The HamburgHammer Column
The season of giving is here - but it doesn't feel jolly at West Ham this December
Anyone remember our game against Bury ? Stupid question, that 10:0 win has gone down in West Ham folklore. Friday evening my beloved Cordi did a reverse Bury performance, the Concordia first team suffered a quite historic 10:1 defeat away at Victoria (apt name that!).
I was there that evening in the cold and rain when the boys in red&black made history for all the wrong reasons, but it’s not really the kind of spectacle worth boasting about to any future great nephews of mine though. That 10:1 defeat didn’t happen in a testimonial kick-about or pre-season friendly either, it was a proper league fixture. Where Cordi even took the lead after seven minutes…
The other big Hamburg teams both lost their games last weekend as well.
Needless to say I wasn’t in the best of moods when the London derby against Arsenal came around on Monday evening.
Especially as I saw we were only playing one striker upfront again. And London derby ? I don’t know about you, but it didn’t feel like one at all.
Plenty of empty seats to begin with, many fans had obviously decided the sofa at home or having a pint down the local pub were the more comfortable option to watch.
The first half hour of the game was awful from both sides.
An advert to stop watching football altogether.
It was as boring as being forced to witness a very slow granny in a dimly lit chamber in Ipswich, knitting a particularly ugly christmas jumper in real time. At least with that one you would end up with a bit of warm clothing at the end of your ordeal.
When Ogbonna scored from a header, being deflected in by way of an Arsenal player, I was hoping this would boost our team’s confidence enough to seal victory by adding a few more goals against a woeful Arsenal defence while fighting for every ball. Instead it all came undone within a horrendous ten minute spell in the second half.
The season of giving in our case means that we give every team in a crisis a much needed confidence boost of their own by offering them the perfect turnaround game, playing bad old West Ham.
I was thinking briefly if I should post a column at all. As you can see, I sort of did, but I will not say a whole lot more at this point because frankly I am so done, sick and tired trying to get to the root of the problems at this flippin’ basket case of a club. I simply don’t know what to say anymore. We have tried various managers with different personalities and management styles.
We have tried two different stadiums and approximately 142 different strikers, some of whom actually were wingers or attacking midfielders.
Still we are pretty much in the same position as a team we were in ten years ago.
It gets harder and harder to muster any enthusiasm to even watch our games. Which is saying a lot as German football in general and especially local lower league level football in Hamburg is nearing its winter break (only one more Cordi cup game coming up next weekend), so December and January will not yield any games for me to attend which means I will have to get my fix from the busy christmas schedule, however, I am not exactly hopeful there will be many presents in the shape of points for West Ham under the tree this year. A relegation scrap it is then. We have been there before of course, losing some of those in the past, but also enjoying the occasional lucky or even great escape.
Which one is it going to be this season ? Most of us probably figured that relegation scraps would be a scenario firmly consigned to the past after our move to massive London Stadium. It may look like the stadium of a big club, but in most aspects on and off the pitch, unfortunately, we are anything but. As a West Ham fan of course I never joined the madhouse because of future glory, trophies or the notorious next level. All that was pretty much pie in the sky territory in 1996 when I became a Hammer. And it looks like it still is.
Losing of course wasn’t much fun in 1996 either. But it all felt different somehow. There was more togetherness, more West Ham against the rest of the world, now there is constant infighting, among fans, between manager and players, fans against manager, fans against board, board against fans.
Back in 1996 losing at home against Arsenal probably would have dampened my mood for the rest of the week. In 2019, I will probably have put this latest defeat out of my mind and my soul within 24 hours or so. That’s what feeling detached from this club can do to you.
Hamburg football update: As mentioned above both HSV and St.Pauli lost their respective games, St.Pauli are in deep relegation trouble while HSV have lost precious ground in their promotion chase. I have mentioned the 10:1 defeat of the Concordia first team who are firmly stuck in no-man’s land of mid-table mediocrity. Season already feels like going nowhere.
Same for the U23s who lost again too and haven’t got much left to play for now except personal pride.
Only bright spot once more was the Cordi women’s team who won their cup fixture 3:1 against Berne, a side playing one level above Cordi, the league where the girls will end up playing from next summer on should they seal promotion. They have now made it safely to the quarter-final stage of the cup.