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Boos Ring Out at London Stadium After Brighton Sink Shambolic West Ham

The GoatyGav Column

Imperative To Hoof - Because There's A Big Target?

A conversation with a close friend, over a couple of beerios, during an England game some time ago migrated to a discussion about Andy Carroll. Not a fan of ‘Wor Andy’ my friend dismissed him as a bit of a lump up front to aim for. As the chat developed I voiced my opinion that tall players often had great touch, vision and technique. For the first time I heard the theory that, with AC in a team, the style of play would become one of hitting long, straight balls from defence in the general direction of him instead of building play and working on keeping possession. I took this on board. Since that time I’ve heard the same thing said by many other football fans. On this very site I’ve seen the ‘we always resort to hoofing it when Carroll’s in the side’ view offered by a number of posters.

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It’s only recently that I have begun to question this. Just because you have a big, tall and strong centre forward does a team have to, or always resort to, by-pass/ing midfield with balls pumped forward directly from defence to attack?

If a team has a way of playing, dictated by the manager and coaching staff, then why dispense with everything that you work on the moment a ‘target man’ is on up front?
When playing a run of games at Liverpool I don’t remember that team always resorting to route 1 . Far from it. All kinds of different goals were scored by AC in his time on Merseyside. Some great examples, admittedly including some where he has used his strength and aggressiveness, on show from the following video. The footwork in goal number 11 illustrates the point fittingly: -

The footwork in goal number 11 illustrates the point fittingly.

AC has great touch and technique. He is quite capable, adept even, at manipulating a football on the ground. The ‘good feet for a big man’ tag, albeit a cliché that belongs back in the ‘70’s IMO, is extremely apt in Andy Carroll’s case.

Towards the end of last season, and at the start of this campaign, I’ve become increasingly frustrated with West Ham passing the ball backwards from good attacking positions back towards Joe Hart before it’s ‘wellied’ straight back towards the opposing 18 yard box. I’ve seen it happen from free kicks past the half-way line for goodness sake. And, from memory, when Hart has ‘sent it’ downfield it’s never been diagonally to the flanks. I can’t see that our coaches are telling the players to pass backwards to their keeper. So where does it come from? It’s seldom successful, except for on Saturday when Antonio ran on to a long ball from Hart (although that was following a neat Kouyate interception and quick ball to catch Burnley while they were exposed so could, with a little licence, be described as a swift counter attack), and, I suspect, even our 6’5’ Geordie striker has got pretty fed up with it along with so many of the rest of us.

More positively writing this piece has given me a good excuse to share the footage of that amazing goal from last season (any excuse quite frankly): -

Ok – since Lanzini has come back from injury we’ve started to see far, far less of this turgid, agricultural style employed. Count our lucky stars that the ‘Jewel’ has returned but I still wonder why the temptation has been to use such tactics. Is it really because there’s a unit to get on the end of the high, lofted balls? The team really should have far more confidence than that. Seldom should a team play that way just because a Peter Crouch or Andy Carroll are in the side. There’s far more to their game than that and teams of professional footballers should not be influenced to play that way. They’re not the only ones either. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is another technically excellent player as the following goal, which I rate as one of the best ever, demonstrates : -

I know much of the conversation, this week, has been around the pony-tailed one in Claret & Blue however i think this gives a slightly different slant on an old theory. Long range bombardment really doesn’t have to be the way to play, or even get the most from, the likes of Mr Carroll.

COYI! West Ham 4 The Cup!

Match Report

Shocking, Awful, Worrying, And Much More Besides...

OK, get it off your chests.

I’m not going to write any more as I now have to drive to Norfolk for three hours. Three hours to mull over this shambles of a performance.

Bilic out? I do wonder whether he really has lost the dressing room.


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Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Brighton

West Ham v Brighton
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 8pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: BBC 5 Live

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Brighton

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 2-0 victory at Upton Park against tonight’s opponents, Brighton. It arrived nearly 112 years ago, on the 11th November 1905 in front of 8,000 spectators. Arthur Balfour had entered his final month as Prime Minister and Edward VII had just declared his eldest daughter Louise as the Princess Royal. Henry Wood had also recently conducted a first performance of his Fantasia on British Sea Songs at a Trafalgar Day concert in London – the medley, which contains Rule Britannia, remains a favourite at the Last Night of the Proms.

30-year-old Scottish defender James Jackson, formerly of Newcastle and Arsenal, made his debut for the Irons in this game after leaving his role as player-manager at Leyton – he would go on to make 24 appearances for the club, all in the 1905/06 campaign. The Hammers ran out 2-0 winners after goals from two former Manchester United players – outside-left Harry ‘Snowball’ Wilkinson with his second and final goal for the club, and Scottish centre-forward Chas Mackie (pictured) with the second of his three goals for the Irons.

Syd King’s Hammers ended the 1905/06 season 11th in the Southern League First Division. Harry Stapley finished the season as the club’s top scorer with nine goals in 13 matches. Brighton were to finish 16th. Fulham won the Southern League First Division, Liverpool won the league title and Everton won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: George Kitchen, James Jackson, Dave Gardner, Tommy Allison, Len Jarvis, Robert Bush, Arthur Featherstone, Billy Bridgeman, Chas Mackie, Fred Blackburn, Harry Wilkinson.

Club Connections

Brighton manager Chris Hughton and striker Sam Baldock are back in east London having served West Ham United previously in their careers. Other players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeeper: Harry Medhurst.

Defenders: Len Young, Dennis Burnett, Mauricio Taricco, Tommy McAteer, Matthew Upson, Keith McPherson, William Kelly and Wayne Bridge.

Midfielders: Sebastien Carole, Bertie Lutton, John Payne, George Parris, Tony Stokes and Alan Curbishley.

Strikers: Brian Dear, Tommy Dixon, Justin Fashanu, Sam Jennings, Sam Small, Herbert Lyon, Bobby Zamora, Dave Sexton, Mike Small and Paul Kitson.

In addition, ex-Hammers Archie Macaulay and Liam Brady have managed Brighton.

This week’s focus though is on a player who started his professional career with the Hammers before enjoying a loan spell with the Seagulls. Greg Campbell was born in Portsmouth on 13th July 1965 and started his career in the youth team at West Ham. The son of the late Bobby Campbell, who played for Liverpool and Portsmouth before managing Fulham, Pompey and Chelsea, Greg made his debut in a 3-1 home win over Coventry on 4th September 1984. He made his second start just four days later, in a 2-0 home victory over Watford, but suffered a broken jaw which forced him to be substituted.

Campbell would not play again for almost a whole year, making a return as a substitute in a 1-0 home defeat to Luton on 24th August 1985. He appeared from the bench again two days later in a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United before making his only start of the famous 1985/86 campaign in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. This appearance at The Dell on 3rd September 1985 would turn out to be Campbell’s last in claret and blue.

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With Tony Cottee and Frank McAvennie forming a formidable partnership up front, Campbell joined Brighton on loan in 1986, where he played two matches without scoring. After his five previous goalless appearances for the Irons, Campbell left England to move to Sparta Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 1987, where he scored his first senior goals. Greg is pictured above during his time in Dutch football. He returned to English football with Plymouth the following year, staying for two seasons and scoring six goals in 39 matches before reuniting with former Hammers team-mate Bobby Barnes at Northampton in 1990. He bagged seven goals in 47 appearances for the Cobblers before retiring from the game at the age of 27 in 1992. Now 52, Campbell is involved with the popular ‘Boys of ’86’ events.


The referee on Friday will be Martin Atkinson, who most recently refereed our 4-0 opening weekend defeat at Manchester United on 13th August. 2017/18 is Atkinson’s 13th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed 18 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, two draws and seven defeats.

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Atkinson also refereed the Hammers’ FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford in March 2016, when he turned down appeals for a penalty after Marcos Rojo appeared to have tripped Dimitri Payet and failed to spot Bastian Schweinstieger’s block on Darren Randolph as Man Utd equalised late on. He refereed last September’s 4-2 home defeat to Watford and October’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, when he controversially sent off Aaron Cresswell for two very harsh yellow cards in quick succession. His previous Hammers appointments this calendar year were our 3-1 win at Middlesbrough in January and our 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in April.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without the injured James Collins and Diafra Sakho as well as Andy Carroll, who serves a one-match ban. Chicharito should be fit to start up front. Pablo Zabaleta is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension.

Brighton are likely to be without midfielders Biram Kayal and Steve Sidwell, as well as former Hammers striker Sam Baldock. Fellow striker Tomer Hemed is suspended, while Shane Duffy will have a fitness test on a groin strain.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Kouyate, Obiang; Antonio, Lanzini, Arnautovic; Chicharito.

Possible Brighton XI: Ryan; Bruno, Dunk, Hunemeier, Suttner; Knockaert, Propper, Stephens, March; Gross; Murray.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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