The Jimmy Cooney Column

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I assume most of “Hammerdom” is quite satisfied with Monday night’s result, I am, quite, I’m a bit upset that I missed the match, albeit, during the goal, which was a work of splendid treachery and art, and, was one where I would definitely have noticed the absence of a crowd, especially for the Dawson goal (another assist for Bowen) and, me, even as THE top boy of the ICF, (Inner Couch Firm) :)) I agree, as Bowen said, is is what the FA Cup is all about, and as someone to not be able to claim an Away match, let alone an Away Cup Tie, up northwest, in January!

However, according to the extended highlights, I’ve seen, and accounts I’ve read, given the weather conditions, and Stockport really playing “hard to break down”, hence, another Yorkshire/Lancashire/Greater Manchester “banana peel” was successfully negotiated. (With at least one more to come! Hopefully 2)

Included in this list of reasons of missing the match, is making the mistake of not only being born 20 years too late, but apparently 3957 odd miles to the southwest, placing me in the “exclusion” club, ;)) there was no TV coverage here in my neck of the States to DVR, and even if I wasn’t busy, it would have no doubt been a headache finding a free stream, that doesn’t route through Russia.

I know there’s options, steaming ESPN plus wouldn’t accept my c.c., cos, well, I’m financially ruined, and my payment obviously hasn’t cleared!!! :)) and after the 2011-12 C’ship campaign, I picked up more viruses than I would have going maskless, condomnless, and sharing needles with everyone in the various dope dens and safe houses of iniquity under the “EL” Stations, along the “Market&Frankford Line” (yes the elevated trains and bars shown in “Rockys’” “I”, “V”, and “Rocky Balboa”) in the Kensington section of Philadelphia (it’s a far cry from the section in London called Kensington, I assure you). Add this to the fact that I’ve JUST started to take self tutorials on my new LT, and I’m a bit gun shy to try streaming just yet.

Even as technology savvy as someone in the Early 1980’s at best, “the years force a certain amount of wisdom upon you, whether you like it or not”. And my wisdom and knowledge is definitely improving….. I’m far from Yoda, but somewhere between “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” perhaps….. ;) , And in the case if my interest in English culture, as I’ve always had a curiosity of since I can remember.

However, every once in a while, topics of the little differences in our cultures pop up within our support base, and how we view things….. in particular, and the only one I cannot fully “agree with” for lack of better term is the notion of “I’d rather lose 5-4 and watch a complete cracker,than win 1-0 or 2-1”, a bit ugly,or scrappy, which would appear to mostly come from the English purists supporter, who was at least 5 years old at the time of the 1980 FA Cup finals. (Those I tend to very respectfully refer to as "The Old Guard, of which I am old enough to be a part of). I was 7 and remember VERY clearly in 1980, when the Phillies won the World Series against Kansas City Royals, the Eagles lost Super Bowl XV to the Oakland Raiders, The 76’ers lost the 1980-81 NBA Championship to the L.A. Lakers, and the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Islanders due to the fact that the deciding game six was marred by one of the most infamous blown official calls in NHL playoff history. With the game tied 1-1, the Islanders Butch Goring picked up a drop pass from New York left wing Clark Gillies which had clearly gone back over the Flyers’ defensive zone blue line into center ice. Linesman Leon Stickle waved the play as safe and Goring threaded a pass to right wing Duane Sutter who beat Philadelphia goalie Pete Peeters for a 2-1 New York lead. The Flyers argued vehemently to no avail. (Sound familiar to anyone? See why identify with y’all!?!?!) :))

I admit, years ago, while a “Patawan Learner”, to the now “Premier League” (who was Ronin, btw) :)) I had some difficulty grasping this concept at first, (as has the few people I’ve tried to convert, cos they don’t understand….) they understand “playoffs”, worst club gets the first “draft pick”, and some cash, etc, to keep parity, There is one “Big Prize” at the end called a Championship, 2 contests, regular season, playoffs, Champ final, is what spawns the American sports fan asks is "so….what is the “endgame in ‘soccer’?!?!” outside of the playoff system in place in the MLS) however, having been to football camps between 1980-86 and played until High School, I picked a lot up pretty damn quickly, I began to understand and appreciate the difference of financial reward, the points system, 2 Cups, and European and Champs League depending on your position in the top 5, (even if relegation made it harder to follow), over the years, it came clear rather quickly, and instead of confusing me, it intrigued me, and the loyalty in loss I found to be a very important lesson.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying there is ANY right or wrong in this, its just different perceptions and tastes, some think Antonio sucks, some think he’s our best player of the last 5 years. Some hate C.C. Some think he’s one of the most important players of the “’Teens”, I’m just pointing out a different mindsets, the vast difference in how 3 people, one with seats in the Bobby Moore lower, one with seats up in the “nosebleed” in the Booking stand, and one who watched on t.v., all view things from quite different angles, I’ve noticed. We all see things our own way. If this site doesn’t prove that, not sure what will! ;)

Where I agree, sadly, I don’t believe the modern game (i.e., owners, shareholders, and whatever corporate demons sent here by Belial…..[do not say its name out loud….. please trust me.]), to tack up these wonderful designed yearly kits, to cover them with billboards for gambling online, and seemingly, the next on-line stock trading firm destined for failure, and yes, adverts for “tyres”…. (its "tires, y’all) :)) etc…..

It’s a bloody shame that not everyone finds the same potential magic that most of those who who PAY to have hope, travel, and brave weather only U.S. Spec Forces, British SAS, U.S. Navy SEALS, Royal or U.S. Marines train in, and now, just hoping the match goes on due to a worsening Global Pandemic.

The FA Cup, as I remember the waning mentality that the FA Cup is an even more important work of Silver than the Top Flight Championship has been on for some time. (In spite of the fact that only 8 clubs who were not in the top flight, both Divisions and PL era, have ever won the FA Cup, our beloved Hammers being the last, in 1980 and all 8 clubs were no lower than the 2 tier).

However, there is something very special and unique about the FA Cup and even as an American, as a matter of fact ESPECIALLY cos I’m American, and I guess I just wished it was more the “great equalizer” It once had been, with little dynasties here and there, but a variety of clubs winning, and getting to quarter and semi finals, still, I find it special BECAUSE of football’s quintessential English qualities, not in spite of them. Admittedly, the FA Cup Ties in the Divisions era definitely had more potential for “Giant Slaying” and showed such in ties all through the rounds. However, I’d be “over the moon” if we could buck that trend front the first time since Wigan won in ’12 (got relegated, but won the Cup!!!) So, there still is some magic……

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Embed from Getty Images

Now back to our current form and style of play, Of course, I’d rather watch more fluid games, especially ones where we score more goals, some sitters from Haller, and Fornals could have us in the European conversation right now, however, with the come from behind/no one thought we had a chance at anything, draws and wins being included with this statement, I’d rather grind out a 1-0, 2-1 win (mostly cos I really respect good defensive play a lot more than the “glitter”), then be “let down” by an 9 goal emotional rollercoaster ride where West Ham comes out on the short end, I mean, between West Ham, the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, where victory, and further advancement and success, that I witnessed and can remember any number of historical events since 1978, literally snatched from the jaws of victory, on multiple occasions from all clubs, which doesn’t kill my loyalty, but it puts me in a foul humor until the next fixture, game, match, etc……

I’ve been around long enough to have learned to respect and actually celebrate good score draws, (Tottenham, away in October, anyone?) :) and will give credit during a good hard fought 5-4 loss on occasion, if we left it all out there, and, we are in good shape, however, it’s still a loss, therefore, 2-4 of those a season, cool, but 10??? Nonsense. The game is played to be won.

This being said, the whole year is a marathon, not a sprint. Of which, I find the “chess” aspect of English football a lot more intriguing at this point in my life than I do the COMPLETE BLOODY 3 RING CIRCUS that the NFL has been since the Mid to late 1990’s

O.K. on to the striker issues, it’s a good thing we have a bunch of flying defensive Iron, picking up the slack as far as finishing, and Soucek to be pulling out these great match winning assaults, and performances, however our striker (singular), is wonderful, albeit as he ages, I don’t see the hamstring issue improving, therefore we can train Benny to be the “Fox in the Box” in a 3-5-2 with he and Antonio, Bowen or Yarmo up front, meanwhile, we find the suitable striker to see us to at least a top 10 finish and a Cup win. I think it’s more likely than us finishing any higher than 8th, unless once we reach Liverpool or Manchester United (every year, it seems, if we make it to the 5th round, we draw either one of the Manchester’s or Liverpool, or am I mad?) I suppose the good news is if we beat the Satan Worshipers, or LiVARpool, the Cup shall be ours.

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However , I’m not saying that we don’t need one or two strikers, and I do fear no signings will be made, of which there’s only one I’m staunchly opposed to signing and that is Marko Arnautovic, I’m sorry, I don’t want to see the balance of this squad thrown off.

Well, this is where I kind of check out, and let the discussions about whether or not we need a LB, DMF, and Striker, or in my opinion, a DMF and a “cold weather striker” (who, I leave that to the ITK’s in our tribe, to guess, debate, and criticize what ever choice is made), cos, from what I’ve read, REALISTICALLY if we even have the cabbage to buy King, who’s probably the most realistic option, to cover for Antonio when he has his “Festive Fixture” Time 2-4 months off, I’m not holding my breath for any sensational signings, hopefully, at least one or two offensive move are made, with a CMF’er as a bonus, so long as it doesn’t mess with the “Esprit de Corps” that is this sides biggest advantage right now.

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Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

I think the defense is pretty squared away, and, is slightly deeper than the attack (now that WHOMEVER, decided it would a a good idea to get rid of 2 attacking players, without having at least ONE on the grill was smoking crystal meth, unless there’s a plan that “Slick Moyes” has up his sleeve……) :)) Besides, all the goals, as I’ve said, seem to be coming from the defensive players, and we rule the set piece. However, the former anomaly of defenders carrying the lions share of the scoring, will not continue.

Of course, a slick move for a solid striker could mean bigger things for this club this season, during a time in history, especially, where literally one of the only things keeping me in something that resembles a good mood, is that West Ham United F.C. has become quite the formidable club, whether you like the gaffer, style or players or not.

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