West Ham travel to the City of Doom to play Everton in the midweek game on Wednesday, where we will be hoping that David Moyes can return to his former club and claim his first victory for us. Goodison is not a ground where we have had much return – 6 away wins in the past 50 years. (Particularly galling for me as my wife’s family are Evertonians) However we do have the recent memory of that comeback from 2 – 0 down to win 2 – 3 courtesy of a last minute goal from Dmitri Payet following a header from Andy Carroll and that flick from Diafra Sakho: as clear a memory to me as if it happened last night!
Ahead of the game I spoke to food blogger and hardcore Everton fan James Coke aka The DIsabled Chef to discuss everything West Ham and Everton.
This week’s game sees us both sited near the bottom of the table, where I imagine that pre-season we would have both been hoping for top half positions? Both teams have recently sacked their managers, were you one of those that was calling for Koeman’s head?
Well I always thought you boys would struggle. Signing a lot of Premiership OAP’s after a big pay day was madness so I reckon I’ve been partly vindicated on that one, but I got it totally wrong on Everton, who I’d tipped for Top 5 vertigo. What a shambles we’ve been! In fact we’ve done the same as you – signing Grandad Rooney and sticking with the likes of Williams & Jags, like you’ve done with Noble & sick note Andy. Sadly they have all become liabilities and we both pay them a King’s ransom – it’s a joke. As for Koeman – Don’t get me onto him! I’ve never forgiven him for hauling down Platty and then flipping Seaman in that World Cup qualifier in 1993. My mate who is a big Saint, warned me abut his arrogance and ability to wind players up. He’s done a great job doing that with the likes of Ross Barkley and by the end seemed incapable of motivating the team, so he had to go. Believe me I was more than happy to see him and his bro, run out of town but I can’t say things have been hunky dory since his departure.
Be honest do you wish that Everton had appointed David Moyes to be back in charge at Everton and not West Ham?
I loved Moysey. When he left, it felt like the end of an eleven year marriage and I found it difficult to adjust to my new Spanish flame. You knew what you were getting with Davy boy. Ok, it was often dour but I had some great times following him and his Blue army. However I didn’t want him back once he’d told luvvie Blll he wanted out, it was like the bar coming down in a game of bar billiards – it was over!. When I’d heard he signed up with you boys I did have a little chortle. Me and my mate had been in the lower bullens for Moysey’s farewell, ironically against West Ham. There was some great banter that day between the fans. West Ham had been singing ’You’ve got no Manager’ with the Gladys Street endresponding immediately: You’ve got Sam Alladyce’, which had everyone in the ground creasing up, including big Sam. It would have been very ironic then if we’d ended up with a managerial flip flop on Wednesday night. As they say – be careful what you wish for.
I understand that some Everton fans were asking for David ‘Rhino’ (as the Everton fans call him, although West Ham fans would consider him to be a bit ‘hen-pecked’) Unsworth to be put in charge, immediately after Koeman’s sacking. Were you one of those, and if so what do you think about him now?
Steady dude – I thought he enjoyed his time in Canning Town before getting lost on the M6 on transit to Villa. Have to admit I was right up for ‘Rhino’. He’s done a great job with the U23’s, winning the title last season and it seemed like a natural step up – especially as he is one of our own. However the last six games have been chastising for him. He looked like he’d had a little cry after the weekends humiliation at St Mary’s and appears to be out of his league. It’s a shame as he’d blooded some of the young lads and him and Big Dunc might have sorted out some of those egos and what it means to pull on that royal blue shirt. It’s a brutal game though and we’ve got to stay up, so I’m with Joey Barton on that (well not the fat-ism bit, which is a bit rich coming from him) and having Rhino returned to the pastures he’s comfortable with and the protected status that he should be afforded.
I understand that Everton will be announcing their new manager this week, any thoughts on that?
Hmmm……..yes, it’s been playing on my mind. What gets me is why we hadn’t had someone lined up as soon as Ronnie boy was shown the door. To be honest I have lost faith in Steve Walsh (our signings in the summer say it all), and the board for that matter anymore. Their recent dealings have been amateurish, lacking a plan of action. In my dreams, I’d love the idea of Diego Simone, prised from Athletico Madrid, turning up to Finch farm with a dagger between his teeth, but we’ll probably end up with Tony Pullis and a dogfight for survival. At least it won’t be ‘dodgy’ Sam who crazily ruled himself out from this dream job – or has he?. At this moment in time what fool would turn down the opportunity to manage Everton FC and judging by reports this morning Sam is back in the mix – it’s every Evertonians nightmare scenario.?
Where do you think Everton will end up at the end of the season?
I had such high hopes at the start of the season. Yes, we’d lost Rom, our goal machine, but we’d had acquired a host of ageing No 10’s, some young English defenders and other guys who’d never played in the Premiership for £150 million – What could possibly go wrong? So far it’s been a disaster! Every game I find myself clawing my face pleading with higher beings to make things better, but it gets worse, week by week. Gallows humour about fear of the drop helps, but the ongoing storm has forced me back to my bunker, fearing the worst. However as a life long Evertonian I always live with hope – 12th.
Is David Moyes the right man for West Ham, and where do you think he will lead us come the season’s end?
I hope he is. He was great with us bringing some real passion and stability to the club, but I worry whether that left him somewhat, when he exited Goodison. He hasn’t had it easy in his last three jobs and he’ll need time to get things going with West Ham and time is often something you don’t get in the Premiership. Hopefully you Irons will warm to him and I’m sure he’ll find a way to keep you up, but I’m not sure he is your long term option – 15th
Of course West Ham fans will remember that famous 2 – 3 victory at Goodison two seasons ago mentioned above. Do you have any particular memories of West Ham/Everton games of the past?
Well I won’t forget Frank Lampard dancing round the corner flag at Elland road in 1980 either, but happier memories include, a late Tony Cottee winner in ‘94 and going bonkers in the Bobby Moore stand, Yaks winner in the League cup quarter final and a few other beatings we’ve handed out to you over the years. I checked out the Olympic stadium for our bore-draw last season and thought it was soulless. Even some of the stewards from the old Boleyn ground I was chatting too, thought the club had sold out and the new stadium lacked the atmosphere of the old. We could learn a lot from your experience when we move to Bramley Moore. Both of us are community clubs and even with the changing climate of the game and the billions being poured into it , we should never lose that identity. The fans are the ones that have shaped our clubs, laid its foundations, we are the
custodians if you want and that should never be forgotten.
If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose and why?
Is that a trick question? Are you having a bubble with me? No offence but no-one is jumping out at me. Cresswell could do a job on saying that and Antonio has drifted in and out of my fantasy team this season But the ‘Ammers’ have been as bad as the ’Toffee’s’. It could be swap shop time on Wednesday though if the managers situation is anything to go by. I’m sure Moysey will come knocking on the door in January for Mirallas, Bainsey & Jags; and Sam if appointed, will be dipping into the West Ham reserves. The whole situation should fill us both with dread – let’s move onto the next question.
Which Everton player(s) will be key to your hopes this season?
I had hoped to provide a plethora of names but I’m struggling from what I’ve witnessed this season. The defence is so dire (be worried they are coming to you) that a lot rests on Pickford. Other than him we need to sort out the No 10 and build around Sigurdsson and hope Bolaisie & Coleman have recovered fully. Barkley needs to be brought back into the fold but I fear he’ll leave. Other than that I reckon I could put in a better performance confined to my wheelchair than some of the donkeys we have masquerading as players.
How do you expect Everton to setup against West Ham on Wednesday/team/formation prediction?
Both teams need a win but we’ll be missing Keane & Baines, so our defence should be even more shaky than normal. I hope we play with Lookman to test your pace and I wouldn’t mind seeing Sandro getting a run out. He scored a cracker in our 1-5 thrashing by Atalanta but I stick reckon he has something to offer. I reckon we’ll go with a 3-5-2 Pickford, Jags, Williams, Martina, Kenny, Besic, Gueye, Davis, Lookman, Gylfi & Sandro
All Hammers fans will be thanking whichever higher power they recognise that Romelu Lukaku is no longer playing for Everton. Since his departure you are struggling to score goals, are you feeling confident that you can beat us? Prediction for score?
Rom had a hex on you guys, guaranteed to score in every game so his absence will boost you. However, it’ll be a bear bit and a night game which will motivate us. We’ve had some right clangers overs the years but I expect this to be a cagey affair. It reminds me of Mike Walkers penultimate game in ‘94 which I listened to on Capital Gold with Jonathan Pearce sounding like a screaming banshee. We narrowly beat you 1-0 nil that night and I’m predicting the same score-line Wednesday with Sandro to bag the winner. Whatever happens I’m going to miss out! It’s my birthday and my missus is taking me to the theatre which is a complete cock up on my part. I’’ll have my phone on silent but will be dreading any messages from my West Ham buddy whose sure to let me know if you score. Hopefully when I leave the theatre my inbox will be clear, Everton will have won and I’ll be wording my text asking how it all went. God, football is a cruel mistress!!
Thanks to Jim for his time, his musings on food can be found at The Disabled Chef
For my part I think that we can get the 7th away victory of my lifetime at Goodison: 1 – 2 to West Ham. Come on you Irons!