The HamburgHammer Column
I have to apologise to you all before I begin. This column will be neither original nor amusing, the pun quota will be non existent and the number of wise remarks low because, frankly, I’m running out of clever things to say fast here.
I am shell-shocked, dumbfounded, bemused and frustrated. But to a certain degree I feel quite indifferent too. Or maybe just numb. The slump for our club continues regardless. Our team can no longer play football. They look like complete strangers on the pitch.
We concede goals galore and the reason for that is partly our shaky backup goalkeeper. But make no mistake, Roberto is a problem, not the problem.
We don’t defend well as a team which means lack of pressing, chasing, covering the opposition players and it doesn’t apply solely to our defenders, the entire team is guilty in that respect.
As bad as we are at defending we are not much better at attacking. Or even at stringing a few passes together. Crosses are either five metres short or ten metres too long. We cover less distance than any other team in the league.
We have plenty of the ball, but appear to be clueless about what to do with it when we have it.
When you’re already down, being outplayed and outclassed in the pouring rain, at West Ham that is usually the signal for Lady Luck to casually stroll by, raise a knee and take a swing, kicking us in the teeth while giggling like a maniac. In this case both Noble and Lanzini had to leave the game with what looked like serious injuries.
And as fantastic a goalkeeper as Fabianski is, he alone couldn’t have saved us in this slump. Unless he has learned by now how to score goals upfront as well as preventing them down the other end. West Ham are the black mamba of Premier League football, lethally toxic once again. And very grumpy with it.
At least a black mamba knows how to defend itself and strike out at its opponent…we are currently more like a black rabbit with a bad limp, caught in the headlights of a speeding car on a wet road in the middle of the night.
I don’t remember another West Ham game in the last ten years when I watched proceedings with so little interest and expectation levels at minus 7. The game was on my custard alright, but I was only glancing up occasionally, basically whenever the commentator got a bit excited about something, raising his voice.
I browsed the internet on my tablet. Flicking through the pages of the newspaper. I also was on the phone to my brother for half an hour, during halftime and the first 20 minutes of the second half. I had no shred of hope left in my mind that we might at least score a consolation goal, even if we had played on for an additional two hours. Would it even have mattered ?
Would it bowlocks!
And it began to dawn on me that once again a Burnley game could prove to be a turning point for us. Every West Ham fan for sure remembers THAT game at the London Stadium, on the day of “the march that wasn’t“ with several fans invading the pitch and a corner flag ending up in the center circle.
It might be argued that it was this game that made our board step up their efforts to sign Pellegrini and finally pipe down in terms of rabbiting to the media 24/7. Could Saturday’s horror show prove to be the beginning of the end for Pellegrini already ?
But what, or rather, who next ?
I wish I could put my finger on what exactly it is that is wrong with our club at the moment. But I now have to concede that Pellegrini is indeed part of the wider problem. Can he still be part of the solution as well though ? I honestly don’t know.
It seems to be the most convenient and common option to follow for a club in freefall to simply change the manager. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Let’s also not forget how incredibly tight the league still is, with merely four points separating 16th place (us) from 5th (Sheffield United) as things stand.
However, judging on our recent performances, getting any more points on the board at all will be a tall order for our team in its momentary predicament.
A team which actually is still made up of various very decent footballers on paper. Shame we still have to play on grass…
Should any of you good people have any suggestions as to how to get the club back on track, feel free to leave your masterplan in the comments below.
Or if you have anything else in your locker, however random, to cheer up your fellow supporters on this cold and miserable Monday morning (as it is here in Hamburg), please come forward and put a smile back on our collective faces because the team is failing spectacularly to do so at the moment. But still: COYI!!! (What else can we do ?)
I can’t be arsed to post the Hamburg football update this week, most of you aren’t bothered anyway and should I feel better about it later on, I might post the results in the comments in the afternoon or later this evening.
It’s no pleasure cruise being a West Ham fan in November 2019…