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

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

West Ham vs Chelsea : 18 April 2007 (Match Preview And Other Ramblings)

1. I've Bling Expecting You

It's West Ham. It's Chelsea. It's our biggest game of the season. So how do I want to start this weeks column? With a reference to Jane Austen, of course.

You see, there is a marvellously heart warming tale of romance and chivalry currently doing the rounds, that Big Jane herself would have been proud to script.

Fed up with losing column inches to Prince William, our first team squad have stormed back on to page 7 of the News of the World with the tremendously everyday tale of the former West Ham PR girl who has been impregnated by one of our players.

Naturally she's unable to tell us who exactly is the papa because she has (and I quote) "been seeing Anton Ferdinand and Carlton Cole for the last year". Leaving aside the inherent madness of that statement, both players have come out and said that they will stand by her. Given that everyone else is, I suppose I might as well come out and state that I'm standing by her too.

She's 19, of course, just to add to the fuzzy glow. In case, you're interested she has apparently made up her mind as to who she hopes the father will be. To quote a well placed source - "she is desperate for a baby Carlton".

Which is exactly what Emma Woodhouse would say.

2. Spring Forward, Fall Back

Given the above it does make me chuckle when I hear people say that Alan Curbishley is not able to handle the pressure of managing a club like West Ham. Well, really, who the hell is? I've had a long think about it and the only suitable name that I can think of is Jerry Springer.

3. The Ferd Degree

My initial thought after his on pitch lobotomy on Saturday was that Ferdinand would likely be dropped for this game. Little did I realise that the other 19 centre backs on our books were still injured.

I'm mostly concerned for his mental state. In the last 4 days he has possibly fathered Carlton Cole's new baby and, more traumatically, allowed Jon Fucking Stead to score against him.

4. Less Boos, More Booze

Given that it's a top 3 team visiting us tomorrow, there are obviously a couple of ex-Hammers returning. Glen Johnson is not amongst them as he is currently in Portsmouth acquiring a new toilet seat and accompanying criminal record.

Of those who actually will be there, I don't understand why people boo Joe Cole. Sure, he plays for Chelsea which carries with it an innate evilness, but on the grand scale of Judasness he is quite some distance behind his predecessors.

In his last season with us he was simply immense, developing into the player we always dreamed of, and sadly one that Chelsea did too. I don't blame him for not extending his contract with us and signing up for a Roederian future in the Championship. He gave the club plenty of warning and £6.6m, whilst a low fee, was better than the 3 bags of peanuts we got for Michael Carrick.

I do understand why people boo Francis Lampard. I just don't bother anymore. We're going to lose, they're both going to score, just get yourself a beer.

5. The History

We have a pretty good record against Chelsea in the Premiership era. Of course, they did suffer from a severe case of tottenhamic Syndrome through the 90's when they were busy telling us what a massive club they were and simultaneously fielding a team including Jody Morris, but it's still fairly surprising.

Earlier this season we lost 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, during which time we managed the singular feat of conceding a goal to Geremi. Naturally, no other team in Europe has managed that this season.

Last year we lost 3-1 at Upton Park, although it should be noted that we were clinging on grimly at 1-1 until Didier Drogba went all Didier Drogba on us in the second half. This was also notable as Francis Lampard scored his first ever goal against us and got so excited he forgot to kiss his badge.

6. Nuts!

The whole country got a bit upset when Wayne Rooney was sent off at the World Cup after a tussle with Ricardo Carvalho. I personally have absolutely no problem with any sequence of events that ends up with someone stamping on Ricardo Carvalho's genitalia, but then I do hate that Portugese team to an unhealthy degree.

By the way - has there ever been a more odious combination of club, national team and individual as Carvalho (Chelsea & Portugal)?

I suppose Emre (Newcastle & Turkey) is giving it a good go but Newcastle aren't so much "hateful" as "completely irrelevant".

7. The Story Of Us

Given that we were busy advertising adidas on Saturday (Letting Sheffield United score 3 times - "Impossible Is Nothing") it's tough to imagine that there won't be some changes for this game. Matthew Etherington has done a very passable impression of a large empty piece of grass in recent weeks so I would be looking to replace him.

The natural choice would seem to be Luis Boa Morte but I've gone off him a tad since he made his debut wearing only a pair of flip flops and a towel. I might look instead at Yossi Benayoun, particularly given that Chelsea will most likely play makeshift full back Michael Essien against him on the left side. (As far as weaknesses go, that one compares to "eczema")

Marlon Harewood did score against Chelsea in the defeat last year but seems to have fallen by the wayside on our unstoppable charge to 19th place.

Teddy Sheringham appears to have retired from football and taken up poker. In yesterday's the london paper he was pictured at a tournament with Roy Carroll. The latter is a recovering gambling addict so that was especially reassuring.

Kepa Blanco is a figment of your imagination.

8. You'll Manage

The chances are that at some point tomorrow you will encounter a nouveau Chelsea fan. An awful lot of them have become lifelong supporters since Roman Abramovich took over. Should you need to set some sort of impromptu test for them, just ask them who their manager was before Glenn Hoddle.

And prepare for a blank face.

(The answer is Dave Webb, by the way, but I wouldn't expect you to know that).

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