Overly long writings about West Ham United FC. This is the kind of thing you might like, if you like this kind of thing.

Friday, September 29, 2006

West Ham vs Reading: 1 October 2006 (Match Preview and Other Ramblings)

1. How To Win Friends And Influence People

Well, don't up sticks and leave for a better opportunity. Unfortunately that's what Alan Pardew did back in 2003 when he disappointed Reading and John Madjeski by heading up the M4 (slowly if my recent trip to Cornwall is anything to go by) to our fair city.

This has led Reading fans to declare Pardew something of a hate figure, which isn't all that scary in actuality. You see, teams like Reading or Charlton simply can't do vitriolic hatred. Whenever I hear Reading supporters boo Pardew it makes me think of an unruly whist drive at the local Catholic Club.

2. I Don't Want To Mention It

You know what I'm talking about. The dreaded 'R' word. No, no, not Roeder - the other dreaded 'R' word.

As we all found out in 2002, there is no team to good to go down, but there are plenty of teams too bad to stay up. The truth is that if we win our next couple of games I will look back on this column rather sheepishly (more so than usual anyway), but I have this deep seated fear that the negativity that engulfed our relegated team of 2002 could return at any point. As I mentioned before - I'm not famous for my bright outlook on life. I remember Ian Pearce up front after all.

3. How Many?

Apparently the next goal we let in will be number 600 in the Premiership. I would attribute only half of them to Gary Breen.

4. Have We Met Before?

Not very often. We have played Reading 4 times in the League, and twice at Upton Park. The first game was won by a Christian Dailly header. From a corner. In the week that we nabbed Pardew from Reading. Those who believe in signs would call this a prelude to the Apocalypse.

The second was won by Teddy Sheringham's late home debut goal. Hurrah for cod liver oil!

The two games at Reading have been so appallingly dire I would need to refer you to the singing career of James Blunt for an adequate comparison of the mental torture inflicted.

5. The Case For The Defence

Would there be any value in my suggesting actual, cohesive defending on Sunday? I feel I have been banging the drum for this radical new concept for quite a while now without any tangible success.

I am actually not too perturbed at conceding three goals whilst chasing a game away from home in Italy. However, it is our continued inability to score the first goal that strikes fear into my heart. For it is Roederian. And I have a weak heart.

6. Watch Him. And Him. And Probably Him Too.

Reading have some good players. They are not a promoted team here to make us all feel better about oursleves like Sunderland were. Steven Sidwell is my preferred replacement for when Nigel Reo-Coker decides he wants to experience a foreign culture and moves to Arsenal, and his partner James Harper is pretty tasty too.

They aren't all that hot at the back but considering we have gone 3 hours 38 minutes without a Premiership goal I shall not be chucking my rock around inside this nice glass house we're all standing in.

7. Black Sabbath's Are Crap

Please. I want to watch Match of The Day the one time without having to say to Mrs Shark... "I just want to see if we nearly scored".

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Palermo 3 -0 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)

1. Get Your Excuses In First

This will be a short update. Mainly because I'm slowly losing the will to live, let alone type, after watching us play.

2. Those Sheets? How About Keeping 'Em Clean?

Our inability to prevent the opposition from scoring must be driving Alan Pardew out of his mind. I know that if I had one it would be boggled. I know we weren't exactly all that solid last year but the River Thames currently has a better defence than we do.

3. Where The Hell Is Danny Gabbidon And What Have You Done With Him?

Playing half the Welsh back 4 was probably asking for it in retrospect.

4. Televisual Injury

I'm comfortable with my sexuality. I'm not too bothered about losing to a team who play in pink. That said I think my retinas are bleeding from watching the highlights of that game. The trick was not to stare straight at the Palermo shirts.

5. I've Seen My Ghost

Jonathan Spector does exist! He's better than Tyrone Mears at right back. This qualifies as faint praise.

6. If We Didn't Have Bad Luck We'd Have None At All

The goals scored by the 'Rosanero' had a touch of luck about them over the course of the two games. Which is specious reasoning, but you can't deny that it is reasoning none the less. The fact that we did not score in the period before half time was the defining point of the game. Even at 1-0 down we still needed just our customary 2 goal second half turnaround to go through but it wasn't to be.

Carlton Cole HAS to score with his header though.

Despite the margin of defeat I can't condemn this loss as being quite so excreable as recent performances. Which is like saying that Will Young isn't as bad as Robbie Williams.

At least we had a sniff of a goal this time. I'd still prefer it if we played South America's best young forward up front rather than on the left wing, on account of how it doesn't seem like the best use of either Carlos Tevez or our left wing.

7. Purtroppo Sono Inglese

Some of those Italian lads were quite dirty. And they dived. And several of them wasted time. I'm shocked, next you'll be telling me that agents are bad for the game.

8. The Stats

We won the corner count 11-6. We've gone 6 and a half hours without a goal and this was our heaviest ever European defeat. I have to go now, I'm going to see if I can hack off a kneecap with my season ticket.......

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Palermo vs West Ham: 27 September 2006 (Match Preview and Other Ramblings)

1. My Receding Optimism

I can't work out if I'm a pessimist because I'm a West Ham fan, or if I'm a West Ham fan because I'm a pessimist.

2. The Link Between The Ashes Losers And Palermo

Marco Bresciano plays for Palermo. He is an Australian who is quite a good professional football player. Until recently it wasn't possible for these two to be one and the same thing.

Nowadays the criminal gene produces a decent standard of player. And Harry Kewell. Now, lots of people will remember Harry Kewell as a man who went off within 20 minutes of the start of both the Champions League and FA Cup Finals, else the player who joined Liverpool and made more money out of the deal than Leeds did, or indeed maybe as the man who, at the age of 27, missed a Last 16 World Cup game with gout. Not me, loyal readers. I will remember him as the guy who, on his MTV Cribs show had two TV's in his bathroom. One at each end of the bath because he's too lazy to turn round.

I know what you're thinking, by the way - "You're the cretin who watches that show".

Anyway, Marco Bresciano is pretty good. And so are the rest of the Palermo team. They are 3rd in Serie A and lost just 4 games at home all last season. We'll shit 'em.

3. Our European Tours

Previous jaunts into the EU have proved fruitful for us. Our Intertoto run took in Finland's FC Jokerit (1-1), Holland's Heerenveeen (1-0) and France's Metz (3-1). In the UEFA proper we then beat Osijek of Croatia 3-1 before succumbing 2-0 at Steau Bucharest, a game attended by Larry Hagman. Which is a marvellous non sequiter.

The slightly more relevant point from that UEFA run is that the men who played in those games are now elsewhere and as such our experience of European football probably extends to Roy Carroll, Yossi Benayoun, Lee Bowyer and Teddy Sheringham, of whom only 2 are likely to start.

The important thing is that James Collins and Tyrone Mears are both doubtful through injury, which will therefore see a repeat of Saturday's Mullins/Dailly combination on the right side of our defence. Which just increases the likelihood of heart problems for me later in life.

4. A Snapshot Of Our Problems

Bobby Zamora : 7 Appearances - 5 Goals. Everybody Else : 91 Appearances - 1 Goal

5. Algebra - Football Fan Style

Sir, I have a problem to solve. A follows B and I don't want it to. Therefore, can't I just replace A with another letter I have never seen before and solve it that way?

The most common rant I read about West Ham these days is "We need to replace Roy Carroll and Marlon Harewood with Robert Green and Carlton Cole".

There is never any logical reasoning behind this other than that they are not the players they would be replacing. It also fails to take into account that Alan Pardew sees these players all week and presumably has a decent idea of how they might be playing. This is unlike the Glenn Roeder era when I'm pretty sure it was like a Sunday morning outfit and the first 11 players there were told to put up the nets and they'd be in the team. This was also known as the "Gary Breen Rule", I believe.

Anyway - the point is, don't be amnesiacs.

6. No, Your Supposed To Have Hot Streaks

At one point last season Marlon Harewood went 9 games without a goal and is currently on a run of just 1 goal in his last 15 Premiership games. I'm not all that worried because he has always scored regularly for West Ham - to the tune of 50 in 142 appearances, however I do keep thinking "Kevin Phillips" when I see him playing as he is now.

You know what would help? A penalty. Although I'm led to believe you can only get them by attacking the other teams penalty area, or by having Andy Johnson diving for you.

7. TV Is Bad For You

This game isn't on the television. Instead Channel 5 are showing Newcastle vs Levadia Tallinn. I must leave you now and see if I can excoriate my spleen with Ms Shark Jr's crayon set.

Anyway, the point is, don't be amnesiacs.....

Monday, September 25, 2006

Manchester City 2 -0 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)

1. I've Misplaced My Pants

The points made in tonights update will be headed by random quotes from The Simpsons. They will not have any relation to the content but I think we all just need a bit of cheering up, don't you?

2. First I Have To Take Your Pregnant Mother To The Hospital And Now This!

You see I have these two funny looking bones halfway down my leg, I believe the medical men call them "patella", and I'm dying to start jerking them. I've been putting it off for a while but failing to score in consecutive weeks against Newcastle and Man City has pushed me over the edge. Carroll Out! Konchesky Out! Roeder Out! Sorry, old habits die hard.

It's difficult for me to articulate quite how atrocious it is to go to Man City and fail to even muster a shot on target. They have Richard Dunne in their defence for the love of God.

We had 55% possession and couldn't turn it into a goalbound effort. This suggests to me that our back 4 are spending a fair bit of time stroking it around aimlessly to each other. I guess they must be doing something because they sure as hell aren't stopping anybody scoring.

I do know that straws can pierce the skin if you push hard enough, though.

3. We're Here, We're Queer, We Don't Want Anymore Bears!

Your honour, I would like to object in the strongest possible terms to allowing a man by the name of Georgios to score twice against us.

4. If The Flintstones Has Taught Us Anything, It's That Pelicans Can Be Used To Mix Cement

Now some people may choose to blame Hayden Mullins and Christian Dailly for the two goals but I'm not one of them. Sure, they made errors but they did so because they were playing in positions they are not adequately equipped to play in. As soon as I saw our substitutes (Green, Mullins, Bowyer, Tevez, Cole) I feared what would happen if any of our defenders were to get injured. I also wondered just how incriminating are the photos of Pardew that Marlon Harewood must have to still be getting in this team ahead of Tevez and Cole.

5. Kids, You Tried Your Best And You Failed Miserably. The Lesson Is, Never Try

I am extremely disappointed that Kiki Musampa no longer plays for Man City. He has one of my 3 favourite footballing nicknames in "Chris" (I'll explain at the bottom if you don't get it).

Our very own Anton Ferdinand - "Three-o", because apparently he gets the same haircut as Rio, only three weeks later.

And my favourite, Wigan's "One Size" Fitz Hall.

6. Marge: This Is The Worst Thing You've Ever Done. Homer: You Say That So Often That It's Lost Its Meaning

This weekend Thierry Henry said that two players he admired in the Premiership were Kevin Davies and Paul Dickov. I. Have. Not. The. Words.

7. I'm Normally Not A Praying Man, But If You're Up There, Please Save Me Superman

In the search for positivity let me present you with the following tidbit. From our 6 games played this year we have earned 5 points. From the corresponding fixtures last year we gained......... 5 points. This replaces Watford with Sunderland which is a grievous insult to the former, but what can I do. If I was going to replace them with an actual football team of comparable skill levels it would be Hutton Medway "C". Under 12's.

8. Please Don't Eat Me! I Have A Wife And Kids. Eat Them!

One of my loyal army of readers (I'm not sure if it was Mum or Dad) asked if I could comment on the relative merits of Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez. And who am I to deny them.

I firmly believe that both players will be excellent Premiership players, just not for West Ham. I don't think there are many West Ham fans who think that they will stay with us for very long but are merely using this season to get acclimatised.

Tevez looks like a bundle of tricks and makes me long for Dean Ashton to be fit - I think that will be a potent combination. Mascherano looks excellent when in possession and retains the ball superbly. However, he has none of Mullins' mobility and we have already seen a number of fairly average Premership players simply run straight past him - I'm looking at you Obafemi Martins.

In short, they'll improve hugely once they adjust to the pace of the game.

9. Vampires Are Make-Believe, Like Elves, Gremlins, And Eskimos

Jonathan Spector still does not exist.

10. It's True, I'm A Rageaholic.....I Just Can't Live Without Rageahol!

Has anybody seen Matthew Etherington? Last spotted in Micah Richards back pocket.

11. Facts Are Meaningless. You Could Use Facts To Prove Anything That's Even Remotely True!

Gaining points in the Premiership is extremely difficult to do if you are continually behind in games. In fact only ourselves and Boro have been losing at Half Time and won a game. To that end I would be absolutely delighted if we could perhaps see our way to scoring first in a game. It must be having a hugely demoralising effect on the team to know they have to score twice to have even a chance of winning a game. Perhaps we could file that in the "Radical Ideas" drawer under "Pass To Each Other" and "Stop Using The Word 'Exuberance' in Post Match Interviews".

12. Son, When You Participate In Sporting Events, It's Not Whether You Win Or Lose: It's How Drunk You Get.

Amen. Oh, and Kiki "Chris" Musampa. Christmas Hamper for the tottenham fans out there.


........Chelsea beat Fulham and Francis Lampard scored twice. Neither was deflected and he didn't kiss his badge - can you see flying swine?..........Reading drew with Man Utd despite having 38% possession. Ronaldo had 38% himself............Liverpool beat tottenham after Jermaine Jenas missed an open goal from 9mm. And there are people out there who deny the existence of God...........Aston Villa beat Charlton. Olof Mellberg really does look like a man who has just jumped off a longboat in search of a small English hamlet to pillage.......Arsenal beat Sheffield United and Alan Wright played! You know the fellow, 9 inches tall. Shit..............Watford drew at Wigan even with Malky Mckay in the team. A man who makes global temperature change look pacey.......

Token Michael Dawson Slaughtering

Big Mike was typically useless as tottenham collapsed 3-0 at Liverpool. I'm not sure why Martin Jol doesn't just dig a hole outside the box. It would have broken up more atacks than Dawson and you might get the added bonus of seeing Craig Bellamy fall down there. And most Premiership fans could live with that.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Manchester City vs West Ham: 23 September 2006 (Match Preview and Other Ramblings)

1. When Average Meets Average

This is a Meeting of the Mediocre, unlike our game with Newcastle which was simply a Battle of the Bad.

2. The Stats

In their first 5 games, Man City have managed 3 goals and their main "striker", Paul Dickov has mustered 3 shots on goal. This scares me not. Well, okay, a little.

There are a bunch of guys who seem to hang around in front of Roy Carroll. I hesitate to call them "defenders" as such, given that this would indicate tackling, or organised movement and such like. And watching Danny Gabbidon play this year would disprove that notion somewhat. Anyway, how about not letting in the first goal this week? Just at thought.

We did beat Man City away last year in the FA Cup with a bravura performance from Dean Ashton. (No clean sheet, naturally, despite playing against ten men for most of the second half). In the League we were deservedly beaten 2-1, whilst managing the seemingly impossible and making Andy Cole and Darius Vassell look potent.

Enough with the negativity, on the plus side, Bobby Zamora has now scored as many Premier League goals as Franck Quedrue.

3. My Peg Is Squarer Than Yours

I read today that Tyrone Mears is injured and may not play on Saturday. Ho hum. My concern is that Hayden Mullins appears to be in line to replace him. Now, Hayden is one of my favourite players but he is really not a right back. Nor is he a left back or a centre back while we're at it, Alan.

Playing him at right back strikes me as being about as good an idea as eating your own cat. Sure - I guess you can do it but I don't think it's going to be all that enjoyable for either party.

If you want to compare the various square pegs of our recent managers I have voted for the following:

Alan Pardew - Hayden Mullins: Left Back vs Crystal Palace (Play Off Final)
Harry Redknapp - Trevor Sinclair : Left Wing Back vs Steau Bucharest
Glenn Roeder - Ragnvald Soma : On a football pitch vs anyone

4.Newtons Immutable Law of Ex Players

While we're on the subject of Trevor Sinclair he is one of numerous ex Hammers playing in the Premier League. Usually, we let them score against us -Lampard, Defoe, Ridgewell, Ferdinand (Yes, that's Rio Ferdinand of 7 career goals fame, 2 of them for us). In City's 1-0 defeat at Upton Park last year poor old Trevor lobbed Jimmy Walker, tricky as that is, and was all set to equalise before Micah Richards nipped in and poked it in from about 6 inches out. Unfortunately he was offside. And to top it off, Shaun Newton scored the winner. Oooooooooouch.

5. Take Cole To Manchester

Carlton Cole is down to a goal every 53 minutes. Get rid of him Al.

6. The Department of Delusion

Off topic but worth noting. The following sentence was uttered by a manager in respect of the Carling Cup this week. "We are the plum tie in the round and they got us". Who do you think that might have been? Harry Redknapp, manager of Premier League leaders,Portsmouth? Nope. Martin O'Neill, boss of high flying Aston Villa (oxymoron alert!)? Guess again. Well, dont actually. It was Kevin Blackwell, then manager of 2nd bottom Championship Leeds.

Perhaps "plum tie" means something else up there? I know for instance that in Leeds they refer to a charmless, odious, incompetent twat as a "Peter Ridsdale" whilst we in London would call him a "Peter Kenyon". It's a small but significant difference.......

Monday, September 18, 2006

West Ham 0 -2 Newcastle (And Other Ramblings)

1. What The Hell Happened?

OK, I know I was away for a week, and I apologise for that, but someone sure took their eyes off the road didn't they? 1 goal in 3 home games? That's Roederian.

2. Speaking Of Which......

If you look up the word "galling" in the dictionary it is defined by the phrase - "Lose to a team coached by Glenn Roeder". If you have a particularly expansive version it will say "Lose at home to a team coached by Glenn Roeder, without scoring and whilst allowing Obafemi Martins to get his first goal".

To be honest I'm not entirely sure that the lads ever got over the disappointment of finding out that Titus Bramble wasn't going to be playing. That's got to have been a blow.

3. The Stats

Even the stats are dull for this game. We had 51% possession and mustered 3 shots on target. OK then.

One recurring stat is that we are completely incapable of keeping a clean sheet. In all 6 games this year we have conceded, and we have done so first in 5 of those games. It will be interesting to see how long Pardew persists with this current back 4. I love the fact that we are so geared towards scoring goals but I can't help feeling that the rest of the Premiership are starting to cotton on to us now and as such we are constantly having to chase games. And are not doing a great job of it.

By the way - that 49% possession that Newcastle had can probably be attributed solely to Paul Konchesky, who had a severe attack of the Wayne Quinns today.

4. How To Get Off Scott Free

I know it's puerile and pretty childish but I do love to see opposition players sent off. That said Scott Parker certainly should have gone today. In fact if I didn't know better I'd have sworn he was a Sheffield United player.

Parker actually got away with it by comitting two bad fouls within about 8 seconds of each other. Rob Styles had his hand moving towards his pocket to book him the second time as well before realising that this would mean a red card and bottling the decision.

I must say - when I saw him in that McDonalds ad all those years ago I didn't think he'd turn out to be quite so dirty.

5. A Little Advice

If you're a Newcastle fan and you're pondering going to see the Toon anytime soon may I make a suggestion. Make sure you have a replica shirt. I think it's the law.

6. Have You Seen My Ghost?

Jonathan Spector does not exist.

7. The Opposition

Without wishing to damn them with faint praise Newcastle are probably the most ordinary team we will lose to this year. Which is quite something when you consider we will definitely contrive to lose to Bolton at some point. They have a decent midfield, Shay Given (get well soon) and not much else. And for Gods sake, scoring a goal against West Ham does not make Obafemi Martins a £10m player. Marlon King does it regularly after all.

In case you think I'm being a little harsh check out the Newcastle back 4 who kept a clean sheet against us today - Carr, Ramage, Moore and Babayaro. Please excuse me while I see if I can gouge out my Adam's Apple with a banana.

8. The Referee

Rob Styles was Rob Styles. He got some things right and a lot of things wrong. I've highlighted the Parker decision but there was also a curious moment in the first half when Shola Ameobi first fouled Danny Gabbidon, then handballed it and then played in Martins who put it wide when he should have scored. Perhaps the handball cancelled out the foul?

9. Peter Ramage

This fellow deserves his own section. Usually when I watch a Premiership game it reminds me that no matter how talented you might have been as a kid, you are still light years from those at the top of their profession.

Every now and again, however, I see a player who makes me think that if I had just worked a little more on my left foot, stayed off the smack and had a little luck, I too could have been a contender. Step forward Peter Ramage. The man backs up Titus Bramble after all.

In case you think I'm being a little too anti-Newcastle then please note that Tyrone Mears is fast making a believer out of me too.

10. Something To Warm The Heart

The other day I saw a small child kitted out head to toe in full replica kit. Shirt, shorts and pulled up socks - the works. It was really quite nice to see. Of course, it was an Arsenal "4 - Fabregas" kit so I playfully lobbed some rocks at him and good naturedly wrestled him to the floor. But once they re-set his shoulder, I have no doubt he'll find it hilarious too.

11. An Inconvenient Truth

The media reaction to the Glenn Roeder incident has been quite interesting. Neither MoTD or Sky have shown the full set of pictures highlighting Roeder's repeated gesturing to the Newcastle fans. In truth, it wasn't particularly outrageous but it was fairly unedifying none the less. And of course, trying to goad the fans of a club decimated by your own incompetence is surely the footballing version of a Pyrrhic Victory. But no-one has mentioned that.

In summary then, let's face it - if you return to your former workplace and have to be escorted away by Police you probably haven't covered yourself in glory.

Token Michael Dawson Slaughtering

Apparently when Nottingham Forest sold Michael Dawson they got £4m for him. I have but one question. Where can I get one?


......Man Utd lost at home to Arsenal. Manc fans should seek solace in the fact they are still undefeated against English teams.........Chelsea beat Liverpool with a splendid goal from Didier Drogba. I know - far out man.......Fulham got a goalless draw at tottenham. I might just creep out on a limb and suggest that was not the best game to watch...........Blackburn beat Man City. Francis Jeffers played in this game. Here is a man who has been transferred for over £10m and if you want to truly depress yourself just think that you could probably give the world clean drinking water for that much money.........

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

West Ham vs Aston Villa: 10 September 2006 (Match Preview and Other Ramblings)

1. Excuse Me

This match preview is brought to you from cloud cuckoo land. It's great here. The sea is on fire, it's snowing in the desert, Stilian Petrov is worth £9m and hang on, what was I going to say...oh that's right, Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez play for West Ham.

Actually, calling this a match preview could get me prosecuted under the Trades Description Act. This is little more than the scribblings of a very excited loon and for that I apologise to the zero Villa fans reading.

2. Portsmouth Tried To Get Them Too?

I think I'll simply ignore that.

So, how does this work exactly? We jump into bed with the shadiest bunch of men in football (think about how dodgy you have to be to get that particular sobriquet) and end up with two, quite ugly, but World Class players nonetheless.

Every public utterance from West Ham so far has mentioned that under no circumstances will these lads be going anywhere, anytime soon. Now that's a bit like a George W Bush telling you to chill out, maan, 'cos Peace is the way forward. I am..............wary.

3. Que?

I don't know. I'm so confused, I won't know whether to boo or hiss Gavin McCann this Sunday.

4. Chairman Mouse

Terence Brown has not been a good chairman for West Ham. In fairness hisperformancee since relegation in 2003 has been excellent (or in other words - how he should have been doing it before), but overall he did rather sit playing his violin whilst the Titanic slowly sank.

And now we might end up with Kia Joorabchian. There has been so much written about this potential deal that I have taken to simply ignoring most of it. It is surely significant that no Fleet Street journalist had any inkling of the transfers until they happened, so I see no reason why they would be any the wiser now.

In other words, I am going to find the largest piece of sand I can and stick my head firmly in it. I have waited pretty much all my footballing life for this day and I have decided not to question why this little slice of Dionysian luck has landed in my lap. They say ignorance is bliss and knowledge is power. I guess one of them is lying.

5. Our Scrabble Team

It is entirely possible that we could field the following team at some point this year:

Carroll, Paintsil, Konchesky, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Mascherano, Reo-Coker, Etherington, Benayoun, Sheringham, Zamora.

Count the syllables folks. Poor old Carlton Cole doesn't stand a chance.

Actually, if Teddy Sheringham starts a game for us this year it will presumably mean the Bubonic Plague has swept through our dressing room.

6. Some Stuff About Villa Then

We usually draw against Villa, and I must confess they are one of my most hated opponents. Not for any particular reason other than that they are so deadly dull. Prior to last years memorable 4-0 barbecuing of The Villians we had not beaten them since a John Hartson double secured a 2-1 win in 1997. There was a League Cup penalty shoot out in between times, but let us never speak of that again.

This year Villa have drawn at Arsenal, and beaten Reading and Newcastle. They have Juan Pablo Angel in their squad. Martin O'Neill is a genius.

7. Hare Today

Both Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood scored against Villa last year. Harewood netted 4 times over the 2 games , and Bobby got the winner up at Villa. The latter goal was a header which just proves that our entire season was the result of some Faustian pact.

Presumably one of them will have to be on the bench now Tevez is here. That's quite a difficult decision for Pardew as neither really deserve to be dropped. This is actually my biggest concern over these new signings. If, say, Mullins and Harewood were to become disenchanted and leave this season it would severely weaken our squad for the future. Not as much as signing Damien Johnson would have done though. What was that about?

8. While We're At It Department

I know it's not West Ham related but a quick mention of this weeks England games.

Peter Crouch is not going to break Bobby Charlton's goalscoring record. It was nice of Gerrard to say that about his colleague but I sincerely hope that UEFA didn't drug test him after that statement.

Andorra managed not one single attempt on goal, or even a corner against England. Wes Brown somehow still got himself booked. That's some nice work there Wesley.

Stewart Downing is made of bacon. And is pointless.