Guest Post by Gary Hyams
I can’t explain how Jesus walked on water and I don’t know how Donald Trump became President of the United States. More of a mystery is the way West Ham could play such a sloppy first half filled with inaccurate passing, but come out in the second half and score three brilliant goals in just a few minutes.
It was if they had just go out of bed and nobody told them the kick off was at 3.00pm. By the time, at 3.15pm,they actually starting playing, they were one down.
So, let’s try and explain that mystery. Like most Premier League teams, our team is a reconstituted Tower of Babel. In the place of surnames, our team comprised by language Polish, Spanish, Spanish, French, French, English, English, English, Spanish, Spanish, and Portuguese. These are all directed by a manager whose speaks Spanish and English with an accent so thick , I wouldn’t be inclined for him to teach my children the offside rule. Looking at the line-up, it would be sensible to teach the English players to speak Spanish, rather than the converse. Comprende!
Or, we need to establish a common language. Esperanto is out of the question, but I would suggest the most appropriate language would be cockney rhyming slang, so here are a few phrases:
Ball watcher – Botcher
Dribble – Have a Nibble
Formation – Hold your Station
Foul – Kick in the Bowel
Goal – Good for your Soul
Members of the Board – Should be put to the Sword
Header – Ball Spreader
Marking man to man – Parking Auntie Anne
One Touch Soccer – Dutch Rocker
In addition, I have no idea how the referee can communicate his instructions in so many diverse languages. The referee today was Anthony Taylor who comes from Cheshire, so it goes without saying that he hardly speaks English.
We are going to have VAR next year, so I also suggest the introduction of earpieces, downloaded with Google Translate. I would call it EAR – Earpiece Assistant Referee. Perhaps, the manager could use it, as they do in American football.
So, what the hell happened at half-time. Did they finally have some Weetabix or a magic potion? Did the manager utter some diabolical phrase in Spanish? Whatever happened, they came out in the second half and scored three goals again in a short space of time. And brilliant goals too.
It was great to see Andy Carroll standing there like the Rock of Gibraltar. It would appear every time he gets the ball, we get a free kick. Otherwise, he can be like a bullseye on a dartboard. Robert Snodgrass finally found the net with a brilliant strike. Earlier, he had made one of the worst passes of the season.
Felipe Anderson is the visual version of a good bottle of wine – velvety, light bodied and crisp and leaves you wanting more. Declan Rice is a cut above everybody. The only excuse I can find for Zabaleta and Masuaku is that they found the green surrounding the pitch too disturbing and their performances will be much improved when this is turned to claret.
Noble has been much improved , since they put him in blinkers and he stopped passing back and to the side all the time. Diop and Balbuena are faultless, but you can’t have a two man defence.
Anyway, well done the lads! This week has been great entertainment and you have done us proud.
Three games. Three wins. Three or more goals in each of them. When was the last time that happened, because I’m buggered if I know. Perhaps the most gratifying thing about this win was the fact that even when we were 1-0 down at half time I was confident we’d pull it round.
Even though we didn’t have a shot on goal in the first half (unless my memory is failing me) we played some good football. OK, had their shot just before the half time whistle been a couple of inches lower, we’d have gone in two down, but even then I wouldn’t have ruled us out of getting something out of this game. So, what did we learn?
1. That we have a squad worthy of the name. Our subs bench is packed with regular first teamers even though we have an injury list as long as your arm.
2. Perez and Hernandez are too similar to be played alongside each other. Perez was unlucky to be substituted, though as he was very busy in the first half.
3. While not fully back to his old self, Andy Carroll’s entry to the game was a key development. He hassled and harried and he won the ball which led to the second goal.
4. Robert Snodgrass and Declan Rice should share the Man of the Match award. Snodgrass was everywhere and a constant threat to Palace. Rice was superb in his tackling and the timing of his tackling. He has that same imperious majesty about his game that Bobby Moore had. He never seems ruffled and appears to have all the time in the world when in reality he doesn’t.
5. Another goal for Felipe Anderson, and what a corker it was. Payet at his best. he picked his spot and from the moment the ball left his boot there was no doubt in my mind it was going in. As the game went on, he came into his own more and more. He’s still too easily knocked off the ball, but he’s getting there.
6. The loss of Marko Arnautovic could have been a gamechanger. It wasn’t. Since he departed the pitch against Cardiff, we’ve scored 6 goals in 155 minutes of football. I’m not sure how many of us would have bet on us doing that.
7. Our main weakness today, I’m afraid to say, was Arthur Masuaku. His defensive weaknesses are usually compensated by his attacking abilities. I’m afraid he and Anderson appear to have no understanding whatsoever. And most of Palace’s dangerous moments came down his side of the pitch, rather than Zabalatta’s. There’s a reason for that.
8. We are now tenth in the Premier League with 21 points from 16 games. Half way to safety and 11 points above the relegation zone. Or as I like to see it. Two points off 7th.
9. Our next five games are against Fulham, Watford, Southampton, Burnley and Brighton.
10. A final word about Grady Diangana. He came on the for the last twenty minutes and again looked absolute class. In fact he nearly scored.
And here’s how I’d rate the performances of those that played…
Fabianski 7, Diop 7, Balbuena 7, Zabaleta 7, Masuaku 5, Noble 7, Rice 8, Snodgrass 8, Chicharito 6, Anderson 8, Perez 6, Diangana 7, Carroll 6
PS David Hautzig’s match report will appear tomorrow.
PPS. Here’s why Perez didn’t come out for the second half!
— Lucas Pérez (@LP10oficial) December 8, 2018
West Ham v Crystal Palace
FA Premier League
Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.
Guest Post by Gary Hyams
This is my first article, so it seems logical, before criticising the football, I should commentate on the fans.
‘Fortune always hiding, I’ve looked everywhere.’ Surely, no football club in the world has an anthem which sums up its club so well. Week after week we go, knowing we could be subjected to severe psychological damage, but dreaming of and craving that rush of adrenalin when we score and the ecstasy of a win. But often, it is, ‘Then, like my dreams, they fade and die.’
Why do we do it? The logical approach would be to pick a team with the most resources behind it and support them. Is it because a lot of us were born in the East End? We withstood the Blitz, so we can put up with the occasional loss of a football game? Or we are stoic and can endure pain without showing our feelings or complaining. No, we are cockneys, who have spread into large parts of Essex, but retain the moral courage which defines us. We’re not going to give up our side because of the occasional setback.
And we have an ability to laugh at ourselves when things go wrong. You know, if I turned my back on the football and listened to the fans, I could probably get as much entertainment as watching the game.
Players come and go, but the fans go on and on. West Ham United is not the property of its owners, it is a community and the owners have bought the privilege of running this community for the benefit of the fans. And it is right they should hold the owners to high standards. The money that flows into the club from television rights and gate receipts is owed to the community.
The fans will not put up with lies. The fans I listen to every game are sophisticated. They expect to and should be treated with respect. We know we have been sold a dead duck of a stadium. It is ridiculous that we are only paying £2.5 million for the rights to use the stadium, when Spurs are paying up to one billion pounds for their new ground. And the Government body, the LLDC, are losing £20 million a year, largely due to the complete cock-up with regards to taking out and putting back the lower seating. Worst of all, the freeholders and leaseholders are in dispute, spending thousands of pounds on legal fees.
And when we go to a game, we become a community. I take my grandson. I passed on my love of the club to my three sons. My grandfather travelled with the team and I was brought up on stories about the white horse at Wembley. As a community, we share our joy and our grief.
So, what do I want to see for West Ham fans? I want to be able to view every away game on my TV and I don’t mind paying for the privilege. I want there to be Wi Fi in the stadium. I want to be able to watch replays on the big screens – I am not interested in adverts. I want better entertainment before a game starts. And I want to see commitment from our players, each of whom has the privilege to play for West Ham.