The Jimmy Cooney Column

I’m going to be very honest, I’ve never became very interested in international duty. I don’t hate it, I like the World Cup, and you can’t have the World Cup without the tourneys it feeds.

I’m happy Haller scored for the Coast!! Maybe he broke the seal, And, Benny helped Algeria qualify for AFCON (so we will lose him if he’s still here for next Jan/Feb but we have many bridges to cross before we get there) :)) I learned that the latest round of international duty, called the Nation’s League.

And, at the time of editing, Rice scored in a 4-0 rout of Iceland, Soucek also headed one home for Czech Republic in a 2-0 win over Slovakia, in which Vlad Coufal played all 90 mins, Gen.Balbuena helped Paraguay remain unbeaten against Bolivia in 2-2 draw, and Randolph earned a clean sheet in his 50th cap as the mighty Irish drew Bulgaria, only Fabianski suffered an unfortunate come from behind 2-1 loss against the Netherlands, and as of 18:08hrs (6:08p.m. EST in the U.S.) none of the abovementioned players suffered any injuries (thank you, Higher Power of Good) and no more West Ham players have tested positive for the “VID”, and other than feeling back for Fabs, I’m genuinely happy for all who went out, I’m really psyched for Haller, Rice and Soucek, all scoring. However, in spite of how glad I am for them, I’m still more concerned what this will mean for putting out the best XI for Sunday. Beating Sheffield United is my top priority.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the U.S. men’s team has met with mediocre success in the World Cup, and, there haven’t been too many Star Spangled Hammers that graced the pitches of East London (according to John Northcutt up until 2007 and I was following by then, so there’s only been 3, I believe, John Harkes, Ian Feuer, who between the two of them, had 14 League apps, but one, who between 2008/11 made 101 League apps and one that had a really good night on the 30th of November, 2010 Jonathan Spector), who had a brace in a classic match, during a 4-0 whoopin’ of Man U, along with Carlton Cole scoring the other brace in the League Cup match, I’ve called the “Snow Cup”, but that’s pretty much it, you have your good American keepers from the States, Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, and you had some firepower with Landon Donovan and someone I’d have loved to see at West Ham was Clint Dempsey, I was pretty up us making him an offer in 2011 but everything worked out as it should have.

it’s not that I don’t care about the Lady Hammers success or the U.S. women’s “soccer” success, I’m very proud of the Women’s U.S. club who are the best in the World! I’m very pro women’s sports, but just being honest, between the work thing, the family and friends I have left, my electric guitar and rock & roll addiction, and the other few pro sports clubs that haven’t been changed so much that I still recognize them, (all are a whole different games I just choose to accept the change, some I welcome, most make me cry when I’m alone) I just have enough fight left to cheer them on!

(Since I’m most likely gaffing this up, Courtesy of Nigel Kahn; below is a link of the highlights of “The Snow Cup” match that feature the Jonathan Spector, and Carlton Cole braces.)

Thank You Nigel. All yours, and Dan Coker’s video work is priceless. I personally appreciate it.

It appears that the South Americans prize international play the most, and imho, Germany has excellent football, however, if I were an aspiring American who’s was trying to go as far in my career as possible, it would most certainly be to make the EPL, not just because I’m a “semi pro” Anglophile,
the most intense football leagues are in England, sometimes, I think the most exciting can be the Championship, (old Div 2, I wish they would include the Divisions era stats along side the Premier League era stats, but, I suppose they have Google for that now) however, I never want West Ham to be in the Championship again, the Vaz Te goal at ‘87 mins at Wembley live on Television is good enough, and if I were Noble , next time, we are at Wembley, let it be in a few months playing for the FA Cup. I’d definitely choose the Premier League if I were that good, and the rest would fall into place (and chances are, if I’m good enough for the Top flight of England, I’m probably playing for the “USMST”). So, it’s all good, I just love the grit of league play.

Really, my biggest beef with it [International duty], right now, first and foremost is that Yarmo’s life is danger cos he’s got the “’VID,” and of course on the less life impacting, but still important factor to our season, the loss of our impact striker for Sheffield United away. And back to my concerns about Sunday, Antonio is apparently ready to rock, so, the Predictor this week should be interesting.

Honestly, at this point I’m not changing anything, except I do trust Diop to fill in for Balbuena if he needs a rest, and especially if Oggy is ok, that is key. We just need to be better on the ball, and work on better passing, cos I think our 4-5-1, should look more like a 3-4-3 against Sheffield United, even on their patch. We need to be on the front foot from the jump.

For some reason, I still ask myself why, why are they risking the future and overall fitness of the ALL the world’s football players and anyone they come into contact with? FOR THE MONEY!!!!, It’s all about the cash. This is where I reveal that the only reason I like money us cos you need it to live. I’m not greedy enough….. hmmmm… (perhaps I’ll expand on that another day) anyway, They easily could reschedule until sometime soon, but not during yet another spike in the ongoing, and seemingly never-ending world wide pandemic. UGGGGH!!

Anyway, Was there a strange moon out last Friday? Things were kinda cruising, then, an air of negativity (sucks being an empath)…..

Perhaps, because a week after it was Friday the 13th? (The first shutdown world wide officially started on the 13th of March,) which, will now bring out my inner “Cliff Clavin”, "Its a little known fact that ‘Friday the 13th’ being “unlucky” is derived from the day in history, of Friday the 13th of October, 1307 A.D., when French king Philip IV the Fair, declared the Knights Templar the enemy of the people, and the persecutions of all the different orders of the Knights Templar.

It kicked off a pretty lousy weekend Tbh, My explanation, (not excuse) is that I was taken by surprise on both flanks cos, at that moment, I’m doing my best to get stuff done…… and since my mood is dictated on how well West Ham does, I was feeling pretty good, cos we were still the buzzin, coming off the scrappy win over Fulham, AND The Philadelphia Union won their first Silverware, later that day by winning the Eastern Conference, but also for having the best record in the whole league. When you pair that with the West Ham win, and it really was alot more important than we realize, we didn’t know about by Yarmo having COVID, the passings of Doug Wragg, or Ray Clemence as of yet, (R.I.P.).

However, as the week wore on, the feel good wore off quickly cos of a surprisingly confrontational debate regarding our CF situation, there is the Oggy scare, who sounds like he may not be available now after all, I guess over all, we really are a “glass half empty” lot, like Iain pointed out in the “Why Football?” Podcast. (Great job, btw, fella) :) and, eventually, the negativity creeps in, and of all the misunderstandings, resentments and the rivalries. I ain’t the only one who goes off when they feel insulted, there’s a few other rivalries round this digital pub! However, as Smurfy says, that’s what makes it fun!

I’m not sure if I’d use the word “fun” however, I know what he means, and agree with his point about debates are going to get heated, but I prefer for them to remain civil with everyone “walking” away still “Irons in Arms” at the end of it.

Needless to say, there were a few heated debates, of which a few I either overreacted to, or was just plain wrong about something, however, I’ve made my amends to all who I needed to, and all is well.

The reason I’m saying this is cos I try to stand up, admit my wrongs, ask for forgiveness, and live with the consequences either way.

I hope it’s moving forward, (refining my social media etiquette, that is the main mode of mass communication these days. What I need to remember, is that most of it is just banter, which, when I know we’re just takin it, I’m one of the most fun jokers to be around, it’s when I think I’m being insulted, is when I have misunderstandings. Usually it’s when I see something that offends me.
What I will keep in mind is it ain’t all about me, AND, if there is something too deep that I may not be in the mood for being spoken to about, or something does offensive to me, or, I simply don’t understand, I must remember to not feed into it, I simply put down the pad, and cool off…. for a good day or two if needed… and if, and hopefully when the opportunity presents itself, let those involved sort it out. This is going to sound strange, but I think my fellow columnists would agree, to do this reliably, your life changes a little! (Iain…..4 columns a day???? I admire ya chap. You are “Action Man”!!! :)

Seriously though, I have to do deeper research, and pay better attention, if my column is to improve and become more dynamic….. I feel like I almost have a job, but honestly, it’s almost the same rush as playing a gig, I mean nothing will ever top playing in front of any group of people over the size of about 50 or the largest I’ve played for was 2000, and they are singing along to a song that YOU wrote

I must admit though but this is a very second close, (it could be a job I love!) and In spite of my “Irish” getting up a bit easy, I admit, I really try to get along with everyone, believe me, I actually hate conflict, believe it or not. Not because I’m not good at it, it just I don’t like being angry with my mates Especially my West Ham mates.

I’m also trying to master the template that you must use to file the column, and for some reason (cos tech and I just don’t get along) I’m struggling to insert pics, so there may be a huge West Ham United logo on the whole column!! However, eventually, I will figure it out (even if I have to do it on Facebook) :0 lol :) I moan, cos tech seems to dislike me. :))

Ok Dammit!!! countdown to Sheffield United, the Blades!!!, and as we have the time, for this weeks installment, I’d like to perhaps hear any “Old Guard” anecdotes or memories of their experiences traveling to Bramall Lane in South Yorkshire to over the years. What kinda town is Sheffield? Def Leopard hails from there, and “High&Dry” and “Pryomania” could be two of the most seminal albums of the 1980’s hard rockin hair stage. “The Full Monty”, the play, turn’d film or other way around, depicts a city that looks and at the time, kind of like Bethlehem Pa. and once thriving steel town in the late 1800’s to the 1970’s that fell on hard times.

The more I think about this match itself, the more I remember what happened last year (another dubious VAR decision that cost us a point), with the conspiracy theory that a fair shake may not be had in Sheffield due to the Tevez controversy, that they all no doubt blame us for the spanner Tevez put into their survival chances , by coming to West Ham United under alleged treachery of which I could never understand, by coming to West Ham and playing a huge roll in the great escape of 2006/07, then, quickly turn around, take a higher offer from Manchester United the summer after. As a matter of fact I was thrilled that during the “Why Football” podcast Iain was on, brought up the actual stat that said West Ham United had the most taken away from them via VAR and comparable offenses went left alone for other clubs. I knew I wasn’t that kind of crazy. I’m a different kind of crazy.

Of course I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t know already, unless you happen to be new to football or West Ham United, in which case let me say “WELCOME ABOARD!” (Meds to the left, straight jackets to the right……). :-)

Sheffield United. 20th place 0-W-1D-7L GD -10 1pt.

One may look at this as say “3pts in the hole”, and sure other facts like only Burnley has less goals for (3) than Sheffield United (4). or dismiss worrying about the win, “we can really run up our GD after this, sure, were on their patch, but, no worries………..”

This is EXACTLY the type of match I dread, and exactly the type of match we’d gaff up. It’s almost as if this West Ham Squad is better when they are backed into a corner, we weren’t horrible against Fulham, however in spite of the fact that we came out on full gizmo, hit the woodwork and Areola kept some otherwise guaranteed goals out in a quick flurry, then, once that rush wore off, it was Fulham’s turn to come close a few times. We need to have a more attacking mentality, perhaps train anticipating having more possession, cos we haven’t been used to that, we need to be better on the ball, cos if we can just rattle the defense , we just may be able to win 0-4????

Ok, the key is not Haller, formations, or anything like that…’s about confidence, overconfidence, and managing the difference between healthy confidence, and cockiness, and a sharp and sustained attack, like Vicksburg.

Treating them like the were Liverpool, that would be giving them too much respect, but treating them like Southend United, (sorry Hammertime Mikey, but, they did win last week) :-)) however they are the lowest club in the table of Div 2, and to treat them with NO respect, would be an even bigger mistake. Hubris kills. For real, for real! Just take a look at the news.

The key to beating Sheffield United as I may have pointed out earlier, is to attack, attack, attack, I may have edited out due to the excessive changes I’ve had to make writing the column in the style I chose to experiment with this week, and let’s just say, in no meaning of the term, was this a “success”, so, even though I hate to even paraphrase such an opportunistic thief as Thomas Edison, no matter how intelligent he was “I’ve already learned one way NOT to do it!”

As for the squad, I have no idea who I’m going to change, sit start, I wouldn’t change the system, but you almost ha be to if A. Oggy doesn’t start, B. Fred starts for Coufal, and how does Haller feel if he’s not at least started WITH Antonio and Bowen, which mean possibly dropping Masuaku, which I just don’t think is a good idea right now.

I want Haller to work out, some say its too late and it may be, but If doesn’t work for Haller, it would be a shame, cos I think the biggest reason is he has not had enough of a chance, not so much in terms of “time” in the measurable sense with seconds, hrs, days, etc, I mean he hasn’t had enough stability for a long enough time TO establish a steady work rate, good service, a report with his attacking partners, due to injury, some players upping their skills, COVID-19 has probably played the biggest part, and he was bought under Pellegrini, a completely different manager with a whole different strategy, after all.

I really don’t mean to offend those who I get on with well on well with here, that are “Haller Out” and I know I’m not. I don’t know how this fits into “fact” or “opinion”, cos, I really can’t care if the phrase “in my humble opinion,” or “IMHO” offends somebody, it really means I’m of the opinion, that Haller will go on to score 12 more goals and assist 20 however, I’m humble about it, cos, I could be incorrect! Thats all! :)

Either way, I really hope their defense will not be able to cope, even if they catch us on a counter, it’ll look more like 1-3, or 2-4 instead of 0-1 or 1-2, (then again, if we could have a howler), and be the generous suckers that give Sheffield their first point/s of the campaign! Besides,I’ll take a 0-1 Hammers win, gimme those pts baby!!!!

However, With the right attitude, and effort, and match plan, then we MAY see a rare win up in Sheffield, cos our record, historically, was not to encouraging, however, perhaps it’s our turn to change a trend in our favor.

Love You All