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

Saturday, January 27, 2007

West Ham 0 - 1 Watford (And Other Ramblings)

1. Our Nadir

I'm pretty sure that Alan Curbishley doesn't get the boys together before each game and demand they play so poorly that it convinces all the children watching in the crowd to take up chess - but, I reckon we might have a few Grandmasters on our hands soon enough.

2. The Case For The Defence

When the court case finally comes to trial and Sky are finally asked to prove that the Premiership is the best in the world, rather than just incessantly blathering on about it each week, the existence of Watford as a Premier League side will be Exhibit A for the prosecution.

Now I'm well aware of the breathtaking hypocrisy inherent in that statement, but seriously, it's fairly mind boggling that a team with this little skill and playing football this dour could hold us to a draw and then beat us here.

Regardless of the fact that this was a Cup game, it is performances like this that highlight why we are going down. Good Premiership teams just don't lose to Watford.

3. The Statistics

Despite playing with all the urgency of 11 men walking to the hangman's noose we still fashioned 9 shots on target. Watford showed all the attacking instincts of Ghandi, mustered one shot on target and scored from it. Ah, but of course.

Possession was fairly even, although given the ball spent approximately 90% of the time up in the air I suppose that's all relative.

Interestingly, despite some challenges worthy of the WWE not one Watford player was shown a yellow card. We didn't really go in for tackling as such but still contrived to get 2 players booked. Carlton Cole was one of the culprits having chucked himself down theatrically, and embarrassingly in the box.

And the day you get booked for diving against Watford is the day that desperation has set in.

4. The Opposition

Bolton-lite, or perhaps "The Team That Entertainment Forgot".

When I die and go to the next world there will be an easy test for me to determine whether I'm in Heaven or Hell. Paradise will be France vs Brazil in the Mexico '86 World Cup. Damnation will be Bolton vs Watford.

Not to say that they didn't deserve their victory. They took their solitary chance and defended grimly. I have no qualms with that, indeed I quite admire a team who are are so much more than the sum of their parts. That said, I would say that playing them is the footballing equivalent of stubbing your toe.

It happens to everyone from time to time, it's fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things but it is invariably very painful.

5. The Referee

At one point this season I described Howard Webb as a "plankton". I'm not exactly reneging on that opinion but he was better this time round. He was a bit laissez-faire with some of Watford's more rough house stuff, but I'd be a hypocrite if I said I wouldn't have minded kicking Luis Boa Morte myself on Saturday, so I can't complain.

6. Which Brings Me Nicely To...

........our new boys.

Lucas Neill lasted all of 48 minutes, looked a bit overweight and slow before hobbling off as our current injury treatment policy of "running until the pain goes or the player dies" paid off again.

Sherlock Holmes once said "You should rule out all possibilities and whatever is left is the truth".

With that in mind I have deduced that Luis Boa Morte must have woken up on Saturday and found that his legs had been surgically removed and replaced with large bars of Toblerone. I've thought this through at length and it's the only logical explanation, because I cannot believe a man who cost us £5m is this bad without having triangular legs made of nougat.

Needless to say, I think Sherlock would have agree, the opium addled smackhead.

Nigel Quashie. When I look at the young Nige I can't help thinking of that scene in Master and Commander where the ship gets caught in an extended period of lifeless seas (The Doldrums for you trivia fans) and decides to chuck himself off the side to save the rest of them. He was known as a Jonah amongst the crew.

You see, Quashie runs around, and shouts and points a lot. Now that's great but then so do madmen. I know I'm banging a forlorn drum here but has ANYONE seen Javier Mascherano recently? If you need a description he looks suspiciously like a world class midfielder last seen looking tasty at the World Cup. And not like a 12 times relegated Jonah....

7. My Moptop Prince

Oh Christian Dailly, you are the love of my life
Oh Christian Dailly, I'd let you shag my wife
Oh Christian Dailly, I want curly hair too-oooooooh

(As heard on Saturday to the tune of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Andy Williams)

Our best player again. Only marred slightly by having Roy Carroll mysteriously try and mount him in the build up to the Watford goal.

I've got to admit, Christian has won me round. I've always secretly loved him ever since he picked up his teeth out of the ground at Rotherham and carried on playing, and it was cemented during the disgraceful booing he suffered against Gillingham later that year.

I feel I can out myself now though. In this era where it is so hard to identify with those men who wear the claret and blue, Dailly is the man. He's the kid who gets picked last and runs all day, even when he is clearly playing against better players. If he had Nigel Reo-Coker's skills he would be playing for England. Which would be weird and possibly illegal, because he's Scottish, but I think you get my drift.

8. Our Loss Of Nobility

Another repeat point but if I don't emphasise these things you'll never learn.

Why does Mark Noble not get in the squad ahead of Shaun Newton? I know it's easy to be highly principled when the guilty party is as useful as a lift operator but that's not my fault - Newton should not be anywhere near our first team. He used drugs and he should have paid a heavier price.

Instead he gets to keep our promising youngster out of the first team squad and miss one on one chances to score our opening goal against Watford. And just because we're loitering on the subject - where's his neck?

9. How Soon Is Now?

When are we going to show something? When are we going to do something?

Does anyone else get the impression that Curbishley has given up? I only chuck it out there because he seems so devoid of passion or even, dare I say it, intent, on the sideline.

Call me old fashioned but I like to see a manager do what I do when the opposition score. Kick a chair, scream at Roy Caroll (even if he's not playing) or simply weep. Do whatever you like Alan but at the very least would you mind trying to create the impression that you give a damn?

This team selection was a two fingered salute to anyone harbouring hopes of going to Cardiff again. This was unimaginative dross and an awful reminder of our Roederian past.

It seems crazy to be saying it but I wonder how long Curbishley has to turn this round. He was an unpopular choice as manager replacing a popular, if flawed, predecessor. It's seems churlish to criticise his stolid, dull brand of football when the players he has to choose from are so stolid and dull themselves but that is life. One has to work with the tools one is given and Martin O'Neill has shown that labourers can become artisans from time to time.

It's time to stop blaming everyone else Alan. How soon is now mate?

Token Michael Dawson Slaughtering

A tottenham fan told me that statistically Dawson had been the best player for tottenham this year. I have no idea what that means (Is he the most punctual?) but it put me in mind of a great West Wing quote:

President: They have 100% literacy in Sweden, Leo. 100%! How do they do that?
Leo: I don't know, Sir. Maybe they don't and they can't add up...

1 comment:

  1. Dot Cottons Bairy Hiff11:02 PM

    Look on the bright side, at least season ticket prices won't go up next year.

    God help us all.