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

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sheffield United 3 - 0 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)

1. The Weather Outside Is Frightful, And The Firesale's So Delightful

Roll up, roll up! Get your big time Charlies here. Big salaries, big ideas, big heads. May need to insert heart.

2. That Was A Little Unkind

OK, OK, I concede it's a little unfair to wax lyrical over them one week when we win at Arsenal and to then call them gutless after a defeat at Sheffield United, but I can't help it - Jumping Jack Flash, I am fuming after this. I'm one hunkaburning vitriol and I'm not ready to accept any of Curbishley's platitudes about "keeping" on trying hard for the rest of the season.

This was the season.

3. Anton And On

We might as well start with the first goal then. I have just one question really - why bother, Anton? It's Christian Nade, how much damage is he really going to do? What's the worst that could have happened? Sure, he might have taken up piracy, committed mail fraud or invaded Scotland but I sincerely doubt he would have actually scored.

Of course, God himself couldn't possibly have foreseen that Michael Tonge would do something "quite good" with the subsequent free kick and prove that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

4. It Will Stand Him In Good Stead?

So, Jon Stead is running towards you in an attacking fashion. This is not an insurmountable problem. Indeed it barely qualifies as a problem at all. You see, Jon Stead is essentially two lemon sorbets held together by a football shirt.

When Jon Stead has the ball in an advanced position, you should not be thinking about how to prevent him scoring a goal (the answer to this is 'breathe') but instead you should be considering how you are going to counter attack when he gives you the ball back.

I'm sure he's a nice man, he's doubtless very pleasant to his grandmother, renews his road tax on time and for all I know he could be the Sheffield Under-23 canasta champion, but as a professional footballer Jon Stead makes an outstanding pizza delivery boy.

And by the way, did I mention it was Jon Fucking Stead?

5. The Statistics

For a 3-0 thumping this was a fairly even game. We had 49% possession that we duly converted into one shot on target. And when your right back has your only effort on goal then someone, somewhere hasn't done their job properly.

Essentially, we were outbattled and didn't have the requisite composure or, more worryingly, the ambition to win this game. For all the euphoria of the last 3 games it's hard to ignore that the win at Blackburn was nonsense, Middlesborough were woeful, and the 1-0 win at Arsenal was a 5-1 defeat minus the Arsenal goals.

6. The Opposition

Well, credit where it's due, they were better than us. This has long since ceased to be a compliment to any Premier League team but it's still true. Conceding a goal to any Sheffield United player is painful but Tonge, Jagielka and Stead can now be added to the Great Wall of China sized list of average players who've scored against us.

It's a damning indictment of Curbishley and his staff that he could be so comprehensively outmanaged by Neil Warnock, a man who considers off the ball headbutts as a valid defensive tactic.

7. The Referee

Steve Bennett. He didn't ratify any nuclear treaties whilst he was out there but he did do his job I suppose. I can't really comprehend how Sheffield United could ever get less bookings than the opposition but it happened this time. Given that there are so many other areas of frustration I shall not labour the point.

8. Statistics (Extra)

Just how hard is it to let Sheffield United score 3 times against you? Well, no one else in the Premier League has managed it this year. Another proud first for us.

Just how hard is it not to score at Brammall Lane? Well, only three other teams have managed that all year. And one of them was Fulham.

9. Just Like The Injun Said


How could we be so poor? How could Curbishley send out a team with so little motivation? How did Carlos Tevez miss that chance? How could Lee Bowyer attempt to kick the ball with his right foot and accidentally kick it with his left instead? How did Paddy Kenny save that shot from Neill?

Did I mention it was Jon Fucking Stead?

Colour me perplexed .

10. Auf Weidersen, Goodbye

So farewell then Ms Premiership. You have been a cruel mistress. We were once so close but suddenly you've grown cold and distant and apparently determined to rid yourself of us. And who could blame you.

What a shambles this team has been for most of the year. I was happily accepting of the inevitability of our demise as long ago as Christmas but the last three weeks had sown some seeds of doubt.

And that's what makes it so hard to emotionally invest anything in a football team.

11. The Case For The Defence

Or not. Anton Ferdinand got a severe attack of Michael Dawson syndrome and didn't so much "defend" as "wander around gormlessly". The irony of relegation is that a player like Ferdinand will not be sold in the summer - no club is going to risk £8m on a potential jailbird who can't mark Jon Fucking Stead.

And by the way, who the hell decided that it would be a good idea for Bobby Zamora (a man who believes Jumping is a Chinese dish) to mark Phil Jagielka (a poor footballer but he does have the ability to lift himself more than an inch off the floor) at corners? It's one thing to lose to Sheffield United, it's quite another to do it whilst letting them score twice from set pieces, which is essentially the only way they can score.

(I'm aware that Stead's goal wasn't a set piece but it was a miracle so I'll let it pass).

Token Michael Dawson Slaughtering

I swear that all the Premier League's worst players got together this weekend and made a pact that they would all score a goal.

Step forward Benjani, Emile Heskey, Fabio Rochemback, Luke Moore and of course, Jon Fucking Stead. Interesting that even in a line up that crap, Big Ol Useless Mike still couldn't crack it.

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