebody on the club's books who will make him look positively lithe!

West Ham should be alert to opportunity here. If Jol is willing to sign Mido, we should offer him Spector!

Tottenham Want The Olympic Stadium!

Wouldn't you know it? Not content with taking Peters, Allen, Kanoute, Carrick, Defoe and Eider off us, it now appears that 'Arry and Levy may be about to steal the Olympic Stadium from under our noses, moving themselves lock, stock and two smoking barrels into our back yard.

Call it daylight robbery, call it typical Totscum, call it what you will, but according to the BBC London, this is now a distinct possibility!

You can imagine what Sullivan would have to say about this! But gob off as much as he likes, there is nothing he can do about it should Tottenham decide to go for it. Mind you, Sullivan and Gold could always move us to White Shite Lane I suppose!

Will it happen? I very much doubt it! It would be like Liverpool taking over the Commonwealth Games stadium in Manchester! The trouble is, Tottenham may just bid up the price to screw us over, and then withdraw at the last moment!

West Ham Want Colombo!

I've heard it all now! We are trying to sign a 16 year old kid called Colombo apparently. But hang on, Sullivan and Gold must be confusing their American detectives - surely Ironside was named especially for our club, just like Derr Hammer? And Ironside would be a bloody useful signing because Dyer could then share his wheelchair!

Mind you, the meeting to agree the deal to sign Colombo would be interesting. "So," asks Sullivan, "That's the lot then. If you could just sign here..." But Colombo, ignoring the proffered pen, puts his finger to his forehead and replies, "Just one more thing."

Sullivan and Gold looking to exploit the dirty raincoat market? As if!

Any truth in this rumour? Falk all I suspect! Although hang on! Sullivan and Gold involved in Colombo deal? Maybe that's a slight misprint! Maybe it should read, "Sullivan and Gold in Colombia deal"! Maybe that's where the money is coming from, maybe the Davids are suddenly dealing in cocaine to fund the purchase of Remy and co! Or maybe, just maybe, a certain bracelet has turned up when the Davids were having a clear out!

West Ham Target The Scottish Ronaldinho

More confusion amongst the press boys. That bug in Sullivan's phone keeps cutting in and out obviously. Listening in on his phone calls, the press boys thought we were looking to team up Ronaldinho with Big Benni McCarthy. Actually, Sullivan said that Benni's favourite strike partner would be Ronald McDonald! It wasn't a mega deal that Sullivan was discussing but a meal deal!

Mind you, I reckon Ronald would be a better bet than the aged Brazilian!

D Day At The Boleyn!

By the end of today, we could have a clearer picture of what is going on behind the scenes at Upton Park. So far thus summer it has been nothing but good news - four signings, no sales and three friendly victories on the bounce. Then there are the rumours linking us with Remy and Old Uncle Ronaldhino and all!

But all along there has been an air of unreality, a suspicion that there might be more to all this than meets the eye. Not so long ago we were facing financial Armageddon and were desperate to reduce the wage bill. Next thing you know and we are linked with a host of players who would want six figure salaries to join us. Where is the new money coming from?

The papers found a Russian billionaire living in London and fingered him as the new financial benefactor, even though there had been no contact between him and S&G. Then there was the suggestion that the Davids had decided they couldn't take their money with them and so had decided to have a bit of fun before they met their maker. Hmmmmm. That would be some conversion on the road to Damascus!

So, there was this nagging worry that players would be sold. It wouldn't be Parker of course, nobody could afford him. And Cole would only go if somebody stumped up £15m. Fair enough we thought, and the naive amongst us listed players who would be sold, including Dyer and Spector on the wish lists - as if ANYBODY would BUY them! Yes Upson might go, and so might Green, but who would want them after the World Cup anyway?

Well hopefully it is newspaper bullshit, but a story was floated yesterday, claiming that BOTH Parker and Cole are heading for the exit door. If that story runs through today, then we may have a truer idea of what S&G are up to. If Diamanti, Da Costa and Kovac also leave, then our glorious summer may yet be made a winter of discontent by these sons of porn.

I am not condemning the Davids yet. I don't believe the Parker and Cole story because a combined figure of £20m was mentioned. It is my guess that £20m was quoted to Villa for Parker alone. The "double deal" may be a confusion with the more probable joint sale of Kovac and Diamanti to Olympiakos.

Personally, I would like us to stick with our present squad. S&G have played their cards superbly so far. Why twist when you may having a winning hand? Well, there's money in them hills perhaps!

Meanwhile, there are rumours of medicals planned for today. By midnight tonight, we may just have a handle on what is really going on. My fingers are crossed!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

West Ham Win First Trophy Under Avram

Glory be! Under Zola we couldn't win a game, never mind a trophy - but Grant arrives and transforms the whole club into winners overnight. After landing the Southend United Under 19s Youth Cup, it seems the sky is the limit for Avram and his 'Appy ' Ammers.

A spokesman for the club said: "This is just the start. We have high hopes of landing the Westcliffe-On-Sea Junior Cup next week whilst the Dagenham Dodgeball U-13 trophy is also on our radar."

Meanwhile, serious questions are being asked across town. After so many years without a major honour, Arsenal were expected to bring home this trophy. A spokesman for the Southend Gooners Supporters Club said: "This may be the final straw for Wenger. Do not be surprised if an emergency Board meeting is called before the end of the week to decide Arsene's future. I think he should go personally and Avram Grant would appear to be an ideal replacement."

Sullivan and Gold must pull Grant's choke chain!

During the Turds era, I was regularly challenged about my unbridled criticism of our style of play by Curbishley fans. Their argument, that we should be happy to be in mid table, I felt, betrayed a certain lack of ambition but that was not the key point. My loathing of Curbishley was based on his betrayal of the club and John Lyall as a player, and his betrayal of everything the club stood for as a manager. Curbishley's team played in the style of Curbishley the player: it was mediocre stuff and a million miles away from our traditions of playing entertaining, attacking, intelligent football.

To be fair, when Turds departed, some warned, "Be careful what you wish for". Indeed, I was the named target of an article under that title written by Nixon of Org Green. The argument of the Turds Apologists ran, you may not have liked the style of play but look at the results: what would you prefer, tenth place employing the Upson Lump as the default attacking option, or playing pretty football and struggling? I opted for the pretty football!

So along came Zola!

Now I'm not going to go over the Zola ground again, unless I am provoked into doing so by comments to this article, but I will say it did not work out as we ALL hoped. We didn't just struggle, we were dire! He had to go in my eyes because the football was neither pretty, nor effective; it was just just pretty shit!

Where is this taking us? Well, I am a West Ham traditionalist. I have always said that I don't just support the team, I support what the team stands for, the values established or crystallised or embedded or clarified by Greenwood and Lyall. I hated Curbishley because he betrayed Greenwood and Lyall when both a player and a manager. I welcomed Zola because he appeared to be one of the angels, a Chelsea man it is true, but a Blue in the tradition of Osgood, Hudson and Cooke, all of whom would have graced the Claret and Blue under Greenwood.

But now we come to Grant. So far I have been hugely impressed but I am worried that, without restraining, he may go too far, he may also betray the values of our club. I am not talking about our style of play here. Pompey were pragmatic under Grant, but most of the time they played football the right way, passing their way forward rather than lumping and hoping. Even when under the cosh against Chelsea, there were flashes of stylish football and, against Tottenham in the semifinal, they were a joy to watch at times.

No, the footballing traditions will be maintained under Grant. What worries me is who will be playing that football. Let me set out a possible team to kick off the new season:

Green: Faubert, Da Costa, Upson, Ilunga; Dyer, Noble, Parker, Derr Hammer, Barerra; Cole

Subs: Kuracz, Daprela, Tomkins, Piquionne, Boa-Morte, McCarthy, Diamanti

That team looks pretty good to me. Sure, we might prefer a better right back and true, the centre of defence looks vulnerable, but that team would be good enough for a top ten finish in my opinion. Indeed, for home games against weaker opponents, you might start Diamanti in place of Noble to give us more attacking options and there is the scope to go 4-4-2 by bringing either Benni or Piquionne into the team. If Dyer actually playing a competitive game is truly a pipe dream, then we can bring in Boa and, of course, when fit, Collison would slot nicely back into the side in Dyer's role.

But what is my point? Why the headline?

Well I like that team for a number of reasons. It has shape, it has flexibility, it can become a true 4-5-1 or a true 4-3-3. It plays to the strengths of key players like Parker, Noble and Derr Hammer, with a solid central midfield and genuine width and pace on the flanks. It is also a good blend in terms of age. There are no young, raw players asked to do a job beyond their years and, Upson apart, there are no old men in the starting eleven. Amazingly, we would still have Stanislas, Gabbidon, Ben Haim (assuming we have signed him!) Spector, Hines, Collison, Sears, Spence and Nouble with first team experience, even allowing for the sale of Behrami and Kovac, my preferred departures to balance the books. Then there is Montano and Fry who have been playing in the friendlies as further back up.

But that team looks good to me for another key reason: it includes six Englishmen! Now here is where I feel Grant needs restraining. ALL the players we have been linked with are foreigners. Zola had already started this move - who did he sign with a British passport? To be fair to the Italian, he was willing to pick the kids - too willing at times - but there was a marked and obvious move away from the Turds and Egg strategy of having a British spine.

I am an England fan and I am proud that West Ham won the World Cup. This summer was embarrassing and showed that something has to be done to protect and develop the England national side. In the past, West Ham have not needed legislation to force us to play Englishmen, it has been a proud tradition of the club to do so. But Beckham is the only Englishman that we have been linked with since the Davids arrived, never mind since Grant was appointed, and Beckham is wanted as a PR general, not as a midfield general. Now, let me set out another possible team:

Green: Faubert, Ben Haim, Da Costa, Ilunga; Barerra, Behrami, Kovac, Derr Hammer, Boa: Remy.

Not only is that team older and weaker, it also has NO outfield players who are English. Do we really want to see a West Ham team stripped of Englishmen? Personally, I would hate that!

So, I would not mind if the transfer window slammed shut now. I would not mind if Sullivan and Gold ordered Grant off the Transfer Merry Go Around and said, "Sell Kovac and Behrami and that's it, that's your squad." It may not be the perfect squad but it is a fair squad and a squad that respects the traditions of our club.

Would I rather finish 8th with an all foreign team, or fifteenth with a blend of Englishmen and foreigners? I would take fifteenth! We play in the ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP and, by tradition, we have an English spine. Greenwood managed England and he would hate to see a West Ham team without a single outfield English player. Brooking has been trying to protect the grass roots of English football, trying to ensure the development of young English talent, so he would hate to see a foreign West Ham side. Bobby Moore captained England to the World Cup, he would surely hate to see an all foreign West Ham team. As a Jew, Avram Grant should understand the importance of history and tradition; he must not be allowed to undermine the traditions of West Ham United, the Academy of English Football!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Kolarov It! £19m? What a joke!

This is just getting bloody silly. £19m for a left back that I haven't even heard of? I know Man City can spend what the hell they like, but how can this be good for the game? They already have Wayne Bridge, where's the sense in paying £19m for a guy who hasn't exactly been pulling up trees in his career so far?

If I was Martin O'Neill, I would now ask £30m for Milner! Then Villa could pay us £20m for Parker!

Avram off to an impressive start!

We were a little dismissive of the victories in the first two friendlies: yes it was great to win, and exciting to win away, but the opposition wasn't up to much was it? Yes Avram had instilled a sense of organisation into the team, which had appeared beyond the wit and gumption of Zola but, beyond that, no real conclusions could be drawn.

Well after yesterday's win, we can start to draw some firm conclusions. First of all, Avram has the team right behind him. There was a worry that the dour Israeli might compare unfavourably with the smiling Italian in the players' eyes. Zola made plebeians feel like senators and so the rude mechanicals may have reacted negatively to a guy who told them the truth and put expediency above individual egos. But that hasn't been the case. The team is playing well and winning. A victory over the Greek champions is actually something to write home about.

It is also pleasing to see Grant giving the kids a chance. Yes we are only playing friendlies but Spence, Montano and Fry must be beginning to feel a part of the first team squad.

The awarding of the number 9 shirt to Cole is also promising in my eyes. Grant has started Carlton in all three games and even given him the captain's arm band. We know Carlton is a confidence player and 2 goals in 3 games suggests he is responding well. Would Grant be making him feel so special if he wants him to go to Stoke? That doesn't add up for me.

Meanwhile, players are being tried out to do specific jobs for the team. It looks as if Grant is going to play 4-3-3, and Boa, Sears, Stanislas, Dyer, Diamanti and Faubert have all been tested out for the wide roles. Of course, Barerra has yet to join in the fun and is clearly earmarked as one of the two wide guys. Meanwhile Tomkins, Spence, Dyer and Faubert have all been tried out at right back. The preferred midfield three seems to be Der Hammer, Noble and Parker, although Collison is injured and, like the other World Cup players, Behrami has not yet kicked a ball in anger. Daprela and Ilunga have both been tested at left back and Fry has been blooded too.

All this experimentation and the team is still winning. We mustn't get carried away but this has been an excellent start to his reign. The Grantazola Index is showing Avram miles ahead of his predecessor at this stage!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Der Hammer Hammers Home West Ham Advantage!

Greece is the word. Well I can't spell Panathinaikos! Half time in our third friendly of the season and we are a goal ahead, courtesy of a free kick drilled home by our free transfer German. This is the first real test of Avram's new look team and, so far, they are passing with flying colours! Let's hope they can keep it up! Are you watching Zola?

Interesting team. Back four of Tomkins, Da Costa, Gabbidon and Ilunga, so no sign yet of Green or Upson. Parker is back in midfield with Der Hammer and Noble. Then Faubert and Boa are working the flanks and Cole is up front on his own. Stech is in goal. There will be changes and we may end up losing as a result, but 1-0 up against the Greek champions after 45 minutes is distinctly promising! The decision to start Cole also suggests that Avram wants to keep him!

Second half and more interesting selection decisions. Diamanti is playing wide on left and Dyer is now playing right back! Now, a right side pairing of Dyer and Faubert would scare a few full backs! Boa is now in centre midfield with Tomkins back in a centre back role.

Now Avram's taking the piss! Sears is on for Faubert, Stanislas for Boa, Daprela for Ilunga and McCarthy for Cole. If we lose from here it will be no surprise but as far as I'm concerned, this is now a kick about! 1-0 away from home against a team playing in the Champions League who have just beaten Wolfsburg 3-1! Tell me, anybody think we would have done that under Zola? (Apart from Stani of course!)

Latest Transfer News

Avram has a number of would be irons still in the fire. Target number one appears to be Remy, but you have the feeling that the Frenchman is still hoping that Liverpool or Arsenal will step in and save him from a stint at the Boleyn. It's looking pretty clear that if Remy joins, then Cole departs.

Happily, Grant and the Davids are not willing to sell before they buy, so Stoke are having to wait, and wait, and wait to see if their bid for Carlton has been accepted. Reports of the figure offered range from £8m to £14m. I can't see S&G letting him go for less than Remy costs personally. But will Cole agree to join Stoke? He would be mad to do so in my opinion and then S&G would have to hope that another team steps in for him, probably in January, before the second phase of stage payments on Remy cut in. But there's still the little matter of the wage bill!

Meanwhile, we have apparently tried to take Sulejmani on loan from Ajax. He wants to join us, unlike Remy, but Jol won't let him go. He is option 2. If he joins and Remy doesn't, I expect us to retain Cole. Then there is the other back up, Milton Caraglio, who would apparently cost us £5m. Clearly, there is a big drive to beef up our attacking options.

Then there is Clerc, who has been "coming" for more than 12 months now. We can have him on a free and with Spector lurking as the threat of the Ghost of Christmas Future, I'd sign Clerc regardless of how good he is. He can't be as bad as Spector surely?

We are also clearly trying to bring in another keeper, although seemingly as an understudy for Green. That seems odd to me. We have the understudies anyway and Green doesn't pull many sickies does he?

Strangely, except for Cole, all the rumours about departures have fizzled out. Neither Kovac nor Diamanti are in Greece yet. Behrami is training with West Ham, not Lazio. Noble has worn the captain's armband in a friendly - Arsenal and Stoke seem unlikely destinations for very different reasons. No one wants Upson or Green it seems. The same reason may explain why Faubert and Ilunga are still at the club, although the need to sign a replacement first may still be a factor.

Will we have any English players left if this policy continues?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Remy or Cole?

If you believe the rumours, we have bid £13m for Remy and are considering a £14m bid from Stoke for Carlton Cole. But in Avram's shoes, would you trade Carlton for Loic?

I'm not really able to give an informed opinion because I have never seen Remy play. He has been called the new Thierry Henry but then Joe Bugner was the new Henry Cooper, Hick the new Bradman, Kevin Lock the new Bobby Moore and Diamanti the new Paolo Di Canio! History is littered with new Messiahs who never quite live up to their billing. Remy represents a gamble. He is French to start with and has never played in the Prem. If he is really the new Henry, why wasn't he in South Africa and why hasn't Wenger snapped him up?

But what about Cole? The interest in him from the likes of Liverpool, Juve and Tottenham has evaporated. If Stoke are the only club who want him, what does that say about Carlton? I am a long time admirer but even I had to admit that he looked very ordinary over the last quarter of the season. Was his knee still troubling him? That seemed the most probable explanation to me but maybe he is just...well ordinary.

So would you go with Remy or Cole and why? And please, don't refer us to YouTube - I remember the Ilan and Faubert videos!

West Ham Chasing The New Cruyff

Well we are bidding for the new Henry, were linked with the new Pele and are also lining up the new Messi, so surely there must be a new Cruyff out there somewhere! What a load of cobblers these journalists write!

To be fair, I have seen a guy in a West Ham shirt doing a passable impression of that wonderful Cruyff feint, turning an opponent in a sublime flash of brilliance. Who was that man? Carlos Tevez? Nope. Trevor Brooking? Nope. Yossi? He came close a couple of times but not close enough.

Any idea who I'm thinking of?

Fulham Up Craven Cottage Creek Without A Paddle!

Fulham seem to be in a pretty pickle after their failed attempt to lure Jol from Ajax. I was amazed when it first broke that Jol was entertaining the switch - trading the Dutch giants for comely Fulham seemed an odd move to me - but I'm even more amazed that Fulham have engineered a position where, whoever they now appoint, will arrive as the booby prize.

The players are now back in pre season training, of course, and must be wondering what the hell is going on. If this situation isn't resolved quickly then the wheels could come off big time and Fulham could well find themselves struggling next season.

Who is available and so desperate for a job that he would swallow his pride and accept being second best, I wonder? Hang on, is that a caravan towing brown Volvo I see before me, cruising past Parliament Square and heading westwards?

Fulham's most immediate problem, of course, is what to do with all the pies they bought in anticipation of Jol's arrival!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Ultimate poke in the eye for Upson!

As if floundering game after game last season wasn't bad enough, as if being relegated in the pecking order of England centre backs behind the go slow traitor Carragher and the Kneeless King was not humilation enough, as if Tottenham and Liverpool turning their backs on him was not a sufficient kick in the solar plexus, poor Matty Upson has now suffered the ultimate knock back. Just two short weeks ago, Sunderland were supposedly preparing a bid for him but now, it seems, they rate another centre back as a better bet: that defensive giant Titus Bramble!

This is the same Titus Bramble who was considered too inept even for the Newcastle back four. This is the same Titus Bramble who was at the centre of Wigan's defence when they shipped nine goals at White Hart Lane. This is the same Titus Bramble who was the lynch pin in a Wigan defence that conceded no less than 79 goals last season in the Premiership!

Poor Matty. It probably dawned on him that he was pretty shit after the Germany game but so shit that Titus Bramble is considered a better bet? God, Matty's stock has fallen further than BP's!

That said, I'm going to have a punt on Sunderland going down if this deal goes through!

Rumours all in the right direction!

True they are still rumours and we've heard the one about the aged Englishman, the handy Frenchman and the underage Brazilian already this summer, but we continue to be linked with a list of recruits ranging from 'Allo 'Allo's Le Clerc to the thirteen million Euro man, Remy. And still nobody has left!

It is still far too early to let our guard down in relation to Sullivan and Gold, but you would have to be churlish in the extreme not to give them some credit for the way that they have handled affairs since they arrived. From snapping up McCarthy, Mido and Ilan before the window slammed shut, through kicking out Mido and Ilan once they had served their purpose, and including the support, then criticism and then dismissal of Zola, the Davids have ticked every box near as damn correctly.

Avram was appointed without any messing around and his targets were pursued as soon as the new window opened. The signing of Hitlersburger looked promising anyway; his call up to the Germany squad now makes it look inspired! Barerra could be anything, but his signing was a positive statement, even if he proves to be crap. Piquionne will do a job hopefully. And Ben Haim has been dropped because of medical problems. You have the feeling that under the previous regime, he would have been signed regardless. How else can you explain the signing of Dyer, Bellamy, Upson, Parker and Ljungberg, all of whom arrived with a poor injury record?

If we do land Remy, then that will be a real statement of intent. Keep it up S&G, you are winning this old cynic over!

Forget the Capello Index, Follow the Grantazola Index!

In keeping with the launch of the Capello Index, The Games Gone Crazy is proud to announce the unveiling of the Grantazola Index, the official measure comparing our new manager's performance against that of his predecessor.

As with the Capello Index, the Grantazola Index will assess relative performance over the course of the coming season. Although no meaningful games have been played so far, the Index shows Grant with a clear advantage thus far.

Unlike Zola, Grant seems to have played the transfer market intelligently so far. Barrera and Hitzlespurger seem to have been identified specifically to enhance the team in areas of known weakness - namely a lack of goals from midfield and a lack of width. Piquionne and Ben Haim, meanwhile, seem to have been recruited to deepen the squad. Where Zola's signings seemed random and at the instigation of Nani, Grant seems firmly in control of the comings and goings thus far. And, Barerra apart, he has signed players with Premiership experience. Jimenez or Hitlersburger anybody?

Where Zola allowed Neill and Duxbury to bugger him around, claiming that Lucash had "promised" to let him know his plans ahead of making a decision about his future, Grant has laid it on the line to Upson. Either show commitment or bugger off. Ben Haim has been signed to prevent Upson holding any sort of gun to Grant's head. "You want to play in the Champions League? After THAT performance against Germany? Best of luck mate! Now, do you want to play for us or not?" Neill made Zola look pathetic; Grant has put Upson in his place.

Then there is the little matter of results so far. True the opposition wasn't up to much but we've won two games in a row, and we only managed that ONCE throughout the whole of last season! And Cole scored in both games. You remember, Carlton Cole who only Zola could get to score apparently! And, of course, both games were away from home and under Zola victories away from Upton Park were as commonplace as Asians at a BNP convention!

Things may change of course. The Grantazola Index is subject to fluctuation and Grant's rating could go both up and down. For now, however, despite the debt and the Davids, Grant has not only nudged ahead but seems to have opened up clear claret and blue water between himself and his smiling predecessor!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Confused Sullivan Issues Ban

It appears that the old codger David Sullivan is losing his marbles and hearing. News is emerging that Sullivan has banned the vuvuzela from Upton Park, but it may all be a terrible mistake it seems. Vuvuzela? Sullivan probably caught the last syllable and thought they were talking about Zola. "View for Zola? I don't want the little eye tie bastard within three miles of the ground!"

When it was explained to Sullivan that the vuvuzela was in fact an instrument that made an ugly, incessant, droning, offensive noise, his attitude immediately changed, expressing the view, as he gave the thumbs up to the instrument, "That sounds very much like me!"

West Ham Tie Up With Real Sociedad Proposed

Ok, so it is nothing official, it's just that we have a Spanish West Ham fan who supports Sociedad, so it seems reasonable that we adopt his mob as our Spanish team. Sociedad are a bunch of Basques, so, like ourselves are not exactly West End Boys. The home stadium seats just over 32,000 so that makes them a similar size club to the Hammers. Mind you the name means Royal Society of Football and there aint much royal about West Ham is there?

Real Sociedad have also enjoyed a little more success in the Spanish domestic game than we have managed! They've won La Liga three times and been runners up three times. The Copa del Rey has been lifted twice and the Supercopa de Espana once. Like us, however, you have to go back to the 1980s for their last major honour, and, like us, they have fallen on hard times of late, only winning promotion back to the top division last season.

Famous players include John Aldridge and a certain Xabi Alonso!

The team are based in San Sebastian and I can personally testify to the beauty of that city! How about a trip out to San Sebastian to see a game at some point? Sounds like a plan to me! Anybody else up for it? Ryanair flights would be cheap and we have somebody local who can show us around!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Zola's reign - a disaster from beginning to end

Many mistakenly believe that things only started to go wrong in Zola's second season. The Italian's supporters point to the 9th place finish in our first season under his stewardship and claim he can't be a bad manager. He was a victim of circumstances, the argument then runs. It wasn't his fault. Blame the owners, blame Iceland, blame Duxbury, blame Nani, blame the players, blame Dame Fortune, blame anybody other than the lovable little Sardinian!

Well if people were to look a little closer at the facts, they would see that the "successful first season" of Zola is a chimera, an illusion, a mirage!

Zola took over 4 games into the season, 5 if you count the league cup game against Macclesfield. Indeed, Zola did not pick the team that beat Newcastle 3-1 in the first game after his appointment, so we can reasonably say that we were five league games into the season before he effectively took control. By that stage, tables are pretty representative on the whole and we were sitting in the top 5 of the Premiership. Had we won against Bolton seven games into the season, and just two games into Zola's reign, we would have been at the top of the table. We lost, of course, 3-1, with Green having an absolute mare.

Amazingly, from the position of being able to go top of the table after 7 games, we found ourselves in 17th place in the table in December, a truly startling collapse of form! Tottenham, who were rock bottom when Zola took over, were, by that stage, on our shoulders! Considering the head start Zola was given over Tottenham and Fulham, it was a remarkable achievement to manage to finish behind both by the end of the season!

The truth is, that apart from one "purple patch" spell under Zola, we showed relegation form during the rest of his first season tenure. During that wonderful blip, we won two Cup games and secured 15 points over an 8 game Premiership spell. Take off those 15 points and we would have finished the season with 36 points. Take off the 9 points we had already banked before Zola took effective control, and we would have finished with 27 points! Outside of these two windows, the Curbishley guided start and that one purple patch, Zola's team only averaged just over a point a game! If stretched out over the whole season, that would have seen us finish in 16th place, just 5 points clear of relegation!

Suddenly Zola's first season doesn't look so shit hot does it? Chuck in a pathetic surrender in the League Cup at Watford and the inept exit to relegation fodder Middlesborough in the F.A.Cup and suddenly that wonderful first season assumes true perspective!

Zola backers then claim that Zola was undermined by Sullivan and Gold. The argument goes that he stood no chance of succeeding because the owners were knifing him in the back. Well, again, the facts do not fit with this. Prior to the arrival of the Davids, Zola received 100% support from Duxbury but what good was that? Our results under S&G saved us; during the time that Zola had backing from above, we were utterly crap. In fact, it was the intervention of Sullivan that turned things around. He delivered the home truths that Zola wasn't man enough to deliver, and so ruffled the feathers of our Zola coddled players that they actually played with some fire in their bellies.

People argue that a comparison of Grant and Zola is impossible because of changed circumstances. What cobblers! We still have the debt. We have basically the same team. The big change is the removal of Zola. Yes there are other variables but they are minor by comparison!

Zola's win ratio as a manager is the WORST in the club's history. THAT says it all. If Grant cannot better that, then he should be shown the door in even quicker time than Zola!

That Cowardly Traitor Cole!

I have never really understood why West Ham fans have given Joe Cole such an easy ride compared to the likes of Lampard, Ince and Defoe. Present it how you will, the guy jumped ship when we were relegated and happily joined the plastic crew of USSR Chelsea. His allegiance was made abundantly clear a couple of years back when, after scoring a winner against us in the closing minutes at the Bridge, he celebrated in the most offensive manner, rubbing salt into the raging wound. The fact that replays showed he was offside only made matters worse.

Now, let's start with the fact that Cole is already wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. He has God, the West Ham Academy and 'Arry Redknapp to thank for that. Now, he can't repay God, other than by living a good life (which would not include owning a Hummer!), but he was in a position to repay his debt to either West Ham or 'Arry. By choosing to join Liverpool, he has stabbed both in the back!

Why? Why would he join Liverpool? To win honours some will say, but surely Arsenal or Tottenham would offer a better prospect of that? Unlike Liverpool, both are in the Champions League and, unlike Liverpool, both have strong squads and the cash to bring in new players. But there's the rub. Had Cole joined either, he would have faced competition for his place in the team. Who would you have in your team, Modrich or Cole? I would go with the Croat every day of the week. Fabregas or Cole? The question isn't even worth posing!

So Cole hasn't made the choice based on medals, he has opted for an easy life, the opportunity to walk into a team and hold down a place without a lot of competition. Yes he may win medals too but that is a secondary consideration; thus the label of coward in my headline. That, at the end of the day, is why he left Chelsea. He wasn't good enough for the Plastics and he couldn't cope with being a squad player! Little man, but over sized ego syndrome! Look at me in my great big Hummer!

So if medals were not the primary consideration, why not return to the cradle of his career, why not repay the club and fans who made him? Because the guy is a traitor without any genuine feeling for the club or fans who made him. Had he joined Tottenham, then fair enough. 'Arry was a father figure in his formative years. Had he joined Arsenal then I could understand. Wenger polishes players like Cole and might have taken him to a new level even at this late stage of his career. But Liverpool? No, he might as well just nick the wheels off 'Arry's and Avram's cars and have done with it!

So go to Liverpool Joe Cole, you deserve each other! Join Carragher the traitor! Join the team of nearly men who were always going to be great one day but never quite made it! Find your level in a team destined to fight for a Europa League place season after season. Go to Liverpool and rot, you cowardly, son of an 'Arry!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Nouble Making Progress

He certainly wasn't ready to lead the line on his lonesome last season (another absurd Zola decision) and I doubt we will see much of him over the next season either, but it's good to see Nouble firing home two for England's U19s.

There will be some who will jump on this and call for Nouble to play in the Prem, but hopefully Avram will exercise more common sense. There is a world of difference between scoring against 19 year old kids and doing the business in the Prem. Nouble wasn't even considered good enough to start for Swindon last season!

Hopefully, Avram will farm him out on loan again, and allow the kid to develop outside of the media spotlight. He has potential, no question, so let's not rush things, let's bring him to the boil carefully. Never hurry a Nouble!

Now Let's Judge Avram Against Zola!

In Zola the morons trusted! And boy did they let us know it! It was like the bleat of the sheep in Animal Farm! Every time somebody dared to criticise the tactics, the selection policy, the transfer signings, the performances or even the blasted results, up came the bleat, "In Zola we trust", trying to drown out the truth.

Great guy though he is, this site's regular, Stani Army, was something of a Squealer in this. He was never a sheep but Stani only just stopped short of saying, "Zola is always right"! "Don't blame Zola, blame the players" was Stani's mantra and the argument was always, "We will never be able to measure Zola because the next manager will not start the season with the same squad. S&G will back the new man." Oh yes?

Well, according to Stani, Piquionne and Ben Haim are poor signings. Thus far, we have spent less in the transfer market than we spent last season. Indeed, I have a hunch that we will recoup more money than we spend, with my favourite to leave being Behrami. So, where is the financial backing for Grant exactly?

The truth is, Grant has already proved himself more astute than Zola. Hitzlespurger looks a much better signing than Jimenez. Barerra is a chancy signing but he looks to fit the team's needs better than Diamanti. Piquionne and Ben Haim may not set the pulses racing but they have Prem experience, are not complete mugs and fill gaps in the squad. So far so much better than under Zola.

Now we are in to the friendlies and West Ham are doing what we didn't do under Zola, winning. And we are winning without our "star" players in the team too. And what is more, we seem to have a shape and the players are being played in the correct positions. It isn't rocket engineering as I always said. Pick the players to do jobs that they are comfortable with and they will play better. Pick players out of position and on the wrong flank and, unless they are World Class, they will struggle.

Grant is not a genius but that means he understands the importance of organisation and playing within your limitations. The players loved Zola because he made them feel like gods. But what is the point of entering your ugly daughter for a beauty pageant? She will only end up humiliated. And that's what happened to us under Zola! He convinced the players that they were better than they were, are and ever will be and asked them to do what they could not do. And as they staggered down the catwalk, the biggest threat to the opposition was that they would fall about laughing! Mick McCarthy couldn't believe his luck when he saw our team sheet for that six pointer at Upton Park! Team talk? All he had to do was show his players Zola's team!

To better Zola, Grant only has to finish fifth from bottom this season. To better Zola, Grant only has to average one point a game. To better Zola, Grant only has to win two games away from home this season. Let the comparison begin! And if Grant comes out on top, then all you bleating sheep had better own up! In Zola we trusted? What a bunch of mugs!

West Ham Aquire The Winning Habit Under Avram

OK they were only two friendlies, and true the opposition were not the best, but two wins in two games represents a major step forward on this time last year. Under Zola, we struggled to win, no matter the game and no matter the opposition. Grant seems to have changed that immediately. Long may this run continue!

Importantly, these two victories were achieved without Parker, Green, Upson and Behrami and without the three new signings. It was good to see Cole on the scoresheet for the second game in a row and to see McCarthy not only score, but looking trimmer. Other positives include Dyer and Ilunga starting, although, of course, Dyer does friendlies, it's the real games he misses.

I was also pleased to see Noble wearing the captain's armband. I still hope to see him "come again" in Claret & Blue. Unfortunately Sears failed to score yet again. Tomkins playing at right back was also an interesting move. He has played there before, of course, and was even used in midfield when on loan to Derby. Maybe, just maybe, he could be developed in this right back role. The other big plus is the form of Der Hammer - he hasn't scored yet but he is looking good in midfield apparently.

Whisper it quietly but I am still feeling optimistic about next season!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Capello Index Nails Green To The Cross!

God only knows what he was thinking of when he agreed to this "Capello Index", apart from filthy lucre of course, but the ratings that were published live on the net today, in the name of our esteemed England manager, damned dear Robert Green as the worst of the worst at the World Cup.

That comes as no surprise to me. I blogged that our early exit was ultimately down to Green. It was his blunder that allowed the USA to draw that opening group game and, but for that, we would have topped the group and would have had a relatively easy journey through to the semifinal. Of course, Hammers fans leapt to the defence of Green as soon as I posted that article; but the Capello Index appears to have arrived at the same conclusion.

"What about that great second half save?". It didn't make up for the dreadful, unforgivable error, just as I said, and as the Capello index has now confirmed!

Poor Rob, like Jesus, has been crucified. But there the similarity with the Christian Messiah ends. Jesus allegedly saves. Sadly, at a World Cup, Rob Green doesn't!

Nepotism and Mediocrity. The Avram Era Begins Badly

(Submitted by Stani)

Pompey old boys Piquionne and Ben Haim can only be said to have been bought on merit if our ambition is to buy average players with no potential. There's more nepotism than ambition here!

Mind you, Grant's appointment hardly screams ambition does it? Anyone could have guided Jose Mourinho's team to the Champion's League final. Staff at Chelsea said that Grant's coaching techniques were '25 years behind the times'. This is from an unnamed Chelsea player:

"Chelsea deserve a bigger coach than him. Grant does not have the quality to coach a team like this. When we play big opponents we will suffer because of him."

Now he clearly knows better than you and me, having worked under Grant. Even Grant's friend, Mr Abramovich, had to eventually get rid of him. As for the FA Cup final, its just a cup competition. Cardiff got there in 2008 under Dave Jones, would he merit being a West Ham manager? A cup run proves nothing.

Piquionne has a poor goalscoring record and we have given him a 3 year deal on 40k a week apparently - to a striker who will be 32 in December. Tell me, does that make sense? We will be paying him a salary of over £2m when he is 35!

As for Ben Haim, like Piquionne, he played in a side that was relegated last season. It has been argued that our relegated players were also purchased by clubs when we went down but ours were young with potential. I do not see the potential in a 28 year old defender who is currently not very good. Believe me, when I say he makes more mistakes than Tomkins! We will now see this at first hand, unfortunately. He dithers and is consistently bullied off the ball.

Barrera will bring quality but his signing was cleverly delayed to soften the blow of Piquionne and Ben Haim. I disagree that Hitzlsperger is one of our better players by a mile. He is a solid, reliable type and we should not make him out to be more than he is.

Grant knows Piquionne and Ben Haim from previous clubs, and since I've dismissed the merit argument above, their signings must be down to cronyism or nepotism. I have said nothing of a master plan, but you tell me why Grant was appointed without any other manager being interviewed?...or why Ben Ham seems to follow Grant EVEN when he speaks against him. The bond of 'blood is thicker than water' is not broken by a few critical words.

Big money signings? I never expected them, but I hate in when our great fans are taken for fools! Neymar, Beckham, Remy, Cole, Henry...we end up with Piquionne and Bellend Haim!

I'm not claiming to be clever here. I leave that kind of gloating to HF (who is also responsible for adulterating this piece and inserting a crude nickname!). All I am saying is that the new era reeks of nepotism and mediocrity, not meritocracy and ambition!