Match Report

I have a personality which thrives on adversity. I’ll give you an example. When I gamble, I don’t get much pleasure from winning, but when I’m losing, my body starts producing endorphins and adrenaline and I am totally immersed in the moment. That’s why I don’t gamble much.

So, when it comes to writing about West Ham, it’s much easier to produce articles when things are going wrong. The ground is hopeless. The owners are only out for a profit. The manager hasn’t a clue. The trainers have got it all wrong. The players are not motivated. The formation is wrong. The hots dogs are too expensive.

So, as I look at the league table and see we are fourth, I have to take back all my previous criticisms. Our first goal at Bournemouth sums it all up. A great cross by Anderson, wonderful control by Haller and a great finish by Yarmalenko. We have bought some great players, although just when we get players back from injury, disaster strikes and we have lost Fabulanski for three months.

So, as my addictive personality clicked in on Saturday, I started to search for a stream, having logged into a VPN and chosen my location as Bulgaria. This has become more difficult lately, as the Premier League have obtained a blocking order which internet providers have to comply with. It’s funny how they make watching illegal streaming of football difficult, but it is easy to watch a terrorist beheading somebody.
It is not illegal to watch a stream. The Court of the European Union has ruled that watching copyrighted content online is not illegal, although running a site is. Often the stream you are trying to watch doesn’t appear until a quarter of an hour before the game. But I managed to find two streams, one with a better picture and one with a poorer picture with sound. I tried playing both at once, watching the one with the better stream and listening to the commentary, but they were out of sync. So, I was getting the commentary a couple of seconds after the action, so I switched off the sound. I tried to cast the picture to my TV, but there was a deterioration in quality. I tried to see if I got better quality on my phone, then my tablet.

The problem was, I was so into the tech side of things, I wasn’t concentrating, so, although I watched our first goal, I had an completely neutral reaction. I thought this was strange at the time, as normally, I would shout out loud and go and hug the wife (you know do something out of the ordinary). It was as if, I had put myself into a zombie state.

That reminds me of the time we were playing Preston North End in the FA cup final in 1964, which I was watching in black and white. When we scored, I hugged my mother with the result that she suffered two broken ribs. She didn’t let me forget that for the next fifty years.

Anyway, watching football on a computer stream is a most unsatisfactory experience. I am beginning to think that listening to a radio broadcast is more exciting.

So, let me sum up the positives. Cresswell is definitely coming back to his best. The Diop/Ogbonna combination is working well. Fredericks is a work in progress – he should have more confidence to use his speed. Noble’s improvement has been nothing short of remarkable. At last we have a first rate centre forward in Haller. Lanzini is going to be a major asset. Anderson, although not always on top form, is world class. Rice has managed to get himself back to his best form – we’re going to have great difficulty hanging on to him. Yarmalenko is a revelation.

The negatives are that we have lost Fabulasnki and Antonio for the time being. The jury is still out on Fornals. And the game at Oxford demonstrated that the depth of our squad is waifer thin.

So, the moral of this tale is don’t try and watch football and hug someone at the same time.