The GoatyGav Column

Over the last three to four weeks I’ve posted several comments in support of Roberto. He’s come in and done ok for my money. I think that he’s shown what he’s about with some really decent shots stopped. He’s made very few errors and it’s debatable whether those have led to goals conceded. The second Newcastle goal, for which I left my seat to visit the little boys room (yes, I know, it was my fault), was, almost certainly, down to his indecision in coming for the ball and ending up stranded off his line without a chance of claiming the ball but who’s to say that wouldn’t have ended up in the back of the net. In any event that rush of blood to the head wouldn’t have led to his defence gaining confidence in him and it’s that point that forms the basis of this article.

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My brother and I, along with all those who stayed behind, applauded San Miguel Adrian on the season’s player parade lap last season. He got the loudest chant sung about him, in the lower tier section that we went down to, and deservedly so in my opinion. I wouldn’t say that Adrian was a club legend but he came pretty close. One of the club’s most memorable moments, of the last decade, was the penalty shootout victory against Everton in the 3rd round replay of the cup in 2015. After fellow Spaniard Joel Robles hit the crossbar with his spot kick the image of our charismatic keeper confidently throwing off his gloves and coolly burying his penner is emblazoned on our memories for all time. One of those moments I’ll remember exactly where I was, as I didn’t attend the match, as I jigged my way around the social club where I was playing a darts match.

San Miguel was not without his detractors at West Ham. Criticism of him re-surfaced from time to time after he had his occasional ‘moments’ that had us all wondering what was going through his mind. They were, however, exactly that – just moments. Ninety nine percent of the time Adrian was a superb keeper for us. As time rolled by he also improved his consistency and the mistakes were fewer and farther between.

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Nowadays Adrian plies his trade as the backup keeper for Liverpool. Shortly after joining the European Champions he found himself thrown in to the first team during, and following, the match of the injury to Alisson in the season opener against Norwich City on 9th August. With little time to adjust, after thirty nine minutes of the Premier League Season having passed, our ex-keeper helped Liverpool boss the league and go on an amazing winning run of eight games before handing the mantle back to Alisson. In fact the winning streak ended with Alisson’s return for the Merseysider’s visit to Old Trafford on the 20th October.

As well as directly effecting the outcome of games, through goals conceded, goalkeeper’s performances, and overall presence, have a direct effect on a team’s confidence. Since the injury to Fabianski West Ham’s first team confidence has gradually ebbed away. Apart from the team’s results, and league position, heading South there’s been a visible deterioration in the outfield tempo, fluency and cohesion. Fabianski’s injury came after thirty-four minutes of play at Bournemouth on 28th September. The team were goalless at the Vitality Stadium having just beaten Manchester United at home, drawn at Villa Park and beaten Norwich City – all without conceding a goal. Before that we’d won three–one at Watford and drawn one each with Brighton. The fact that Man City had put five past us in the previous match had little to do with Fabianski’s performance.

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m not placing the blame for all our woes at Roberto’s door. Going back to the first paragraph of this article I’m clear in my support of him as a deputy. I just wonder whether the club’s owners now rue the decision not to improve Adrian’s contract and if they now believe that the extra wages would have been worthwhile paying. Most of the squad knew San Miguel very well and, I’m sure, would have been playing with far more confidence with the Spaniard behind them because of the relationship developed over the six seasons. Added to that the fact he’s still only thirty-two years of age one can only believe that the board would have to admit to having made a mistake.

Elsewhere the West Ham Ladies edged out Reading in a cup competition for the second year running. This time it was the Continental League Cup, and not the F.A. Cup, but again away to the Berkshire side. Alisha Lehman scored the only goal of the match, so no extra-time or penalties on this occasion, and the highlights can be viewed on the official club site. From what I could make out the women really impressed and moved the ball well. Encouraging signs for the rest of the season to come. Next time out, on the 17th November, they’re away to the mighty Manchester City. Best of luck to the Ironesses for that match.

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The U23s suffered a loss, and gained a good win, against Wolfsburg in the Premier League International Cup and Swansea in PL2 respectively. Two stunning efforts from Wolfsburg saw the German team come out three-two victors however Anthony Scully kept up his incredible Scoring run which continued at Swansea where he grabbed another in the four-two win. Nathan Holland grabbed an impressive brace against the Swans with Dan Kemp also finishing beautifully for the fourth. Their next outing is a trip to high flying Exeter City in the Checkatrade Trophy on 13th. Once again the highlights can be viewed at www.whufc.com.

Have a good week all.

COME ON YOU RIP ROARIN’ IRONS!