Sunday, 25 July 2010
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!
Posted by Hammersfan at 09:28