The GoatyGav Column

Before I start I’d like to dedicate this article to my West Ham supporting Uncle Dave. Dave was my dad’s brother – born in Compton Avenue, Upton Park, West Ham was always going to be the only club for him. After leaving the Royal Marines, after my dad, Dave became a publican in Moretonhampstead, on Dartmoor, for a number of years before moving to Exeter, where he was a much loved member of the community, to settle with family and work in the toy industry for ERTL. My memories of Dave are all filled with warmth and love and, so far as my eighteenth birthday celebrations were concerned, generosity (Dave insisted on paying for the drinks, including several ‘Rusty Nails’, and painting the town of Macclesfield red, despite it being mainly blue, for the evening). My cousins Debbie and John, both West Ham through and through, were with him in his last days before he passed away peacefully at the age of 87 last Friday morning. Dave was the last of the generation of my Parents siblings and I’m going to miss him dearly. Peaceful Journey Dave – may you be re-united with loved ones, in a better place, once more.

From left to right Dave, Jean(My dad's wife), Kate(Dave's wife) and my dad, Alan

I read a post yesterday stating that it’s time, after a quarter of a season, to admit that Pablo Fornals has been a waste of money. Frankly I found the comment ridiculous as.

It’s clear that Manuel Pellegrini has great belief in the Spanish youngster. They tracked the lad for a very long time before Hussillos and the Gaffer brought the lad in. The decision looked to be a sound one after this summer’s Euro U21 Championship.

Is it so surprising that Pablo is taking time to settle in? I’ve heard the argument that, by comparison, Sebastien Haller has hit the ground running but the Frenchman’s physicality, and overall game, is more suited to the Premier League and he’s got more senior seasons under his belt. Overall the comparison is not a balanced, or fair, IMO. Outside of everything else competition for starting berths in Midfield is far stronger than it is up front and so Haller has had far more game-time to adapt so far. Manuel Pellegrini has, justifiably, introduced Pablo far more gently than he has Sebastien so it’s to be expected that the Spaniard is going to take a little longer to adapt without even considering his style of play being lesser suited to the Premier League than Haller’s.

So back to the title of the article how long should Pablo be given. Difficult question to answer isn’t it? It’s a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ style query. There are many different factors involved. I’d like to see Pablo playing regular, first eleven, football for at least a run of six games before I come to any kind of decision about how he is likely to progress in English football. Even at that stage I’d be inclined to avoid any knee-jerk reaction should he still be struggling to get up to speed.

All boiled down I can really understand those who are becoming impatient. The reason I can sympathise with that impatience is because expectation has risen. The team had us dreaming of a third placed position after a quarter of the season played. Instead we sit just in the bottom half and disappointment pervades. Add to this the noises coming out of the team management about the players having a ‘Big Team’ attitude it’s no wonder we’re feeling like our hopes are being dashed again in yet another, what appears to be, false dawn.

It’s in my nature to want to give players time to adapt. The over-arching feeling that I have is one of trust in the management to get it right. I believe it takes time to create something special and I’ll be patient and optimistic for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of young players Anthony Scully is beginning to press his case for first team squad inclusion. At twenty years old he’s enjoying a purple patch in the under twenty-threes while banging in goals for fun. I have my views on the importance of the F.A. Cup, and how we should field strong teams to give us a chance of progressing through the early rounds, however I’d be hugely excited to see him in the squad come the weekend of the third round. Scully and Holland are both very exciting prospects and, while I’m fully aware of previous, aforementioned, false dawns, like Freddie Sears’ introduction to first team football, I would hope that the cream of the Academy are still offered the chance to show us what they can do in a starting, or subs bench, berth. Last night saw Scully bag his tenth goal of the season, as well as combine to tee up Holland for his second of the night, in an impressive four-nil win over PL2, div 2, challengers Stoke City. An important win for the youngsters that keeps them top of the table, three points above Manchester United and six clear of Stoke, who have a game in hand on the Hammers.

A great fightback by the ladies this weekend. After trailing two-nil at ninety minutes the Ironesses fought back brilliantly to take their Continental League Cup tie to penners. Sadly the women lost out to the Spuds four-two in the shootout. Upwards and onwards for the rest of the season where they can concentrate on finishing as high as possible in the league.

Signing off with a bit of fun this week. Again, while trawling through various West Ham Sites, I came across the ‘Slipperydoodahsdoodahh’ blog and the following video: -

I vote we have this version played at home matches rather than that awful, plastic music, sounding ‘70’s version that gets trotted out all the time. I know some disagree but I’m really not a fan at all. Either way I loved the Japanese SKA band’s ‘Fatness’ version. Hope you did too.

Have a great week all.