Match Report

Predictions

As there is a hiatus in the West Ham programme, I thought I’d let you know my predictions for 2020 for West Ham:

Pellegrini finishes his ranch in Patagonia and moves there. He decides to manage West Ham via Skype.

Arthur Masuaku decides to learn Spanish, so he can understand what Pellegrini is saying. He realises, he has completely misunderstood his role in the team.

Roberto is signed up for the Ultimate Fighting Championship after his punching abilities are spotted .

Sullivan decides to lend his expertise to the women’s team and sends out the team topless against Arsenal WFC. There is a record crowd at the London Stadium.

Dame Lady Brady decides to rebrand the team and they will be known as Olympic London in the 2020/2021 season. West Ham colours will be a mix of Sarcoline (it makes your legs look longer) and Smaragdine

Wilshere makes a comeback, but trips over a blade of grass whilst warming up on the touchline as a substitute. He is out with an ankle sprain for the rest of the season.

Ajeti scores his first goal for West Ham. Unfortunately, it is an own goal when he heads into his own net from an opposition corner.

Sullivan realises all his problems are caused by his Russian hat. He switches to a bowler and West Ham win three in a row.

West Ham’s Director of Football , Mario Husillos, realises Pele is out of contract and signs him on a three year deal at £100,000 per week.

VAR disallows another Antonio goal and he is given a red card when he goes to the sidelines and smashes the VAR monitor.

David Sullivan receives a knighthood from the Queen for services to pornography, on the recommendation of Prince Andrew.

Iain Dale is appointed Director General of the BBC.

Boris Johnson abolishes the BBC

Someone adds cocaine to the blowing bubbles machine and fans go home happy after a 5-0 defeat.

Kicking It with Experience Kissimmee, the half time game, becomes a national obsession and wins a prime spot on ITV.

Fans book a holiday to Kissimmee and find out it doesn’t exist.

Someone steals the seats taken out in the summer and the West Ham capacity is reduced to 40,000.

A five a side football competition takes place on the purple carpet in front of the directors’ box.

Because of a no deal Brexit at the end of 2020, Fabianski has to return to Poland

I wish all the West Ham community well over the Xmas period and a happy new year. One thing we all have is spadefuls of hope.


Match Report

Michail, My Hero

Michail Antonio has to be the most tenacious player I have ever seen and probably the strongest. He is the embodiment of motivation and effort. He gives everything for the team. We can bring forward the West Ham Player of the Year award. He wins by a mile.

When I was young, I would award myself a day off from school. I would complain to my mother that I had picked up some kind of stomach bug. ‘Shall I call the doctor?’, my mother asked (in those days doctors made home visits). ‘No, I’ll see how I am later’. By ten o’clock I was tucking into a hearty breakfast.

Felipe Anderson reminds me of a rubber plant I once had. When I bought it, it was healthy with shiny leaves. My wife asked me why I bothered, because everything I owned wilted in my care, including her. Of course, she was right. I tried moving its position, but gradually the leaves started falling off.

I don’t blame Felipe. As another wet English winter sets in, he must be dreaming of Copacabana beach. Vinnie Jones ridiculed players who wear gloves, saying he would fancy playing against players who wear gloves. It’s an indication you are no happy with your environment.

With the absence of Anderson, our clockwork brain manager was forced into a change that 99% of fans had realised was a necessity several months ago. This manager , who believes in attacking football, week in week out, played a lone striker. Then, when nothing works, you drop him, because it is obvious it is his fault. Finally, we got to see what we suspected in the first few games, that Haller is good with his feet and that, with his combination with Antonio, we were unlucky to only have one goal after ninety minutes.
Fornals reminds me of watching a large block of ice melting. He is gradually putting it together. A little more self-belief and application and he may come good.

Then, after 79 minutes, our manager gifted Southampton the opportunity to come back at us by substituting Sanchez for Haller. I really think he just picks balls out of a hat to decide on substitutions. Finally, on 88 minutes , he got the message and broke a habit of a lifetime by bringing on Diop for Noble. Who would have thought that three at the back was the way to strengthen the defence, rather than a clapped out midfielder.

Well, we did scrape a win and kept a clean sheet. All of us are hoping we may now turn a corner. But out squad looks weak, thanks to the sterling efforts of Mario Husillos, who should definitely depart now, because we couldn’t trust any recommendation he may make. I have just watched The Irishman on Netflix, so I am getting ideas.

If David Martin is injured, then it’s Murphy’s Law. If it can happen, it will happen. You have got to admit, it will be entertaining, if Roberto has to play, who has earned the right to be the worst goalkeeper ever in the Premier League. No doubt, we shall now go panic buying in January and spend millions on a goalkeeper, who we shall only need for a couple of games.

David Gold has finally admitted that the London Stadium is not quite up to what he expected and he made a few promises that haven’t been fulfilled. This is in the same week that Jeremy Corbyn admits he may be partially to blame for the Labour disaster. At last, reality bites.


Match Report

The Perfect Storm

I do not need to comment on the game against Arsenal. To me, it was absolutely shocking. We are past the point of analysis and looking at the comments of West Ham fans, there is a consensus about our feelings towards the organisation of the club.

Most fans would be happy if Sullivan and Gold sold the club. Sullivan was looking to get past his agreement with the owners of the London Stadium, where he would have to share a percentage of any profit. By that time, he would have a club in a beautiful stadium, with record crowds, a team of outstanding players and a world class manager.
Instead, in each area I have described, the result has been horrendous. Sullivan wanted at least £600 million for the club. In the Sunday Times Rich List, the club is valued at £350 million, so quite a percentage of the wealth of Sullivan and Gold is made up of their share of West Ham.

What will they be able to sell the club for now with a problematical stadium that the club doesn’t own, players underforming in every area and a manager who will probably be gone by the time you read this article (I live in hope)? So, probably they would have difficulty getting £120 million. In fact, you would say, they have a pig in the poke.

Now, I’m coming to the main point of what I want to say. We regard Sullivan and Gold as two rich individuals who could afford to spend a little of their wealth on the club. In fact, they may have problems we don’t know about. Sullivan is deeply into property. As far as I can gather he owns, for example, the Russell and Bromley store in Oxford Street. I believe he tried to sell it for £55 million but I can’t see that the property was in fact sold. His company is probably heavily invested in other retail properties.

Trying to sell a retail property in the present retail environment is extremely challenging. M &G suspended their property fund last week. Investors are rushing to pull their money from property funds. The result will be a potential crash in the retail property market.

Gold has another challenging problem. His retail business, which largely comprises Ann Summers made a loss of £3.2 million last year. His is also invested in property.

So, this will have a knock on effect at West Ham. They are going to think twice about any cash outlays. They are probably short of cash. That’s why the club borrows money from a company called Retail Media, rather than the owners, who charge 7% interest and are registered in the Virgin Islands. The ownership of this company is opaque. They are going to think twice before shelling out cash to get rid of Pelegrinni.

So, it’s the perfect storm for Sullivan and Gold. The bought players like Fornals and Haller using loans and their value at the moment must be less than half what they paid. In addition, there is the nightmare before us of a drop to the Championship and the loss of most of the revenue. When Sullivan and Gold eat their toast in the morning, they probably think they could be toast in the near future.


Match Report

Oh, to be a Liverpool Fan

Oh, to be a Liverpool fan! Imagine going to a game week in ,week out and seeing your side not only win but score brilliant goals. I attended a game in 1965 at The Boleyn where Liverpool won 5-1. I don’t remember anything about the game, but I was sitting next to some smartly dressed Liverpool fans who displayed supreme confidence in their side and chatted away whilst their side went 4 -0 up at half time.

I compare this to myself today when I sit down to watch a game and have no confidence whatever and have major criticisms of the board, the manager, the ground and the players. But we, cockneys, are not cowards. We went through the Blitz and we know that after every test of character, there are sunny uplands awaiting us.

Winston Churchill must have supported West Ham, because he once said, “Without a measureless and perpetual uncertainty, the drama of human life would be destroyed.”

I’ve flicked through the WHTID match thread and wondered why no one picked up on the way Felipe Anderson came to life when for a few minutes at the end of the game, he was moved to centre mid field. He started to move the ball around and gave us a glimpse of what has been missing in our formation, which proved so ineffective – once again. I’m not imagining that, am I?

We all know by now, even the board, that we are dealing with a manager who is one dimensional, blind and overpaid. I get depressed when I start realising we are going to be stuck with Pellegrini for the next two years, almost.

It’s never going to happen, is it, that we bring in Diop and put three at the back to close the gaps and defend set pieces? Then, the full backs can really get up the field. Fredericks has been clocked as the fourth fastest player in the Premier League. Why does he not have the confidence to use this ability?

And we could do a lot worse than try Masuaku in midfield and give Noble a rest.

I keep getting visions of Goya’s painting The 3rd of May 1808. I keep picturing Mario Husillos as the main figure. We are paying the guy around £2 million and he has brought us Haller for £45 million, Fornals for £25 million and Ajeti for £8 million. In addition, we are paying through the nose for Sanchez and Wilshere. Did I forget to mention Roberto?

There follows my positive comments about the game against Wolves:

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Match Report

Eating One's Hat

I had serious digestive problems on Saturday evening after I began to eat my hat following the Chelsea game.

I had sat down to watch the game with zero expectations. There was no way we were going to beat a young Chelsea side invigorated by Frank Lambard. I went into a zombie state to try to prevent the psychological trauma which follows a West Ham defeat.

As the game progressed, I thought I had entered an alternate universe. There was no way in the world that a side could turn around its performance in a week. Then came the beautiful goal and I was so dazed, I couldn’t perform my usual routine of jumping up and down and then running round the room. I had been rendered impotent by the recent performances and my only physical reaction was for my mouth to drop open.

It is impossible to analyse what has happened. It may have been the change of goalkeeper. You could see after the game how much respect the players have for David Martin. Perhaps they had decided they would give a little extra for him. Or it may have been the inspiration brought to the game by Antonio, who shows maximum effort and commitment. I am sure he spent the rest of the weekend in bed recovering.

It would be churlish to make any criticisms at all. However, there are a few points to make. Felipe Anderson is badly out of form and seems to be suffering from a lack of confidence. Pablo Fornals is making progress, but still not up to the expectations we had for him. And I believe Declan Rice is back to his top form.

We have still got to realise that Haller is used to playing a system with two up front and that is the way we have to play if we are to get him up ton standard.

Also, when Masuaku came on, he played in mid field and I believe we should try this more often

So, Pellegrini has been given the kiss if life and should survive to the end of the season.

One amusing note was that my grandson emailed me, before the game, to say that he blamed the owners, who had made their fortune by bribing women. That is a great insight from a ten year old. That’s what pornography is about – bribing young women to perform acts you would be ashamed for your daughter or sister to perform.

The Wolves game is on Amazon Prime, so that will save having to watch the pizza of death, when trying to stream a game.


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