Sunday, 10 November 2013

Too good to go down?

The phrase has an uncomfortable resonance. Kanoute, Cole, Di Canio, Defoe, Johnson, Sinclair, Les Ferdinand - how could a team blessed with such talent possibly drop out of the top division? Well Allardyce knows, because Allardyce's Bolton condemned us to relegation; and Sullivan and Gold know, because Sullivan and Gold's Birmingham drove the final nail into our relegation coffin in the last game of that miserable, miserable season, a game we had to win but drew 2-2.

The trouble that year was an imbalanced squad. Yes the team was blessed with genius, but at the heart of the defence there was a void, and for all the talent in the team, there was a shortage of steel outside of Repka and Lomas. The team was almost all silk with very little backbone.

Well here we go again. Joe Cole is common to both teams, of course, and it would be a sad postscript on his unfulfilled career if it were to be sandwiched by two relegations with the club he claims to love. And outside of Cole, there is Morrison, Rat, Reid, Downing, Noble and Carroll - all far too good to be relegated! But are they?

Downing has been relegated before. So has Joe Cole. And Winston Reid. And Mark Noble. And Andy Carroll. And, of course, Tomkins, Jussi, O'Brien, Jarvis, Collison, Jussi, Taylor, Vaz Te, Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan. Too good to be relegated? This team is cut from relegation cloth!

Yesterday's game was terrifying. For 45 minutes we bossed the match in a way I cannot remember us bossing a game. I posted at half time that it was like an exhibition game. We were the Harlem Globe Trotters and Norwich were a bunch of stiffs sharing the arena just to make us look good. At half time it could have been 4-0 and should have been 2-0 at the very least. Our control and domination were total.

So what the hell happened? Well first of all, this team can't score goals. You know it, I know it, Allardyce refuses to admit it, and ultimately Chris Hughton knew it. His instruction at half time was straightforward - get higher up the pitch, press the man on the ball, don't worry about gaps at the back, we can give them four chances and they won't take more than one.

I knew what was coming. At half time I wrote, "To be honest, the biggest worry is that Norwich will press us higher in the second half and one of Tomkins, Collins, Noble, Collison, Morrison or Demel will be caught in possession. Delia's darlings might as well be hung for a mutton stew as for a lamb casserole after all, so worrying about gaps at the back may now be off the agenda." OK, I didn't identify the right culprit, but based on his performances so far this season, who would have expected Jussi to hand the equalizing goal on a plate to Norwich?

That Jussi mistake was as bad as anything Green ever did and he compounded it with the unnecessary challenge which invited the award of the penalty. But why the hell did that goal make such a difference? It should have been a blip. Normal service should have been restored immediately. Like the Harlem Globe Trotters, we should have just stepped up a gear, re-established a lead and then cruised through to victory. But suddenly everything fell apart. Suddenly nobody was able to find space. Suddenly Norwich were dominating possession. Suddenly we were a complete shambles.

Then came that free kick. What the hell was Jussi up to? He left so much of the goal unguarded that I could have stepped up and scored. Bloody hell, my 82 year old mother might have fancied her chances! If the guy can't defend free kicks - and the evidence is clear that he can't - then we have to stand a defender on a post to help him.

What followed was humiliating. Carlton Cole is a shot bolt. Bringing him on is ludicrous. Taking off Joe Cole was madness, meanwhile. He has a goal in him, unlike Carlton and Diame and Jarvis. As soon as Joe departed, all hope of victory evaporated. Fine, bring on Mo, but don't take off Joe - Jack Collison was the obvious choice.

And then removing Noble? Crazy. Look how exposed Tomkins was for the third goal! And who was knitting our game together in the last five minutes?

Yesterday's result should be a wake up call to all those who believe that the possibility of relegation is unthinkable. Without Reid, our defence is little better than the defence of 2002-03 - and Reid is out for a stretch; and without Carroll we don't have an attack, never mind an attack to compare with Defoe, Kanoute and Di Canio!

But let's not worry. We have Joe Cole. And Defoe may return in January. And if some idiots have their way, Di Canio could replace Allardyce!

Who finished bottom in 2002-03? Sunderland.

This is getting spooky!

Player Ratings First Half: Jussi 6; Demel 8, Tomkins 7, Collins 6, Rat 9; Noble 8, Morrison 8, Nolan 7, Collison 7, Downing 7, Cole 7

Player Ratings Second Half: Jussi 0; Demel 6, Tomkins 4, Collins 5, Rat 6; Noble 6, Morrison 6, Nolan 4, Collison 5, Downing 3, Joe Cole 4; Subs: Diame 4, Carlton 0, Jarvis 1.


Anonymous said...

Negative tactics ther will b a negative outcome relegation hahaha no worries u smashed the championships best team dint ya hahaha

Anonymous said...

to say we might go down is a stupid statement,for gods sake its November sill 6 months of the season to go,nothing is settled in November get a grip.

Anonymous said...

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.

Anonymous said...

The gates clanged and they walked you into jail
More tense than felons but relieved to find
The hostile world shut out, the flags that dripped
From every mother’s windowpane, obscene
The bloodlust sweating from the public heart,
The dog authority slavering at your throat.
A sense of quiet, of pulling down the blind
Possessed you. Punishment you felt was clean.

The decks, the catwalks, and the narrow light
Composed a ship. This was a mutinous crew
Troubling the captains for plain decencies,
A Mayflower brim with pilgrims headed out
To establish new theocracies to west,
A Noah’s ark coasting the topmost seas
Ten miles above the sodomites and fish.
These inmates loved the only living doves.

Like all men hunted from the world you made
A good community, voyaging the storm
To no safe Plymouth or green Ararat;
Trouble or calm, the men with Bibles prayed,
The gaunt politicals construed our hate.
The opposite of all armies, you were best
Opposing uniformity and yourselves;
Prison and personality were your fate.

You suffered not so physically but knew
Maltreatment, hunger, ennui of the mind.
Well might the soldier kissing the hot beach
Erupting in his face damn all your kind.
Yet you who saved neither yourselves nor us
Are equally with those who shed the blood
The heroes of our cause. Your conscience is
What we come back to in the armistice.

Anonymous said...

Too good to go down? Don't you mean "Too shite to stay up"? The fat controller,s relegation express has left the sidings. All aboard,woo woo. Ha ha.

fred149 said...

I think your being harsh on tomkins HF. He was stuck trying to cover collins mistakes all game, including collins giving away a stupid free kick and not he backed out of a tackle for the 3rd which left tomkins exposed.

Anonymous said...

See you in the second division, knob jockey.

Essexhammer said...

I thought you rating for C.Cole second half was too generous

Anonymous said...

There was only you who thought the possibility of relegation was unthinkable!! U even said at the beginning of the season that you expected to Finnish higher than last season and a Finnish in the top ten was an almost certainty! Oh how things change spam dangler! What goes around comes around and sooner or later you will have to receive your comeuppance with open arms like it or not xx

Anonymous said...

Must be a northerner "Finnish" - Education mate - get one.

Hammersfan said...

Maybe he was punning on Jussi's error! But then again, he's probably a Northerner!

Anonymous said...

hohoho how original,northern jokes.bore off

Anonymous said...

What is also missing is someone in the west ham team who can take a freekick.

Anonymous said...


Dunlopilo said...

I agree with Fred. Tomkins not only had to cover all match for the catastrophic performance by Collins, but also had to switch and play in Reids's position. Collins is at fault on all three goals. Very directly on number two for committing that debutant foul. What was he doing there anyway ? Then on number one and three, he was napping... Add to that all the missed passes, and the hoofballs that ended up nowhere, plus the yelling at teammates rather than focusing on his own game. I know he was short of competition, but that was really really bad.
Here's how i rate them :

Jussi 7-0 (usual stuff before the break, completely lost focus and confidence after that. His worst performance since he is at West Ham)
Demel 8-5 (magnificent first half, splendid header that crashed the Norwich crossbar and deserved more, but couldn't pull the team out of the abyss after the equalizer)
Collins 5-0 (average first half, disastrous after the break. Looked like a third division player, no technique, always outpaced, badly placed, poor reading of the game)
Tomkins 8-5 (excellent first half, couldn't keep on closing all the gaps after the equalizer)
Rat 8-4 (shaky start, became a real threat with his incursions, lost a lot of gas in the second half and was outpaced by his opponents more than once)
Noble 9-6 (a real maestro in the first half, couldn't rally everyone after the equalizer. Ship sunk completely when he was taken off)
Downing 7-5 (good though not decisive first half, sunk after the equalizer)
Morrison 6-3 (a diamond in the rough, with still a lot to accomplish, but I repeat that when the rest of the team is going, he is the player you can feel can make something magic happen)
Collison 5-0 (Still far from being a decisive player. For some reason couldn't get completely in the game in the first half, where he had it on a silver platter. Should have come off right after the equalizer. Major disappointment)
Cole 6-3 (physically outweighed, plus has to play out of position)
Nolan 4-0 (constantly caught offside, missed a one on one, but did bring the goal. After the break, lots of wasted passes and incapable of rallying the troops. What else is asked from a captain ?)
C cole 0 (No comment)
Diame 0 (didn't bring anything, did not cover correctly on the final goal, was a complete ghost and showed why he isn't in the starting eleven right now).
Jarvis - I'll be kind to you and won't rate you, but thank you for coming.

Anonymous said...

Coming from a southern fairy is quite funny, your education was probably a gcse in pickpocketing and hot-wiring! Trot along back to Mandela house Rodders!

Anonymous said...

Can I share u with Jack please, I love you x

Anonymous said...

Certainly not too good to go down, thats for sure. More like destined! What a team full of losers and has-beens. Ha ha. At least you can look forward to Millwall away again.

Anonymous said...

Going down nob jockey

Betty Swollox said...

It still surprises me that people have any other expectation other than survival. In our hearts we might think we'd push on from last season to a top 8 finish, but in our heads, we must know we're scrapping. Am I surprised that we capitulated in the second half after looking like a top 4 side in the first? Hell no. I've not seen us play two good halves of football since Brighton at home two seasons ago. We played above our potential in the first half and in the second Norwich responded to it , which they had to do, and we couldn't handle it. One of the turning points for me was Pilkington going off. Once Redmond came on he gave Demel much more to think about and stifled a lot of our attacking threat. I think the fact there are three worse teams than us will save us. However it's going to be a long hard slog, but when hasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Sure told me. I'm Finnished. Well done for taking the time to write that clever reply without any any more mistakes. Only took you til 5:52am haha. At least you Finnished it. Just in time to wander along back to your factory for another glorious day packing oranges into crates. You should give Dell a ring, might be able to promote you to selling them. Imagine that!

AppyAmmer said...

Carlton a 0? What was he supposed to do when he had balls fired at him at a height of 7ft plus?

0 For Jussi is harsh as well, and I still dont think it was a pen. Even the best goalkeepers have made mistakes this year.

I also think 6 for Demel is generous, think for the third goal he could have tucked in to cover more.

Also 5 for Collins is generous as well. Worst game in a West Ham shirt? I am one of these that think he should never of left us and we badly missed him when he left few years back.

Can you give minus points? Allardyce will do enough to get us mid table, again. thats all we will ever be with him in charge, a middle of the road team that does enough to grind out results and points. Boring boring boring.

We will stay up, but it will be bloody boring, why didnt we try to get Poyet in!!!???

Dunlopilo said...

Norwich was a broken toy in the first half. Th maxim is "if you forgive, you pay". That is exactly what happened Saturday. Norwich was given a couple of lifelines, the crowd was booing them at halftime, but the penalty changed everything.

Football is a strange sport sometimes, isn't it ?

Anonymous said...

Last gasp draw for Stoke moves West Ham level points with the drop zone whereas back to back victories for Leeds moves them within a point of the play offs.

Never mind playing and taking 4 points minimum (again) from you next season in the championship, Betty we could be swapping places at this rate!

Either way youre definitely missing your 9 goal a season superstar.

Good luck for the rest of the season :) xx

Anonymous said...

Oranges! Ha ha quality reply! Del? Or Dell as in the laptop people? I like how you couldn't think of anything of UR own to say and just put your own slant on my take! Bless ya luv! Amazing how the bitter spam danglers come out and cry now they realize they are in trouble after so long Sat with their smug smiles on their faces! Are you one of the 10 or so spam danglers who visit this site regular or is it all new to you? Xx

Anonymous said...

Agree with a lot of what was said, but how could anyone rate Downing higher than a 2 in that game is beyond me. That's 1 point for showing up and the other for NOT giving away a penalty!

Anonymous said...

The 2003 team under Glen Roeder was missing DiCanio, Kanoute and Defoe for a large part of the season when defender Ian Pearce had to start up front. I think 0 goals in 7 starts?
His loss at the back didn't help either, and a couple of shocking refereeing decisions, one sooo bad, the man in black was embarrassed into retirement....