Nigel Kahn’s Column

Shame on us all.

Just when you think you know what you’re going to write for your weekly column, something comes up unexpectedly and makes you rip that up and start again.
I had no plans to cover this again, so soon but after reading the Paul Walker article on KUMB on WHUISA & the OSB meetings taking place Saturday and then some of the inaccuracies being put out there as if they are the fact I feel I’m left with no choice.

I get nothing here for lying so what I’m putting down here is how things panned out from mine, & Sean’s point of view in regards our membership of the WHUISA committee last year.

Firstly, at the moment this is difficult to prove as the 2018 committee election results were never publicly published. I was told after the election that I had polled more votes than any other candidate, second was Sean & together our votes were more than the other members received combined.

Now to me, that is a huge mandate from WHUISA members and the direction it should take, as both Sean or I could not be classed as Lefties as WHUISA had been (unfairly in my view) tainted.

WHUISA committee generally communicates via Whatsapp groups or email and it didn’t take long for Sean & I to notice that things were happening that we didn’t seem to know about in advance. We believed, and rightly so, we were being excluded from decisions by a section of the committee who didn’t trust SW and by association, me, from being part of the decision making process. Some love to point out that WHUISA is the only democratically elected fan group out there, yet here we are being actively excluded, the two people who got more votes in that democratic election. Time & time again we found out what WHUISA was doing via the KUMB forum not via the official committee channels.

Allied to that, WHUISA was asked about joining the OSB as a group, a very short email exchange happened where the decision was taken by some on the committee to reject joining the clubs board.

Now I admit I thought WHUISA should have joined, after all, when you’re a fan representative group if don’t talk to those with the real power you’re just wasting your time. Yet I also believed that should have been a members decision, not the committees to make.

I get that committees are elected to run the show but some things are so important, especially this issue being the biggest WHUISA had to make, it should have gone to the members to decide.

The press statement that WHUISA then put out, stunned me for its rudeness. I’m no board lover, but, again, if you are a fan representative organization trying to make fans’ lives better, you have to hold your nose, & tongue at times, and step inside their tent. Standing outside waving a placard or a flag may give you satisfaction, but really, what does it achieve?

Add to that that the first time I read the statement was after it was released officially, it hadn’t been circulated in advance and only highlighted the fact some in the committee didn’t want any input from two of the elected committee members

Both Sean & I spoke about resigning as it was obvious what was going on. Sean resigned first & with WHUISA in a panic I was spoken to by a let us say, more sympathetic member of the committee who asked me not go, to stick with them and help make the changes for the better. I thought about it and agreed to not go, to see if Sean’s resignation would help. A small aside to this, half an hour after Sean resigned it was announced on the WHUISA twitter feed, and an article appeared on KUMB.

Over half of the elected committee from 2018 has resigned, Sean, Mark Sandell, George Mann, me & Sue Watson. Paul Turner who was co-opted onto the committee but not announced has since, I’m told, resigned as well. Only one resignation was announced the same day.

The truth about Mark Sandall leaving has never been explained. He just basically disappeared off the scene. He’s a busy man, but no explanation from him that I saw or anyone else. It wasn’t announced straight away. One rule for one it seems but not for the rest.

The Foodbank campaign was a mistaken – ot one I supported, as it is for individual fans to make that contribution, not an official group. It played into the hands of those that saw WHUISA as a playground of the left wing. It did go to members to vote, but only at a public meeting attended by around 25 fans. Considering WHUISA membership is worldwide, and it has invested in survey technology to ask fans easily questions to be debated, to allow just a vote of less than 1% make policy was wrong. At the meeting I spoke out against the foodbank campaign as best I could but the vote was carried.

The final straw for me was walking into a game just before kick off the chairman, who was not at this game, wanted to discuss something with the group before going public with it. I can’t remember what it was but, it was rare for him not to be at the game, by the end of the game on WHUISA’s twitter feed a statement was put out. Done & dusted by the chairman during the game, while the rest of us were watching the game. How can you make policy during a game and then announce it without allowing the committee to comment?

Enough was enough. I walked out then and there.

All of the above embarrasses WHUISA,. It also does me no credit, to be honest, and frankly, it is shameful in that fans trusted people to do the right thing but sadly like the ownership the fan group has failed the fans.

WHUISA though can be changed, as with elections if the right people can be found then with a new broom it can all be swept away and cleaned up.

I believe wholeheartedly in the concept of WHUISA and why it was set up, just somewhere along the way it floundered & frankly, played into the hands of those that unfairly tainted it.

My hope for the future is that WHUISA can with a new committee remember that’s its there to represent fans in trying to make their matchday better, yes to call the club to book when it is wrong but to do it in a way that means they work with you to change not against you.

Hammers United should also be a port of call, sit down with them to find common ground as when the fanbase is UNITED then and only then can proper meaningful change happen.


Talking Point

Two Cup Finals And A Triple Call For VAR

West Ham have ended a bad run of three defeats with a 2-2 draw against Leicester – that‘s what will be on record when someone looks up the last third of Manuel Pellegrini‘s first season at West Ham Stats in years to come. It’s just a pity though that there won’t be a footnote to this result stating that West Ham would have won the game if the assistant ref hadn’t got it wrong with Lucas Perez’s second goal! But never mind, now I’ve got an other trip to London and two cup finals to look forward to, and also VAR is just around the corner!

With only minutes to go and West Ham 2-1 up against the Foxes, courtesy to goals by Michail Antonio and Lucas Perez, the latter one had latched on Pedro Obiang‘s pass and rounded Leicester’s keeper Kasper Schmeichel to kill the game off with what seemed to be the 3-1 for West Ham – only to be wrongly flagged offside by the linesman. And after that incorrect decision, fortune was hiding again from the Irons when Leicester substitute Barnes put his team level in injury time!

New carpet, old mistakes

Therefore that draw tasted like defeat to the West Ham faithful on a bright sunny Holy Saturday which had brought us a new claret carpet around the pitch of the London Stadium; a carpet which had got caressed by goal scorer Michail Antonio who put West Ham up with a brilliant header in the first half. But in the end the carpet didn’t play a main part and wasn’t so supportive to West Ham’s squad as we had thought it would be, following Slaven Bilic’s remarks about the difficulties the players had with assessing the size of the pitch with the former green carpet under his tenure at London Stadium.

Nevertheless I am already curious about what the ground will look like with its new dress when we are going to be back to London Stadium in two weeks time for the last game of the season against Southampton! And we’re also looking forward to the unveiling of the 2019 Hammer of the Year, who in my opinion will be Declan Rice quite certainly.

But much more certain is that last year’s HOTY will not play any role in this season’s contest: Marko Arnautovic hasn’t scored since his “China saga” in January, and he and the team have been inconsistent (to put it mildly) since Arnie’s premature waving good-bye when he was substituted throughout the second half in West Ham’s win over Arsenal. That was the last game I have watched in the London Stadium so far, and I think I haven’t missed very much during my absence before coming back to Stratford at the beginning of May. Apart from the Liverpool draw, a game which the Hammers would have won if a blatant offside goal for Liverpool had not counted, West Ham have more or less underachieved in most of the games since that famous 1-0 victory over the Gunners with Declan Rice’s first goal for West Ham just two days before his twentieth birthday.

Back in January we had thought that a good cup run was on the cards and that Manuel Pellegrini’s pledge to fight for 7th place in the Premiership could be successful. But a lot has gone wrong since, with West Ham tumbling out of the FA Cup against much lower opposition, and they never regained the winning mentality Manuel Pellegrini had seemed to have instilled into the squad back in autumn and December. Well, one of the reasons quite certainly were the usual series of injuries that have plagued the Hammers all season (short and long term), but maybe it was also the club’s handling of Arnie’s transfer request which had a detrimental effect on the squad. And we haven’t got an in-form natural born striker in the team with Andy Carroll injured (again), Chicharito inconsistent or injured too, and Arnie … well, he’s far from being our talisman, as he was last season when his goals kept us up, the “China saga” has turned his head, and no turnaround is in sight so far. West Ham thoroughly miss a forward to score the goals you need to win a game!

Can’t wait for VAR now

Having already spoken about the offside incorrectly given in last weekend’s game and the wrongly ignored offside in Liverpool’s opening goal in the aforementioned draw with the Reds, that leads us to the recently much repeated call for VAR. Being a traditionalist I wasn’t so sure if I was happy with the implementation of the video assistant in the Premier League next season, with all the interruptions of the game and the wait before we will know if a goal is going to stand or not. But in recent weeks, with Manuel Pellegrini rightly saying Manchester United’s penalties in West Ham’s 1-2 loss at Old Trafford a week ago would have been overturned with VAR, and having watched that blatant misjudgment this weekend on TV, also for me VAR now cannot come quick enough. It’s obvious that the referees need assistance and our beautiful game will become more fair with VAR. I think with VAR already implemented in the Champions League and in Germany and other countries, it‘s overdue in the Premier League now!

So this season will not only be remembered for the beginning of a new area for West Ham United, dubbed the ”Pellegrini Revolution“ by me in a former post (maybe a little too early taking into consideration the bumpy ride that followed towards the end of this season!). It will also be the last season without VAR. Well, I now hope and expect that the video assistant having the last word in tricky decisions will help the referees to get right what they have got wrong much too often this season.

An inconsistent campaign

And what went wrong with West Ham and the “Pellegrini Revolution”, as we will in all likelihood not achieve the target of finishing in the top ten of the Premier League? I know many say that we should be happy with mid table security and the fact that despite a really bad start (with 4 games lost in a row) West Ham never was in danger to be dragged into the fight against relegation. But with quite a lot of money spent last summer and a high calibre manager at the helm the Irons should have done better and been much more consistent throughout this campaign! Now I think the gap that has opened between 10th place and the Hammers’ points tally will be too big to be bridged with just three games to play!

I think that MP will have to be more open to developing a “plan B“ in some matches if his “plan A“ of possession football and ball on the floor is not working. We will need more steel in midfield next season as Declan Rice and Mark Noble haven’t got enough support in the middle of the park, and we will have to buy a proper striker in summer. Throughout the season I had hoped that the trio of Felipe Anderson, Arnie & Nasri could develop a real threat to our opponents, but due to various facts that never materialised. And also the defence needs improvement as opposition goals have gone in much too easy, not only in recent games! I like Zabaleta and Masuaku going forward and beating their opponents in wing positions, but their crosses frequently lead to nothing and they are beaten themselves much too often in counter attacks. And unfortunately Cresswell and Fredericks haven’t delivered much better either imo. Issa Diop has played very well as a central defender especially in the partnership with “General” Balbuena, but he’s still young and seems to be “overplayed” and out of form recently. I hope MP will get a decent transfer kitty, our long term injuries will come back in the summer, and West Ham will be able to offload some of the fringe players and to buy wisely; then a new season and a fresh attempt to become a real force in our big claret carpet stadium can start!

Two Cup Finals and a conference ahead

As regards football here in Austria my favourite club Rapid Vienna has done much better in the domestic cup than West Ham have, and reached the Austrian Cup Final! Oh I’m sorry, I almost forgot that this criticism of West Ham only applies to their men‘s team! The West Ham Ladies have sensationally reached the Women’s FA Cup Final v Manchester City in Wembley – only to be played the same afternoon as the men’s game for which I already have got our tickets! It’s annoying that it has not been possible to shift one of the games to the Sunday in order to allow to watch both of these games. But that this isn’t a possibility is much to my wife’s pleasure though, she now can avoid a “football overkill” on our trip!

But back to the mighty SK Rapid of Vienna whose club chaplain Christoph Pelczar I have been able to meet recently (pic with midfielder Dejan Ljubicic): After a very disappointing Bundesliga campaign in which Rapid have not reached the “champions play-off” of the best six clubs in Austria’s new league format, they won a thrilling penalty shoot-out against LASK Linz in the Cup semis, and now we’ve really got two cup finals ahead with West Ham and Rapid Vienna! Unbelievable!

Fortunately there won’t be conflicting schedules as regards the Austrian cup final and my trip to London: The final in the Austrian Cup will be played three days before we fly to London to watch West Ham and participate in the LC19 leadership conference in Royal Albert Hall after the weekend!

Rapid Vienna take on Red Bull Salzburg on the 1st of May in Austria’s most beautiful ground in Klagenfurt, hoping to win their first silverware since 2008! Two years ago Rapid have lost the final against the same opponents at the same venue – now this is an other chance to beat the odds and defeat RBS, the club that have dominated Austrian football for years now. As Rapid is the only club which already has beaten Salzburg in Austria this season, why not do that in the Cup final again?

So I do hope to come to London in high spirits at the beginning of May, and then we’re going to cheer on the West Ham and help them finish the season in good mood, too! I’m sure the LC19 conference will inspire and motivate us then anyway, regardless of the outcome of the football games, though I have some doubts about how it will feel to know that this visit to the UK now will be the last one before Brexit comes into effect. Albeit we’ve already thought that of our last stay, back in January, too!

Well, you never know with West Ham, and with Great Britain either nowadays …

Come on you Irons!


The GoatyGav Column

When, Exactly, Is The Bubble Going To Burst?

For some time now I’ve wondered how long player’s fees and wages can carry on increasing. In any market economy growth is essential. If you, or a market, are/is not growing then, at best, your’re standing still and, at worst, going backwards. Once a market stops growing it’s in big trouble.

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The Premier League, under Richard Scudamore, has seen incredible levels of growth. Such is it’s success the screening rights for it are sold to forty one regions as well as a ‘Global’ deal to be aired on ships and planes in transit. It’s the forth biggest sports media franchise on the planet (by revenue), behind the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA, pulling in just over £4.6bn GBP. That’s the tip of the iceberg, however, with sponsorship deals, fans purchasing club merch, tickets and on site sales of food, drink and corporate hospitality. At the very highest echelon of the game players now command their own sponsorship deals outside of the clubs. Clubs also look to global markets to attract customers – not just to sell goods but also to the growing ‘football tourism’ sector.

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When looking at the vast sums of money that are earned (in many cases I use the term ‘earned’ loosely) by players and agents it’s those revenue sources listed above that drive the continued growth. As I take the couple of hours or so to write this article a single Manchester United player, who hasn’t appeared for in the team for some time, has ‘earned’ just shy of £6K. Presently these wages are still heading north but for how long?

DATA: BBC.

The aforementioned trio of major sports, in the USA, continue to grow but I do wonder if the same conversation is being had across the pond about how long their growth can continue. Natural competition for the best players is always going to ensure that those at the top of their games are the highest earners but, with the top Premier League stars now beginning to outstrip their American contemporaries, in earnings, perhaps there’s been some ‘wising-up’ by the clubs Stateside compared to Blighty?

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Amongst all this I wonder how much the Premier League is doing to ensure the continued interest in it’s main asset – the matches themselves. Known for it’s frenetic pace and incredible atmosphere the product of the Prem has been a relatively easy sell. Take away those two factors and you have to wonder if the appeal will disappear at the same time. The one factor that continues to drive the Premier League’s income is the paying fan. Sitting in stadia full of tourist fans who, admittedly spend more money in the club shops and popcorn stands than the traditional fan, don’t add to the atmosphere the same way that the hardcore club support does. The more football is sanitised, and hardcore fans are pushed out by rising ticket prices, the less the appeal of the product of the Prem. The same might be said about the foreign influence on playing styles. Does a more measured build up get people switching on their TVs? Bearing in mind the point made in the opening paragraph I believe that the moment the growth stops the bubble will burst. With the increase of long-term season ticket holders giving up their seats and tourist fans taking them up how long until that tipping point? In all candour I expected this point to have been reached some time ago however I was wrong – it continues to grow apace. Will a player get to the £1M a week level beforehand? Are these wages being pushed up by the huge spending of the Chinese? There’s certainly more questions than answers but I’d be really interested, as a knowledgeable body of contributors, to hear your opinions. It would also be great to hear the perspective of those ‘across the water’.

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A small offering on last weekend’s game. I thought that the team, overall, showed much more desire and work-rate than the Everton fixture. I was impressed by Mark Noble’s shift and also Artur Masuaku’s contribution – even in defence (for the most part). Surprisingly Lucas Perez impressed and should, as it turned out, have been credited with the winner. Yes, VAR would have given us the points for the second week in a row but once again, unfortunately, defensive frailties let us down. The shape for Leicester’s second goal was all over the shop. This was especially annoying considering that it was at a time the lads should have done everything to shut up shop. With four at the back the best pairing, in the middle, is Balbuena and Diop, IMHO, and I’d like to see them both start until the end of the season.

I paid a fiver, yesterday, to go and watch a 1-0 Risborough Rangers win against Wodson Park in the Spartan South Midlands Football League (tier 10). It was my first time there and I spent much of the afternoon chatting to the club Vice Chairman, while he wasn’t retrieving balls from the trees and shrubs surrounding the ground, and the linesman who, jokingly, asked me to get him a can of Carlsberg as he jealously eyed the one in my hand. Second weekend in a row I’ve seen live football where the club employees were accessible and made the experience a most enjoyable one. By comparison pretty good value for money. Despite that, on Saturday afternoon, I responded positively to the question being asked by the regular ST holders in our section “Are you renewing next season?” Looks like we’ll all be there again and I’m pleased about that. They’re a decent bunch who I enjoy the shared experience with even if Amazon are joining the party for broadcasting rights and potentially upsetting the SKY & BT Apple Cart while offering me a more flexible armchair option.

COYI!


Match Report

You need to be a Philosopher!

An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman are all builders working on a bridge. The Englishman opens his lunch-box and says, “If I get one more tuna sandwich, I’m going to jump off this bridge.” The Scotsman opens his lunch box and says, “If I get one more ham sandwich, I’m going to jump .” The Irishman then says, “If I get one more egg sandwich, I’m going to jump .” The next day, all three get the same lunch, all three jump off the bridge, and all three die. At their funeral, the Englishman’s wife wails, “If only I’d known he didn’t like tuna!” The Scotsman’s wife cries, “If only I’d known he didn’t like ham!” The Irishman’s wife says, “I don’t understand it. He made his own sandwiches.”

I am reminded of this joke because of the stupidity surrounding the way Anderson and Snodgrass take free kicks. OK, have a go once to see is making a small pass and a return works in confusing the opposition. But to try it time and time again, with the only result being that they confuse themselves or pass straight to the nearest opposing player is beyond credibility.

Another joke is that we continue to ship goals, but persist with the same defensive formation i.e two at the back. This continually leads to gaps, into which opposing players can run. Just replay the last Leicester goal as this illustrates the point. We need three at the back to give us a line of steel. All Pellegrini can say about is that we give away too many goals, without seemingly doing a thing about it.

And up front, Arnautovic, who is not a natural striker, is left to fend for himself. Antonio was hugging the right wing and Anderson the left and here was a space as wide as the Sahara desert behind Arnautovic. How many times do we see strikers expected to perform miracles when they are left to roam all by themselves upfront.

It helps when one is a West Ham fan to be a philosopher and ask the question,’What is the meaning of existence?’ ‘Why don’t I sit down and find the club with the richest owners and support that club, instead of supporting a club who think the way to solve their problems is to change carpet at a cost of £250,000?’’Why do I persist in the absurd and think that West Ham can become a top club?’ Albert Camus called it absurdism.

Camus thought that suicide could be the only rational response to the absurdity of life. That’s why I told the joke in the first paragraph. We need to seek meaning and that is why we support our team and stick with it throughout our life. We are a band of brothers travelling throughout the absurdity of life together and we live in hope of a better future. Players come and go, owners come and go, managers come and go, but the heart of the club is its fans.

We, the fans, are like Sisyphus, condemned for all eternity to push a boulder up a mountain only to have it roll to the bottom again and again. But he willingly pushes the boulder up the mountain every time it rolls down.


The HamburgHammer Column

VAR, huh, yeah! What is it good for ? A few more points for the Hammers probably!

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Happy Easter everyone! This will be a slightly different column than usual because it’s the Easter weekend and I suppose we all have friends and family to meet, trips to the countryside scheduled or maybe a nice lunch or dinner with mates with the odd bevvy thrown in for good measure.

Plus, after the Leicester game, I do actually begin to run out of explanations or clever words, none that haven’t been said a thousand times before anyway…I will not talk about the entire game, but rather one of the key moments affecting the outcome.

We’ve seen all this before of course, beautiful new claret carpet or not. A combination of inadequate West Ham defending and some mind-boggingly bad calls by the refereeing crew gave us a 2:2 draw against the Foxes that felt very much like a defeat.

Had Perez’s second goal, scored from a definite onside position, been allowed to stand as it should have as per the rules of the game, we would have raced into a 3:1 lead with only a few minutes to spare and I doubt even Leicester would have come back from that scoreline within a matter of minutes…

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I know the offside rule is quite difficult to get right for the human eye to begin with. With some passes you have to watch the ball being struck, say, fourty or fifty yards to your left AND at the very same moment compare the position of two or more players you are either in line with (if you are a decent linesman) or who are further upfield from you.

In any case the human eye is not constructed in such a way to confidently make that call. I suppose evolution didn’t consider this a vital skill to have for humans in order to survive. Football and offside positions may be important to us now, they weren’t for our ancestors leaving their caves to hunt for deer or sabre-toothed cats.

That’s why it is so handy to have all them cameras inside the big league stadiums nowadays.
They represent useful technology, capable of things that humans can only dream of.

They allow you to freeze the pictures at the exact time of the ball or cross leaving the foot, you can follow computer drawn lines (or the cut of the grass sometimes) to determine if the striker was level or already in front of the defender at that exact moment.

In Perez’s case it was not even a close call. That situation will be called onside in probably 95% of games, for whatever reason in this particular game West Ham (once again) were on the receiving end of a result-changing dodgy call.

Don’t get me wrong, I know West Ham are to blame for not scoring more goals when we were all over Leicester earlier in the game, we also hit the post and could have made sure that no wayward decision of the referee would take victory away from us, we failed to do that, so the blame cannot be put solely at the referee’s/linesman’s door.

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VAR will make sure that the most blatant calls will be overturned – and rightly so. It shouldn’t take too long to do, especially if the decision is reasonably clear as in Perez’s case (or the Liverpool/Milner offside goal against us that was allowed to stand). Will it give us less controversial incidents to discuss after the game, on a blog or in the pub ?
Probably, but I will gladly take that sacrifice in exchange for more correct calls happening in football games that determine the fates of players, managers, staff and fans everywhere. So contrary to the lyrics of the famous “War“ song by Edwin Starr (or Bruce Springsteen if you prefer his version), for me the next line after the question what it is good for my reply in terms of VAR will certainly not be “Absolutely nothing!”.

On the contrary, VAR will change the game for the better like in many other sports where VAR works really well. I suppose in not a single sport was VAR introduced as just a nice-to-have gimmick

It costs money, it takes a certain amount of time, it can be complicated, it changes the flow of a game. But other sports would not have introduced VAR as a crucial part to their game if they hadn’t seen a necessity to do that. The same very much applies to football.

Too much is depending on referee calls in football today to just brush blatantly wrong calls aside as “part of the game”. If things are wrong, you put them right.

A while ago the back pass rule was changed, so goalkeepers could no longer pick up back passes from their defenders time and time again, slowing the game down, making it very tedious to watch sometimes – I recently watched a game from the Seventies on DVD and it was back passes galore and it made me wonder why it took them so long to change that rule.

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Or take goal-line technology. A brilliant improvement for the game and one that’s been so successful that I’m asking myself why it wasn’t invented ten years earlier.

I for one will be looking forward a lot to VAR coming to the PL next season. As a West Ham fan I know we will keep losing games. We always have and as a club we find ever more elaborated ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. That is fine and I got plenty of practise of getting used to it, it’s annoying but in most cases, by now, water off a duck’s back. But losing a game because a linesman didn’t pay attention or missed his appointment wit Specsavers ? Or due to a referee trying to prove a point, basking in his own sense of importance, trying to give an edge to the big side on the pitch as surely they deserve to get the win more than one of those unglamourous and skint sides who are just there to make up the numbers ?

VAR will not completely get rid of big team bias. But the referees will have to think a lot harder (and be clever about it) if they still want to give the big sides the edge.
I can live with the remaining games of the season being played without VAR in operation. We have missed the motorway exit for 7th place now for sure, so let’s just beat Spurs (a first win at that stadium as the away team surely is a massive incentive in itself) and get this bloody season over with! Once VAR is up and running, we can easily find other stuff to get riled up about…VAR will not keep fans from getting the hump…COYI!!!

Hamburg football update:

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Fairly unsuccessful weekend for the big clubs. HSV could only draw against relegation candidates Aue while St.Pauli got a tonking at Heidenheim (losing 0:3).
HSV are still in 2nd place but they will feel clubs like Union Berlin or Paderborn breathing down their necks for promotion while St.Pauli have actually played themselves out of contention at this point.

As for Concordia the women’s team didn’t play, the first team will play away to Buchholz this afternoon, 30 miles to the south of Hamburg, against the club famous for being the only club in this league to serve horsemeat sausages at their games, well, it’s an area famous for breeding horses, so I suppose it’s no surprise it’s a local delicacy there.
If I go to the game, I will give the sausage a miss though – those recent fatalities around various racecourses around Britain made me have a rethink.

The big news for the Cordi U23s was their extra time cup win on Good Friday to give them a place in the local Holsten Cup Final. The price at stake is mostly symbolic, it’ll be about 250 quid or so for the club coffers, a few crates of free beer, courtesy of the sponsor and a shiny little trophy for the cabinet. For the boys though it’s obviously a big thing, especially as their opposition will be a side from a league above them. And it will be nice for them to play in front of a crowd of 500 for a change – and not 50 as for regular league games…


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