What was the old Olympic mantra and spirit? "It's not the winning but the taking part that counts". How appropriate therefore, that the OS will be our home stadium. Win, at home? Why would we want to do that? We took part, well for 45 minutes anyway!
Mind you, as the BBC site tells us,
"It's a phrase echoed by the founder of the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who said "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."
And there is the rub! To expect West Ham to "conquer" is like expecting the woman you marry to lose weight after she has smuggled the gold ring onto her finger, but we have a right at least to a team that is "fighting well". But this team hasn't fought for over 2 years. Fans blamed Zola, Grant and Upson but surely the one thing we would expect from an Allardyce team is blood and thunder?
I know it is only 4 games into the season and the level headed are saying it is too soon to panic but even Doctor Evil is talking about the "fear factor" at Upton Park. This team is psychologically scarred and is terrified of its own shadow. Allardyce has talked about the need to keep the ball, but you don't keep it by lumping it long and nor do you keep it by letting Parker have it. His ball retention is awful. I would love to see stats for his pass completion in the two home games so far!
The optimists will keep the faith - and good on them. But I am seriously worried. The performance against Leeds was utterly shambolic at times and we look no closer to finding a team shape that works than we did under Zola or Grant. I tell you what, the Claret and Blue Army revere Parker but we stopped playing when Di Michele left. Perhaps he was more important than any of us realised. We saw the poor goal return, we saw the tying of the laces, and what we overlooked was the way he linked the play from back to front. That hole that Di Michele sat in has been empty ever since. Nolan was meant to be the man to fill it but he has looked at mobile as Tristan and as fired up as a spent banger on November the sixth.
Is it fear or is it torpor or is it mental exhaustion? There's something very very very wrong!