The HamburgHammer Column
In case you’re wondering about the weird headline and the accompanying photo above, well, another international weekend came and went which means no West Ham game to discuss, all I gathered from German national side football was that apparently us Krauts got relegated from the A tier of the Nations League into the B tier.
That doesn’t really seem to translate into being the footballing version of Armageddon though, at least the press coverage over here was fairly tame, so I suppose it’s not overly devastating.
On a personal level I was more concerned in recent days when one morning finding bits and pieces of my side mirror on the hood of my car, with a card from the local nick attached to my door, telling me to give the fuzz a call. Turns out that a sweeper car from the Hamburg street cleaning department hit my mirror on the way past, so the police gave my case a file number and the necessary contacts at the city cleaning unit, claims department, and we shall see how this will move forward now. I suppose they’ll simply be paying for a new mirror. And it could have been a lot worse of course…
Other than that, the christmas decorations have finally begun to crop up again here in Hamburg, with all them christmas markets in tow, it’s getting really cold outside, dark and grim, the Cordi boys lost 1:4 on Friday (it’s a relegation scrap now this season instead of transitional midtable progress), the women’s team though won 3:0 on Sunday, I’ve been reading articles and watching some TV programmes on the latest Brexit developments (all with one eye on future trips to watch West Ham) and on Saturday I helped my best mate to dismantle a big boy of a wardrobe and carry all them heavy door, side and mirror bits down into the basement through a narrow stairwell.
International weekends have a lot to answer for. First they deny us our God given right to watch a West Ham game over the weekend, secondly it gives plenty of journos and social media accounts freedom to let their imagination run riot and put rumours out there that can quickly gain momentum with no other major football headlines available in order to keep the rumours in check.
Does Arnautovic really demand £200k a week in wages at West Ham now, threatening to push for a transfer to one of the big sides otherwise ? Apparently there is a bit of truth in it insofar as not only Arnautovic but plenty of players are quite irritated at the fact that Chicharito is on £140k a week without playing anywhere near enough to warrant that kind of financial reward. First of all, I doubt we will be paying any player at our club 200k a week anytime soon, that’s just not the kind of wage bracket for a single player a club like ours can sustain.
The Arnautovic rumour is at the very least highlighting the fact that for a while now the wage structure at our club appears to have been all over the place, upside down and in reverse with high-earners being out injured a lot, warming the bench or playing for the U23s while some of those who play regularly and consistently well for the first team can only look forward to a comparative pittance at the end of the week or month. Comparative in terms of their teammates, not your average plumber, cab driver or insurance clerk of course…
It is an issue that cannot be solved at short notice, but it still needs addressing as this can cause regular unwanted and unnecessary divisions in the dressing room. We have enough on our plate with the performances of our players on the pitch, we don’t need unrest within the squad over unfair wages on top of that. Players these days have a very fine sense of how much they are being paid in relation to their own performances and those of their teammates. If they feel left behind in the financial pecking order, bad things are likely to rear their heads sooner or later.
On a positive note I was very happy indeed to see Lanzini being back in light training, running between cones and also kicking a ball without showing any ill effects. It will be good to have him back in the fold next year. Unfortunately Fredericks now appears to be out for three or four months with an ankle injury. So another position there that needs sorting out in the January window.
What is it with this club and long term injuries ?
Not long to go now before I am back for another visit (about time), for the Palace game, and with christmas approaching fast I’m expecting a lovely wintery atmosphere in London, with some mince pies thrown into the bargain, the odd cup of mulled wine and some jolly good banter with some members of the WHTID family.
I also hope to make it back to the Tate Britain, to say goodbye (maybe for a longer while) to the Turner collection of paintings there, my absolute favourites, and what with Brexit approaching fast, who knows when’s the next time I can feast my eyes on the original paintings, not just pictures in a book or those replicas hanging on my wall behind cheap glass frames.
You know that for me London always has and still feels like a home from home and the Turner paintings at Tate Britain are very much part of that homely feeling. Whenever I step into my flat, the first thing I see is Turner’s account of The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons.
(Don’t read too much into it, I’m neither against British politicians as such nor am I a pyromaniac, I just always liked the painting due to the powerful colours.)
I really do hope that my regular London visits can and will pretty much continue as usual, Brexit or not. For purely egotistical reasons I still want to see my friends and mates and I also want to watch a few West Ham games in person every season.
A pretty lame reason maybe to be against Brexit, granted! But for a bit of fun, if you fancy it, this is a sarcastic look at Brexit from the “Heute Show”, a spoof news programme on German telly, subtitled for your convenience (the subtitles are accurate, let me assure you!).
Of course some of it is over the top, but, unfortunately, there is also a fair degree of truth in there. I suppose Telegraph and Daily Mail readers will disagree…maybe this can still provide a bit of balance and context in a humorous way…;-)
I for one will definitely be trying to boost your local economy while I’m over, enjoying some (okay, not some, plenty!) lovely food and drink, buying some books and newspapers, maybe even some West Ham gear, it’s Christmas after all! I can’t wait to be back! What are you saying ? Oh yes, we play Manchester City next. We shall get trounced. Not unlikely, is it ?
Then again, this is West Ham, so a 1:0 home win it is! COYI!!!