Match Report

One Extraordinary Performance, One Extraordinary Day

Sunday had to be one of the most extraordinary days ever in football league history. Man U lose by six and Liverpool by seven, but I thought the Hammer put in the performance of the day, especially as Spurs were playing against 10 men for most of the match and the Liverpool game resembled pinball.

In my last article, I wrote that I seemed to be with Alice Through The Looking Glass after the performance of the Hammers against Wolves. . So, the performance against Leicester sent me to seventh heaven (that’s the one where God and the Angels dwell). Seven goals scored in two premier league matches and none conceded !

We have to analyse what has brought about this startling transformation. We don’t have to look far. We have a formation that should have been adopted as the standard years ago. Even an old geezer like me has been saying this for a very long time. Having three at the back allows our full backs to get forward and deliver crosses. Cresswell has captured his old form.

It allows Masuaku, who I have always rated as a player, to go to midfield and using his talent on the ball, without the threat that if he lost the ball it would result in a goal. He too can move forward more often.

And just beyond the back three , there is the brilliant Rice. We can see the final compliment to his game will be to see him moving forward more often and have a go at goal. I thought the move he made to provide the pass which resulted in the Bowen goal was outstanding.

After some extraordinary mistakes in the transfer market, we have Soucek and Bowen. They have given 100% in every game they have played. We can see the threat Soucek is in the air to defenders and Bowen is impressive and will improve.

And now with three at the back and a solid midfield, Antonio can be given the support he deserves. I was very critical of Fournals and never thought he was up to the job. But now he is a revelation.

And we may hope that this new sparkle in the Hammer’s game can inspire some of the players who have not fulfilled their potential, such as Haller and Johnson

Yes, we are in extraordinary times. Without crowds, the top sides seem to unable to maintain any consistency. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a side plays at home or away. That suits us very well, since our concrete bowl will never produce the atmosphere that was generated at The Boleyn.

We know now we have enough players to compete with teams at the highest level. Beringing more players in could disrupt our new found brilliance. Coufal should be congratulated for an outstanding debut. He does look solid. I do object to the fact that the commentators don’t seem to look up the Czech pronunciation of his name. It took me ten seconds to find out a Czech ‘C’ is pronounced ‘TS’. It seems strange they can tell me Billy Wright scored a penalty against West Ham in 1959, but they can’t pronounce a name correctly.

Another mystery to me is how Gary Lineker can be paid a fortune, but doesn’t turn up on a Sunday. Is he related to the Pope?


Match Report

Through The Wolverine Looking Glass

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Leicester City on Sunday is ready to enter HERE . The deadline for entries is 10am on Sunday morning.

As I prepared to watch the game at Wolves, I prepared myself for another psychological drubbing.I know a lot of us have been questioning whether it was worth it or was the game up as far as the Hammers were concerned and I am one of them.

As I passed through the living room on the way to the lounge, I paused in front of a large mirror. ‘What if ?’, I thought. Nothing lost by giving it a chance. I went up to the mirror and tried one leg first. It passed through the mirror. Then, the other leg and I was through the looking glass.

On the other side there was a football pitch mowed so that the squares looked like a chess board. A game is about to start, one team in gold and the other in claret and blue. But this is alternate universe. West Ham are playing with three at the back, a formation they should have adopted years ago. Instead, the Red King a Chilean, who it turned out was suffering from dementia, insisted on playing his formation. His lat posting was at the Charge of the Light Brigade.

This team seemed so solid. I lost that sick feeling in my stomach that whatever happened up front, anything could happen at the back. Cresswell had seemed to find his place. He felt confident he could go forward and deliver his beautiful crosses. Baluena, who was supposed to be out of form , was solid. Rice was brilliant. If he were to be sold for £40 million, it would be the crime of the century. Soucek and Bowen were inspired and seemed determined to give everything. Antonio, the bull up front, was causing chaos amongst the opposition. Masuaku was a wonder with his skillful plays on the ball.

And then, an inspired goal set us on the path to glory. We were unstoppable. Why did we need to buy more players, when our reserve team cost more than than the first team? Even Haller gave us a glimpse of what he could achieve. Bringing in new players could be disruptive.

The Red Queen approached me. ‘Don’t you like our new stadium? It’s so big. Have you seen me on TV pretending to be a top business woman? Don’t you think we should change our name to Olympic West Ham? It’s so much more prestigious.’

She was followed by Teedledum and Tweedledee.’Did you listen to my interview on Talksport ?’, Tweedledum asked. ‘It’s everyone else’s faults you know. I haven’t got any money’. He turned out his pockets to illustrate his point.’The fans wanted the Red King, so it’s their fault he turned out to be loco.’

Tweedledee tried to sell me a dildo, as he said his shops were in trouble.

There on a wall was Humpty Dumpty. He could come near me as he was self isolating. As the game progressed he started to do cartwheels across the wall. I warned him to be careful, as he could fall off the wall at any time.

The White Knight , who had an American accent, appeared and started negotiations to buy the football pitch from Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But they wanted at least nine hundred million currant buns and the White Knight only had three hundred million in his backpack.

The whistle went and West Ham had won 4-0. I realised this was a fantasy and woke up on the couch with the cat licking my face. Oh, if only this were possible. A West Ham with a strong defence, a brilliant midfield and an attack which could produce wonderful goals.


Talking Point

A message from David Sullivan

Look here you geezers and dopeheads. You think I care a flying f about what you think. I’m the one who paid the money. Me and that Gold codger. I’m trying to run this club on a financial basis, that is to say, I mean to squeeze every last pound out of it.

Some of you dumbnuts think we should still be at The Boleyn, so you could eat your pie and mash and jellied eels and have a few pints before the game at the local. Then, after the game you enjoyed a punch up. Your type were the ones who attacked the Manchester United coach when they were late to the ground in our last season at the ground.

Now we are in our new ground where the gentry and other foreigners can come and see games. And all I get is the few yobs who are left throwing coins at me and Goldie, so now we have to sit behind a glass screen. The brilliant Karen, a top business women and lord, negotiated a super deal. She wanted us to change our name to Olympic West Ham. A brilliant idea we had to shelves because of you antediluvians.

All we get is ‘We’re too far from the pitch’ and ‘There’s no atmosphere’ and ‘It’s an athletics stadium’. So, it’s an athletics stadium, as if that is my fault. All that counts is that some Arab setting in his palace in the desert is going to pay us a heap of money ,’cos all he knows it that our ground is an Olympic stadium.

And you don’t realise how much we are suffering in the Covid 19 crisis. I can’t flog my retail properties and some bastards are not even paying their rent. I’m probably down to my last hundred million. That’s what I call suffering. And Goldie is in an even worse position. His business, which provides the country with implements of pleasure is almost bust out of site. The man’s probably going to move opposite the ground where he started and he’s ordered a three wheel scooter.

And didn’t I give the so-called fans what they wanted and brought in a top-class manager. Personally, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. He even had difficulty giving me his bank details. And he brought in his friend to buy some top players. I regret I let go, ‘cos I could have got some superb loan deals and older players out of contract on their last legs. Instead, we got dross, some of whom wouldn’t get a place in our womens’ team.

As to the players, I’m paying those morons millions a year and some of them don’t even seem to be bothered. I wouldn’t mind whipping the lot of them.

Anyway, Karen tells me the club is worth £800 million.She’s going to ask that bint who tried to do the Newcastle deal to see if there’s any more Arabs around. After all, how many rich Arabs have you seen in Newcastle. They want to come to London, so they can live a lifestyle they can’t get in the desert.

Anyway, suckers, I’m off next year for sure and you’ll be left with some Arab or American billionaire and you’ll be crying out for the glory days when Sullivan was in charge.

[Note from Iain: And they say satire is dead… Obviously Gary is speaking for himself, not the site]


Talking Point

The Secret Meeting

Brady, Gold and Sullivan are hunched up together in the safe room in Sullivan’s house.

‘David, why are we meeting here?’, Brady asks.

‘Cos it’s secure and I don’t want any of this getting out. Look, we need a way to con fans…’

‘You mean ‘persuade, don’t you?, Gold interjected.

‘Yes, persuade fans to give us their season ticket money, as fast as we can.We have to invent some sort of scenario in which we persuade fans to give us the lolly. Now, Karen, you’re the brains of this organisation. I asked you to come up with a scenario.’

‘A scenario….That makes sense,’ Gold added.’ After all, we know this bloody virus is coming back and it’s unlikely fans will be allowed back to the stadium for some time yet.’

Brady nodded.’ So, this is what I have come up with. I’ve looked in my crystal ball and devined that the Government will allow only a limited crowd to come and watch games. I’ve decided 70% is a good figure, because the average fan will sense they will have a fair chance to see the game. We can say there will be a lottery – everybody likes a lottery.’

‘Mmmm, that’s not bad,’ Sullivan decided.’ Yeh, we can take advantage of their loyalty. As long as we take their money, I don’t give two hoots.’

‘But we must promise to give the money back, if fans aren’t allowed back to games’, Brady added

Gold and Sullivan laughed. ‘Yeh, we’ll promise automatic refunds as long as they ring a number, which we’ll never connect,’ Gold said chuckling.

Brady’s raised her eyebrows,’ I must ask the question about those fans who have lost their jobs during the lockdown. It’s a bit of a blow to them asking for money upfront, when we know we can’t deliver.’

‘ Poor sods. Their loss is nothing compared to how my property portfolio has gone down. What about the fans who don’t trust us?’, Sullivan asked.

They all looked aghast.

Brady nodded,’ I thought about those f**kers. We’ll get them to pay 30% to secure their season ticket and they can go and swing as far as attending any matches. And I’m going to make them only able to renew by ringing up and the average waiting time will be 59 minutes.’

Gold and Sullivan rubbed their hands together.’ Yeh, that will do nicely’, Sullivan concluded.

’Let’s hope none of the fans query what happens to the credit they are due for the past season’s lost games.’ Brady added.


Match Report

The Hammers On Fire

Friday was interesting. First of all my TV fell off the wall, as my wife insisted we should have a new bracket. Now there is a large crack on the screen, but I did manage to get it working by standing it against the wall on the TV cabinet below. I have an outstanding insurance claim. Now, I have to decide on a new TV, I can’t for the life of me understand what is the difference between all the Sony models. I stick to Sony because I have always been satisfied in the past and it avoids a complete brainstorm of trying to decide between makes.

Then, I couldn’t get my phone to cast to the TV, after I had paid my dues to NOW TV. These are the little irritants of daily life.

So, watching the game, I thought I had entered a different dimension. West Ham were on fire in the first half. I have watched the side earlier on in the season where they could hardly make two consecutive passes. Now we were seeing a free flowing side, completely overwhelming Watford.

We are safe! That is a huge achievement, especially for David Moyes, who has now saved us twice and given what we have seen in the past week deserves another crack of the whip.

So, what’s my assessment of each player:

Fabulanski. Truly terrific and well loved by the fans. Despite the pounding we have often received this season, you can count his mistakes on the fingers of one hand.

Johnson. A good first game for him (you can discount the other one) and certainly deserves to be given the opportunity to develop.

Cresswell. Unfortunately, his time is up. Gone are the glory days from him, when we could expect glorious crosses and tremendous free kicks.

Ogbonna. Top class defender who has given good service and has never been blamed when we have performed badly.

Diop. Solid in defence and will improve with age like a good wine.

Fredericks. Has been a complete disappointment. To me he is lazy and hasn’t used his speed to get to the by line. I wouldn’t be disappointed if he was sold.

Rice. Well, I think it will be goodbye. His performance against Watford was immaculate. He has the ability to drive forward and score goals. That would make him the super player.

Noble. Fantastic that he has achieve the 500. But, his time is done and he knows it.

Fornals. A complete disappointment. Sometimes, he comes up with a good pass, but more often than not, he is anonymous.

Soucek. What a fantastic find. He seems to have turned the team around on his own.

Yarmalenko. He has come in for a lot of stick, but he has got a magic left foot and can score goals. He should be retained

Antonio. This man is an example to all of us of outstanding effort and commitment. I always said he was not a centre forward, but he has proved me wrong. I suggested he went to Specsavers and he seems to have taken my advice, as he is now on target. He is definitely player of the year for me.

Haller. Well, what can you say. So far, a complete waste of money.

Anderson. What a disappointment. There is something drastically wrong.

Masuaku. I always said he should be brought into the midfield, due to his sloppy defence. I like him.

Bowen. A great addition to the squad. He oozes commitment and effort and will improve.

Wilshere. I do believe if he was given a run and remained uninjured, he would show his talent.

Lanzini. Not the same player since his injury.

Snodgrass. A great utility player with a wicked ability to cross the ball.

Balbuena. I liked him when he was playing. What went wrong?

So, if we use the money from the sale of Rice wisely, we can see a further improvement. Personally, I think Shelvey would be a good buy, if he becomes available.

I still scratch my head that a side can start the lockdown games so poorly, but drastically improve with a short space of time.


Copyright © 2020 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.