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, March 16, 2007

Blackburn Rovers vs West Ham : 17 March 2007 (Match Preview And Other Ramblings)

1. The Inevitable

We always lose at Blackburn.

As sure as night follows day and James Blunt's next single will be an affront to your ears, we will lose tomorrow. Don't meditate on a bad thing. We were relegated long ago and the more you invest emotionally in the rest of this season, the more difficult it will be to take when we go down after a shattering 3-0 defeat at Wigan.

2. The Pride Before The Fall

Anton Ferdinand has apparently been forced to apologise to the entire squad for his ever so slightly odd decision to lie about going to see his sick Granny in the Isle of Wight, and instead going to South Carolina on a jolly up.

Aside from the fact that a storyline like that would be rejected by Footballers Wives on the grounds that it's too unrealistic, there is more sinister side to the whole affair.

Apparently his two week wage fine amounted to £40,000.

West Ham and the Oxford English dictionary - the only two places in the world where reward comes before success.

3. The Blitz Spirit

"I'm not worried about a points deduction" says ever chirpy livewire, Alan Curbishley "We have to win some first". And that's just the kind of attitude that explains why we're not all speaking German , eh?

4. The History

We actually played quite well at Ewood Park last season. We still lost, naturally, but it wasn't our customary abject capitulation. The last West Ham player to score a winning league goal at Blackburn was Lee Chapman. Oh, how we laughed.

Of course Blackburn will forever be remembered as the ground where we lost 7-1 in 2001/02. This coming a week after Roeder promised an improvement on the previous Saturday's 5-0 defeat at Everton. I can't work out if the 1 goal scored means it was a better or worse result.

Of course the question you're all dying to ask is "Hey Shark, when was the last time we did the double over Blackburn?" - and the answer, of course, is the tremendously obvious one of 1966.

5. The Opposition

Blackburn are one of those teams who you ignore and pay absolutely no attention to until you realise you have to play them and that they are in the mix for a UEFA Cup spot. They have lots of players who are anonymously pretty good with the likes of Benni McCarthy and Ryan Nelsen being primary examples.

All that being true doesn't mean that they are not eminently beatable. Just not by us.

6. Moan About The House

Rumours abound (do they ever do anything else?) that Nigel Reo Coker might return to the team tomorrow after his suspension, but that Lucas Neill will retain the captaincy. Whether this will any impact on the rest of the team remains to be seen but it will be warmly received by the travelling fans at least.

Of course, there would be plenty out there who would argue that Mark Noble did more in the first half against tottenham alone than Reo-Coker has done all year and that the latter should have no chance at all of returning. And I would be among them. The danger of course being that Reo-Coker would doubtless sulk for the entire journey up to Blackburn. Which is quite a long one.

7. Neill Down?

I'll bet that Lucas Neill gets a toasty reception tomorrow. It's tough to think that Blackburn's fan will be all that enamoured of a player who defected from their European charge and joined the bottom of the table doormat for the rest of the Premiership.

What's weirder still is that he allegedly is prepared to stay and play in the Championship next year.

8. Some Things Never Change

A poor start, a modest semi recovery before a spectacular implosion and decline. Marvellous to see that I can still write exactly the same about the England cricket team as I can about West Ham's season.

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