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".

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