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

Thursday, December 07, 2006

West Ham 0 -2 Wigan (And Other Ramblings)

1. Emile Heskey and Richard Curtis = Too Much

All I really needed to truly top off this fantastic night was to come home and find Mrs Shark watching the saccharine vomit inducer Love Actually on the telly.

So an especially big thank you to the ITV executive who made that particular dream a reality.

2. Jeremy We Hardly Knew Ye

A lot of people hate our PA announcer Jeremy Nicholas. I personally think that there are far more worthy targets of our vitriol (anagram - Michae Ldawson) and he does play The Buzzcocks from time to time which is a redeeming feature, but I know I'm in the minority.

Anyway, introducing our new chairman Eggert Magnusson as Magnus Eggertsson can't have helped his prospects of getting a good Christmas bonus.

3. The Stats

According to http://soccernet.espn.go.com/gamecast/gamecast?matchId=199241&date=20061206&lang=en&league=ENG.1&cc=5739 we had 49% possession but did muster 14 attempts at goal. I did miss the first 30 seconds of the second half so I'll assume 9 of them came then as I cannot recall anything approaching that many attempts on goal.

Mind you, according to that summary Wigan won 3-0 so perhaps it's not be trusted. This much I can tell you - we were dire. And when I say dire I mean Pearl Harbour dire, which is slightly worse than Kieron Dyer.

4. The Opposition

In as much as it is possible to like an opposition side, I like Wigan. They play fast paced, attractive and attacking football, with an edge of physicality that I wish we had.

They are also enormous. An uninitiated observer watching this would have thought it was a game between 11 boy scouts and a group of Masai warriors. They might also have questioned what Carlos Tevez did to deserve being marooned out on the right hand side in the 2nd half - but more on that later.

5. Zizou He Ain't

After my passionate championing of James Collins earlier in the season, I can't deny I was a bit gutted to see him get turned inside out by Zinedine Kilbane for the first goal. You see Big Kev is a nice fellow but he makes one trick ponies look outrageously gifted.

6. The Sordid Truth

OK - I've held off as long as I can but my knee is jerking uncontrollably now. This season has all the hallmarks of the Roeder era and Pardew is not impressing with his ability to deal with it so far.

If you have read as much internet tittle-tattle as I have, you will have heard all the rumours currently swirling about the club. The convenient smokescreen provided by the takeover and the arrival of Tevez and Mascherano has now dissipated and far more is coming to light. The team spirit and desire of last year is sorely lacking, giving credence to the suggestion that there is a clique within the dressing room. The supposed leaders of this group are Reo-Coker, Ferdinand and Zamora, each of whom has been performing dismally for an extended period of time without ever having their place in the team threatened. This policy of appeasing average players at the expense of apparently world class alternatives is one of many areas where Pardew appears to have failed this season.

The revelation that our first choice goalkeeper has a gambling problem was alarming but not as shocking as the widespread suggestion that he is far from the only one in the dressing room with the habit. Indeed there has long been a rumour that a prominent member of the team had his pay docked by the club at one point in order to repay local boomakers, to whom he had become seriously indebted.

There is also a frankly, libellous rumour currently circulating about Pardew himself that I can't touch on but I can assure you if you want to log on to any of the various forums around (www.westhamonline.net is probably the "best" for ridiculous innuendo) you can find out for yourself.

Of course, much of the above is probably rubbish, but if even a fraction of it is true it's, erm, worrying.

Anyway, to borrow from William Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Denmark and it has translated all too obviously on to the pitch. I rather suspect that the New Year will bring an altogether changed West Ham. And that can't come soon enough.

7. And On The Pitch

What exactly is it that our midfield is doing so well that the Argentina playmaker Javier Mascherano can't even get into our squad? Fair play to Hayden Mullins for being one of the few to earn his wages this year but the sad truth is that Etherington, Bowyer, Benayoun and Reo-Coker have all been consistently poor for much of the season.

Ultimately if they can't do the job then perhaps we need to try Mullins and Mascherano together and find some way to allow Tevez the free role he obviously craves? And for the love of God - when Tevez has just hit the post and is our only threat of scoring a goal, why bring on Sheringham and waste him out on the right, as has happened in the last two games?

I don't think any of the above is all that outrageous given that we are firmly embedded in the bottom 3 and have just spent 90 minutes whacking long, high balls at Tevez whilst he's being marked by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or in the case of Paul Konchesky straight out of play.

8. The Decline Of The Konch

On that topic, nice post from Dot Cotton:

"Question, are you able to tell me from your stats the last time Konchesky found a teammate with a pass? I'm assuming you'll need to go back to his days for Senrab FC with Defoe,Zamora and Terry. The guy should be dropped........from a great height."

Nice bit of vitriol seeping through there. Truthfully I can't recall the last time he had a good game. Of course, don't forget that last May, one of those misplaced passes actually ended up being our third goal in the FA Cup Final. So hope springs eternal.

9. Trivial I Know

I have never seen a team take so many poor throw in's during one 90 minute period. Spector was particularly victimised, receiving an assortment of them at his head, thigh and chest and putting him immediately under pressure.

Of course, the fact that he also had Yossi Benayoun in front of him didn't help as I think Yossi had his invisibility cloak on last night.

10. Let's Be Positive

At least our next two games aren't away to Bolton and home to Man Utd..........

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