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.

Match Report

Anyone Seen My Dopamine?

It used to be the moment to savour. The moment we all wait for. The moment when West Ham score. Dopamine is released in your brain and for a few moments you become a drug junky.

In these present times, I feel almost nothing. Antonio scores four goals and I sit there staring at the screen, trying to recall the manic outbursts of the past.

So, what do I think is going on?

Firstly, everything about the club in recent months has had a depressing effect on my personality – the ground, the owners, the players and the manager. Why do I keep repeating the same behaviour time after time when I know that the result is likely to be disastrous? Why don’t I take up watching Australian rules football or skiing? I must be a fool to keep watching West Ham , either at the ground or on television, with my stomach churning, biting my nails. My wife cannot understand my nonsensical behaviour. It must be that I am a masochist. I repeat this behaviour, because I believe I deserve it. She thinks I’ve regressed to the level of a kindergarten participant.

Secondly, football is supposed to be a spectator sport. And by spectator, I mean someone watching in the ground, not on television. It is a living spectacle. In these horrible times we are living in, football has been reduced to a sterile experience, compounded by the fact the fake crowd noises have to be added to the action to lead us into a world of make-believe. Essentially, we are watching practice game, where there is no home advantage.

Thirdly, we the watching public fool ourselves into believing we are watching a competitive sport. We know it is no such thing. Money rules. Some clubs are able to spend tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds on players. We have countries with few human rights owning football clubs. The Premier League is about to let in a murderer as a club owner. I don’t understand how the financial fair play rules work.

The game is run by crooks. The last President of FIFA was as bent as a nine bob note. Russia won the rights to the World Cup by bribery. The next World Cup is in Qatar – that is some joke! Many FIFA representatives have ended up or will end up in jail.

In the Premier League, there are Russian oligarchs who, rather than helping out their own country men, choose to waste their money on English clubs. Some clubs closer to home are run by pornographers, who now call themselves ‘businessmen’. I thought we were living in times when society were coming down hard on those individuals who may have abused women in the past.

And the players themselves are vastly overpaid. We have had to watch many games this season, where our players have barely been able to pass a ball and a goalkeeper who couldn’t catch a ball.

Fourthly, we have VAR. It has drained the excitement out of goal scoring. Everyone is looking round to see if the goal has to go to VAR. And some of the decisions and rules have been absolutely appalling. And for the spectators in the stadium sit there like lemons until a decision is reached.

So, for me, the enjoyment of watching the game has been reduced to the level of eating a bag of crisps. And what will I do? I’ll keep eating those crisps next season.

Match Report

Inevitable It Isn't

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops – at all – (Emily Dickinson)

I watched the game with my son and grandson, so we could share the expected miserable experience. It started much like the previous two games, with Antonio floating around on his own. The poor chap has many qualities but a striker he isn’t. And we all shouted ‘Should have gone to Specsavers, when he failed to take advantage of a good opportunity.

Chelsea were passing the ball around like they owned it and the result looked inevitable. Then, came the Soucek disallowed goal with the subsequent farce of VAR, which is slowly throttling football as a spectator sport. As we watched the pictures, a question struck me. Soucek’s right foot was onside, but his left foot was offside, so was he onside or offside? This troubled me all night and led to disturbing nightmares.

Anyway, Antonio was lying down having a rest and I suppose one could say that the goalkeeper, Arrizabalagabalaga, was very slightly disturbed by the fact Antonio was having a kip. However, it turned out Jonathan Moss was the video referee, so the result of the VAR, after three and and a half minutes was a forgone conclusion, as, even as he was 3000 miles away, he wanted to make an impact on the game.

So, off we went again and almost immediately Chelsea were awarded a penalty and deftly stuck it in the back of the neck. By this time, my son, who is normally a calm and tranquil person had become a raving lunatic, destroying half his living room, which he will now have to redecorate.

However, justice took its part in the proceedings and Soucek, who is seven feet six inches tall or 3500m in the metric system he is used to, nodded the ball into the net. We all agreed that set pieces were the only way we were going to score goals.

We saw a shot of Mark Noble, who had rightly taken his place as a spectator, which he normally is on the field of play. He and Trevor Brooking were wearing West Ham face masks, even though there was nobody else within two hundred yards of them.

We agreed David Moyes has no feel for when he should make substitutes and now, having five substitutes, he brain has become a little scrambled. His tactics seem to be to find a failed system and stick by it.

Anyway, after 50 minutes, when everybody was looking forward to the next water break, somehow we managed to getting a flowing movement going. Antonia went for another sleep in the penalty area,but he decided to get up and took a wonderful pass from Bowen and this time slotted it in the net. He must have put his contacts in.

Of course, we celebrated, but kept half an eye on the TV, in case VAR decided the goalkeeper had been distracted by a bee.

Onwards and downwards. We gave away a free kick in the perfect position and Will Iam or Willian, as he prefers to be called, slotted the ball in off the post. Not only was this whole episode extremely upsetting, but the commentator, who would have needed treatment if my son had got to him, suggested it was Fabulanski’s fault and he should have been standing next to the post.

Oh well, one point would have to do and we would have to rely on beating the other dross at the bottom of the table. Then, a remarkable miracle happened. Yarmalenko, who has come in for some stick from us fans, came on and transformed the game. Finally, we took on the guise of an attacking side and the subsequent goal will live forever in the annuals of West Ham history.

I do apologise to you.Lockdown has definitely sent me crazy. But, the hope in my heart has been revived.

By the way, I noticed we have new shirt sponsors. The last shirt sponsor, Bassett & Gold have gone bust owing 1800 customers £36 million pounds. Amongst other things, their misleading advertising is being investigated. Our new shirt sponsors, Scope Markets are reguated by the financial authorities in Belize. Make your own mind up.

Match Report

It's inevitable isn't it?

I’ve been watching German football, to get used to the lack of atmosphere. Adding crowd noises contributes nothing. It’s like sleazy music accompanying a porn film.

Rice has a beard. Will this affect his balance? Oh dear, Antonio is centre forward again. How many games does he have to play in this position, before Moyes realises he is not a striker. He needs to be on a flank, so he can use his power to cut it. Put Bowen up front.

Off we go. Oh no, here we go again is my thought at ten minutes. Backing off, backing off, surely it should be pressing, pressing. The consequences look to be inevitable.

But the best chance goes to Fornals, who had the time it takes a space shuttle to circle the earth, to bring the ball down, but he takes a wild slash at the ball.

Time goes on and it looks like we are preparing for Championship football. May be a good thing. We need to clear this lot out.

I needed a drinks’ break to grab myself a quick whisky.

Shot of David Sullivan fiddling with his face mask. It looked like he was considering adapting them as a sexy piece of men’s underwear. He was social distancing from his partner/wife. They obviously didn’t get on in lockdown.

The game has the intensity of a pair of tortoises trying to mate. Felipe Anderson so far has shown all the skills of a Brazilian transvestite trying on a pair of knickers which are two sizes too small.

Don’t get it. They have a tea break, but only one minute is added at the end of 45 minutes.

Anderson starts getting his mojo going (comece seu mojo in Portuguese), so he is substituted. Lazini comes on. The commentator is out of date and says, ‘Lanzini can make things happen.’

Oh dear, shot of Traore on the touchline with a pair of legs looking like tree trunks. Comes on and game is over.

Most exiting moment for West Ham is when there were two balls on the pitch.

It’s all inevitable , isn’t it?

May have been better if Covid 19 had got me.

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