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 02, 2007

West Ham vs tottenham : 4 March 2007 (Match Preview And Other Ramblings)

1. The Wanderer Returns

And so I'm back. Sadly the overweight soprano is well into her second aria, the good galleon "West Ham" is several leagues under the ocean and the Champion Hurdler has long since bolted the livery. In short, people, we are doomed.

Many thanks to those who wrote previews and reports whilst I was away. We didn't manage to get one done for Charlton but in fairness I think we'd all like to pretend that game never happened.

Fantastically, we're not bottom. I have decided that unceasing positivity is the key to not going mad between now and our Easter relegation.

(Which just goes to prove the folly of starting these previews before Saturday's games)

2. A Sign Of The Times

Rural New Zealand takes much the same view of the Internet as it does of road signs. So neither are very prevalent. Truthfully though, it has been merciful to be in the dark for the last month or so.

I did manage to read one very telling quote from Carlos Tevez whilst I was away. He stated that Curbishley hardly ever spoke to him. Instead he simply pinned the set piece formations up on the notice board and the players all had to go and read them when they were free.

When you think about it fully, this is a fairly stunning revelation. I have been a season ticket holder for many years and I've never seen any evidence that we have set piece formations.

3. Bet You Didn't See That Coming

On my return to cyber space I discovered that Matthew Etherington's long hinted at gambling addiction has finally come to light, although without any mention of the alleged behind the scenes brokering the club had to do in order to prevent him losing his kneecaps because of it.

It seems impossible to deny that Curbishley has been disastrous in pure man management terms, but those still pining for Pardew should not forget that he allowed two players to spiral into gambling addictions under his watch. It's overly simplistic to blame the manager for what is, after all, a deeply personal illness, but allowing players to gamble up to £30,000 on the team bus to games is ridiculous.

For God's sake, put a DVD on and make them watch that instead. I'd suggest a copy of our 6-0 defeat at Reading might be a start. Failing that, maybe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They both have similar plots.

4. Medical Madness

When we get our first injury tomorrow, most likely during the warm up if recent trends are followed, keep an eye on our physios.

I have come to the conclusion that they run on to the pitch singing "The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone....." in lieu of any actual medical training.

5. The Crying Game

Being the irrepressible, Churchillian orator that he is, I have no doubt that Curbs will have the lads whipped into a frenzy tomorrow for the biggest game of our season. However, just on the off chance that he is not on form, take a quick look at him when we inevitably let in the first goal.

I'm guessing that by this point in the season he will have moved on from the simple head in hands routine to a full blown Willem Defoe in Platoon pose.

I didn't actually get to hear his post match interview after the massacre at Charlton but I've heard that it was something along the lines of "Well, we definitely won't be fighting them on the beaches, if that's what you're asking...".

6. The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times

I'm not going to deny that this season has been one long visit to the dentist, but I'd have to say it's probably not been as bad as the ill fated Bond Scheme season in the early 90's.

In his, frankly brilliant, weekly column for The Guardian, Russell Brand does a great job of explaining the perverse joy that can come from such desperation. I have great respect for all true supporters of their clubs. Even Man Utd and Chelsea have die hard fans worthy of admiration, irrespective of that fact that they are surrounded by tourists, and equally the hardy few who travel from Torquay to Hartlepool on a Tuesday night deserve medals.

But I can't believe that there are many clubs around the country who would have been able to muster up the kind of support that we did at Charlton. It is incredibly dispiriting to go to games knowing that we essentially have no chance of winning, but there is something to be said for having a chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all and singing a song about Christian Dailly.

Even more interestingly, friends and acquaintances who previously mocked me incessantly, now instead just look at me with that sad sort of look that's usually reserved for captive chimpanzees in the zoo.

7. Can I Javier Vote?

I signed an online petition in the week to abandon the Hammer of the Year award on the grounds that none of them deserve it. As anyone from my office will testify, I will sign pretty much anything but I do happen to agree with this one.

With that said, there is no way that the club is likely to actually do this as it would be an excruciating admission of the uselessness of the playing staff. With that in mind, I suggest we vote for the following:

1 - Javier Mascherano
2 - Mark Noble
3 - Dean Ashton

Young Hammer of the Year - Teddy Sheringham

It would make the last home game of the season at least somewhat palatable.

8. An Admission

I've spent a fairly decent portion of the season mocking the likes of Glenn Roeder, Fulham and Aston Villa. In spite of an injury list the size of the Angel of the North, Roeder has manoeuvred a decidedly average Newcastle team into the upper echelons of the league.

At the same time two terminally dull sides like Villa and Fulham will again be plying their wares in the Premiership next year.

All 3 would be absolutely no loss to English football if they were to disappear from view but it really does serve to highlight how unfathomably awful we have been this year that we are looking up to teams like this.

A point which studiously ignores the fact that we are currently staring up at everyone in the league.

9. The Game

I've been putting it off but I guess I should mention the game. Reo Coker is suspended, as is Robbie Keane, which is a minor victory for us. tottenham are pretty mediocre on the road but we're hardly playing at an impenetrable fortress here.

The corresponding fixture last year was, for many, the best game of the season. Carl Fletcher had possibly his finest moment in a West Ham shirt (other than when he called Francis Lampard a "fat bastard") by blasting in a 25 yarder to opening the scoring before Yossi Benayoun popped up ten minutes from time with a late winner. Deliciously this denied tottenham a Champions League spot at the expense of Arsenal and led to "Bubbles" being sung at Highbury during the last ever game played there.

Even more deliciously tottenham were struck by a mystery illness before the game. They claimed this was food poisoning, a charge that was later comprehensively disproved. And how we laughed.

Those who believe in karma might suspect that we're in for a bit of a battering tomorrow....


  1. Fantastic game. I hope the next game, in Braga, will be so spectacular as this one. You're welcome in Braga in this fantastic stadium!

  2. Thanks for the comment Pedro, although this game was neither fantastic or spectacular. It was Chinese water torture.

    Please ensure that you batter them this week.