The HamburgHammer Column

Will it be a cool or a cruel summer ? To chop and change or remain calm.

A 0:0 draw in general should not be the kind of game lingering in the memory of the common football fan for a long time. This one will be if you are a West Ham fan.
Why ? Because after plenty of disappointing performances this season this draw against Everton was a very good and disciplined showing from our lads.
Bilic got the gameplan spot on and got grit, fight and effort from every player out there which basically were the ones not injured or suspended.
We were scraping at the bottom of the barrel, line up wise, but everyone knew what he had to do on the pitch and we nullified a very good side on the day.

So, we can play a bit after all, as long as we don’t play players out of position and also give those a fighting chance who have featured very little so far this season, not in their prefered position anyway. Havard Nordtveit was the standout performer for me on the day, not in absolute terms as probably Masuaku, Collins or Lanzini were ahead of Nordtveit in terms of overall contribution.

However, considering the criticism hurled at him throughout the course of the season, it was a massive relief to see him perform like this. I knew when we signed him from Moenchengladbach that he was a very decent player, not one of the obvious stars selling shirts by the thousands, but one of the much needed workhorses that every team needs but who rarely get noticed until they are out and you only then realise what you are missing out on.

Nordtveit is not there to provide assists and goals, he is there to help us keep the ball (or win it back) and it is also in his job description to stop the opposition team doing their thing, playing and running circles around our midfielders. Given a run of consecutive games in his prefered position I can see him adding a lot of composure and solidity to our side. Plus we may also see another one of his traits that made him a cornerstone of the Moenchengladbach team: A fierce shot from distance, not unsimilar to the strikes delivered by The Hammer, former West Ham and Aston Villa legend Thomas Hitzlsperger. Which also applies to freekicks.

So if you want something a bit different to Lanzini’s swerving efforts, why not give Nordtveit a go? Mind you, he may take the opposition goalkeeper’s Loaf off, should that geezer be stupid enough trying to stop those shots!

The Everton game has also given me food for thought about our goalkeeping situation and I am in a bit of a dilemma there. Both of our custodians are prone to some mindblowing blunders. None of them is the finished article. Everton didn’t manage a shot on goal all game. So even I would have finished that game with a clean sheet if I had been playing on the day. There was an early incident where Adrian nearly lost the ball in his own box before ruthlessly claiming the ball, charging in fiercely.

While I still hate his tendency to play keepy uppy with a back pass (which I see as unnecessary and risky showboating really) I like his presence in the box.
Adrian wouldn’t have allowed the opposition to boss him around prior to a cornerkick like Randolph did against Sunderland. I am not saying that overall Adrian is the better goalkeeper, it’s really a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other here. But a clean sheet is a clean sheet and Adrian should stay in goal now for the next few games.

Another tricky one for me, especially thinking forward to our summer transfer window, is Sakho. We all know what he can bring to our side, if healthy and in the right frame of mind minus any attitude. I still think he will get back to his best, for me all his frustrations stem from the hunger and desire to play and perform for the fans and his teammates.
That long back injury didn’t exactly help his confidence I’m sure, especially considering it might have been dealt with a lot sooner if Sakho had only agreed to go through with that surgical repair straight away when it apparently was recommended to him by doctors.

The good thing about Sakho is that we know what he is capable of. He already is at the club and doesn’t cost a transfer fee, probably just a moderate wage rise is necessary to keep him happy. Sakho strikes me as a very proud player who tends to be too much on edge at times. I still see him as a very good striker which is the main thing for me.
Striker will be one of those positions we need to address in the summer and I suppose it’s fair to say we can no longer seriously rely on Carroll being our Number One striker to build our gameplan around for next season – his injury record simply doesn’t allow us to do that anymore.

I know Carroll and his family are happy in London and it’d take a ludicrous financial offer for him to even contemplate moving to China for a season or two. But if I had to decide about a striker leaving it would be Carroll. Depending on how many strikers we let go (Calleri, Carroll, Sakho, maybe even Fletcher) we will surely see two or three strikers coming in over the summer. Let’s hope we get it right this time.

Which brings me to the headline of this week’s column. This summer will be very much a make or break moment for our club. Everyone needs to and should learn from this disastrous season. Numerous mistakes have been made by various people within the club hierarchy, in the boardroom and on the training pitches.
Pointing fingers is one thing. I’d rather like to see a constructive approach here.

None of us wants a repeat of this season which is unlikely anyway as we will not move stadium again anytime soon. Which is one distracting factor out of the way.
Of course you could gamble a bit (or a lot), let the manager go, bring in a new manager with a new team of backroom staff, replace half the team with new arrivals, shake it all up and hope it’ll all miraculously improve.

Or you could trust that things will improve if you continue to put your trust in Bilic, support him with transfers in the summer and let him make a fresh start, maybe with a few tweaks to his staff of assistant managers and coaches. It’s been a tough old season on various fronts and I have said before, how in God’s name Bilic took everything thrown at him (while suffering more personal pain through his hip problems which should be sorted out over the summer as well), took it on the chin, rarely moaned or complained at the circumstances but carried on trying to do his best for West Ham, well, it’s quite amazing to see.

I cannot help but admire the way Bilic has been handling it all in such a dignified professional manner. Yes, I sometimes was frustrated with his choice of lineup or substitutions made like most of us fans were, but to hear a pundit mention during the game that Bilic had to make do without eleven different first team players this season who were each missing at least two months through injury, not to mention the Payet issue, the new surroundings of the OS (basically taking home advantage away from us all season), it is a minor miracle we are still in touching distance to finishing in tenth place at this point.

Other managers in the situation might well have had a nervous breakdown or possibly walked away months ago. Not Slaven Bilic. I am convinced he has done more than enough to deserve the chance to see out his contract at least. If things don’t improve next season, find a new manager to replace him. I know modern football is harsh and fickle and there rarely is room for sentiment, loyalty or decency in this day and age. But as for Bilic I hope he will get the opportunity to turn things around and deliver better times for our club and its loyal fanbase. Slaven in my book is one of the very few decent people still associated with our club at this point.

But of course the board will make this decision without paying too much attention to blogs or social media. And neither should they be. They should ask themselves though:
Can we really bring in the kind of manager who is likely to do better than Bilic while having to work under the financial constraints of a club like ours ?

If I haven’t mentioned Concordia yet, well, there is a good reason for that. They lost at home to Dassendorf (not to be confused with Duesseldorf) by a 0:4 scoreline which was also the halftime result. That’s all you really need to know about that particular game. COYI!

Click here to view the leaderboard

The HamburgHammer Column

Going through the motions - by jogging along

Can someone please wake me up when this atrocious season is finally over ? I have learned while supporting this (once) great club that it is rarely bumper to bumper fun and biscuits, but this season has been quite a revelation in terms of delivering one body blow after another. I won’t bore you to death by naming them all again.

Did we really lose 22 points from winning positions this season ? That’s bad.

Were we not once this season in a position to field our best starting XI due to a neverending chain of long term injuries ? Sad, but true.

Is there anything that our players actually do consistently well on the pitch during games ? Other than running out of steam? Answer on a postcard please.

I know we are not safe yet, or so my former maths teacher tells me. But it looks like the season is petering out the same way it has played out all season. Poorly. Shockingly gutless. With less passion than your average Sunday League outfit.

It all has a very matter-of-factly feel about it. Our players (with the odd exception) seem to do the bare minimum in order to avoid a fine for not doing their job properly. We are basically going through the motions, but at the same time never seem to get out of second gear. We don’t run or sprint, we jog. We don’t chase and harrass opposition players, we jog next to them at a respectful distance and watch what they may do next.

Why is that? Why do we not go for the jugular once we take a lead ? It is utterly frustrating to see us throw away points in such careless fashion. Plus the alleged rumours about unrest in the dressing room over the wage levels of certain players, especially when put in comparison with the money paid to players who have performed better and done more for the club than certain new arrivals.

Togetherness and team spirit was our main asset last season. Now we just have a group of players who happen to wear the same shirt but who don’t sing from the same hymn sheet. We are hitting all the wrong notes and are a shambles, both as a team and as a club too.

If I take my claret and blue tinted glasses off for a moment I couldn’t seriously advise any player of a certain quality to come and join West Ham at this point.
It might put a significant dent in your career. We used to be a bit special.
Now we are a trainwreck waiting to happen and I hope at least the emergency brakes have been checked thoroughly and are still in working order.

How about Diafra Sakho for instance, just returning from a long-term back injury, who apparently refused to travel with the squad to Sunderland after being told he would only start on the bench. Really ? After all the previous crap of throwing his toys out of the pram? How stupid can you get? I don’t blame Bilic at all for trying to ease Sakho back into things, with 15 minutes here, then half an hour the next game, maybe an hour the game after. As much as I love Sakho as a player, he is not quite good enough to warrant a starting place at all costs. A teamplayer he certainly is not. So he may be another one on his way out. As surely there has to be some sort of reboot in terms of our squad. A massive overhaul is due, covering all the bases:
Players, coaching staff, medical team.

We have too many players just making up the numbers. We have loan players with next to no chance of being signed permanently. And we have players who tend to get injured. A lot. For God knows what reasons. I expect a lot of things to happen at our club over the summer, the revolving door will be as busy as the ticket office trying to flog the season tickets of those who won’t be renewing.

I’d like to think we may have learned a thing or two from past mistakes and get most of our decisions right, but I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.

And I will most certainly go to bed on a regular basis during the transfer window as I shall no longer buy into all the big words coming from our board about marquee signings, 20 goal a season strikers and making the top 4 clubs looking over their shoulders anytime soon.

A quick word on the goalkeeper situation. Randolph had a dismal game on Saturday, granted. He deserves to be dropped now with Adrian going back in goal for a few games, that’s how it should be anyway, especially if you have two goalkeepers who are not far apart in terms of quality. Randolph ain’t a bad custodian between the posts, he is a decent enough goalkeeper and doesn’t deserve some of the crap I’ve heard him labeled with. Are there better goalkeepers out there ? Course there are. But guess what?

They cost a lot of money. So, do we want a top goalkeeper in the summer? A decent RB, either of experienced veteran variety or a top prospect ? Or the 20 goal a season striker?

Because sure as night follows day we will not get all Fahrerin the summer. We are skint, remember ? Still in debt to the tune of £100 million or so. Restricted by FFP on top of that. Let the wheeling, dealing and signing loan players comments.

If I want to put a positive spin on all this, it’s never dull to be a West Ham fan, right ?

It’s also never dull to be a Concordia supporter. Starting with the bad news, the lads lost their Easter Sunday away fixture against the country pumpkins from Buchholz, a totally disappointing and unnecessary 1:0 defeat. Depending on how our promotion rival Altona do in their fixture later today, the gap could now grow to a gulf of nine points with only six games remaining. So the league season appears to be petering out for Concordia as well, with the promotion dream slowly fading and dying, however, we are still very much harbouring dreams of winning the Cup this season as you can see from the above video link.

Cordi beat Osdorf on Good Friday and are now in the Semifinal draw of the Oddset Cup, the local cup competition determining which Hamburg based team from the lower leagues will be entered into next season’s first round draw of the German FA Cup. Two more wins for Concordia and a bit of luck in the draw and Concordia could be playing someone like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or Moenchengladbach in a competitive fixture in the not too distant future. That should be a bit of fun! And possibly a rugby score…:-))

Not long to go now for my next West Ham game against Spurs. Unlike previous visits though my excitement is fairly contained this time, maybe I’m just going through the motions at this point too, same as my club…COYI!

Click here to view the leaderboard

The HamburgHammer Column

Hamburg, you're nicked mate!

I meant to write yet another deeply critical piece, delving into the future of our club, the next level, the owners, the upcoming transfer window, the changes we need in the squad, the case for keeping Bilic or letting him go and so forth. Yet I’ve decided against that in the end because my column can get quite gloomy at times and I can imagine that most of you enjoy a gloomy West Ham article at the start of the week on a Monday as much as root canal work at your local dentist. Plus it’s been a very successful weekend football wise for my two clubs and I’ve also had a nice encounter with some random British football fans at the Concordia game (!!!) which is also where the headline of this post originated from, but more of that a bit later.

We won! I had almost forgotten what it felt like to enjoy a three pointer for the Hammers and we simply did on the day what we needed to do. I love watching beautiful tippy tappy passing football as much as the next bloke and to be fair, the Swansea game wasn’t much to write home about really in terms of skill and panache. But relegation six pointers rarely are beautiful affairs, it was two teams that were shockingly low on confidence playing each other and at times it was hard to tell which of the two teams was more afraid of the opposition, both looked scared stiff at times.

Kouyate’s goal was worthy of winning any game of football though and he certainly hasn’t scored a more significant one in his West Ham career so far. It was a proper team effort and all the substitutes put in a good shift too, especially Calleri. We have now put some much needed daylight between ourselves and the relegation pack, in all likelihood this should be more than enough to see us through as I cannot see Boro, Sunderland or Swansea going on mesmerising winning streaks all of a sudden.

Sunderland away should be a game for us to attack, despite missing the likes of Antonio and Noble we need to go for the jugular in this one. Sunderland are struggling mightily at this point scoring any goals whatsoever (they scored their most recent competitive goal three months ago in mid-January) and while I am aware our defense may gift them a few opportunities to change just that I am convinced we will ask them a few serious questions at the other end too. The Mackems will be nervous as long-tailed (Black) Cats in a room full of rocking chairs. We are bound to unleash Carroll and/or Sakho against them at some point and maybe even someone like Calleri would enjoy getting a start against a struggling side like Sunderland.
We’ll see.

So, why am I not moaning about the club’s owners here as usual ? Because I feel far too much relief that we have put ourselves in a good position to see Premier League football at West Ham again next season. That alone will make things a lot easier for us and I guess you will agree with me we have more than enough issues at hand to deal with here. Doing it as a lower midtable Premier League club will be challenging enough, trying to sort out the various building sites around our club on and off the pitch as a freshly relegated side would be a nightmare of epic proportions in comparison. I suppose our board are well aware anyway that the eyes of the West Ham fans and pundits alike will be on them all throughout the summer.

So, while West Ham certainly have done their bit on Saturday, Concordia followed suit the day after, but it was nerve wrecking stuff: Going 1:0 up early on, then conceding (and saving) a penalty shortly before half time, only to lose two sloppy goals in quick succession with fifteen minutes to go in the second half, Cordi managed to turn the game around with two late goals to nick a crazy 3:2 win in front of 154 delirious fans. As promotion rivals Altona drew their away game 2:2 in very lucky fashion (two penalties scored in the final nine minutes or so) the gap has now narrowed to six points again, Cordi have the better goal difference with seven games left to play. Doable, but difficult. It’ll be emotional.

Talking of which the Cordi game on a purely personal level was a bit different than usual for a simple reason. As promised, I had brought the club executive Florian Peters a West Ham pennant as a gift for him to display in Concordia’s club house. He was well chuffed with that (remember he’s also the one who will one day join me to watch a West Ham game at the London Stadium), but he also told me "Look, we seem to have some English geezers here again today, pointing towards a group of six or seven guys of varying age, with one of them sporting a Crystal Palace shirt, another an Accrington Stanley one.

I obviously started chatting to them and found out they were a group of friends sharing not only a passion for football but also the fact they were all Old Bill, some still on active duty, one or two of them already retired. They all live around London but support different clubs, Palace, Fulham, Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Man United and Accrington Stanley.

Every April these guys meet up and go on a football groundhopping tour, so far they’ve been among other destinations to Istanbul, Copenhagen, Holland, Bavaria, Berlin and now Hamburg.

They took in the Hamburg SV home win against Hoffenheim on Saturday and then went on to watch a Sunday doubleheader of lower league football in Hamburg’s East End, following the Condor-Turkiye fixture at noon and the Concordia-Wedel game straight after. Make no mistake, those guys are very serious about their football.
I was even given the task of teaching them some German football chants and I duly obliged, stopping short though at translating the nasty ones about the referee’s mother.

I had a smashing time with the lads, we had a few beers in glorious sunshine and were chatting about football, the London Stadium, Gold&Sullivan, beautiful places to visit in Germany, the appeal of Middlesbrough as a tourist destination, the good old Brexit issue and the ineptitude of the referee trying his best to ruin the game for everyone (yes, in between the banter we were watching some of the football too). The ref even failed to send off an opposition player for headbutting the Cordi midfielder who had just scored the equaliser.

The ref booked both players in fact. I’ve never heard of a headbutt warranting a yellow card only, but maybe that’s a local rule being employed at this level which has escaped me so far. One of the Brits was claiming he had just been watching the German equivalent of Mark Clattenburg. (It’s all about you, it’s all about you…)

All in all it was a nice precursor to my upcoming trip for the Spurs game. I’ve exchanged mobile numbers with one of the lads, so hopefully I will meet them again, either when I’m in London or should they decide to visit Hamburg again one day. You never know, it might come in handy in the future to know some members of the fuzz.

Should I end up in Plaistow nick somewhere down the road I know I’d be allowed one phone call, so why not call a Crystal Palace supporting copper living in Kent, if need be…;-)

Right, Sunderland up next. A game where we can hopefully maintain our most recent marvellous winning streak of, ahem, one game so far. Follow up the Swansea result with another win and we’re pretty much safe. It promises to be another feisty affair at the Stadium of Light though. Let’s hope we can put the lights out on their hopes of Premier League survival. We simply cannot afford to be courteous to other clubs at this stage of the season. COYI!

Click here to view the leaderboard

The HamburgHammer Column

In sickness and health, promotion and relegation - West Ham Till I'm brown bread

I didn’t bother. Watching the second half of the Hull game. You see, I had to leave for the wedding do of my best mate at halftime – and I left the house in confident mood, we were 1:0 up and I seriously had no doubt in my mind, naively probably, that we would see this one through, maybe even add to the lead in the second half, I was actually looking forward to watching the rest of the game after returning back home around 1 a.m. in a fairly pleasant state of mind.

The wedding do as such was lovely, good conversations, laughter and banter with some great people, and quite nice food too, albeit it only of the finger food and snack variety. Every hour I had a quick think about how West Ham may have got on and how much I would enjoy watching our much needed win later.

Alas, I committed the schoolboy error to go online first when returning home and so by accident really I stumbled upon the fact we had actually lost the game. I quickly read David Hautzig’s match report and decided it might be better to give the second half a miss what with me being in a good mood after the wedding do. I didn’t want to spoil that.
The weird thing was that I was surprised reading about the result, then disappointed, shaking my head in disbelief, but all of that lasted merely a matter of minutes and then it was gone.

I really wasn’t that bothered anymore as I usually am. Is that a bad sign? I don’t believe for a second that we might actually get relegated this season, we will still win and draw some of our remaining games. But it’ll likely be an underwhelming run in of an utterly frustrating season altogether. From the glory of that final Boleyn season to a complete shambles of a season at the new place.

Make no mistake, the stadium excuses are getting tired by now and even I’m no longer buying them. It’s been a horrible combination of things gone wrong this season, on and off the pitch. The trouble is, with all due respect, that I simply don’t trust the relevant people in our club hierarchy (yes, the owners again) to draw the right conclusions from all this. Once again I fully expect them to follow the path of least resistance: They will let Bilic go, install a new manager, spend as little money as possible, take the odd punt in the transfer market with loans and freebies and hope for the best.

I also won’t put Bilic on the pedestal forever, maybe he has lost his way a bit or is simply running out of ideas. I love the man to bits as a character and a quite unique person too, a man of class and many commendable traits. But even I’m beginning to think now he may not be getting the best out of the players we have which may have to do with the way we train or that maybe some of our players are simply not good or committed enough. Maybe some players also already consider their options for next season at this point and wouldn’t actually mind playing their football elsewhere.

Still for that to happen it’d help if these players (like hopefully everyone wearing the claret and blue shirt) would put in some decent shifts in the remaining games.

Reading that statement from the board about having 100% faith in Slaven of course is encouraging. At the minimum I would give Bilic next season to see if he can turn things around with less off pitch distractions, maybe also less injuries.

It’s all gone a bit stale though at West Ham in my view. It’s not just the fact we’re losing, we’ve done plenty of it during the years I’ve been supporting the club and I’ve seen more relegation struggles than midtable mediocrity, nevermind top half excellence at West Ham. But our entire club at this stage somehow appears to lack a compass, a coherent strategy, a long term focus.

It’s the same on the pitch, far too often I see our lads reacting rather than trying to put our own footprint on the game. I’d also like to see our team press the opposition more consistently, we seem quite happy to let them have significant chunks of the ball, space and time on the pitch all of which combined is an invitation to opponents to have a right go and snatch victory even from the jaws of defeat, as it was the case at Hull.

Keeping with the wedding theme though, when supporting a football club, just like being in a relationship or marriage, you are bound to hit dry spells occasionally, bumpy roads and even the odd crisis. Still you don’t just walk away from it all just because it’s not all bags of fun and laughter all the time. You keep on coming back.

Even though West Ham have changed massively in the past few years and especially the last 12 months, they are still my club and I can’t see that changing.
For better or worse and all that…I may not think too highly of our owners, I may not like the new stadium much and it drives me berserk seeing our lads give away the ball time and time again. Still this West Ham addiction of mine seems to remain this constant thing running through my life and that’s the way it is.

While West Ham seem to be glancing nervously towards the wrong end of the table, Concordia are still, at least mathematically, aiming for promotion. Quite surprisingly they met the deadline last week to officially hand in the necessary application papers to officially declare their willingness to play one level further up next season (4th level of German football), should the Cordi boys actually finish above the only other local rival applying for promotion, current table toppers Altona 93, another heavyweight as far as traditional lower level Hamburg clubs go.

Unfortunately Concordia only managed a goalless draw at Altona yesterday afternoon, but it was a cracking game still, played in lovely sunshine and in front of a bumper crowd of 2000 fans which is absolutely massive for a game at this level, considering you are usually lucky to see crowds between 200 and 300 people attending games in the Oberliga Hamburg. So Altona’s eight point lead remains intact which will make it very hard for Cordi to still catch Altona and qualify for the promotion playoffs.

But it is still a very promising sign that my second team did actually apply for promotion at all as it shows that they seem to have done some good work in the background with regard to attracting sponsors and also finding a proper new ground to play their home games, be that in a groundshare with another local club or maybe even with the prospect of building a nice little new ground somewhere in the East End of Hamburg.

So, it’s shaping up to be quite an exciting end of the season for both my teams, for contrasting reasons. Let’s hope we see some kind of positive reaction at Arsenal midweek.
West Ham have always been good at doing the unexpected. Following that concept I therefore fully expect Arsenal to beat us 5:0. So will this be a “Tale of the Unexpected” with a dumbfounding twist in the tale ? We shall see…COYI!

Click here to view the leaderboard

The HamburgHammer Column

Passion and pride - still plenty to play for

This will be a rather short column, for a variety of reasons. a) West Ham didn’t play, so there’s no game to discuss. And b) There haven’t been too many rumours/news of substance to debate either. I also could add c) that I can’t be bothered to bash the owners again as that is by now even boring me.
Of course there have been some murmurs in certain papers about potential replacements for Slaven Bilic being lined up, should our team fail to pick up both in terms of form and results during the remainder of the season.

Some have mentioned Mancini who by all accounts is a very good manager, with bags of experience and surely he is a household name in European football, then again I am not sure he would be willing or capable to work for a club under, let’s say, certain financial constraints in terms of transfer funds.
Another name being bandied about has been Jaap Stam, but that’s lazy journalism in my view. Stam is just starting his managerial career at Reading and you’d have to be very brave if you wanted to throw him into the hot seat at our club in the summer with no previous experience at a club playing top flight football in a reasonably respectable league in Europe.

I want to see our team show some guts, blood, sweat, tears and spit if need be for the rest of our season. Not just for Bilic’s sake, although of course I hope that Bilic will remain at the helm for many more years. But then again you already knew that. I hope that our team can light a spark and instill some much needed pride and passion into the support from our fans, not necessarily away from home, that has never been an issue, but for the home games.

With the long-term injuries suffered by Obiang and Reid (and doubts over Antonio) we may now have to rely on some of the bench players to step up and be counted, old battlehorses like Collins, maybe even guys like Nordtveit. There have been murmurs of a big clearout of players in the summer, so for some of these players this is the time for them to show the club and the manager that they deserve to still be West Ham players next season. For our players there should indeed be no such thing as meaningless games, especially as we aren’t even mathematically safe yet.

As for Concordia, a lot of things have happened at my little local club in the past week, the manager has been given the tin tack for announcing in the press he wouldn’t sign a new deal, rather than speaking to the club about it first. With the trust between manager and club gone, there was only one choice. Apparently this decision also led to the assistant manager, the goalkeeping coach and the physio to pack it in. A new manager has been hired already, but even the new manager trick didn’t quite work, delivering only a 2:2 home draw against our Turkish friends from FC Turkiye (very much the Millwall in our league, they even play south of the river). It’s an eight point gap now between Concordia and the table toppers and I fully expect them to announce in the coming days they won’t be applying for promotion to the Regionalliga anyway, even if they could still qualify results-wise in theory – the deadline is at the end of this week.

Promotion would have been nice, but what’s the point really if you don’t have the money, the stadium and the backing of the fans to make the next step?
You don’t want to put your club at financial risk just so you can draw maybe another 100 fans on average for home games.

So, it’s off to Hull next (will the post make another MOTM worthy appearance or is he suspended ?), a game that unfortunately I will not be able to watch, not live anyway, as my best friend is getting married and I somehow couldn’t convince him to switch the date because of a West Ham game. Then again, we are all way past 40, so it will not be a massive do anyway, the banter will be more important than the booze, so maybe I will watch highlights or a rerun online later that night or the next day.

Wishing you all a pleasant week and counting down the days until my next trip over which will be the Spurs game, with flights and accommodation already sorted. COYI!

Click here to view the leaderboard

Copyright © 2017 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.