Many thanks to Overseas Iron who has kindly provided the preview and report for our fun filled trip to Villa Park.
1 – Hitmen Hammers
Find yourself aching to hurt someone? Have an arch nemesis you'd desperately like to see writhing in pain very soon? Simple. Get them to sign for West Ham United and watch them stretchered off within minutes of their debut.
Matthew Upson managed to last longer than Lucas Neill by two minutes, successfully staying on the field a full half an hour before being forced to retire with a torn calf muscle. The news is that he is out for 3 weeks, although the recently acquired medical staff recruited direct from The Somme circa 1915, hope to have him back in the field sooner.
He will no doubt miss the next two vital games however and our chances could be all but gone by the time Upson returns. Do you reckon Colin Foster could still do a job for us? Anyone got Geoff Pike's number?
2 – Taming Of The Carew
Why didn't I just keep my big mouth shut?
Having questioned the big Villa forwards abilities in the match preview, he goes and puts in a performance which stretched our defence to and fro and also scored the only goal of the game.
Carew proved adept at holding up the ball, allowing midfielders to run on and wasn't shy of running into the corners to pick up a pass, thereby creating space for team mates in the centre.
Looks like the doubts I cast proved sufficient to spur on Big John. He must be an H-List reader.
Did I ever tell you how I've never rated Marlon Harewood?
PS – I can't rightly lay claim to the first class title for this section, it was The Shark's suggestion. His creative tentacles are trans-global.
3 – Tale Of The Tape
Having trawled through a variety of stats, I couldn't manage to drag my attention away from just one - namely that we managed just 2 shots on goal in 90 minutes of "professional" football. Both efforts coming in the 89th minute.
Is our team so devoid of footballing savvy that it only occurs to them seconds before the end of a match in which they are 1-0 down that they should perhaps, you know, hit the ball goalwards? Or were we so outclassed by an average mid-table outfit that it was never on the cards anyway?
Sometimes I think that we ourselves could do a better job. Sure, we'd end up on the losing side and our 'shots on goal' would closely resemble Peter Kay's kick-ups on that John Smiths ad, but I daresay we'd manage more than two.
4 – And The Beat Goes Wrong
Would this entry be set to music, it would have to be 'The Death March'. Or perhaps 'The Last Post'. The similarities in mood between this season and our last relegation year are becoming increasingly evident.
Yes, we shouldn't need a wholesale clear out of 'talent' like last time thanks to Eggy's deep pockets but I can't imagine too many top flight players hanging around for a year in The Championship – particularly the recent signings.
And with Liverpool now joining the likes of Man United, Chelsea and Villa and suddenly finding themselves flush with cash, perhaps our dreams of those biscuit billions propelling us to the big-time seem more distant than ever.
5 – The Final Countdown
No, I'm not proposing we could still make it into Europe next year (see what I did there?), but a drastic upturn in fortunes is sorely needed.
Most pundits seem to agree that we have had more than our fair share of bad luck and at the worst possible time of the season, but I'd rather cling to our Premiership status whilst being as despised as Robbie Savage (terrible about that broken leg, wasn't it?) than go down with a conciliatory pat on the back.
We must beat Watford (H) and Charlton (A) in our next two games. If we don't, I think it could be over for us. The break in-between these two key fixtures will hopefully give some first choice players a better chance of returning.
At least 6 wins from the rest of the season I feel are required. Sheffield United (A), Wigan (A), Bolton (H), Middlesbrough (H), Everton (H) and The Scum (H) are all still to come and we're capable of beating all of them if we can just get some of that confidence and rhythm back from last year.
Obviously our final day of the season outing to Old Trafford is a banker.
6 – "AWOOGA!"
Where is John Fashanu's famous primetime battle cry when you need it? He never once shirked from his Gladiatorial duties when times were tough - not when viewing figures dipped, not when 'Shadow' got expelled for steroid abuse (in hindsight, his eyes were a dead giveaway), not even when 'Hunter' foraged through Ulrika's leafy canopy.
OK, so things are looking rough at the moment, but West Ham have always been able to count on near masochistic levels of support. Sure we can be outspoken and occasionally vociferous, but attendances won't be flagging between now and May and all it could take is to go ahead in a game (a radical proposition, I grant you) for the boys to hopefully kick on from there.
Come on you Irons!!
7 – Au Revoir
So my tenure as the H-List blogspotter comes to an end. Let's hope a change in personnel brings a change in fortune.
But of course…
Token Michael Dawson Slaughtering
I've just reeled in disbelief having noticed Michael Dawson warming the bench during England vs Spain (what a goal by Iniesta). I don't have the statistics to critically analyse Dawson's performances but my hatred for all things tottenham should see me through.
Suffice to say that a dishevelled, drunken, semi-comatose, drooling, incapacitated, half-dead Thora Hird sellotaped to a Stannah Stairlift could put in a more solid performance at the centre of England's, tottenham's or any other defence you care to mention.