Match Report

Adios Pellegrini

He came to us with his mane of flowing grey hair. He oozed quiet confidence. This was to be our season and the Championship beckoned.

Reality bit immediately. We lost the first four games under his stewardship. After that performances went from average to poor. I think Pellegrini’s problem lay with his English. Have a look at his post match interview. My son asked me what he was actually saying.

‘We had to play the whole game in another way, the way we did it.’

‘We lose the confidence and the trust to play and now we are involved in a mess and we must find the best way to resolve’

My four year old grand-daughter could do better. He definitely has the worst English of any manager in any league. When he was offered the job, he must have said , ’That is very good offer. I try my best. You have confidence, the fans have confidence and the players have confidence. Is that Euros or Pounds and will it be cash?’

It is almost incomprehensible that a man who is being paid millions obviously can’t convey confidence and tactics. His formations and substitutions must have come from ’Football for Dummies’

But it would be wrong to blame Pellegrini for all our problems. I think they started with our move to the London Stadium. Our first game was a friendly against Juventus. After a Juventus goal, the commentator said ,’ It’s like shelling peas’. And that would be a good description of the second Leicester goal on Saturday.

Then, we went on to the embarrassment of the Europa League. Problems were there and they never went away.

The Olympic Stadium is a giant mausoleum. The sound disappears into the ether. At Upton Park, the opposition could be intimidated. Not here. By the time a chant starts in one part of the stadium, it has fizzled by the time it gets to the opposite side.

The opposition must love it. In addition, there is the problem of the play being so far from the crowd. No interaction and the away side must think they are playing an exhibition match.

It is going to take some kind of genius to turn things round. We seem to be sinking like a stone. Even Rice has been affected and put in an error strewn performance on Saturday. Making him captain was a stupid decision.

Saturday’s performance against a Leicester second eleven was a disgrace. Fredericks could be seen trotting back to defence when we lost the ball. Lanzini is a shadow of his former self. Mazuaku is brilliant in flashes, but a disaster otherwise. Antonio is not a centre forward. Sanchez, Snodgrass, Fornals are average and Ajeti is worse than that.

We are all in a lift which is going down not up.


Match Report

The Ongoing West Ham Car Crash

I think it is a sign of a good character if you are able to laugh at yourself. The present predicament of West Ham gives us plenty of opportunity to do just that. Michail Antonio literally summed the matter up – we have a car crash. And the argument between our captain and Ogbonna on the field is totally unacceptable. For some reason, Noble was incandescent with rage.

It is pointless to keep complaining about what is going wrong. I think there is general agreement on this. Manuel Pellegrini is the embodiment of Peter’s Principle. He has risen to the level of his incompetence. Based on his post match comments, he is completely out of his depth. He has to go, otherwise the comments I make below are just hot air.

So, when you are in the dumps, you’ve got to look at the positives. There are good players in our squad, but it is obvious that they need reorganising and remotivating. The situation is not going to be helped by buying players in January and expecting some guy from Eastern Europe or South America to save us.

The first job of a government is defence and the same applies to football. You have to have a solid defence before anything else. The West Ham way, whatever that was, is long dead. Pellegrini persists with his ‘attacking’ style and then blames the players for lack of concentration. Sending average full backs up and down the pitch is absolutely hopeless, leaving two at the back and all the gaps that creates.

We have three good defenders and making Diop sit on the bench is a crime. He has probably been out best player since he joined the club. We need to put Ogbonna, Diop and Balbuena in a line. Hopefully, Reid will soon be back as a replacement. Then we can have our two full backs and then we can use Masuaka who has shown he has outstanding ball skills.

We know upfront we need two players and Haller and Antonio can fulfil that role. That leaves three in midfield and that means Rice, Anderson and Lanzini.

We shall also have the bonus of Fabulanski returning to the side.

I also believe in keeping a side together as much as possible, especially in our case, where the depth of our squad is weak.

Onwards to Leicester. We can only hope they are suffering ‘the blues’ after their thrashing by Liverpool. If you didn’t watch that game, I suggest you do, as it was a perfect performance by the Reds


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.


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