Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Man City v West Ham

The Predictor League for Manchester City is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is 10.30am on Saturday.

Blast from the past

27th April 2003 – Busted were number one with ‘You Said No’ and Johnny English topped the UK box office. Meanwhile, Trevor Brooking made his managerial debut as West Ham United emerged victorious from a Premier League encounter against Manchester City with a 1-0 win at Maine Road in front of 34,815.

Non-executive director Brooking had been placed in caretaker charge of the West Ham team after manager Glenn Roeder had been taken ill shortly after the Hammers’ previous match, a 1-0 home win over Middlesbrough which had kept survival hopes alive. Former England colleague Kevin Keegan welcomed his old international team-mate as manager of Manchester City. Ex-Hammer Marc-Vivien Foe was in City’s starting line-up, while Steve Lomas returned to his former club. David James and Trevor Sinclair both started for the Irons and would go on to play for Manchester City.

On 14 minutes James spilled Nicolas Anelka’s effort at the feet of Robbie Fowler, with Rufus Brevett hacking desperately off the line as Fowler went in bravely with his head; Fowler flashed another chance narrowly wide of the near post soon after. At the other end Les Ferdinand charged down a clearance by Peter Schmeichel but could only steer his shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

Knowing that only a win would do, Brooking took off on-loan defensive midfielder Edouard Cisse at half-time and replaced him with striker Frederic Kanoute (pictured below) – the attacking move saw the Hammers start the second half with three strikers as Kanoute joined Ferdinand and Jermain Defoe up front. Cisse did not take the decision well, throwing his boots across the dressing room – as he headed for the showers, Cisse said to Brooking, “I hope you enjoy your brief time as manager”. Brooking laughed at him. Cisse apologised for his petulance the following week. With less than ten minutes of the second half gone though, Ferdinand had to be stretchered off after a collision with Schmeichel. Don Hutchison entered the fray in midfield with Joe Cole playing behind Kanoute and Defoe up front.

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Defoe was denied the opening goal when he hooked the ball over his shoulder in a frantic goalmouth scramble but Niclas Jensen headed clear from on the goalline. The winning goal arrived with nine minutes remaining and came from a short corner Brooking had been working on with the players in training. Defoe played the corner short to Cole who clipped a cross to the near post. Hutchison’s effort was parried by Schmeichel back to ‘Hutch’ who stabbed the rebound against the inside of the post – the ball ran along the line to Kanoute who fired the ball into the unguarded net. It would prove to be his last ever goal for West Ham, his 33rd strike for the club in his 90th appearance. Kanoute would play twice more for the Irons before departing for Tottenham in the summer of 2003, in a move which saw Matty Etherington move to Upton Park. The action from this match, which transpired to be the last a West Ham side played at Maine Road, can be viewed in my video below.

The Hammers, of course, went on to be relegated in 18th place that season while Manchester City ended up in ninth. Cole was voted Hammer of the Year, with Defoe runner-up. Defoe was also the Irons’ top scorer that season with 11 goals in 42 appearances. Manchester United won the league and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

Manchester City: Peter Schmeichel, Richard Dunne, David Sommeil, Sylvain Distin, Niclas Jensen (Shaun Goater), Shaun Wright-Phillips, Marc-Vivien Foe, Joey Barton, Ali Benarbia (Djamel Belmadi), Robbie Fowler (Jon Macken), Nicolas Anelka.

West Ham United: David James, Glen Johnson, Tomas Repka, Ian Pearce (Christian Dailly), Rufus Brevett, Joe Cole, Edouard Cisse (Frederic Kanoute), Steve Lomas, Trevor Sinclair, Les Ferdinand (Don Hutchison), Jermain Defoe.

Club Connections

Stuart Pearce played for both clubs, has managed Manchester City and is now an assistant coach with West Ham. A large group of players join him in having represented West Ham United and Manchester City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – Perry Suckling, Joe Hart, David James.

Defenders – Tal Ben Haim, Pablo Zabaleta, Tyrone Mears, Wayne Bridge.

Midfielders – Patrick Leonard, Samir Nasri, Marc-Vivien Foe, Kevin Horlock, James Cumming, Mark Ward, Eyal Berkovic, Steve Lomas, Frank Lampard Junior, Michael Hughes, Ian Bishop, Trevor Sinclair.

Strikers – Bill Davidson, Trevor Morley, Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy, Phil Woosnam, Justin Fashanu, Paulo Wanchope, Clive Allen, Lionel Watson, David Cross, George Webb.

Malcolm Allison and John Bond were West Ham players who went on to manage City. Manuel Pellegrini has managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though falls on a winger who played for West Ham United before representing Manchester City later in his career. Johnny Payne was born in Southall on 3rd January 1906 and began his career as a junior amateur player with Botwell Mission and Lyons Athletic, from where he progressed to senior amateur level with Southall. Blazing a trail that would be followed by Alan Devonshire exactly half a century later, Payne joined First Division West Ham United from Southall and made his Hammers debut at the age of 20, playing outside-right in a 5-1 home defeat to Blackburn on 11th September 1926.

Payne, who had also been honoured by Middlesex County, had to wait just over two years for his next appearance in claret and blue – starting at outside-left, his patience paid off handsomely as he scored in a 3-1 win against Manchester United at Upton Park on 22nd September 1928. A speedy winger, Payne made two more appearances for Syd King’s Hammers that year, the first at outside-left in a 1-0 home defeat to Portsmouth on 17th November and the other at outside-right in a 6-0 loss at Derby on 8th December.

After scoring one goal in four appearances for West Ham United, Payne dropped down to the Third Division South to sign for Brentford later in the 1928/29 season. He scored 16 goals in 43 appearances during the 1929/30 season and began the 1930/31 campaign as a first choice on the wing for the Bees. He fell out of favour though and was dropped to the reserves before leaving for First Division Manchester City in January 1931.

The 26-year-old Payne made a goalscoring debut for City, playing outside-right for new manager Wilf Wild on 29th March 1932 in a 5-1 win at Birmingham. Payne made one more appearance in 1931/32 (in a 1-0 home defeat to Liverpool on 2nd April) but, as at West Ham, he struggled to break into the starting eleven and didn’t play any first team matches in 1932/33. Payne played two games in 1933/34, the first being a 1-0 home defeat to Leeds on 14th October 1933, and the other being his final outing for City, at outside-left, in a 5-1 defeat at Tottenham on 14th April 1934. His record for Manchester City was identical to his record at West Ham, having scored once in four appearances.

Payne returned to the Third Division South in August 1934, signing for Brighton. He moved to Millwall in July 1935, spending a season at The Den before joining Yeovil in May 1936. Johnny Payne died in 1981, at the age of either 74 or 75.


The referee on Saturday will be Michael Oliver. He has refereed 27 of our matches, officiating in six wins for the Hammers, seven draws and 14 defeats. Oliver refereed the Irons six times last season, in our 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in October 2019 (when he awarded the visitors a match-levelling penalty); for our 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham in November 2019; for our 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United in January 2020; for our 3-3 home draw with Brighton last February; for our 1-0 home defeat to Burnley in July; and in our 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on the final day of last season. This season Oliver has refereed the Irons for our 2-1 defeat at Arsenal in September and, most recently, for our 2-1 win at Leeds in December.

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Oliver also refereed our 1-1 draw at Leicester in October 2018, when he sent off Mark Noble (pictured above). His only previous red card issued to a West Ham player came seven seasons ago, when he sent off Kevin Nolan in our 4-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in December 2013. Oliver also refereed our 3-1 home win over Manchester United in 2018/19.

The VAR Official is Andre Marriner.

Possible line-ups

Manchester City will be without Nathan Ake. Ilkay Gundogan has scored nine Premier League goals in 2021, four more than any other player. The Citizens have won 12 of their 14 league games against West Ham at the Etihad Stadium, drawing one and losing one. Pep Guardiola has won nine of his ten meetings against West Ham in all competitions, drawing the other – that 1-1 draw in this season’s reverse fixture in October ended City’s nine-match winning run against the Hammers.

West Ham United have Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku and Andriy Yarmolenko on the injury list. A seventh away win of the season this Saturday would equal the club’s Premier League record for a single campaign, last achieved under Super Slaven Bilic in 2015/16. West Ham have won only two of their 19 Premier League away games against Manchester City: 1-0 at Maine Road in April 2003 (see ‘Blast from the past’ above) and 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in September 2015. The Hammers have won just three of the last 27 Premier League meetings between the two clubs home and away, drawing five and losing 19.

Possible Manchester City XI: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri; Sterling, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Foden; Jesus.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Lingard, Fornals; Antonio.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Nigel Kahn’s Column

The Day Bobby Died

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how his football used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people cheer
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
When the papers were delivered
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried
When I saw all the fans gathered outside
Something touched me deep inside
The day that Bobby died

February the 24th is a day West Ham fans should always remember. Not only is it a day that is sombre as we remember the life of possibly the greatest player not only to wear West Ham’s shirt but, also Englands finest player as well. It is also the day that John Lyall was born. West Ham’s greatest ever manager.

I never met Bobby Moore but I have heard the stories of many not only about his football but how he was when away from the game, socialising in the local pubs around the ground, not aloof but I’m told generally keeping his own company of friends. I can’t say I have ever heard anything bad in the way Moore conversed with fans outside of the club.

I did meet John Lyall, though. As a kid I was lucky enough to be a mascot and the only room I could get changed into my strip was Lyall’s office. Once changed I was told to wait there to be collected by a member of staff. That member of staff just happened to be John Lyall. He took me to meet the players in the changing room but only after a quick chat about me and how I thought the season had gone.

Well, in the past year we had won the FA Cup, been to the final of the League Cup, got to the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and won promotion by a record amount of points, so my reply of, “best season ever I had seen” and considering I had only seen three seasons prior to the current one that was finishing that day, it was not an understatement.

Now looking back that season of 1980/81 is still in my top 3 of seasons, just I now have 44 seasons to look back on not 4.

John listened and even chuckled at my asking if he had indeed called Clive Thomas, the ref at Wembley in the League Cup final a “cheat” as he had been accused of by Thomas after the game. This was in regards to the controversial Alan Kennedy goal where Sammy Lee lay on the ground in an offside position. Lyall approached the ref to complain at the end of the game.

In answering my rather direct and from my Mum’s point of view, “Nigel, don’t be rude,” he said it was not something he likes to dwell on and let’s look forward to the game today.
If you had to choose one person and award them the title, Mr West Ham, then Lyall would be that person for many a fan.

Lyall was the manager when we had the season that all other great seasons are compared to – The Boys of 86 season as its commonly known, or as I like to call it, “The Good year”. Moyes’ team this season riding high in the league table are being compared very regularly by many a pundit to the efforts of 35 years ago and not wanting to diminish anything this current crop of stars are producing, there is one big reason why even if we are to finish 3rd this season why it will not compare to 86.

That reason is, we are not competing to win the league title this year. Manchester City seems to have that sewn up already wherein 86 it took Liverpool until their last game of the season in defeating Chelsea to put themselves 4 points clear of us with just our one game in hand left to play.

Some of the more enjoyable groups on Facebook are the football memory groups I belong to. One post last week that caught my eye was where a member of the group had tried in the least amount of steps to take link the most recent team of a club to the very first team that played for the said club. The best they had managed was with Chelsea in 11 steps.

He had Marcos Alonso to John Terry to Dennis Wise and so back to Chelsea’s first game in 1905. So naturally, I thought it would be good to see if A, I could do that with West Ham and B beat the 11 steps he had managed with Chelsea.

I have covered it in my current ‘View from the Shed” episode just below, where I also give my thoughts on this weeks Spurs victory

February the 24th is not only connected to two of the greatest Hammers ever, but it also happens to be the birthday of a West Ham great from the 70s, big Clyde Best, who played with Moore and also under Lyall when he was manager. My favourite story about him is his very first day at the club.

Like many people not local have done, he alighted the train at West Ham tube station, not Upton Park, and was very lost. Luckily for him, the passer-by he had asked where the ground was, knew of the Charles family who lived nearby. They of course were John and Clive. The passer-by took Clyde to the Charles family home and the brother’s mother took him in. From then on a lifetime friendship was made, specifically with Clive, and to the point that instead of going into the digs the club had arranged for him, he asked to stay with the Charles family in Canning Town.

His book ‘The Acid Test’ is a great read and opens the lid on what it was like to be a pioneering black player in the days when they were by far the minority on & off the pitch.

I know many of you enjoyed my first collection video so I have made a few more for the coming weeks.

This week I share some of my West Ham ticket collection including many unused tickets complete with both stubs. I hope you enjoy watching them as I have to make the video, next week I share my favourite Hammers books as well as the first Football books I kept from my youth.

Tis a great time to be a Hammer.


Interview with Zavon Hines

Enjoy :)

The Jimmy Cooney Column

"My (Claret) & Blue Heaven"!

Greetings Everyone!

Well, my, my my….. this article is a challenge, because I still just wanna talk about all the great things about Sunday, however, seeing as it has already been accurately and cleverly by Mr. Hautzig, then Mr. Hamburg’s entertaining recount of what stood out in particular to him, not to mention Gav’s always clever and sensible words, and a surprise treat from Iain being interviewed, it would be a bit redundant to give just another spin, mostly, in their own words, to basically the same things I would say, in my own words…… :) plus, it’s Wednesday, time to prepare for a trip to the Blue side of Manchester.

Still, one “succinct” ;)) way to say it though, is the fact that it NEVER gets old beating Spurs, does it? Mostly because it honestly doesn’t happen that often, due to the cold hard fact, is that those over privileged doughnuts in North London, and their worldwide support base do have a top quality squad, which is no crime, however, what makes it sweeter that sugar to beat them, is included in some of their support and squad as well, (for some think I am dramatic?? Holy Mackerel!!!) their collective moaning, and excuse making, is priceless, comedic and ironic gold …. and then, when they start cryin’ how a bad season is MAYBE not finishing top ten or out of the qualifying positions for the Champions League……. classy problems to have. Sound like a rough life….. Like the rich chick in high school who was pissed off she received a ’79 Corvette for her 16th birthday instead of an ’82 Porsche……. probably…. :-/

To be honest, however, they are classy problems I personally wouldn’t mind seeing West Ham United have more of.

Of course, being “West Ham” in terms of supporting, no matter what area code one was born in, it’s never been about “The Glory”, it surely never was for me, because, I’ll be bang on honest, it bores the hell out of me now when the same 4 odd teams end up in the top 4, and one wins both Cups or two win each respectively. However, West Ham appreciates the type of side we have right now, as “workingpersons” of a side one can have these days, however, to be honest, I’d not mind a club that you could at least count on to be in the top half, of the top flight, every year.

This season is different in so many ways, both good and bad, however, the good has been predominant, and it has been earned. The points about Moyes’ ability have been proven, and this may be the most unified West Ham squad in 21 years. (If we don’t count the 2011/12 season, cos that was a solid group, imho) It’s as, if not more, the most unified group of players I’ve cheered perhaps in all of my sports history, including the mid 1980’s Philadelphia Flyers teams I had the privilege to witness, who, made it to the finals twice, but lost twice to the Wayne Gretsky’s Edmonton Oilers, the “Liverpool” of the NHL in the 1980’s. However it was their regular season grit, concern for each other, “foxhole mate” mentality, much in the vane of a decade before in the 1970’s “Broad Street Bullies” who did win 2 Stanley Cups, back to back 1973/74, and 1974/75, is what I see in this side right now.

O.k., back to the football……Now, we’ve been waiting for this for a while, and now I’m hope I’m definitely seeing a West Ham United as close a facsimile to the great clubs back in the 1960’s, ’70’s and ’80’s.

Perhaps that would be like comparing “Apple’s to Oranges” simply because of what a different world and game it has become, and even recently, we’ve had lot of sides with a great spirit, like the ‘11/’12 Div 2 season, (I hate saying “The Championship” for some reason) where the chemistry seemed to sync up, also the 2014-16 era was also tight, but this side is very different.

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Now, I do remember saying in the beginning of the season “You heard it here first, 6th Place and a Cup Final!” Well, the Cup was fought for with gallantry, and lost obviously, however now is not a need to dust that old one off now, however, we have a team and coaching staff that I’d be proud of if they they ended up finishing 8th! I’m pretty sure even if we get beat up over the next 4, (worst case), and maybe pick up 3 or 4 pts? I’m pretty certain that the squad would regroup for the final 9 matches to ensure no less than an 8th place finish, (I could be wrong, and things could go “T’s” up….. honestly… it looks as if part of all of us are waiting for “the other boot” to drop, as the case may be), however, if it does? It won’t be for lack of effort, and given the general attitude around the players, I just don’t see a complete collapse happening.

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This doesn’t mean I don’t have my concerns, no one couldn’t say that was the best match we’ve played, and, of course, earlier this season, I honestly had no idea we’d be as far up as we are at this moment. I was mostly trying to raise morale around here.

However, after “Restart”, I really had a feeling that this group was not going be anywhere near as bad as a lot had expected. I had also begun, to see, and say, in earlier columns about the unity of the team, what all the pundits are talking about now when West Ham comes up now, or what even Dec says in pressers and other players have pointed out, lately, and that is David Moyes really is the man, and there is a Unity within the squad the likes of which I, and some of the vets who’ve been in the team for a few years, have never seen before.

Of course, I want it all, at some point…. I’d like to see at least 2 FA Cups while I have some of my sanity left, and perennial inclusion in a European Cup conversation would do me fine, personally, cos, we bicker, have our differences, preferences, and sometimes pride get in the way of our unity from time to time, however, I think most of us are taking Moyes’ words seriously, where he’s happy, and he has definitely proved himself worthy. In my humble opinion? IN CERTAIN WAYS, Moyes is a better manager than Manuel Pellegrini, for, I could have led the City squad to a League Cup and a Top Flight Championship had I taken the helm at Manchester City in 2013-14 with the amount and level of quality he had already in place!!

I’m not saying he’s (MP) not a top football manager, but…..for real…..a lot of them rotate from rich club to rich club, claiming the greatest, however, I’d love to see what Pellegrini could do with West Bromwich Albion instead of Big Sam, now THAT would be a true measure of Manny’s his steel.

It’s really “bitchin’” (general West Coast 1960’s slang for “fantastic”, that is still used, and understood by many all over the U.S., mostly by those considered to be members of the “Baby Boomer” [c.1945-1964] & “Generation X” [c. 1965-1979] generations) ;)) (Just ’avin one more laff up above, all in good fun) ;))
that West Ham United is sitting in 4th place right now, completely on merit, and some LONG_,_LONG , overdue fortune, once seemingly reserved in some mystical fashion, for the likes of really only 4-6 clubs.

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Now, before I jinx anything (apparently the only magic or power I wield….) ;)) I am a staunch disciple of “The Moysiah” and his words, obviously. He can pump up, and speak very well of his team when deserved, however, what I really respect is is realism, his patience, he gives credit where due, both to his own squad, and if warranted, the opposition, AND, can enjoy the moment, but yet, still realizes, this club has to improve in many areas, and has a ways to go before they are Really a Champions League ready. As I’ve mentioned, there is a great interview with Coufal on the Official Site which actually makes me more confident, because they are enjoying the Spurs win, but you can see, they are really preparing for City, and looking more to improve, that to sit on their laurels.

First, he (Moyes) recognizes, and evaluates in his current squad, the strengths and weaknesses, and addresses them. Only then, with backing from the ownership, (who I will say nothing bad about right now, however I still hold to my “two solutions” feelings), however, since that’s the last thing I have control over right now, what we can do is focus on the finer points of this fledgling European contender, and respectfully debate how to solidify this position, where we are going to at least challenge for top 6.

Ok, so, I also hold the common belief that West Ham won’t make Champions League, (this season) however, as stated above, I’m already proud of just about this whole team, goals coming from all over, one guy steps up for a match that we thought wasn’t a good selection, but comes up big, hence giving Moyes good selection headaches, and the camaraderie within, I think this club ends higher than most will expect due to this intangible factor as a big part of that.

I suppose I could drop off this one here, and let the conversation flow, cos it’s a tough run coming up, so, the pressure is probably largest to get 3 pts off Leeds, and we need to turn over Arsenal this season, they are ready, and we are due, plus, a point from one of our visits to Manchester, 7pts seems reasonable, and achievable.

I don’t want to look any further than the squad and coaching staff do, and that is the next match. As far as they, and the support, I think, that’s the most healthy way to approach the final 1/3 of the season, I’m loose, cos I know that no matter the result? I am confident, both staff and squad have left all they have out on that pitch.

I’m not quite ready to get TOO deep into who should stay, go, or get on with how “much” we need for next season, I know where we have “needs”, However, let’s enjoy this stretch, and finish as high as possible, for the pride, of course, however, also for the cash that would hopefully be available. That said, I’d not be surprised if we saw Lingard made permanent, maybe ONE striker, an extension for Fabianski, get a version of Coufal for LB and hopefully move Cresswell into a LWB on that side, cos in spite of the Lucas goal being pretty much on Cresswell, his crosses and especially corners, have been so well placed, it would be a shame to let that go, unless someone even better, and could do both came along.

Of course, we need bolstering of the holding/defensive midfield, for sure…… However, not because I think Rice is leaving. Not yet. Even if we finish 6th-9th, I could see him stay IF the board backs Moyes properly. I could see him giving it at LEAST til next January, if not a full season before he takes any offers, and hope I’m correct that Mark Noble has instilled in him the West Ham Legacy, and what legendary feats he could reach. so long as whoever is holding the purse strings, spends “wisely”, (which is another old one I’ll leave dusty for now) we may have quite a squad forming. (Perhaps I’m “slightly” ready to talk a little bit about it, I suppose….) :))

So, it’s up to a lot of things, I’d would never discourage a conversation about within the readership about who, and where to consider moves for this summer’s window, HOWEVER I’d rather see those coming up with the best side for City, Away. (we’re supporters….we are allowed to if we want, let’s just try to remember our manners, please?) :)

I’m trying not to, think too much about the summer window partially because I just want to enjoy the rest of this season for what it is, (and, maybe what it will eventually be!) And, to be honest, I’ve been enjoying this lot too much to look around and consider moving anyone just yet.

I honestly am just being happy, however, staying grounded. By all means though, please, share your thoughts, even if I already know them! Try to think of a side that could actually beat the mechanized death machine that Manchester City is!!!

Well, enjoy the week, all the best to everyone going through tough stuff…… we all are, and I’m going to edit this and say 1. Just go easy on each other, and that was exactly a “stream of consciousness” this week, which I guess wasn’t contrived, I just started writing, so I suppose I now see what you all mean! But the importance is this is honestly how I’m feeling about West Ham United, at the moment…….. in a world of grey skies, and feet of snow falling for the last month, right now, West Ham is “My Claret & Blue” Heaven!!!

P.S. sorry about the first photo, it’s a carp shoot they way I have to do it on 2 different devices……

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The GoatyGav Column

Letting The Good Times Roll

Expectation is usually, pretty much, what it says on the tin. It’s what we expect as a minimum from an activity. Things do, however, have a habit of getting more complicated.

Since the win at the weekend I’ve noticed many on-line conversations start to talk about top four finishes. I actually found myself thinking about that as I spoke with no.2 son on Sunday evening and commented to him “imagine going to watch Champion’s League at the bowl next season.”

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The point at which I usually start to buy in to the hype is exactly the point when it usually becomes a false dawn and things head in a ‘negative elevation’ direction (to quote recently installed phone running app parlance…I should add that it’s my son doing the running and not me.) I prefer the old fashioned ‘downhill’ phrase personally.

Towards the back end of last year the team were flirting with a top four place. Rather than start talking about the possibility of finishing the season in that spot I was keen to comment that I was simply ‘enjoying the ride’ and that results were making me happy. Perhaps it’s partly due to the mindfulness training that I’ve been doing for the last 7 and a bit years but enjoying the moment is something that’s coming very easily when in relation to all things West Ham this season.

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So what to do now? Do I start to get excited about the prospect of European football next season or do I just carry on “Letting The Good Times Roll?” I know what the answer should be and I know what I’ll try my best to do and not get sucked in to any hype that’s beginning to gain momentum. But, in all candour, it’s difficult not to.

Next Saturday lunchtime we will line up away at league leaders Manchester City. Frankly speaking they’re probably the best team on the planet right now. Going in to that game my expectation is not that we will win. In fact I don’t think there’s any team in the Premier League that would go up to the Ethiad Stadium confident that they were going to beat Pep Guardiola’s charges. So what are we likely to be saying come Saturday evening? I know that many are likely to do what they always do when we lose and look to place the blame at someone’s door while commenting what a shambles we are or that David Moyes is tactically inept. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the result is a foregone conclusion but, to get anything out of the fixture at all will be a huge result. I can assure you, however, that whatever the outcome this Hammer won’t be either getting carried away or, conversely, running the team down. The only thing that’s for certain is that I will enjoy a game of football between the two best form teams in English football and continue to be proud of ‘our lads’ trying to do their utmost to get a result.

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As I’m playing catchup at work this week is going to be a short post without updates on the PL2 or Women’s teams other than to say that the youngsters are not getting the results at present, after losing four-one at Blackburn and the ladies have not played since their one-nil loss to Brighton a couple of weeks ago. Sincerely hope that things start looking up for both sides soon as I hope to resume normal service reporting on them in the coming weeks.

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Have a great week all and hope to be enjoying the match with you, in spirit, this coming weekend. Meanwhile I’ll leave you with this image to add to the good times we’re enjoying :D

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