Before We Begin (And Stealing Shamelessly From Spike Milligan)
Rule West Ham! West Ham rule the waves! And sometimes we waive the rules.
1. Oscillate Wildly
It's official - we're only the 6th worst team in the Premier League! Everybody get wasted!
2. Bigmouth Strikes Again
Some time ago I rather foolishly promised to produce a column utilising only song titles by The Smiths. This was stupid in the extreme given that as beautifully elegiac as those boys were, they didn't write music for days like these.
I barely have the words for how happy I am today. This is somewhat problematic when you're writing an article but I'll give it a go. My sister actually thinks I'll struggle with this column as it has a happy ending and she maintains this will rob me of my powers, a la Samson and Delilah. She might be right.
But before we begin, my little treat to you. Go on - you're reading this blog so you're a good person, live a little and enjoy a moment both "courageous and controversial" to quote Martin Tyler. (I assume he's talking about Eggert Magnusson hugging that young girl at the end of the clip instead of his wife....)
Or, should you feel that this version simply doesn't contain enough Argentine commentary ending with an amended version of "Obla-di Obla-da" then you'll probably want to look here:
There is a word for people who don't like the latter style of commentary. That word is "Blades".
3. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
I'd lost the faith. I have to admit it. Relying on us scoring at Old Trafford or otherwise hoping that Paddy Kenny could demonstrate extended competence was too much for me. But never have I been more happy to be proved wrong (and I've had a fair bit of practice).
This was a truly heroic performance. We stand alone together, and all that.
It would not be an understatement to say that everyone in the football world currently hates us. I have been surprised by the constant stream of vitriol directed at the club in recent weeks, and the self righteous aggrandising of neutral fans has led me to multiple uses of The Chinese Burn whilst on my travels.
Not that we didn't commit an offence. That is proven and accepted by the club, but it's this supplementary notion that therefore we should automatically be docked points that grates a little. I won't revisit this all again but suffice to say the team that deserved to go down went down.
If you're going to select a team with Paddy Kenny in it all year, then rather than moaning about being relegated you should be on your knees thanking the Lord that you made it to the last day of the season with a chance to stay up.
We mustered just 2 shots on target all game, a direct result of having the ball only 40% of the time. It felt like it was a closer game than that but there is no denying that Man United dominated the play, particularly when you note that they had 117 shots on target.
Our first effort on goal was from His Holiness Carlos Tevez and it only bloody went in, causing a rather severe outbreak of "Idon'tbelieveit" in East London and an even larger outbreak of "Thosebastards" in Yorkshire.
The goal was also notable as it featured a putrid attempt at tackling from Wes Brown. Surprising in the sense that Wes is a "Premiership Defender", but less surprising in that Wes is also "Appalling".
Our other good chance fell to Luis Boa Morte who really should have scored but succumbed to his innate Boa Morteness and hit the post. I am prepared to forgive and forget given that God himself has intervened on our behalf today.
5. I Know It's Over
Man Utd had other things on their mind and it showed, but they were still more than a match for any Premiership side.
They are the Champions and best team in the League, despite achieving the near impossible feat of having been beaten home and away by us. The ludicrous nature of that achievement is only surpassed by the fact that we did the same thing to Arsenal and conceded a goal in exactly none of those games.
When this season is reviewed by my grandchildren in several years they will simply refuse to believe that we took 15 points off the top 6 teams, and only 12 off the bottom 6.
Remember folks, plastic bottles can be lethal when you repeatedly hit yourself over the head with them.
6. What Difference Does It Make?
Martin Atkinson had been something of a death knell for us previously this year as we had failed to win any of the 4 games he had officiated beforehand. Thank goodness then that he decided Luis Boa Morte had successfully tackled John O'Shea in the second half rather than successfully impaled him.
Quite what Boa Morte was doing there I don't know. And when I say "there" I mean "Old Trafford".
7. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby
Spare a thought then for poor Sheffield United and in particular their delightful manager, Colin Wanker.
If you need further guidance might I suggest that the thought you should be sparing is "See you later, tosspot!".
Make no mistake, I genuinely feel for the fans at Sheffield United. All true football fans respect the emotional commitment made by fellow supporters and whilst I'm glad it's not me, I don't take pleasure in their demise. They feel wronged and they have a point, but ultimately their team isn't very good and they go down deservedly.
For Colin, I can feel nothing but hate. He went down in the same way as his team play football - painfully and agonisingly. Contrasting the quiet dignity of Paul Jewell with Warnock's ill conceived rants has been illuminating.
Ultimately Sheffield United needed just one point from their last 2 games against Aston Villa and Wigan, whilst we required 4 points from our games against Bolton and Manchester United.
There is an observation to be made here.
8. Sheila Take A Bow
I think we're all aware that I am a convert to the Church of Latter Day Lucas Neills (and apparently a fully paid up member of the Tenuous Titles Society too), but he was immense today. Alongside the Herculean James Collins he stood firm and made Ronaldo think twice about venturing anywhere near him.
In the last 9 games we have kept 5 clean sheets, which is an achievement so Faustian that various plagues of Egypt must surely follow shortly behind. Bravo to our defence, then. It's good to have you back.
We have now won 7 of 9 games and would probably have been victorious at the Eurovision Song Contest if we'd gone in for it. (Although the Serbs would probably have sued us).
9. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
If the Premier League has a sense of humour they would now revisit their ruling on the Mascherano/Tevez situation and rescind the fine and actually dock us points. Of course, this should only be 2 points on account of how that would still relegate Sheffield United and would presumably put an end to the remorseless Northern whinging.
If anybody desires to know what I want for Christmas, it would be to be at Brammall Lane when they get that news.
10. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Another day, another piece of wonderful opportunism from Carlos Tevez and another spate of newspaper stories linking him with various clubs around the cosmos.
There is little left to say about the man, other than that I shall miss him and I pray he doesn't end up elsewhere in the Premier League. The prospect of watching him link up with a fully fit Dean Ashton is enticing but so is the idea of Emily Procter coming round for dinner. I shall not spend a great deal of my life contemplating either.
I especially love the fact that he cleverly engineered a situation where the ball was 20 feet up in the air as he ran through on goal, because he didn't think scoring at Old Trafford was quite challenge enough for him.
11. This Charming Man
A word then for Alan Curbishley. You'll no doubt be pleased to hear that my lunch today consisted of a large slice of humble pie and, for those that know me well, a muffin.
He has achieved the unachievable. He's made Gareth Southgate seem chirpy. And kept us in the Premier League.
He started poorly and things didn't really improve until the away game at Newcastle in January. From that point on our form was patchy but improving and the end of season run has been nothing short of amazing, especially given that his Charlton teams used to simply go on holiday from around March onwards.
I had my doubts that he would be an improvement over Pardew, and I'm still not sure that he is the man to take us forward in the long term but he has earned the chance to prove himself, if nothing else.
Next season will see Ashton and Matthew Upson returning to the fold as essentially new signings, whilst one would hope that there will be a huge clear out of the dead wood over the summer.
And Alan, having a goalkeeper on the bench is not frivolous.
12. I Started Something I Couldn't Finish
So this will be the penultimate H List offering for 2006/07. Many thanks to those of you have read the column regularly, and posted links to various other websites. At present the readership extends as far as the US, Canada, Australia, Holland, Iceland, Argentina, Japan, Malaysia and Lambeth. Caed Mile Failte to you all.
Some of you might be dying to know the results of The H List book poll. A respectable 53% said you would buy the book which is probably not enough to entice me into expending any effort pursuing it. I shall, however, hold forever dear to my heart the 25% who cared enough to vote but didn't care enough to vote for anything other than "I'm a visitor and I don't know what you're talking about". Splendid.
I ask only one last favour of you before the season is over. Next week I'll write an end of season summary and present the coveted H List Awards. It would be nice to compare them with those of the H List readers in order that I can point out where you're all wrong. Just stick your votes in the "Comments" section at the bottom of this post and I'll collate them.
The categories are:
Player of the Year (previously the Least Worst Player of the Year award but now renamed)
Performance of the Year (Team)
Performance of the Year (Individual)
Goal of the Year
Worst Player of the Year
Worst Performance of the Year (Team)
Worst Performance of the Year (Individual)
Best Opposition Team
Best Opposition Player
Opposition Goal of the Year
Worst Opposition Team
Worst Opposition Player (The Michael Dawson Award)