Make no mistake, that was one crap Sunday all around for me. Starting with the Concordia game early afternoon (excuse me if I start with them, if you ain’t interested, just skip the first two paragraphs). In order to keep any mathematical promotion chance alive Cordi had to beat an already relegated home side (Halstenbek-Rellingen) who moreover had one eye on their upcoming local Cup Final, yet Cordi somehow managed to lose yet another game against inferior opposition (and the refereeing crew) by a 1:2 scoreline.
The refs strangely enough were all from former East Germany (???), and not even from clubs in the local area, but from far away, and the linesman on my side started to fight his own personal battle against Concordia’s players, manager, assistant coaches, substitutes and fans, myself included (!!!) right from the first whistle.
Whenever someone dared vociferously questioning a dubious offside call or freekick decision he told everyone to pipe down or face being ejected from the coaching zone/stadium straight away. That’s the kind of guy he was. Attention seeker if I ever saw one. Secretly wishing to be the referee himself instead of only being the assistant waving his sorry little flag at random. Shortly before the end he jumped at the chance to give Concordia the proverbial finger in the shape of some payback, coaxing the ref into awarding a suspicious penalty against the Cordi boys, giving a handball against our defender who had cleared the ball on the line. The ball might in fact have hit his arm actually, but from very short distance and the player was merely turning himself away, arm NOT even stretching out from his body, in order to block the shot. But a red card was given regardless, the opposition scored the penalty and that was that. Game and season over.
It was a season of two halves for Cordi, being breathtakingly fantastic until shortly before Christmas while playing incredibly dire for pretty much the remainder of the season. But on the plus side the club is gearing towards promotion in the near future and there have even been rumours of Cordi building a new stadium of their own not too far from where I live actually, walking distance even at one and a half miles away.
This could be a goer if the City of Hamburg agreed to put a bit of money into that project in a supporting role, same as what happened at other local clubs in recent years, doing up football pitches or building new grounds altogether. I shall be keeping my fingers crossed most certainly.
As for the West Ham game against Liverpool, well, the less said the better, when I switched on the game upon my return (game hadn’t finished yet) we were 3:0 down already with almost half an hour left to go. From what I saw meself and what the pundits said in their post game analysis I gathered that our team must have been as indifferent, terrible and mistake-ridden in this one as we were eager, brilliant and focussed the week before in our win against Spurs.
I would not read too much into that result though, Klopp and Liverpool had everything to play for, we already had our personal Cup Final against Spurs and it appears to me like our season’s bubble had reached the sky with the Spurs win only to fade, burst and die straight after. We also cannot ignore the ridiculous list of players being out, recovering from surgical repairs and the like. We have been discussing in numerous threads how much we need to learn from this nightmare of a season. We’ve suffered enough injuries, rotten luck and bad decisions at club level to last three seasons, nevermind just the one almost completed.
We all sense the need to address a multitude of pressing issues in order to avoid a repeat of this dire season in 2017/18. For me the main thing still lacking at West Ham is a clear path, a long-term strategy and concept to adhere to and follow doggedly with focus and determination. Decide what kind of club we actually want to be, what kind of football we want to play and then put the personnel in place, the training regime, the transfer strategy etc.
And stick to it. It may cost money but that comes with the territory of playing Premier League football.
As I said, I have already renewed my season ticket. So who we sell, who we sign, if we get rid of Bilic and bring in Mancini will not make much of a difference to me in terms of the number of games I will attend next season. Of course I would prefer us to keep Bilic and hang on to players like Lanzini, Antonio and Kouyate. But if not, well, I would make a mental note to myself in that case and will continue to criticise the owners when I feel it’s warranted.
But I still have some hope we will see a much different transfer window at West Ham this summer. If not the backlash for the owners prior to what would then be our third season at the London Stadium would be massive and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes in that scenario.
Talking of the board, I briefly have to mention that I tried to initiate a preseason friendly between “my” clubs, West Ham and Concordia, in Hamburg, this summer.
With the kind help of Sean Whetstone my request actually reached the relevant people in charge at West Ham and there was potential to find a suitable venue and date in July.
Alas, unfortunately the match fee asked for/required by West Ham was prohibitive for a club of Concordia’s size and budget to get this game on the road.
I spoke to the Concordia hierarchy at length, and doing their sums back and forth they tried to find a workable solution, but Concordia as a lower league club couldn’t risk financial ruin in order to host a marquee friendly against Premier League opposition just for the sake of it.
I still have to thank Sean a lot for trying to get the ball rolling.
I will stay in touch with him and West Ham though about the possibility to play a friendly against the West Ham U23s or U18s sometime in the future, or maybe Concordia can find a way to travel to London and play a game at Little Heath or at Dagenham’s Victoria Road ground. We will see. I ain’t giving up just yet.
I hope you all still had a great WHTID meetup yesterday, I always find it an amazing experience to put some more faces to names, to drink and be merry with my fellow fans and readers too in some cases. I know technically the season ain’t quite finished yet and that our development squad too have another vital game on Tuesday.
However, I wanna take this opportunity to thank you all for reading my stuff and putting up with me, especially those of you I had the pleasure sharing time with in person over the course of the season, you all know who you are and how much I value the chats and quality time we shared. Hope for more of that next season!
As for West Ham though I hope for plenty of improvements on various fronts.
It’s about time. The stadium will not get any smaller or change its shape.
And attendances are bound to suffer eventually unless the club and team mirrors our new stadium in terms of size and quality (and I mean the quality of the stadium and its facilities as a sports venue, not a football stadium). We play in a massive stadium now. Our club needs to grow as well in order to fit the place. So far we haven’t really begun doing that.
Over to you Lady Brady, Mr.Sullivan, Mr.Gold and Poštovani gospodine Bilic.
I am sure the West Ham fans will continue to cheer the team on to finally see better times coming our way.
God, do we deserve a bit of fortune next season! COYI!!!