David Hautzig's Match Report

Chelsea 1, West Ham 1. One From The Hart.

I haven’t written about West Ham in quite awhile. I was at he Burnley disaster, and I wasn’t about to run back to my hotel to write about the absurdity on the pitch from players and supporters alike. Besides, my boss was in London, was subjected to that mess, and wanted to hang out afterwards anyway. Who was I to say no?

Southampton saw twenty family members descend on my home for the holidays, so with cooking to be done I was lucky to have the match on at all. To be fair, it was rather nice to just watch a good performance without having to be sure I got the details of the action correct.

For today, I wanted to start with some clever anecdote about the board and papering over the cracks, but the events prior to the match made me think twice. Then stop. After listening to the playback of the TalkSport call from that former soldier Ray Wilkins helped, I wished I had known more about him prior. My friend Neil Barnett, who I’m guessing did the on pitch presentations about him today, always spoke so highly of him. And I know this week has been somber for him and everyone at Chelsea. The world is much meaner place now, so when kind people leave us it’s just a bit colder for the rest of us.

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On to football.

Normally the sight of a grown man rubbing his own thigh would not make me sit up and take notice. So in the third minute when Arnie seemed to strain his hamstring the mood went from hopeful to “oh no” pretty quickly. It helped when Hazard’s low effort moments later skimmed past a diving Hart as well as the post to go wide.

West Ham won a corner in the seventh minute, and the method was exactly what we want to see more of. Masuaku with a cross into the box for the run of Arnautovic. The angle made it tough for the Austrian to get a good flick on it, but the intent, seeming comfort on the ball, and effort were good to see. Ten minutes later, the duo teamed up again with yet another tremendous ball into the box. For a moment I thought Arnie was going to repeat his volley from last week against Southampton. He didn’t, but won a corner nonetheless.

It takes a lot of skill to complete an accurate pass with the outside of your foot. This is a skill that Fernandez does not yet possess. When he gifted Willian with the ball thirty yards from goal with such an attempt, it was due to the good defensive play of Ogbonna and Cresswell that West Ham didn’t pay dearly for the error.

Chelsea came close to opening the scoring in the 29th minute when Hazard was kind enough to show Fernandes the skill actually needed to make that outside of the foot pass. After a give and go with Morata, Hazard darted down the left and sent the ball back to Morata with the outside of his right foot. Morata’s little redirection rolled just wide of the far post, but the match was starting to tilt in the direction of Chelsea attack, West Ham defend.

Football can be such a funny and cruel game. In the 36th minute, Hazard sent Willian in on Hart. The embattled loanee from the soon to be crowned EPL Champions slid out and made a superb save and send the ball out for a corner. The corner came to Moses outside the penalty area, and he looped the ball back into the box. Arnautovic was able to just get a foot on the ball. However he couldn’t clear it, and after making that lovely save Hart watched the ball roll slowly past him off the feeble, but effective, second attempt from Azpilicueta after a Morata header.

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Halftime
Chelsea 1
West Ham 0

Moments into the second half, Hazard and Willian again combined with a series of neat, quick passes inside the West Ham box that ended with a Willian shot rolling just wide. A minute later, down the other end, West Ham asked their first question of Curtois. It wasn’t a tough question, but after Fernandes laid the ball off for Arnautovic at the top of the Chelsea eighteen yard box he sent a low shot that the Chelsea keeper at least had to gather up.

Chelsea continued to rampage through the West Ham defense, led by Hazard, Willian, and Morata. The latter should have doubled the hosts advantage from a corner in the 55th when he beat Zabaleta to the ball, but his unchallenged header went over the bar for a goal kick. A few minutes later, after a dreadful giveaway from Masuaku, Morata had a goal disallowed for offside for the second time. At that point the MOTM for West Ham was a dead heat between the linesman and Danny Welbeck.

Soft tissue injuries. West Ham could write the bloody book on them. The 63rd minute removal of Cresswell moments after he landed awkwardly from a jump was stunning in its lack of surprise. We are West Ham. We get injured. Chelsea probably looked at Evra and thought truly terrible things about what they could now do to us.

When Chicharito came on, my best mate Jon texted me. “OMG. Hernandez sighting.” Then the announcer pointed out that Lil Pea has scored more goals against Chelsea than any other EPL club. Well, when Arnautovic got hold of the ball to the right of the Chelsea goal and had the vision to find Hernandez at the top of the box, the Blue Sea opened up and Chicharito’s curling shot found the back of the net. Please, dear lord. Make my club realize they have a goal scorer and instead of telling him to do stuff he doesn’t do, just let him do what he does sooooo well.

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Chelsea 1
West Ham 1

Joe Hart made another superb save in the 79th minute when Willian passed to Alonso at the top of the West Ham eighteen yard box. He turned and fired at goal, and if it wasn’t for Hart’s outstretched hand Chelsea would have been in front again.

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Since I write as I watch, I don’t want to be disingenuous. When Arnautovic went down, I thought penalty right away. When I watched the replay, I wasn’t as sure. But what I am reasonably sure of is this; had Hazard or Morata gone down from a similar challenge from Cresswell or Zabaleta, I would fully expect to see Kevin Friend point at the spot.

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Whatever Joe Hart was thinking about today, be it Russia or simple pride, he had his best game in years. In the 88th minute, Giroud sent a header that looked goal bound. But yet again, his outstretched hand sent the ball around the post and out for a corner.

West Ham won a corner in the 93rd minute, and for the life of me I have no idea what anybody in Claret and Blue were thinking. A short corner, and then a soft roller right to Curtois. If Chelsea had come down and scored a winner, it would have been right up there with Antonio’s blunder at Crystal Palace. But they didn’t.

Final Score
Chelsea 1
West Ham 1

When we got a point away at Spurs this year with the same scoreline, there were those who did not celebrate the point. Cough, cough….Nigel….cough, cough. Their reasoning was that to celebrate a game where we only had one shot on target is as anti West Ham as you can get. I disagreed, but I understood the thought process. Today was decidedly different. We were outplayed for long stretches to be sure. But we went for it when we could. And for that reason it’s a well earned point. We showed endeavor, a bit of skill, and good organization.

And a lot of Hart.

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Match Report

Ten Talking Points From Chelsea 1 West Ham 1

You know, I had a feeling we’d get something out of this game, although after forty five minutes it certainly didn’t look like it. Our equaliser completely transformed the game and if anything, we looked the more likely winners after that. It was great to see Joe Hart put in a world class performance, as did Marko Arnautovic to be fair. We now have 34 points, six more than Southampton and seven more than Stoke. The Stoke match next Monday looks to be a crucial won. Win that and you’d like to think we would definitely survive. But just like our dreams…

1. Joe Hart made five saves, three of them saving almost certain goals. The one he tipped over the crossbar was a world class save.
2. Declan Rice put in another top class performance. I love the way he marshalls other players. At the age of 19 you’ve got to have some giant cojones to do that.
3. An outstanding performance from Arnautovic. It was proved to be a masterstroke to play him as a Number 9. I wonder why no one had thought of it before.
4. On the downside, in midfield we weren’t at the races for most of the match. Noble, Kouyate and Fernandes didn’t have the pace or bite to cope with Hazard and Willian.
5. Mario had a quiet game and doesn’t seem to have the pace to beat opposing players. You can see he is skilfull but he seems to lack penetration.
6. Masuaku had one of his quieter games and couldn’t seem to get in the kind of crosses that he excels at.
7. We should have had a penalty with three minutes to go. The commentator reckoned Kante had put in a brilliant tackle because he diverted the ball. Maybe, but he also tripped Arnautovic.
8. Lovely see see Hernandez get another goal, and it was brilliantly taken too. It’s the 6th time he has scored against Chelsea from the Subs bench. And it’s his 8th of the season. I hope he keeps his place in the team against Stoke.
9. Credit to David Moyes. He is more or less down to the bare bones now. To get a point at Chelsea in these circumstances is a real achievement.
10. I can have a nice Sunday evening now!

Scores

Hart – 9
Zabaleta – 7
Rice – 7
Ogbonna – 7
Cresswell – 6
Masuaku – 6
Noble – 6
Mario – 5
Noble – 6
Kouyate – 6
Arnautovic – 8
Evra – 5

David Hautzig’s report will appear later.

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Match Thread

Match Thread: Chelsea v West Ham

Chelsea v West Ham
FA Premier League
Stamford Bridge
KO: 4.30pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: BBC Five Live

Please comment on the game as it progresses.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Chelsea v West Ham

Blast from the past

Stamford Bridge, 28th September 2002 – West Ham United’s last victory at the home of Chelsea. The Blues went into the match unbeaten from their first seven league games of the season. Atomic Kitten were number one with ‘The Tide Is High’ and Mel Gibson topped the UK box office in Signs as the Hammers arrived in west London rooted to the bottom of the Premier League having picked up just two points from their opening six league games.

The beleaguered Hammers were dealt a blow after just four minutes when striker Frederic Kanoute suffered a groin injury and had to be replaced by Jermain Defoe – Kanoute would not play again until Boxing Day, his absence playing a big part in the Hammers’ struggles in 2002/03. Despite this setback, the Hammers impressed in the opening 20 minutes in front of 38,929 before an irresponsible and unnecessary scissor challenge by Tomas Repka saw Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea win a free-kick wide on the left and the Czech defender go into the book. Bolo Zenden’s delivery seemed innocuous enough until referee Mike Dean adjudged former Blues left-back Scott Minto to have held back Robert Huth and a penalty was awarded. Chelsea skipper Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made no mistake, sending David James the wrong way from the spot with 21 minutes played.

Glenn Roeder’s Hammers equalised five minutes before half-time. Paolo Di Canio’s corner was knocked on by Trevor Sinclair into the path of Steve Lomas, the Ulsterman’s shot was parried by Carlo Cudicini but Defoe reacted quickest to turn the ball into the net.

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The second half saw Di Canio take centre stage – three minutes into the second half, the Italian picked the ball up wide on the right from Sebastian Schemmel’s throw-in, cut inside, flicked the ball up with his right foot before hammering an unstoppable left-foot volley beyond the despairing dive of his countryman Cudicini. Chelsea’s equaliser arrived on 74 minutes, future Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola coming off the bench to curl a trademark free-kick into the corner of James’ goal after, this time, a clear foul by Minto.

It was Di Canio who had the last word though, with six minutes remaining – James’ long free-kick was poorly defended by the Blues backline and the ball broke for Di Canio at a tight angle to the left of Cudicini’s goal, the Hammers captain finding the tiniest of gaps at the near post to restore the Irons’ lead and claim West Ham’s first win of the season. My video below contains all the goals from this London derby, as well as interviews with manager Roeder and midfielder Lomas.

The Hammers, of course, went on to be relegated in 18th place that season while Chelsea ended up in fourth. Joe 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.

Chelsea: Carlo Cudicini, Mario Melchiot, Robert Huth, William Gallas, Bolo Zenden (Gianfranco Zola), Jesper Gronkjaer, Jody Morris, Frank Lampard, Mario Stanic, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen.

West Ham United: David James, Sebastian Schemmel, Tomas Repka, Gary Breen, Scott Minto, Trevor Sinclair, Steve Lomas, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Frederic Kanoute (Jermain Defoe), Paolo Di Canio (Edouard Cisse).

Club Connections

A decent number of players have represented both West Ham United and Chelsea. Victor Moses spent the 2015/16 season on loan with the Hammers and is now proving a key player for Antonio Conte’s Blues. Others to have worn the colours of both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: Craig Forrest and Harry Medhurst.

Defenders: Tal Ben Haim, Scott Minto, Wayne Bridge, Ian Pearce, Joe Kirkup, Glen Johnson and Jon Harley.

Midfielders: Bill Jackson, Frank Lampard Junior, Andy Malcolm, Syd Bishop, Peter Brabrook, Alan Dickens, George Horn, Eric Parsons, Robert Bush, Scott Parker, Yossi Benayoun, Jim Frost and John Sissons.

Strikers: David Speedie, Len Goulden, Billy Bridgeman, Demba Ba, Joe Payne, Clive Allen, George Hilsdon, Carlton Cole, Billy Brown, Jimmy Greaves, Pop Robson, Billy Williams, Ron Tindall and Bob Deacon.

Bobby Gould played for West Ham and went on to be assistant and caretaker manager of Chelsea. Ron Greenwood and Gianfranco Zola played for Chelsea and managed West Ham, while Sir Geoff Hurst and Dave Sexton both played for the Hammers and managed the Blues. Avram Grant has managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on an Academy graduate who had two spells at Upton Park and spent seven years at Stamford Bridge. Joe Cole was born in Paddington on the 8th November 1981 and was a prodigious young talent who was linked with a £10m move to Manchester United before he’d even made his professional debut. Likened to Paul Gascoigne, Cole made his debut at the age of 17 in January 1999 in a 1-1 FA Cup draw at home against Swansea; his league debut arrived eight days later in a 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford. Cole was a key figure in the Hammers’ FA Youth Cup winning team in 1999 and also played his part in the senior team’s InterToto Cup success later that summer. His first goal for the club came in a 3-2 League Cup win at Birmingham in November 1999 while his first league strike came in the 5-4 win over Bradford in February 2000.

Cole scored five goals in 2000/01, including one in the 3-0 win at Coventry and strikes in the 1-1 home draws with Bradford and Coventry. He also notched crucial goals in the 3-1 home win over Derby and 3-0 home victory over Southampton as the under-performing Hammers secured their survival in the top flight the weekend before Harry Redknapp’s departure.

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Cole made his England debut in May 2001 and scored his first goal under new Hammers manager Glenn Roeder in the 3-0 FA Cup third round win at Macclesfield in January 2002. The skilful midfielder was part of England’s 2002 World Cup squad and got his 2002/03 campaign off to a flyer, scoring from distance to give the Irons the lead against champions Arsenal only for the Gunners to eventually claim a 2-2 draw at Upton Park. The season was a turbulent one, with Cole one of the few players to emerge with credit from a campaign which would end in relegation. Joey also scored in the 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham, the 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough, the 3-2 FA Cup third round home win over Nottingham Forest and the 2-2 home draw with Newcastle. He was named captain by Roeder in January 2003 and was voted Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters at the season’s end.

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The 21-year-old Cole left West Ham United in the summer of 2003 to sign for Chelsea in a £6.6m deal, having scored 13 goals in 150 appearances for the Hammers. He made his debut for the Blues as a substitute a week after signing for the club in a Champions League qualifier away to MSK Zilina and scored his first goal in October 2003 in a League Cup tie against Notts County. His first league strike in a Chelsea shirt came in a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa in December 2003. Cole became a regular in Jose Mourinho’s 2004/05 Premier League title-winning team, scoring nine goals in all competitions.

2005/06 saw Cole score a career-high 11 goals in a season in all competitions, earning himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year as Chelsea retained their Premier League title. The following campaign was an injury-hit one for Cole but he was back to his best in 2007/08 – he reached double figures in the scoring charts again, won the Chelsea Player of the Year Award and played in the Champions League Final. Cole also scored home and away against West Ham that season, refusing to celebrate his strike in Chelsea’s 4-0 win at Upton Park in March 2008. A knee injury kept Cole out for the second half of the 2008/09 campaign and his final game for the Blues was the FA Cup Final against Portsmouth in May 2010, Chelsea winning the match 1-0. After seven years at Stamford Bridge in which he scored 40 goals in 281 appearances and won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Community Shields and was a Champions League finalist, Cole joined Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer of 2010. Earlier that summer, Cole had won the last of his 56 England caps at his third World Cup – he had scored ten goals for his country.

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After a difficult start to life on Merseyside, Cole spent the 2011/12 season on loan at French side Lille but, after returning to Liverpool for the first half of the following season, 31-year-old Joey returned to the Boleyn Ground in early January 2013, signing for Sam Allardyce’s Hammers on a free transfer. He set up both goals on his second debut for the club as James Collins scored twice in a 2-2 FA Cup third round draw with Manchester United and scored himself in the 1-1 home draw with Q.P.R. and the 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham.

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Cole started the 2013/14 season with a bang, notching the Hammers’ first goal of the campaign in a 2-0 home win over Cardiff in August 2013 before scoring in the 3-0 win over Fulham in November. His final goal for the Hammers came in the 3-3 home draw with West Brom in late December 2013. Cole’s last appearance for West Ham came in the 2-0 defeat at Manchester City in May 2014 and he left the club later that summer after his contract expired, signing for Aston Villa. Cole had scored five goals in 37 appearances in his second spell in east London, taking his totals for the Hammers to 18 goals in 187 matches.

Following a spell with Coventry, Cole, now 36, is currently playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.

Referee

Sunday’s referee is Kevin Friend. The Leicester-based official has been involved in top-flight matches since 2009 and took charge of the Hammers in our historic 3-0 victory at Liverpool in August 2015. He sent off Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and West Ham’s Mark Noble in that match at Anfield, with the latter’s dismissal rescinded on appeal.

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Friend’s Hammers appointments this season were in September for our 2-0 home win over Huddersfield and, more recently, our 1-0 League Cup quarter-final defeat at Arsenal in December. He also refereed our 1-0 home win over Swansea last April. He is also remembered for the soft penalty he gifted Hull in our 1-0 defeat at the KC Stadium in September 2013 when Joey O’Brien was adjudged to have shoved Robbie Brady. Friend compounded the error by later denying the Irons a clear penalty when Jake Livermore handled in the area. Don’t expect much from Friend in the way of handball decisions – he also denied the Hammers a penalty in a match at Everton when Aaron Cresswell’s cross was handled by Seamus Coleman.

Possible line-ups

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is without David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu but Thibaut Courtois, Davide Zappacosta, Ross Barkley and Pedro could all return. The Blues could suffer back-to-back league defeats at Stamford Bridge for the first time since November 2011.

David Moyes has yet to win a Premier League game away to Chelsea, drawing six and losing eight of 14 top-flight matches at Stamford Bridge. The Scot is without Sam Byram, Winston Reid, James Collins, Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll. Argentine midfielder Manuel Lanzini is a major doubt but Chicharito should be available. A win would not just see West Ham’s first at Stamford Bridge since this preview’s featured match in September 2002 but would also complete the club’s first league double over Chelsea since that 2002/03 season.

Looking ahead to our next match against Stoke, Potters midfielder Joe Allen is one yellow card away from missing the match in east London – Stoke host Tottenham today.

Possible Chelsea XI: Courtois; Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Christensen; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Hazard; Morata.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Fernandes, Kouyate, Noble, Mario; Arnautovic.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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The GoatyGav Column

Management Contracts – What’s The Ideal Strategy?

The answer to the above would vary according to the situation and structure as well as resources available at any given club. What works for one club would not, necessarily, work for another. I’ve always been a fan of stability. I’ve often used the near sacking of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United as a cautionary tale for club owners taking a ‘hire and fire’ approach.

So the story goes Mark Robins came off the bench to score the goal on the 7th January, 1990, in the 3rd round of the cup at Nottingham Forest, that saved Sir Alex’s job before he went on to dominate the Premier League’s first decade and a half that followed. Manchester United fans can often be heard referring to ‘Robins Day’ in response to fans calling for various manager’s heads. That’s not to say that those wanting to sack the incumbent have always been in the wrong but Manchester United’s Board’s patience and loyalty to Ferguson certainly paid off. If any Manchester United team were labouring in 15th position in January in recent seasons I’m not too sure that same patience and faith would have been shown. In the years since he’s moved on the club are on their third gaffer in what’s become more of a standard ‘you’ve got three years to mould your team and win things’ approach. Perhaps the so called ‘Knee Jerkers’ of the time should have reconsidered their ‘3 years of excuses’ flag hung from the Stretford end despite AF being in to his 4th year managing the club, having finished outside the top 10 the previous season, on a winless run of 8 games which included a League Cup game where they were knocked by Tottenham.

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Of course one of those managers, to have succeeded Alex Ferguson, at Old Trafford is the man currently in charge at West Ham. If recent MO is anything to go by then, providing Mr Moyes gets the job this Summer, a three year contract will be offered to DM and his team. Question is – will recent Modus Operandi be used?

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Much discussion is now around whether a Director of Football, or a Technical Director, is going to be appointed at West Ham. The clubs who’ve done this most effectively seem to be those clubs who have a team with an ‘identity’. So what’s going to happen at West Ham? Who will set the agenda? Will an ‘identity’ be established by the board – or will that be left to the DOF, or TD, to put in place? If someone does come in to sit between the board and the first team Manager/Head Coach how much will they adapt the ‘identity’ to suit the Manager/Head Coach – if at all?

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I’m sure these discussions will be taking place at board level. At least I hope they are. Empire builders are famous for surrounding themselves with several layers of management before the flack starts flying downstream as well as up – meeting at the middle management level. With the amount of flack directed at the board lately I’m sure the owners would welcome that buffer. Although a slightly different situation the bond villain lookalike Daniel Levy is often the one who comes in for most criticism when transfers go wrong at our neighbours in North London despite the fact that Joe Lewis is the major shareholder there. Would a new DOF or TD be put in the firing line at West Ham I wonder?
Getting the structure right is going to be as important as getting the right people for the job. An over-arching strategy is the first port of call to be locked down otherwise it’s simply going to be a case of jumping around from one tactic to another with no real direction. Before the Gao family takeover of Southampton FC the Liebherr family had a clear roadmap, identity and strategy. When you consider what they achieved at the club, balancing their commitments to the fans whilst keeping the club on a sound financial footing, you can but admire them. Katharina especially, in the 8 years following the passing of her father, Markus Liebherr, and her inheritance of the club, she’s run an extremely tight ship (pun not intended). It’s a model to be envied whilst being one that can be improved upon. Imagine if Southampton had have kept hold of many of the top players they’ve replaced over the years. I don’t think there would, currently, be anyone to touch them in challenging the top 6 sides in the Premier League. Since the Chinese took control of 80% of the club’s shares the first team’s fortunes seem to have taken a nosedive. Not that I’m complaining following Saturday’s result against them but which looks the better senior management structure, in terms of a footballing ‘identity’ to you: -

Southampton Board West Ham Board/Managment

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I’ve purposefully not broached the topic of who our manager should be at the start of next season as I don’t believe that to be the right thing to do with David Moyes still in situ. I’m sure everyone will have ideas in their heads, as do I, but I’ll keep my opinions to myself until such a time as a decision has been made, by the board, on his future at the club. The main thing right now is to get behind him and the team and ensure we’re in the top tier come September.

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To finish on a high note I’d like to pay tribute to the excellent performance of the team last weekend. In the first half especially the players showed a hunger and desire that has been lacking for much of the season. Great stuff. Although we’re not out of the woods quite yet those 3 points were absolutely huge. Now 5 points clear of Southampton if the team can show more of that same energy and determination we’ve got a very good chance of surviving. The job’s not done yet but things are certainly looking much better than they were a week ago.

COYI!

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