Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with Manchester City

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Manchester City on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 10am on Saturday.

Wow! All West Ham fans will still be buzzing after the final 15 minutes or so against Spurs. Our current short unbeaten run faces a stiff challenge this weekend, when our beloved team welcome the footballing powerhouse that is Manchester City. The last time we got any change from them was a draw back in January 2016. Ahead of the weekend I spoke to lifelong Manchester City fan John Ratledge to discuss the game and the season.

Hi John. It’s a rare occasion when West Ham sit above Manchester City in the table (albeit having played one more game) – very early days yet, but how would you sum up the season so far?
I would firstly point out that the corona pandemic is most certainly going to be the biggest factor for everyone this season and the relentless schedule of matches for City caused by our involvement in all competitions will, I feel have a detrimental effect on our performances. Together with our injury problems at the end of the last season adversely affecting those earlier game, having players missing through isolation didn’t help. We are gradually getting players back now and so performances have improved.

The drawback of being so successful means you have to play more games of course: are you going to be able to sustain the joint battles of an attempt to regain the Premier League title, with another for at the Champions League?
Which would be your priority?

The Premier League will always be the one to win as far as I am concerned. I am not a fan of the Champions League and even more so the morons at Uefa.

Of the recent crazy results, which gave you the most pleasure: your city rivals losing 1-6 to Spurs, of Liverpool’s thrashing by Aston Villa?
Man United’s loss to Spurs and Liverpool’s defeat at Villa were both immensely amusing to all Blues supporters.

Your own beating by Leicester showed up your defensive frailties (I can’t remember the last time I saw a team give away a hat-trick of penalties). Pep has spent a lot of money on your defense, has he spent wisely?
I think that the Leicester game was an aberration, as you said how can you give away 3 penalties in one game, basically inexperience and Kyle Walker having no brain. We now have Ruben Dias and he’s looking good, I think we’ll be fine. Pep is definitely the man for us, spending wisely depends on your perspective, you never really know how a player will perform until he’s playing in the team.

Talking off transfers, is Ferran Torres going to be able to replace David Silva?
No one can replace David Silva.

Is Pep still held in high regards by the Man City faithful?
Pep – Absolutely adored by the fans.

Manchester City fans have been spoilt with the parade of great players turning out for you over the past few years. Who have been your top 3 picks, and why?
Top Picks. Kevin de Bruyne (nuff said). Sergio of course (world class). And the above named El Mago.

I’m assuming that’s David Silva. Would any of your stars from the late 60’s through to late 70’s got in the teams of this current era?
No – the game has changed so much over the years, the players of yesteryear had their time and the game has moved on.

As I said, it’s early days yet, but who are your picks for the top 4 places at the end of the season, in order? Are Liverpool going to retain the title?
Top Four: City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton (wild card)

Similarly who are your early picks for the drop?
I think it will be: Brighton, West Brom and Fulham

Your ‘quiet’ city neighbours are currently a point behind us both, or as I prefer to say 15th. Any comments on their fortunes?
United? Couldn’t care less!

Given your midweek game against Porto how do you think Manchester City will turn out against us this Saturday? Players/formation please.
4 3 3
Ederson
Walker Laporte Dias Ake
Mahrez Fernandino Foden
Sterling Aguero Torres (De Bruyne if fit)

Finally, If the algebra of football scores computed properly, your defeat against Leicester 2-5, combined with our 3-0 beating of them should see West Ham comfortably beating you by about 5 or 6 goals. Should I go down the bookies? Prediction for score please?
Do I need to remind you about our recent visits to your gaff, all I will say is that if you score before we do you’ll maybe have a chance of a point – but don’t count on it!!!

Thanks to John for his time and thoughts. I think I’d be as confident as him if I were in his shoes, but I’m hoping that they may feel the strains of their midweek game against Porto, allied with the turbo-charge that Lanzini’s goal should give us, I’m going to get down the bookies and put a tenner on us winning 3 – 1. COYI

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Man City

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Manchester City on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 10am on Saturday.

Blast from the past

25th October 2014 – Megan Trainor was number one with ‘All About That Bass’, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles topped the UK box office, while Alvin Stardust had died two days earlier, and former Sheffield Wednesday and Sweden midfielder Klas Ingesson died at the age of 46 four days later. Meanwhile, West Ham United emerged victorious from a Premier League encounter against Manchester City almost exactly six years ago with a 2-1 win in front of 34,977.

Sam Allardyce’s Hammers came into this Saturday lunchtime game on the back of three wins from their previous four fixtures, including an impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool. Champions City arrived in east London with two future Hammers in their team, England goalkeeper Joe Hart and right-back Pablo Zabaleta, while future West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini was then-manager of Manchester City.

The hosts took the lead after 21 minutes when Mark Noble found Alex Song who played a sumptuous pass in behind the City defence for Enner Valencia. The Ecuadorian raced to the line before cutting a ball across goal for Morgan Amalfitano (pictured scoring below) to tuck home – the momentum of Valencia’s run took him into the City support behind Joe Hart’s goal.

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Pellegrini’s City threw everything at West Ham in the second half – Aguero was denied by Adrian, with the Argentine seeing his follow-up blocked by James Collins. Aguero then hit the bar, with Yaya Toure’s shot held by Adrian on the line. The Hammers responded, Valencia finding Aaron Cresswell whose inch-perfect cross was met by the head of Diafra Sakho – the ball was correctly adjudged to have crossed the line before Hart’s intervention and the Irons had doubled their lead with 15 minutes remaining. Sakho would be the Irons’ top goalscorer in this 2014/15 season with 12 goals from 26 appearances; Cresswell would be voted Hammer of the Year, with Adrian runner-up for the second consecutive season.

That advantage was halved within two minutes when the brilliant David Silva beat Noble, Song and Stewart Downing before bending a beautiful shot around Winston Reid and beyond Adrian, the Spanish stopper finally beaten. Heroic defending from Reid and Collins thwarted Aguero twice more before Adrian’s superb save saw him tip over substitute Stevan Jovetic’s drive from distance in the dying moments to secure a famous win over the reigning champions.

West Ham would end the season in 12th place while Manchester City finished in second. Chelsea won the Premier League and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Adrian, Carl Jenkinson, James Collins, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Alex Song, Mark Noble, Morgan Amalfitano (Cheikhou Kouyate), Stewart Downing, Diafra Sakho (Kevin Nolan), Enner Valencia (Carlton Cole).

Manchester City: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Gael Clichy (Aleksandar Kolarov), Jesus Navas, Fernando (James Milner), Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko (Stevan Jovetic).

Club Connections

A large group of players have represented West Ham United and Manchester City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – Joe Hart, Perry Suckling, David James.

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

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

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

Manuel Pellegrini has managed both clubs. Stuart Pearce played for both clubs and has managed Manchester City and is now back on the Hammers’ coaching staff. Malcolm Allison and John Bond were also West Ham players who went on to manage City.

Today’s focus though falls on a striker who played for Manchester City and later represented West Ham United. Clive Allen was born in east London on 20th May 1961, the son of former Chelsea, Tottenham and QPR forward Les Allen. Growing up in Hornchurch and a young star with Havering, Essex and London Schools teams, Clive began his career at QPR before becoming the youngest million-pound player when moving to Arsenal in 1980 at the age of 19, although he would not play a competitive match for the Gunners – soon after signing, he was involved in a swap move with Kenny Sansom and joined Terry Venables’ Crystal Palace. Allen returned to QPR (now managed by Venables) in 1981 for £700,000 before signing for Tottenham in 1984 for the same fee. He scored 49 goals in all competitions in 1986/87 and was voted PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year for that campaign. He moved to France in March 1988, signing for Bordeaux for £1m. He also won five England caps between 1984 and 1988.

A clearly prolific goalscorer, the 28-year-old Allen was signed by manager Mel Machin for newly-promoted Manchester City for £1.1m in the summer of 1989. He made his City debut on 19th August 1989 in a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool, starting in a team which also featured future West Ham team-mates Ian Bishop and Trevor Morley. Allen’s first goal for the Sky Blues was the winner in a 1-0 victory against former club QPR at Maine Road on 9th September 1989. The arrival of Howard Kendall as manager in November 1989 changed the team’s style but Allen still went on to score 11 goals in 35 appearances in 1989/90 as City finished 14th. Shortly after Kendall’s arrival, Allen asked his new manager if he could be included in the move which saw Bishop and Morley move to West Ham in exchange for Mark Ward. The arrivals of Adrian Heath and Niall Quinn limited Allen’s game time and things didn’t get much better for him when Peter Reid took over as player-manager in November 1990; Allen scored seven goals in 28 matches in 1990/91 as the Sky Blues finished fifth in the First Division.

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Ordered by Reid to train with the youth team for ten weeks in 1991, Allen was surprisingly called into the squad for a trip to Notts County’s Meadow Lane. A favourite amongst the Manchester City faithful, the Sky Blues supporters sang Allen’s name as he waited for his chance from the bench in the match on 6th October 1991 – Reid eventually put Allen on and he scored twice in a 3-1 victory. These would be his last league goals for the club. His final strike for the club came in a 3-0 League Cup second round second leg win at Chester two days later. He played his last game for the Sky Blues in a 2-1 League Cup fourth round defeat at Middlesbrough on 3rd December 1991. Allen scored 21 goals in 69 appearances for Manchester City. He joined Chelsea in December 1991 for a modest £250,000.

After three months at Stamford Bridge, the 30-year-old Allen joined Billy Bonds’ West Ham United on the eve of the transfer deadline in March 1992 in a £250,000 deal. Clive followed in the footsteps of cousins Paul and Martin in pulling on the famous claret and blue. He scored on his debut in a 2-1 defeat at, ironically, Chelsea on 4th April 1992 but his late arrival could not prevent the Hammers from suffering relegation at the end of that 1991/92 campaign.

Allen’s partnership with former City team-mate Morley played a large part in the promotion campaign of 1992/93. He scored the Hammers’ first goal of that season in a 1-0 win at Barnsley on 16th August 1992 – his knack of finding space and being in the right place at the right time saw him go on to score 18 goals in 36 appearances that season, despite a calf injury keeping him out from mid-January to early May. He bagged his first Hammers brace in a 5-1 win at Bristol City on 15th September 1992 and scored eight goals in six games between 21st November and 12th December, including two more doubles in a 2-0 home win over Reggiana in the Anglo-Italian Cup and a 3-1 home win over Birmingham.

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Allen picked up a calf injury early on in a 2-0 home win over promotion rivals Portsmouth on 16th January 1993 and did not appear for the first team again until making his comeback from injury over three months later, at Swindon on 2nd May – he stepped off the bench to score the Hammers’ second in a crucial 3-1 victory. Six days later, he again appeared as a substitute in the final match of the season against Cambridge at the Boleyn – Allen was mobbed by pitch-invading supporters as his late tap-in from a Julian Dicks pass secured a 2-0 win and ensured the club’s automatic promotion to the Premier League by virtue of a single goal ahead of Portsmouth. It was also the final goal scored in front of the old South Bank at Upton Park.

Allen started West Ham’s first six games as a Premier League club, and scored his final goals for the Hammers when bagging a brace in a 2-0 home win over Sheffield Wednesday on 25th August 1993, securing the club’s first ever win in the newly-branded big time. A medial knee ligament injury sustained in a tackle with former Hammer Paul Ince at Old Trafford in early September kept Allen out for five months but he returned to play three games in February 1994, before making his last appearance in claret and blue as a substitute in a goalless draw with Luton in an FA Cup quarter-final at the Boleyn on 14th March 1994. Clive Allen had scored 21 goals in 50 appearances for West Ham United. All 21 of these goals can be viewed in my video below. He moved to his seventh London club, Millwall, for £75,000 on transfer deadline day in March 1994.

Allen ended his footballing career with Carlisle in 1995 and also had a spell as placekicker for the London Monarchs in NFL Europe in 1997. Now 59, Allen has worked in the media and been a coach at Tottenham, taking over caretaker manager duties for two spells in 2007 and 2008.

Referee

The referee on Saturday will be 42-year-old Anthony Taylor – his Irons appointments last season were for our 1-1 draw at Brighton in August 2019, our 2-0 home win over Manchester United in September, our 3-1 home win over Southampton last February and, most recently, our 2-0 home defeat to Wolves in June. He also refereed our 1-0 win at Tottenham in April 2019.

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Controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor was in charge for our 2-1 opening-day defeat at Chelsea in August 2016, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner. Taylor also awarded a controversial and ultimately match-winning penalty to Liverpool at Upton Park in April 2014, while there was also controversy surrounding Guy Demel’s equaliser for West Ham in that game. Taylor is also the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to David Moyes’ Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March 2016 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

The VAR Official is Peter Bankes.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United should have Michail Antonio and Sebastien Haller available. The Hammers have lost their five previous matches against Manchester City at London Stadium by an aggregate score of 22-1, Aaron Cresswell scoring the Irons’ goal.

Manchester City will be without Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus. Pep Guardiola also has doubts over Nathan Ake, Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne. City are the only visiting team to have won five times at London Stadium.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Rice, Soucek, Fornals; Antonio.

Possible Manchester City XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling; Aguero.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Follow @dan_coker on twitter.


Nigel Kahn’s Column

Don't dream its over, till it's over

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Manchester City on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 10am on Saturday.

Thursday 15 Oct
Article Day and it seems my tongue in cheek christening of the signing of Brentford’s Said Benrahma as Ben-drahma seems to be quite prophetic. He had agreed on terms so now it was just his medical, a formality usually and then the club will knock up some useless video to justify employing too many people in the media department and he can be announced. But as the evening goes on, he is not announced. Now I won’t say panic set in, but over in Twitter land the West Ham natives were showing discontent and the usual conspiracy theories were starting to set it. Most involved it was a play by the owners to try to get him on the cheap. “Don’t worry “the lords of West Ham ITKs, we can go to bed, it will be announced in the morning.

Friday 16th Oct
Busy day at work, phone on silent. Stop around half twelve for a cup of tea, checked the phone, messages into the 30s. When one of my friends asked me the question, What is going with Benrahma I’m hearing he’s failed the medical. Now when he asks, that makes me think there is something it. A quick scan of messages and it seems all is not good, there is indeed a problem. Some it seems a small part of the medical has flagged something up, the deal is possibly in the balance. It’s possible as well, Josh King is having a medical as a back-up. There is plenty of ‘he says, she says’ going on but the situation was ever-changing and anyway, it was a busy day of work for me and it couldn’t stop just because a player may or may not now be signed.

1972, Frank Worthington signs for Liverpool, sitting at the desk with a pen in his hand, contract n table with a beaming Bill Shankly and his assistant Bob Paisley standing behind him. The Huddersfield Town star was joining the biggest club in the land. Only thing is, if you look at a list of Frank’s clubs he played for, Liverpool is not listed. The story goes that Frank was physically fit and passed 90% of the medical, the 1 problem was, he had high blood pressure. The cause? His off the field life with the ladies. Shanks still wanted his man, so off Frank goes to Mallorca to rest and recuperate before the next medical to finalise the deal. He gets back, Still, the blood pressure is high, and despite as the pic shows, he does not sign fully for Liverpool.

The reason I tell that is the reaction I found on Twitter to the possible collapse of the signing was off the scale. It seems to many it was a deliberate ploy by Dave Sullivan to keep the money for himself that the club banked from the Grady Dianganna transfer. That was just one of the borderline sane comments I saw, many were off the scale bonkers. I don’t get what it is about West Ham that turns sane normal people into a mentally deranged frothing at the teeth lunatics but it seems many on Twitter check their brain in for a rest when they log in and pick it up on the way out. The conspiracy theories are just wild, and that me being polite. I suppose the fact the I knew in advance Benrahma would be announced at 7 pm helped me not be so over-reactive, but even if I didn’t I can’t say I’d go ballistic if a player that failed a medical wasn’t signed. Due to the failed medical, the club changed the terms of the deal with Brentford, not in a dastardly fashion way the financials to Brentford remain the same, it was converted to a 1 season loan though to enable the further investigations of what caused the problem with a small part of the medical to fail.

Perhaps if Liverpool had done the same Frank Worthington may have joined them. Instead Frank flew off to Majorca, On the plane, he met a Swedish woman and with her mum. The legend goes he bed both of them and a few others while out there, On his return the 2nd medical was failed and instead of joining a club on the cusp of becoming a European giant, he joined Leicester.

Saturday 10th Oct
Another Saturday with no football, but at least this week it is only a 24-hour wait unlike last week when it was 8 days away. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait. Today’s social media story is the fact that The West Ham Way podcast is becoming pay per view/listen. There is a debate to be had as I understand why they have chosen the route they have, though I do have reservations. If you produce decent content that the public enjoys and are willing to pay for surely you should be rewarded for that, the flip side is that the West Ham way was built on being a free podcast, if they take that behind a paywall and don’t have anything free then some will feel disappointed. I won’t lie, I have wondered if I could make a living out of football (not playing, I’m not mad) I still have some ideas I may try but whether it would be good enough to be paid for that service, my-self doubt will always kick in.

Sunday 11th Oct
Gameday
It is not often my wife is in the room when the football is on, but sitting there she was as the game kicked off. 45 seconds later we go 1 down, watching with me my daughter’s boyfriend Charlie sighed ‘that was quick’. I replied “45 seconds and the dream is over”. My wife looks up and utters, “Now you know how I feel”. 6 minutes later goal 2, after my expletives die down my wife then gets up to go “twice in 7 minutes’ I’ve never had that”. I was just glad she had gone by the 15th minute as the third goal went in, as the put down after that would have just added salt to the wound. I did remind the people in the group chat though that we did get 3 at Wembley when losing, that was when we were 2-0 down and I predicted a 3-2 win. But I have seen West Ham get out of tricky situations in the past so I try to always keep the faith. I turn to Twitter to remind the good folk of our 3 goal feet at Wembley and also the West Brom come back in 2010, after the Scott Parker Churchillian speech in the dressing room. I must admit that with 10 minutes to goal my urges of just 1 and its fun time didn’t seem to be realistic, but there is built into this club the ability to pull that rabbit out the hat as much as we have of then dropping the hat and the rabbit scampers away. When people ask me (non-WHU fans) why I go, I always say, it is hardly ever boring as you never know with us what will happen. Today is just evidence of that fact.

Monday 12th Oct
The morning news sports round up leads with Gareth Bale’s return to English football, the result and the game seems to be a secondary note. Quite how this ignored as a footnote in the morning report on Good Morning Britain I am not sure but then they are not known for the sports reporting ability. Calm is restored to Twitter land with the Benrahma saga finally over and the result still is celebrated what is there to complain about. We can just enjoy the videos of the Spurs Youtubers who just literally die in front of our eyes as they witness the last 10 minutes and Spurs doing what they do best, Bottle it. I don’t like saying that about Spurs actually as for me it diminishes our response in those 10 minutes + the 5 extra-time minutes to recover from 3 down. I don’t think they bottled it, I think the players believed they could do it once the first goal went in.

Tuesday 13th Oct
So it seems that the big picture document put together by Man United and Liverpool to restructure not just the Premier League but the EFL as well was not just an attempt at being a power grab, it was also a way of freeing them to be able to compete in a new European League apparently being put together by FIFA. It Seems FIFA want to bypass UEFA and have their own league running through the European domestic season with the 18 biggest clubs in Europe taking part. FIFA declined to comment (I bet they did) but Skys report online, was detailed to me to believe this is near enough down the line to being announced. As the league will run alongside the domestic leagues it would like the rest of the Premier League have nothing to fear, but If this league does start then it will start the demise of the power our domestic league has. The Premier League is around the world the biggest and most-watched of all the leagues, but if this league happens the TV companies, The sponsors and the cooperate users will be drawn by the possibility of the glamour games being nearly constant. It’s worrying as well that both our two biggest teams are American owners as they may prefer the American route of no relegation competition meaning only those invited can compete. In years to come if this league is allowed to happen then it will diminish our league, and possible signal the break up as I would imagine the ultimate goal is to play solely in this league possibly just leaving their reserve team to play out domestically.

Wednesday 14th Oct
A full day of work today so hope you enjoyed reading the article and see you all next week as we enjoy the defeat of Man City together.


The Jimmy Cooney Column

Never Stop Swingin'!

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Manchester City on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 10am on Saturday.

Also, please welcome a new columnist to our stable, Jimmy Cooney.

Well, I’m finally trying to write an official blog about a football club that brings many people all over the world, together.

I can’t tell ya why I’m so nervous. Sunday evening was a perfect example of what not just football, but what life, can teach one about up’s, down’s, happy, sad, angry, hopeful, and then, in between the hope and the glory…… complete joy.

Every once in a while, I get a feelin’…. its comes from out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning, or more like a good sugar or caffeine jolt that says “do not give up”. I had the same kinda buzz about 7 years ago (holy moly!!) on a similar October day.

West Ham United F.C., (as we should always consider ourselves, imho)….is a very unique, and historic club. With that, London is a big, big, city, and where I’m all for humans working together when it comes to survival, understanding, acceptance, and forward progress, I would never, ever say that any specific identity, or special traditions, be taken away from any group of people, no matter their size, or heritage.

This is where I want to make myself clear. The reason English football is so appealing to me, (for those who don’t know, I’m from Philadelphia Pa. USA) That it is is “English football”, may it not lose any more of its “English-ness” ( ba-leeeve me), I don’t want no stinkin’ commercials in the middle of my half!!! My posts are obvious, especially that I’d love nothing more than for the next owners of the club to be Sir Trevor Brooking, Tony Cottee, and Carlton Cole! All three are English, and all three, were prolific players for West Ham United F.C., however, I was informed about one who may be going through tough some issues right now that would make it hard to by a home, let alone a top flight, English football club, even one that you have a huge “foot” :-) in the history, and a tradition.

However,as I pointed out, this has become, a worldwide family, and to be honest, I don’t care where the next owners of West Ham United F.C. are from, or what their skin looks like, what God, Tree, or chair they worship, so long as they Really care about Whufc!

Perhaps, overall, the world, can get rid of all the negative factors of the 19th and first half of the 20th Century, focus on the good, and show us into the 2nd quarter, (forgive the inner Yank), :-)) of the 21st, in better shape.

My goodness, my thoughts are all over the place, but like my guest post, I will just free form til I have a better grasp on filing an official column for such a great football club.

There’s nothing like a strike from outside the 18 yard box, in my opinion. Sometimes, a club needs to rely on their amf’s or even *cmf’s to come up with a rifle shot, from, someone who was due, has never even appeared to be anything but thrilled to be a member of of West Ham United F.C.

As a matter of fact, never doubt the “Dan Man”! Where I may have given into this streak of cold blood the state the the world, entertainment and modern sport are in, had I been in charge, and sold Manuel Lanzini, Dan said to keep him “as long as it takes”! Hopefully, Manu is back, hopefully the knee holds up. I’ll will never forget that strike.

Of course, these are not great days for WHUFC or the planet, however we work our best to fight thru a normal day, which, sometimes my shockingly whimsical mind believes that “normal” only existed for about a year, in 1954, and not even that long, but that’s most likely for another blog!

Most folks aren’t happy with the owner ship, which I can understand, however, to say that all three don’t care? I’d say that would be a bit too far to go, at least one, was an East Ham kid, who grew up Jewish, in East London, during the 1940’s and 1950’s (and since I’ve never lived there) I can only imagine, that David Gold may be the only person other than Cass Pennant, that could claim a tougher “paper route” as a kid, Cass, who most know, is African-English and grew up in East London, during the 1950’s and ’60’s).

I know, I’m kind of all over the place, but then one common theme is Unity……… it was amazing….on Sunday evening, that even though, we were done 3-0 in North London, against the bloody Spurs, so many were still holding fast, (maybe drinking heavily, and or, listening to probably some of the same metal tunes that Hamburg was diggin’ on) :-)).

Then, after all the hard work that noticed since Moyes has been back, (quite frankly), slowly, we were meeting their challenges, this group wouldn’t spot comin’, and of course, some will blame Balbuena for the first goal…….not me….. good luck going one on one with Son, I, for rivalry reasons, will always hate Son, (until hes wearing West Ham United claret and blue), however, that is a sports rivalry hate, his infectious positivity is probably 25% of why they have achieved what they have in the last few years.

One must admit, given all the circumstances, Tottenham Hotspur are a club filled with talent. Although, I still would like to see if Kane can actually throw one (a punch) just …… cos he tried to “lowbridge” Cresswell, who will be yet another player that some tend to blame lot of our woes upon, yet, he gives 110% every match he’s fit….anyways, Harry….if you are that good, and upstanding…… how come you dive like an Olympian when someone a foot shorter than you, breathes in your general direction?!?! Meanwhile,Var and the refs still can’t seem to agree?

Anyways, I know I’m all over the place, and I’m really nervous. However, this shows how hard everyone who maintains a weekly column on here, (some, more than one), can be.

Sure, when I’m feeling it, I can jump on and come up be with a long post, but when it needs to be in by a certain time……. it’s difficult, and I respect everyone here that much more for keeping up, week after week, which, how many would have enjoyed as vicious as a hangover as I had yesterday, or writing my first article, had Bale and Kane not whiffed when they had a chance to kill the match off?!?! True. Still? The general message would be the same, I’m pretty sure.

And back ‘round to Sunday’s result, feels that much more like 3 pts, also, cos NO one gave us a shot to stay up, we, believed, we stayed up.

No one gave us a chance to have any points before we hit the so-called “soft part” of our opening to the campaign, were in going on Matchweek 5, in 9th place, on 7pts, with a plus 4 goal differential. Not too shabby.

Well, I’m gonna wind this up, so you all can keep discussing this wonderful football club (I’d still be saying the same had we lost, but like I posted pre match, "I got the same feeling that I had on 6/10/2013……which was a 1-3 win….but sometimes, one point feels like all 3……..

Love You All

Jimmy.

The GoatyGav Column

Those Jump In The Air Moments

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Manchester City on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 10am on Saturday.*

Couple of, car related, emergencies today so apologies for the late post.

One of my, more magnanimous, Spud supporting mates sent a whatsapp message to a group of friends suggesting that my wife ‘peel me off the ceiling’ after Lanzini’s goal on Sunday. He wasn’t far wrong in fairness to him.

After the match had finished and the Euphoria subsided (slightly) I reflected on similar moments in matches from the past. The first that sprung to mind was the ‘Barthez’ hand in the air goal that saw DiCanio knock Manyoo out of the cup that season. I was in the local, at the end of the bar where the regulars took up residence. At the other end were a dozen of their lot making a decent amount of noise. When the goal went in I was sitting at a square table with a couple of drinks on. The ‘Jump in the air’ moment, as you’ve no doubt deduced, didn’t just involve myself. The table shot up along with the pints, during my celebration, much to the amusement of those gathered. Despite the laughter the other end of the bar went very quiet.

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The following season I had the pleasure of watching us win at Old Trafford again. Amidst the, amusing, chants of “Barthez! Give Us A Wave!” and “Let’s All Do The Barthez!” Jermaine Defoe grabbed the only goal of the game. As I, and two West Ham supporting mates, were sat with the Manyoo fans we had to temper our celebrations, which was no easy feat, however the jumping did commence when we were in the car coming away from the Trafford Centre. Next to us in the queue a blacked out Merc was ‘bouncing’ to ‘Night Boat To Cairo’ before the rear windows opened and the bouncing continued while the lads sat on the open window of the door. Needless to say we joined in the celebrations although I was driving so, on that occasion, I was the more subdued one.

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At home on the occasion of the 2006 cup final the euphoria was on a similar level. The celebration for the third goal, however, did require a level of self-control. For Spit the Dog’s own goal I shouted so loud that my youngest, who was 18 months old at the time, curled his bottom lip and burst in to tears. When Deano hit the second I was, once again, unable to contain myself and brought on a second wave of sobbing from the toddler. For Konch’s cross/lob/shot I simply bit my fist and made a b-line for the patio doors before the release. Not sure what the effect was on the other small children in the neighbourhood but that time, thankfully, number two son seemed much happier.

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One snowy Tuesday night, while at darts, another famous victory warranted some jumping. This time with a slight twist in that I jumped on one of my, Manyoo supporting, team-mate’s back following Jonathan Spector’s inspired performance in the league cup. When the fourth, and Cole’s second, went in I couldn’t hold back and so the fist waving victory salutes were conducted in piggyback position. Jase is a decent lad and took it well.

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Most likely the highest point of all was the cup win in 1980. During some fairly dark times for me that was a massive high point. As an eleven year old, and living up north, I can remember dancing around the living room at the final whistle. I can remember as much the relief as the celebration as the latter stages were a nail-biting affair. The phone didn’t stop ringing with calls of congratulations from friends and family members. Many neutrals at school wanted a West Ham win so I walked tall through the school gates the following week. Happy days.

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There have certainly been others. Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid injury during them all down the years. No doubt you’ll all have similar tales and I’d love to hear them so please do share.

Not a great weekend for the ladies again. Although I haven’t had time to watch any of the match, or highlights, it sounded like another case of missed opportunities. I did have SSN on in the latter stages of the game as the reports of the last two goals from the Manchester United Women came in. It’s a very difficult thing to stay positive and confident when the results are simply not going your way however you do get the feeling that their first win of the season isn’t far off. Hopefully a good showing at Birmingham City in a couple of weeks will see us climb the table.

Have a great week all.

COYI!


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