Guest Post

A Foreigner's View

Guest Post by RoHammer

A Foreigner’s View…
by RoHammer

I’ve been considering submitting an article on here for a while now but somehow the usual “topics of the day” never seemed good enough. The Big Sam discussion has been done to death, transfer speculation is…well, just that, speculation… and while I love me a bit of tactical debate, that will always be difficult to pull off what with all the internet managers around these days (myself included). We all know we could do a better job than Sam though am I right?! wink

On a more serious note though, there was a wonderful debate on here in the last couple of days with some great contribution from our senior members (who have seen it all). Now, I always enjoy reading Dan’s articles with all the historic info and such partly (but not solely) because I didn’t get to see it myself. Truth be told, most of what I know about WHU I have learned on here which in itself is a credit to the site and its contributors. But it all makes me wonder, what do West Ham fans really want going forward? Do we cling to the trappings of our past which, despite the odd cup win, has been decidedly mediocre…or do we strive for more? Are we content with being the perennial “also-rans”?

People go on about how we use to be everyone’s “second team” but personally I struggle to take that as a compliment…more like a veiled insult at times. I can see how our historic “style” could make us popular but I wonder if the fact that we were very generous with giving away points wasn’t part of it as well. How important is “style” exactly and does it supersede getting the 3 points? In a hypothetical scenario, would we prefer winning most of our games with 1-0 or losing them 3-4 (let’s take relegation off the table for this exercise and assume it wouldn’t be a danger as we’d still get enough points to survive)? Is entertainment the be all end all for West Ham fans… and if so, when do we stop putting our individual desire for entertainment ahead of what is best for our club? And isn’t that rather selfish and short sighted?

I have noticed people going so far as to say they would accept relegation if only they would see the team play a certain “west ham way”… but how many stop to think what that would mean for the club? The fans will be there whatever division we play in of that I have no doubt…but do we not deserve our day in the sun? Do we not want our team to be successful and fight it out with the best (both domestically and in Europe as well)?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating “long ball” football here…far from it in fact. I am advocating successful football whatever that may mean…if “tiki-taka” works in a given game then great, but if we need to grind out a result and defend a 1-0 lead then I can accept that too. I am advocating adaptability and doing what you have to in order to succeed. As a side note, since it’s an ever so popular debate… who will be our next manager will have a great bearing to where we are headed… with 4 games to go, we will find out soon enough.

…I’ll wrap it up here…this piece has become longer than expected which shouldn’t be a surprise to those who know me on WHTID but still…enough questions for one day. Who knows, maybe I’ll turn this into a series about the identity of WHU and its fans past and present…im sure many of our older members will have a lot to contribute. Being relatively new to this esteemed group and supporting West Ham from abroad, there are certainly many things I have yet to learn or understand. It might even benefit some of our younger readers who knows?!

Thanks for reading folks…

Guest Post

Pre/post Burnley match WHTID drinks

Guest Post by Safehands

Some pre-match drinks have been arranged and, contrary to the information I was originally given, those staying in the hotel after the Burnley game, cannot access the bar so we’re now meeting for a drink after the game as well:

Drinks before the game: 13:30 in The Central. Toddy suggested some pre-match drinks and he’s helpfully said he’s a ‘medium-sized bald guy wearing a West Ham shirt’, so good luck finding him :)

Drinks after the game: 17:00 in The Miller’s Well. We’ll be by the window at the front on the left-hand side – don’t worry if you see a bunch of dodgy looking people – that’ll be us :) However, you can ask the bar staff (who know we’re coming) and they will point you in the right direction.

All are welcome – it’d be good to meet other people from the WHTID community, so please do come along. As it’s a Kids For A Quid game, if you have any with you on the day, no problems – the pub welcomes children.

Hope to see you there – COYI!

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David Hautzig's Match Report

QPR 0, West Ham 0. Slightly Better Than Watching Paint Dry.

You couldn’t have scripted this better if you were able to manipulate the space-time continuum. As we all know, Sam Allardyce made some pretty odd comments about using (or not using) youth in the first team. I was pretty dismayed by those comments, and went so far as to Tweet that it was one of the most awe inspiringly dumb things I’d ever heard him say. So when the rumours started creeping in that Reid had picked up a new hamstring injury in training and Reece Burke might be handed a surprise start in his place, I took to Twitter to predict Kouyate would start at CB, weakening our midfield. I was sooooo ready to slam Sam for the decision.

And then he went and did what nobody thought he would do and completely ruined my rant. Thanks Sam.

The opening minutes of the game were frenetic and exciting for both sides. In the first minute Noble lost the ball to Matty Phillips near the top of the QPR penalty area. Phillips played Sandro in on the left side but his low shot was saved by Adrian. Minutes later it was the Hammers turn to attack when Valencia did well to win a corner off a long ball that was headed nowhere. Jarvis sent the corner into the box and onto the head of none other than Reece Burke, who won the header and came inches from a dream start but Onuoha cleared the ball off the line.

And just as quickly as the game began, it slowed down. For the next 18 minutes, very little happened. And then something big happened. QPR enjoyed some possession and worked the ball into Zamora in the box. The former Hammer hero tried to lob the ball over Collins and Adrian, but Collins raised his right arm way over his head for a clear hand ball. When Charlie Austin stepped up to take the penalty, I started to write about being down 1-0. Then I remembered Adrian doesn’t give up goals from the spot, and for the third time in a row our newest cult hero saved a penalty kick.

I am still very much in the pro Enner Valencia camp. I believe he has been played out of position for much of the season, which has hampered both his performances and his confidence. But there are times when I say to the TV, “Enner, what the hell are you thinking”? The 32nd minute was one of those times, when Valencia beat Hill on the byline and moved in on Rob Green. But with Jarvis sprinting into the box, and Nolan trailing at the top of the area, Valencia chose to take a bad shot from an impossible angle.

Minutes later West Ham had another chance….kind of….when Joey Barton gave the ball away to Nolan at the top of the box. But with plenty of time and plenty of space he attempted a quick shot that rolled harmlessly into the waiting hands of Rob Green.

For the majority of the first half, one had to wonder if every player out there had simply forgotten how to play the game. Passes were way off target, the ball flew through the air sometimes for what looked liked minutes without ever touching the ground. One could easily have mistaken it for a game played in a field by a bunch of amateurs. It was that bad. The second half was better, but not by much.

In the opening moments of the second forty five minutes, Clint Hill headed the ball to Bobby Zamora in the West Ham penalty area. Zamora seemed to rush his shot, likely unaware that he had a second to compose himself. Instead his quick side footed effort went right into Adrian’s arms.

In the 50th minute, West Ham had their best chance of the game to that point. Nolan got on the end of a long ball from Collins and knocked it down to Valencia, who was then fouled by Sandro to set up a free kick from a very dangerous area. Cresswell curled his effort over the wall, and if not for a superb save from Green he would have repeated his heroics against Stoke. If I were king of Hammerland, I’d have Cresswell take the vast majority of free kicks from here on.

QPR then enjoyed a period of possession that put West Ham on the back foot, with both Sandro and Zamora taking shots that went either wide of high. West Ham tried to change the tone of the game by removing Jarvis and inserting Cole. And only because I love Cole for his loyalty and professionalism, I’m going to credit his entry into the game for West Ham’s next half chance. Let’s call it artistic license, shall we?

In the 57th minute, Cole won a header and Nolan got on the end of the knockdown. Nolan threaded a long pass that both Downing and Green raced after. In real time, it looked like Green got their first and cleared the ball from danger. The replay showed that Downing might have gotten their first and missed his attempt on the ball.

While Austin’s missed penalty may still be the number one talking point of a rather listless match, another one happened in the 72nd minute. After Jenkinson put the ball out for a corner, Adrian and Caulker both went up for the ball. They collided, the ball fell to Dunne, and he put it into the West Ham net. But Mike Jones blew his whistle as Dunne was shooting, calling a foul on Caulker for his collision with Adrian. If such a play was available to be reviewed by video, that goal could have been allowed because it looked like Caulker simply went for the ball and Adrian mishandled it. If I’m wrong, I have no doubt I will be informed below.

QPR kept up the pressure, with Fer having a good look at goal only to misfire, and then Dunne winning a header in the box but his attempt went right to Adrian. Burke then fouled Austin, giving QPR a free kick which came to Fer but his header went over the bar.

West Ham countered in the 80th minute when Valencia used his pace to beat Dunne down the right hand side. With both Cole and Kouyate running into the box, Valencia slid a low cross to the latter. If this can be a game of inches, Valencia’s pass was one of millimeters. The pass was just slightly behind Kouyate, and his shot sailed high over the bar. Nine times out of ten, Kouyate handles that and it’s a goal. But like so many things in the second half of the season, this was the tenth out of ten.

The Hammers created one more chance in the 89th when Jenkinson ran the length of the field at full speed to get on the end of a pass from Downing down the right. Jenkinson sent a low cross through the goalmouth but neither Cole nor Valencia could reach it for an easy tap in.

The final chance of the game came in the final minute of the ninety when Phillips ran onto the ball in the West Ham box and fired a volley that looked headed for the roof of the net. But Adrian got his fingertips on the ball and saved the point for West Ham.

Final Score: QPR 0, West Ham 0.

If either team could see this as two points dropped, it’s Rangers. From the missed penalty to the disallowed goal, with other chances mixed in, Chris Ramsey’s side played more like a team going for three points than West Ham. Valencia had the kind of game that one could look at and say in a different system, he could be lethal. And despite a few mistakes that made Burke look like he’s 18, the boy had a decent game. So I can hang on to those two things as small positives. But overall it was yet another performance that hammers home the point…pun intended…that West Ham need improvement in many areas. Our midfield was dreadful today. They looked incapable of keeping possession against a team that often handed them the ball. And with two substitutions available, for Sam to ignore both Amalfitano and Nene was absurd. I’m cynical enough wonder about his motives.

On the bright side, at least we didn’t give up a late goal again. Thank heavens for small favors.

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Match Thread

Match Thread: QPR v West Ham

Loftus Road
K.O 3pm
Referee: Mike Jones
TV: None
Radio: BBC Radio London

Team: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Burke, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Nolan, Downing, Jarvis, Valencia.
Subs: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Oxford, Poyet, Amalfitano, Nene, Cole

Match Preview

Match Preview: QPR v West Ham

I’d really like to see Nene get a runout from the start of this game. but fat chance of that happening. Clearly Sam is making a point to the owners who bought him without Sam’s OK. Petty and stupid. I’d also like to see Amalfitano get a game. Does he fall in the same category? Not sure, but he hasn’t played enough.

Team: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Burke, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Nolan, Downing, Jarvis, Valencia.
Subs: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Oxford, Poyet, Amalfitano, Nene, Cole

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