Nigel Kahn’s Column

Don't dream its over, till it's over

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Manchester City on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 10am on Saturday.

Thursday 15 Oct
Article Day and it seems my tongue in cheek christening of the signing of Brentford’s Said Benrahma as Ben-drahma seems to be quite prophetic. He had agreed on terms so now it was just his medical, a formality usually and then the club will knock up some useless video to justify employing too many people in the media department and he can be announced. But as the evening goes on, he is not announced. Now I won’t say panic set in, but over in Twitter land the West Ham natives were showing discontent and the usual conspiracy theories were starting to set it. Most involved it was a play by the owners to try to get him on the cheap. “Don’t worry “the lords of West Ham ITKs, we can go to bed, it will be announced in the morning.

Friday 16th Oct
Busy day at work, phone on silent. Stop around half twelve for a cup of tea, checked the phone, messages into the 30s. When one of my friends asked me the question, What is going with Benrahma I’m hearing he’s failed the medical. Now when he asks, that makes me think there is something it. A quick scan of messages and it seems all is not good, there is indeed a problem. Some it seems a small part of the medical has flagged something up, the deal is possibly in the balance. It’s possible as well, Josh King is having a medical as a back-up. There is plenty of ‘he says, she says’ going on but the situation was ever-changing and anyway, it was a busy day of work for me and it couldn’t stop just because a player may or may not now be signed.

1972, Frank Worthington signs for Liverpool, sitting at the desk with a pen in his hand, contract n table with a beaming Bill Shankly and his assistant Bob Paisley standing behind him. The Huddersfield Town star was joining the biggest club in the land. Only thing is, if you look at a list of Frank’s clubs he played for, Liverpool is not listed. The story goes that Frank was physically fit and passed 90% of the medical, the 1 problem was, he had high blood pressure. The cause? His off the field life with the ladies. Shanks still wanted his man, so off Frank goes to Mallorca to rest and recuperate before the next medical to finalise the deal. He gets back, Still, the blood pressure is high, and despite as the pic shows, he does not sign fully for Liverpool.

The reason I tell that is the reaction I found on Twitter to the possible collapse of the signing was off the scale. It seems to many it was a deliberate ploy by Dave Sullivan to keep the money for himself that the club banked from the Grady Dianganna transfer. That was just one of the borderline sane comments I saw, many were off the scale bonkers. I don’t get what it is about West Ham that turns sane normal people into a mentally deranged frothing at the teeth lunatics but it seems many on Twitter check their brain in for a rest when they log in and pick it up on the way out. The conspiracy theories are just wild, and that me being polite. I suppose the fact the I knew in advance Benrahma would be announced at 7 pm helped me not be so over-reactive, but even if I didn’t I can’t say I’d go ballistic if a player that failed a medical wasn’t signed. Due to the failed medical, the club changed the terms of the deal with Brentford, not in a dastardly fashion way the financials to Brentford remain the same, it was converted to a 1 season loan though to enable the further investigations of what caused the problem with a small part of the medical to fail.

Perhaps if Liverpool had done the same Frank Worthington may have joined them. Instead Frank flew off to Majorca, On the plane, he met a Swedish woman and with her mum. The legend goes he bed both of them and a few others while out there, On his return the 2nd medical was failed and instead of joining a club on the cusp of becoming a European giant, he joined Leicester.

Saturday 10th Oct
Another Saturday with no football, but at least this week it is only a 24-hour wait unlike last week when it was 8 days away. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait. Today’s social media story is the fact that The West Ham Way podcast is becoming pay per view/listen. There is a debate to be had as I understand why they have chosen the route they have, though I do have reservations. If you produce decent content that the public enjoys and are willing to pay for surely you should be rewarded for that, the flip side is that the West Ham way was built on being a free podcast, if they take that behind a paywall and don’t have anything free then some will feel disappointed. I won’t lie, I have wondered if I could make a living out of football (not playing, I’m not mad) I still have some ideas I may try but whether it would be good enough to be paid for that service, my-self doubt will always kick in.

Sunday 11th Oct
Gameday
It is not often my wife is in the room when the football is on, but sitting there she was as the game kicked off. 45 seconds later we go 1 down, watching with me my daughter’s boyfriend Charlie sighed ‘that was quick’. I replied “45 seconds and the dream is over”. My wife looks up and utters, “Now you know how I feel”. 6 minutes later goal 2, after my expletives die down my wife then gets up to go “twice in 7 minutes’ I’ve never had that”. I was just glad she had gone by the 15th minute as the third goal went in, as the put down after that would have just added salt to the wound. I did remind the people in the group chat though that we did get 3 at Wembley when losing, that was when we were 2-0 down and I predicted a 3-2 win. But I have seen West Ham get out of tricky situations in the past so I try to always keep the faith. I turn to Twitter to remind the good folk of our 3 goal feet at Wembley and also the West Brom come back in 2010, after the Scott Parker Churchillian speech in the dressing room. I must admit that with 10 minutes to goal my urges of just 1 and its fun time didn’t seem to be realistic, but there is built into this club the ability to pull that rabbit out the hat as much as we have of then dropping the hat and the rabbit scampers away. When people ask me (non-WHU fans) why I go, I always say, it is hardly ever boring as you never know with us what will happen. Today is just evidence of that fact.

Monday 12th Oct
The morning news sports round up leads with Gareth Bale’s return to English football, the result and the game seems to be a secondary note. Quite how this ignored as a footnote in the morning report on Good Morning Britain I am not sure but then they are not known for the sports reporting ability. Calm is restored to Twitter land with the Benrahma saga finally over and the result still is celebrated what is there to complain about. We can just enjoy the videos of the Spurs Youtubers who just literally die in front of our eyes as they witness the last 10 minutes and Spurs doing what they do best, Bottle it. I don’t like saying that about Spurs actually as for me it diminishes our response in those 10 minutes + the 5 extra-time minutes to recover from 3 down. I don’t think they bottled it, I think the players believed they could do it once the first goal went in.

Tuesday 13th Oct
So it seems that the big picture document put together by Man United and Liverpool to restructure not just the Premier League but the EFL as well was not just an attempt at being a power grab, it was also a way of freeing them to be able to compete in a new European League apparently being put together by FIFA. It Seems FIFA want to bypass UEFA and have their own league running through the European domestic season with the 18 biggest clubs in Europe taking part. FIFA declined to comment (I bet they did) but Skys report online, was detailed to me to believe this is near enough down the line to being announced. As the league will run alongside the domestic leagues it would like the rest of the Premier League have nothing to fear, but If this league does start then it will start the demise of the power our domestic league has. The Premier League is around the world the biggest and most-watched of all the leagues, but if this league happens the TV companies, The sponsors and the cooperate users will be drawn by the possibility of the glamour games being nearly constant. It’s worrying as well that both our two biggest teams are American owners as they may prefer the American route of no relegation competition meaning only those invited can compete. In years to come if this league is allowed to happen then it will diminish our league, and possible signal the break up as I would imagine the ultimate goal is to play solely in this league possibly just leaving their reserve team to play out domestically.

Wednesday 14th Oct
A full day of work today so hope you enjoyed reading the article and see you all next week as we enjoy the defeat of Man City together.


Nigel Kahn’s Column

No need to PPV this BenDrahma

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Spurs on Sunday is ready to enter HERE . The deadline for entries is 1pm on Sunday lunchtime.

Thursday 8th Oct
Article day and it is always interesting to see the reaction. As a writer you want to be able to see how your article is not only received but also does it create a debate between the commentators, and how long does it take before they switch away from your article onto other such subjects? Today’s was possible the best reaction I have seen in ages to one of my articles, reading the different outlooks on how people saw what happened 10 years ago at this club.

One poster – I won’t name him, let us just call him ?? Sexton, anyway, Sexton took umbrage at the image used on my original leaflet. Who wants this view? Now the image was a graphic showing the Olympic Stadium in athletics mode in 2012. Sexton quite rightly pointed out that its use in trying to get West Ham fans to see what possibly lay ahead was misleading. It was a distorted view from the upper tier, didn’t show football, nor did it take into account the possibility of retractable seating. He wasn’t wrong either, but I think what he failed to realise was that in October 2010 the original plan for the stadium was still in place – to remove the top tier and leave just the lower tier in place as a 25,000 seater athletics stadium.

To answer his complaint, there was no image showing what football would be like there as it wasn’t built or planned to host it, at that time. I get the point that in trying to convince fans to a certain point of view it has to be done factual not with fake or altered imagery, but when all you have at your availability is images on the Governments own 2012 website, I’m not sure really what he expected.

Healthy debate is always welcomed, and I must admit, it pleased me to see it taking place under one of my articles. That was, of course, spoilt by the West Ham Viking with dodgy fingers coming out as part Welsh. Still, that did give me to send him a pic of a cartoon sheep with SHILF underneath.

Friday 9th Oct
Today the Premier League dropped the bombshell that they will be allowing the games currently not part of the TV broadcast contract to be shown as they are played on a pay per view platform, the price they have chosen is £14.95. To say most of the fanbase was outraged was an understatement, and yet on Friday I go on twitter and it seems the algorithm played a blinder on my timeline. As I scrolled down, I saw a tweet screaming abuse at the owners telling them to just pay up the money for Josh King. It is rumoured he wants to double his £45,000 a week wages to £90k.

Directly underneath this tweet another West ham fan rants at the Premier League for the PPV plan. Outrageous, an insult. But in those two tweets for me, it outlines why the PL have chosen to do this. Fans are still expecting clubs to sign players like before without understanding the financial problems many are in with no fan income. We can’t have our cake and eat it. At the moment we can’t, that’s for sure.

Let’s look at facts though. The games chosen have not been scheduled for TV viewing, so were due to be played and only traditional highlights would be seen. Season ticket holders that have tickets for these games will, I can only speak from WHU experience, be refunded the match as per the terms outlined when the season ticket was renewed. So if West Ham is shown on PPV I’m not paying twice to see the game. As these would be games played outside of the Sky/BT package, they don’t constitute part of the package you have subscribed to. So you are not paying twice to see this game. Let’s now look at the cost, £14.95. This is cheaper than a match day ticket to see the game at the stadium. We also have to take into consideration the EFL. The EFL currently have a streaming service for all EFL teams to stream their games while current restrictions to fans are in place. That streaming service will cost you £10 to watch any game. Leyton Orient V Bolton, AFC Wimbledon V MK Dons and Coventry V Brentford will cost you a tenner each.

Now, if you go with the fact the Premier League is more in demand than the EFL, also if the PL charged the same as the EFL or less, would this detract from what the EFL clubs are hoping to achieve. If the cost was the same for the PL streams and the EFL its quite possible that people would choose to watch the PL, not the EFL and thus actually take money away from clubs that really need it more.

Lastly, the £14.95 charge also sets a marker for the future. If as many believe, PPV streaming is the future, should they have set the figure at 5 or 10 pounds, then that would vastly undercut match going fans paying for tickets once restrictions are lifted. We may not like it – I would have preferred it to be only a tenner – but I fully understand why not as well.

Saturday 10th Oct
No football today, Saturday afternoons are dull in the International break. Paid a visit to the kebab shop at the Boleyn, not for any misty-eyed missing the area reasons, just the fact it’s by far the best I know and well worth the 90 minute round trip with my neighbour (a fellow former towner).

Sunday 11th Oct
Today’s episode of the West Ham social media drama is all to do with transfers. It seems despite selling Grady Diangana after claiming that we had his position covered by others, we are buying a player that looks to me to cut from the same cloth. Benrahma from Brentford on video looks the real deal to me though, if he does indeed join us, I can only think he will add to the entertainment level of watching West Ham.

Goals are fun people, I have enjoyed just as many defeats we have suffered in high scoring games than the games we have scrapped a 1-0 lucky win. I go to games to enjoy the spectacle of the game, whether west ham win is secondary to me. If football is a business then its in the entertainment business, so I say let’s entertain. Looking at what I have seen of Benrahma, he will entertain us so I will not get hung up on the why & where of what DS has said or not. Bring him on I say.

Monday 12th Oct
West Ham signs another player but not one to set the world alight. Craig Dawson has been playing for Watford who he was relegated playing for in the summer. Previous to that, in season 2018/2019 he was with West Brom where, you guessed it, he was relegated. Does not look inspiring but it is harsh to put those relegations all on one player. It is possible he could come in and be a steady player for us, perhaps playing with our supposedly better player may make him a better player. As soon as he steps on the pitch in a West Ham shirt then Craig will get my full support and I will back him until its deemed he’s no longer needed.

Benrahma’s deal, though, hangs in the balance due to no fault, for a change from our owners. It seems Ben wants his loyalty bonus for leaving the club and if he doesn’t get it he will stay and refuse to play. Quite how much of that is true who knows.

Tuesday 13th Oct
We record Moore than just a podcast on a Monday night, so Tuesday some of the reviews come in. My “Finest Hour” is one comment on my description of why the 14.95 charge is understandable and my reasoning why the club should sign Benrahma, supposedly a DS pick, and not Josh King, Moyes pick, because mainly that as a club we have to stop signing players at the top end of their career age, i.e. late 20s early 30s, as it is that very reason why we are in the financial difficulty. Constantly signing players with no resale or a less resale value puts pressure on your other revenue streams to be able to strengthen your squad properly.

Benrahma at 25 and more expensive than King does have either a longer shelf life with West Ham or if he continues his Championship form into the Premier League could attract a big bid from a top club either in this country or abroad. Look at the first team we have now, then try to look forward 5 years and see how many of the players, age-wise, probably stand no chance of being with us. Once you have done that you get a picture of the amount of money, we need to do that and the impact on the finances the current situation football finds itself with no income from fans in the ground. Benrahma, it seems, has sorted out his differences with Brentford and his happy to leave, now that’s loyalty for you.

Wednesday 14th Oct
Been a busy day working, but my phone pings constantly like a radar on a battleship hunting a submarine. It seems the Benrahma transfer has hit a snag. With a shake of my head, I continue to work and put my phone on silent. It’s 9pm now and still no nearer knowing what’s going on. All I know is it will be finalized by 5pm on Friday.


Nigel Kahn’s Column

Who Wants This View?

Thursday 1st October
It is interesting to see comments at times from those who think I’ve mellowed with time, not as angry as in the past about the owners or the stadium. Today is 10 years since I printed out this leaflet, it was the start of my push to try to get fans to come together in opposition to the move. I started by creating two Facebook groups one in favour, one against. Reason for that was I didn’t have a way of gauging where the fans were in this regard.

Early indication by the growth of each group was that for every 1 fan in favour 8 were against, so this spurred me on to try conveying to fans why the move was wrong. 10 years is a long time to be constantly angry at the owners of the club and to be truthful, I think that that now is too late to be protesting and constantly complaining. For me no matter who the owner is, we will still be in Stratford, we will still be in that stadium with the long walks, the stop-go boards, the overpriced slop for food. Unable to buy a scarf unless it’s a half n half from a dodgy street seller or its overpriced from the club shop.

I was angry about all above years ago, I’m tired of being angry. That is why it may seem I’ve mellowed on the ownership and the stadium. I’ll leave it to those who were nowhere to be seen when it actually could have achieved something to do the shouting and GSBOUT hashtags.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in the ‘board out’ camp but I just don’t need to constantly reinforce it to get people to listen to the podcast or watch a youtube channel or follow me on twitter.

10 and a half years ago I just loved going football with my mates. Sometimes I wish it could have stayed that way.

Friday 2nd October
Vlad the defender is finally announced as the Hammers sign Soucek’s Czech mate. Luckily on here with Toddy and Czech Hammer we get pointers to the type of player he is. £6 million for a 28-year-old is not a big fee so even if we get just a couple of seasons out of him it seems a good deal.

One thing I have long complained about is the transfer dealings of West Ham and the short-termism of many of the players we have signed under the Daves ownership. Coufal is another player that can only be viewed as a short term signing. The type of signing that across the past 10 years and more have taken West Ham FC, the owners and the fans to the relationship it has now.

At some point the model has to change. Moyes said himself he wants to go down the sign young players model. I know finances are tight but personally, I’d rather have spent all the money we had on signing Rhian Brewster from Liverpool than what we are doing now.

Even with Coufal, our defence will still be the week link, so I would rather we went out to get extra goalscoring options to try to counteract the fact we will concede goals. Brewster has a great future and the £25 million Sheffield United spent may be doubled if Brewster continues the goalscoring feats that he has achieved through his young career. Yes it’s a gamble but for a player his age, 20, it’s a gamble worth taking. Brewster was brought up in Chadwell Heath as well so it would have given him the option of coming home, a move I’m sure he would have taken.

Sunday 4th October
The club breathes a sigh of relief as the defeat of Leicester City in such a convincing manner it may take some of the heat away from the off-field theatrics, well for a day at least. Tomorrow is Transfer deadline day and let us hope the club can pull some rabbits out the hat to strengthen. The defeat of Leicester shows that when we are the underdog we can “punch above our weight” to coin a phrase. West Ham at the moment remind me of my golf game. I’ve parred or birdied every hole on my local course, the problem is never in the same round.

Monday 5th October
Oh, well my thoughts yesterday about the club pulling some rabbits out the hat didn’t quite come off. The thinning out of the squad starts off the conspiracy theorists about the owners preparing to sell the club. Lots of chatter up until the 11 pm deadline of possible incomings but the usual excuse, we tried and failed is the order of the night. I spent 2 hours podcasting then 3 hours on Irons United transfer show on Youtube. 5 hours of absolutely nothing, but I had fun doing it. What else you going to do on Monday night.

Tuesday 6th October
Tip for you all. If you’re going to go on Talksport and call the owners liars make sure you have the facts to hand to back it up. Calling people liars on there is different to ranting on Twitter, Facebook or even on here in the comments section. West Ham superfan Barry Cox, (Jim White’s description not mine) was on to try to get across to Jim Whitewash and Simon Jordan just why the fans are angry and why the owners should go.

I listened to the 15 minutes and you have to be armed with the facts and figures to back up what you are saying. Whitewash and Simon Jordan together are professionals in the media, and they will be able to take your argument apart. Barry at one point claimed that Gold and Sully were good at making money, I did chuckle because the club’s a financial mess at the moment due to their ownership, I wouldn’t call that good at making money.

Barry brought up the often-used claim by the Daves that the owners hadn’t taken a penny out of the club, he then pointed out the 20 million that had been paid to them in interest and loan repayments. He’s not wrong but it ignores that they put in 30 million in the summer to run the cash flow, so by putting that 30 million back in they have technically nullified the 20 taken out.

Barry praised the owners for the signings of Anderson and Haller. He said he thought that was positive, showed ambition, which it did. So in the space of a year what has changed Baz into the flag bearer of the board out. Is it the money they haven’t spent? But White and Jordan just got him to praise the owners for spending in the last 2 years. Is it lack of ambition? Haller was signed just over a year ago. He praised that as showing ambition.

See what happened? They tied him up in his own knots.

Jordan put it to him that it all boils down to the stadium move. “No, to a degree yes”, was his reply. He brought up Leicester’s and Villa’s transfer dealings during COVID. Jordan pointed out that had been funded by Leicester’s ability to sell players for a profit – abig profit. Sold Mahrez for £60 million, bought Maddison for £28 million. Baz missed out on pointing out there is West Ham’s problem and why we are in the current mess is due to the money wasted on transfers and wages on players who are at the top of the age range rather than young enough to have resale value if we want to move them on. This is our undoing. He should have put that at the door of the Daves, then White and Jordan would have had to concede.

Baz’s parting shot mystified me. He said he hadn’t been to a game since walking out the stadium when Spurs scored their 3rd goal and wouldn’t go back until the owners had gone.

Spurs scored their 3rd goal on the 49th minute.

Now people are free to make their own decisions on how they support the club. We all have our thresholds when at a game on what we are prepared to watch, but it seems it’s
back the team, not the regime, unless we are 3 down to Spurs.

When I listen to fans like that, it’s when I find myself at odds with the GSB out brigade I am GSB out because of they destroyed a way of life I had going to football while claiming they were going to deliver a team of World beaters, which if you took the time to research you would find it was a pipe dream, unachievable using their own financial projections, not because on the pitch the team they buy is unpredictable, because that has been the West Ham way of playing for the 40 odd years I’ve been watching them.

Wednesday 7th October
The clubs email me to offer me 10% interest on my Season Ticket refund if I allow them to convert it to club cash, a pretty decent offer to be honest. I would be happy just converting the refund to CC without the interest so it just goes to show you…….How the worm has turned.

Off the field, the club has treated match attending fans as an annoyance at best and used as we are there to be milked of cash and if we didn’t like then there’s a 50,000 queue to take my place.

The club seems now need my money so much they are offering me an interest rate better than the Daves get.

I just hope the club will still recognise us the same way when the old normal is back and the new normal is a memory, I doubt it though but we live in hope.

#BRADYOUT.


Nigel Kahn’s Column

Chasing A Moral Defeat

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Leicester City on Sunday is ready to enter HERE . The deadline for entries is 10am on Sunday morning.

Thursday

The Chase was on. No, not West Hams pursuit of some non-existent footballer we may or may not be hoping to sign, But my appearance on My Hammers XI YouTube channels version of the chase.

When asked by the host Russ to be the chaser I didn’t know the calibre of opponents I would face. It is one thing being a perceived know all about West Ham, it’s another proving it, and when faced with the 3 other contestants it was obvious the one who would give me most trouble the author Rob Banks.

No disrespect to Mike Manera and my mate Stelios from Irons United, I didn’t see them as putting up much trouble to me, especially as poor old Stel was texting me trying to take his place on the show, not knowing he was facing me. I didn’t give the game away to the point I convinced him not to pull out of taking part. It’s just for charity mate. To be honest, I didn’t want him replaced with someone that may be more difficult.

As I thought, Rob Banks would be the one to give me a good run for my money. The main reason for the show was of course to raise money for the Irons fans Foodbank and high lite the great work they are doing in these times.

John Ratomski who is the driving force behind it needs to be held up high and acclaimed for the great achievement of the Iron fans Group in supporting the local foodbanks in East London and South West Essex, with fans missing from football games, that dried up the donations but John in conjunction with the bigger group of Fans supporting foodbanks, he has made sure the flow of support has been coming in. This week John personally delivered hundreds of boxes of Pizzas and frozen bread that had been donated down to Newham and Ilford – no mean feat when you live in Cheshire (or somewhere near there? Basically up norf) as John does.

My vote for West Ham fan of the year, if the club does it.

For those interested, you can watch the show here

Sunday v Wolves

When the chips are down, it’s great to see West Ham still have the ability to surprise us. As per usual recently most games are preceded with doom and gloom comments, ranging from players picked, players not picked, the formation of the team, the manager generally does not have a clue. All those comments you will see game after game across many of the West Ham platforms and yet despite that negativity we witness another great performance from this team. One swallow does not make a summer, and one victory does not define a season, but surely after the 3rd 4 goal haul since David Moyes started his second stint we can at least acknowledge that perhaps this team is not as bad as is the perception.

One area where it seems I am at odds with many of the fanbase is what the formation of the team is at the moment. Before we lost Noble to his toe injury, Moyes favoured a 451 line up. With Noble out, he moved Fornals into Noble’s position and brought in Arthur to the left side vacated by Noble.

Many, though, seem to think Moyes has changed to a 3 at the back with Arthur and Fredericks as wing-backs. Basically a 352 formation or is it 361, or even 343.

Whatever it is, when I question those who claim we play 3 at the back with 2 wing backs out wide they seem to fail to answer, where is Bowen in that formation as predominately against Wolves he was still wide right, in front of Fredericks, as was Masuaku in front of Cresswell. If it is 2 upfront, who is there with Antonio.??

My favourite moment on twitter for ages happened during the early part of the game. A budding young journalist tweeted he would have played Yarmalenko, as he brings goals.
I asked him who he would drop, Bowen he replied.

The rest, as they say, is history.

To be honest, I don’t get hung up too much with formation, though its obvious Moyes hasn’t changed his way of playing. Personally, I feel we need to break the negativity surrounding the team, this for me is not a bad team, on its day it will give some of the best teams in the league a good game and will go on to surprise us. Yes, there are areas that need strengthening but if this is the hand we are dealt once the transfer window has closed I for one won’t be pulling my hair out in frustration and predicting certain relegation battle.

Wednesday v Everton

Apparently, we have a weak squad, and yet our midweek cup team cost more to assemble that the current first 11 picks. That, of course, is helped by the fact our two record transfer buys are deemed not to be first 11. Throw in Yarmolanko and Lanzini and as much like the first team, going forward should be able to cause them trouble. I’m pretty confident, for a change, of us, being able to progress to the quarter-final of the league cup, Everton has made a cracking start this season, but at some point that run has to end and I imagine they will be more interested in the league rather than the league cup.

As I write that Everton go 1-0 up. Oh well, don’t want to win this Micky Mouse cup anyway, not with fans probably missing from the final, though imagine if West Ham did make the final at Wembley with no fans allowed. I know where ill be watching it, Wembley Way on my phone. probably with another 30,000 Hammers fans. We can all but dream.

Until next week.


Nigel Kahn’s Column

Three's a Crowd

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Wolves on Sunday is open and you can register a team until 4pm HERE. If you haven’t created a profile, please do so HERE.

Another week passes in West Ham world and another week of bitterness triumph and turmoil. Where do we start?

SATURDAY V ARSENAL

If you didn’t see the game and you believe most of the fanbase, you would be of the mind that we started with 3 centre backs, 2 wing backs, 5 midfielders of which one was playing as a centre forward. With Noble injured, the inclusion of Masuaku on the left it seems to have confused lots of fans. Many thought Moyes had changed his system and was playing 3 centre-halves with Mas left and Fredericks right side. If that was the case, where was Bowen playing, and if so that meant Moyes played 6 in midfield as we only had 1 playing upfront in Antonio.

Looking at it properly, Mas was playing left wing, Cresswell behind him left-back, typical Moyes formation recently, 451.

For me it worked. Masuaku I thought worked well as we all know he’s better when going forward then he ever is when tasked with defending. He gave Cresswell better cover than Fornal’s offers. Fornals looked better in the middle three, relieved of the defensive duties that he is tasked with when out wide.

The performance was almost like a carbon copy of the game we played in March against Arsenal where we had plenty of the play, did not look embarrassed as many an Arsenal team has done to us in the past at The Emirates stadium.

Specifically, in the second half instead of defending the point we had worked hard to get, we were the team it seems more likely to go on to win the game, and yet that it seems is West Ham’s Achilles heel. Overconfidence will always bite us, as shown by Arsenals late winning goal.

Moyes received flak for his use of substitutions, but for me, the team was playing so well, sometimes changes can harm the team once it is in the ascendency in the game.
Can you ever be pleased with a defeat? No, but you can be pleased to see that after the Newcastle performance there is a team that can play well and restore some pride to themselves that enables the fans to believe they can turn it around.

TUESDAY V HULL

It possibly sums up the topsy turvy world that West Ham inhabits when the reserve team cost more money to assemble than the first team, but that is currently what it looks like.
It almost feels like when the British Lions rugby team are on tour and they have a team for test matches and a midweek team for friendlies. We have our first team for the weekend’s Premier League and with the way the League cup is being organised this season, we now have a midweek cup team or the reserves as I call them.

Funnily though, it does look like a strong reserve team when you look at it. Randolph is an international keeper, Balbuena is an international as well. We have a former English midfield star in Wilshere, then throw in Lanzini and Yarmolenko – both represented their countries often. In fact, Yarmo is no 2 in goalscoring for his country Ukraine behind Shevchenko, so that shows his pedigree. Not forgetting the two most expensive players the club have purchased in Haller and Anderson.

Chuck in a smattering of Academy players and it is like how we all believe West Ham should line up back in the old days.

Standing back and looking at it, it seems squad wise we are well covered going forward, it’s just the defence that needs to be sorted.

In the recent as well as distant past, playing against a League 1 team in the cup would have been possibly an upset with us exiting the tournament. We have now very easily dispensed with 2 league 1 teams in the space of 8 days. I hope though that Everton are the team we face next round because as much as I will love to play the easier game I think we need to rest our reserve team against better quality to see if they are worth replacing some of the current 1st team as many fans after the Hull game seemed to be crying out for.

Haller scored another two, but the fact is, Antonio has 10 in 13 Premier League games so has earned the right to be kept as Moyes focal point in attack, and not pushed wide just to accommodate Haller.

It’s obvious Moyes prefers the 1 up top with five behind based on 2 wide players cutting in on their stronger foot, putting Haller in the middle pushing Antonio on the left upsets the balance for me, I would prefer to keep this 1st team together for another few games to see if they will get better the more they play together.

Of-course in typical West Ham style we have the positive COVID reports coming in just an hour before KO forcing out Cullen, Diop and sending Moyes home. Many thought the game should not have been played, claiming that as the affected players had come into contact with others then they should be in isolation as well. What they miss, is the same tests had been done on all players and everyone else came back negative, so I doubt calling the game off crossed any ones mind.

WEDNESDAY V TALKSPORT

I was asked last week if I knew what Sullivan wanted from the fan base, my reply was instant. To be liked. That is all he’s ever wanted from the day he walked into the club with his claims of saving it to then leading it into a new golden era in a home fit for world-class stars. He is feeling the pressure now that’s for sure and that is evident in his decision to go on Talksport to give his side of why West Ham is in the mess its in.

I listened to the interview and much of what he says is true.

The club has no money at the moment to waste on big signings. We need to strengthen the defence and to do that the club needed funds. The only player that could be sold was the only player anyone wanted to buy.

He went on, blaming Pellegrini, Hussilos and he gave the fans what they wanted by appointing those two.

I agree with all that but what DS does not say, ever, is the fact we have got to those positions because nearly every major decision he has made at the club has brought us to this position. The fault lies with him, and him alone for the mess the playing side is in.

We all are waiting to see what becomes of the so-called American bidders waiting to pounce but I doubt they are waiting if they were real at all they have decided to wait. The car crash is still in progress, the value of the club is still possible on a downward slide so its possible they may just sit back and wait for the final crash.

What DS ever thought it would achieve I’m not sure but there is no way back for him and a majority of the fanbase, Unlike DG who it seems, is playing the Its not me Guv game by the looks of the defence of him on Claret & Hugh.

Lastly, a couple of things

I’d likes to wish Nicky Hawkins of West Ham fan tv all the best as he has/is in hospital. At times we as West Ham fans disagree and fall out, but the love of West Ham binds us together in the end, and I have the utmost respect for what the WHFTV boys have achieved and having got to know Nicky better this year he is a proper decent person to boot.

Tonight is the last gameshow in this series on Russ Buddens YouTube channel My hammers XI, they have been fun recently to watch and have raised a good fair packet for the Newham food bank in conjunction with the Irons fans foodbank run by John Ratomski. With us not being at games donations from the irons fans were in danger of drying up so this was a great initiative to have fun and raise money. So if you can tonight at 9 pm have a look on Youtube My Hammers XI channel and you may even recognise 1 or 2 of those taking part tonight.


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