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 22, 2007

West Ham 1 - 0 Everton (And Other Ramblings)

1. Well, That Was Fun

Wow. A heartbreaking loss without the heartbreak. Or the loss.

I'm happy. Not "You've won the lottery" happy, or "James Blunt has permanent laryngitis" happy but I am veering in the general direction of being pleased.

You see, this does now mean that I will be travelling to Wigan next Saturday filled with hope, which we know is the natural enemy of all West Ham fans.

2. Department Of The Insane

I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am, but I do like to think that I have a reasonable degree of intelligence. If required, I have enough Italian to be able to utter the phrase "Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor - I'm English", or if needed I could advise you on the intricacies of Double Tax Treaties, or maybe even write a quick essay on the rise to power of Benito Mussolini.

Admirable talents all, I'm sure you'll agree, except that not one of them qualifies me to comment on the brain warping selections currently being made by Alan Curbishley.

He replaced Luis Boa Morte with Matthew Etherington (more on which later), which is a tremendously good example of the phrase "addition by subtraction". So far, so blurgh.

The real puzzler was the inexplicable decision to go into this game without a goalkeeper on the bench. What possible logic could exist whereby it was more important for us to have Jonathan Spector as a substitute than to have cover for an injury Robert Green (who actually did dislocate his finger)?

A decision so innately crap that it's just amazing that the Cricket World Cup organizing committee weren't involved in it somewhere.

3. The Statistics

Well, we had 55% possession and converted it into 3 shots on target. Everton, meanwhile, for all their bluster didn't manage a single effort on goal.

They did fashion two reasonable chances I suppose, Arteta hitting one just over the bar and James Beattie hitting the other just over the International Space Station.

I never imagined that I would write this, but........Everton were way, way, way worse than us.

4. The Opposition

I can say without fear of contradiction that Everton are the tallest team in the world. They are enormous. It is entirely possible that their corner routines can be seen from space, which seems pertinent given that this is where most of James Beattie's shots end up (see above).

David Moyes has stated that he believes Everton deserved something from this game. I state again - they did not have shot on target all match. I struggle to see how this deserves anything other than tarring, feathering and a public stapling to the Angel of the North.

5. The Referee

Mark Clattenburg did the honours. He was woefully inconsistent although that's an expected side effect of officiating games as tense as these.

If I was going to have a minor quibble it would be with his decision to ask the Everton bench how much added time they would like at the end of the game. Moyes's answer of "until we score" was probably not quite accurate. It also took around 5 years off my life expectancy, so thanks for that Mark.

6. A Set Piece Of My Mind

Not to get too negative but there is a facet of our play that does tend to drive me to a town called Distraction and then throw me off the docks.

We are incredibly naive in dealing with teams such as Everton. Once Andy Johnson went off, and with Tim Cahill absent, it was obvious that their sole chance of scoring was going to come from whacking the ball long and hoping one of their rubbish but elongated remaining players would head one in.

Why then, would you ever foul somebody like Phil Neville when he's within a nautical mile of our goal? Rather like last week when Anton Ferdinand stopped Christian Nade from doing whatever Christian Nade does when within sight of our box, with a ridiculous challenge, so too Nigel Reo-Coker this time round.

The thing is - Phil Neville is more likely to spontaneously combust than he is to do anything even approaching useful in that situation. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be tackling at all, but Holy Mother of Carlos Tevez - know your enemy, chaps.

7. King George(*)

Kudos where it is due. George McCartney was great yesterday. To the extent that I have had to gather up several of my earlier columns and eat them. I'm not so sure that he is the ultimate answer to our problems at left back but you can't help but root for a man with legs that thin.

*(I've used this title so that in future when he mucks up I can use the header "The Madness Of King George". You've got to have foresight, people)

8. Who's Left?

Let's not gloss over this. The left back position is looking solid enough but in front of him remains a deep pit of despair.

Admittedly, Boa Morte did actually do some useful things when he came on. I have therefore downgraded him from "Prince Edward" to "Prince Andrew" on The H List scale of uselessness. Prior to that Etherington had played 74 minutes without contracting any variant of the West Nile Flu, which is pleasing. He had also failed to get past Tony Hibbert even once, which is impossible.

I can take no more. Be gone. Off with their heads. They need to be replaced and my only criteria is that the individual be a carbon based life form, and have a functioning respiratory system.

9. The 3 Wise Men

Three blokes ran on to the pitch towards the end of the game, presumably to see if they could incite a modern day lynching. Unusually the men in question weren't our substitutes, although Carlton Cole gave it a whirl (What in the name of Merlin's Beard was his performance all about?).

10. Hats Off

Bobby Zamora and Lucas Neill.

A sumptuous goal from the former and the nearest thing I've seen to a complete right back performance from the latter. It wasn't anywhere near being a complete right back performance of course, but this is West Ham so it's still the nearest I've seen.

Token Jermaine Jenas Observation

Ordinarily of course this would be the section devoted to mocking Michael Dawson. However, Jermaine Jenas did something so far above his skill set that President Bush got a call about it, so I felt I needed to mention it.

Jenas got some stick for over celebrating, but I say fair enough. Think about it. Jermaine Jenas is an appalling footballer. Truly atrocious. The poster boy for those who argue that little things like genetics and physical ability do not determine how good a footballer is.

For him to score a goal that good in the last minute of a North London derby is like you or I ending up on the new twenty pound note for inventing hover boards.

Give the guy a break folks.


  1. Anonymous6:51 PM


    Check out the pictures of anton fighting at time and envy !(romford )

  2. Sadly I actually know where Time And Envy is on account of how I walk past it every day on the way home.

    I'm so proud of the opportunities I am giving my daughter.

    Anyway - Anton's newest brain cramp will be covered in the new update. Thanks for the post