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

Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer Ramblings : Part 2

Well, it's been a tumultuous couple of weeks.

First up, Sheffield United lost their arbitration hearing and appealed to the High Court using the always reliable "Ohh, come on. Pleeeease!" defence.

Next, Live Earth arrived and taught us all a valuable and poignant lesson - namely:

Buy 4x4
Fill with Diesel
Reverse over KT Tunstall.

Then, despite my explicit instructions West Ham only went out and bought themselves a bona fide, true blue Goblin. I am annoyed.

Lastly, when we had gone a whole 15 minutes without anything disastrous happening, the Club became embroiled in a unholy legal row at the same time as our new French international ruptured his Achilles Tendon.

All we are lacking is Widow Twanky.

Blunted Blades

My usual response to anything Sheffield United related is to shrug my shoulders and use the noted legal term - "Pah".

Despite not having any kind of case at all against the Premier League they insisted on a costly arbitration hearing that they were doomed to lose. Having been told by the panel that their case was being dismissed, they then went to the High Court where they were given even shorter shrift.

Undeterred, Blades chairman and all round self publicising halfwit Kevin McCabe insisted to the massed throngs of trained monkeys from the Daily Mail and Sky Sports News:

"This is not over".
"Yes it is" replied a passing High Court judge.
"No it isn't - we're on Richard and Judy tomorrow" says Kevin.

Let's just move on.

I sincerely doubt that any Sheffield United fans read this blog, whilst the only Blades fan I know is my dentist and there is absolutely no chance of me raising this issue with a man who uses drills on humans for a living. However, I would be very interested to know how the supporters feel about the club spending such large sums on the costly process of appealing this decision when there has never been any chance at all of a positive outcome?

Leaving aside the masterful smear campaign conducted through the press, even I, with no knowledge of the legal system was able to read up on the facts of this case and determine that Sheffield United had no chance at all of getting the decision overturned.

I have no doubt that they feel wronged blah blah blah, Tevez was ineligible, er no he wasn't, blah blah blah, justice and fairness for all, just ignore the Steve Kabba thing blah blah blah, but Jeez - just pack it in and spend your money on something that might actually be useful to the club.

My suggestions would be a goalkeeper who can move unaided by fork lift trucks, or Bryan Robson's severance package.

I'm here to help.

Press Ganged

It has been an extraordinary week in the life of Carlos Tevez. With the Argentine apparently not long for these shores, I was quietly hoping that the media circus would depart with him and that we might enjoy even a week or so without being held responsible for all the ills of English football.

Indeed, short of backing a military junta that resulted in Jade Goody being installed as Prime Minister, it's tough to imagine that we could currently be any less popular in this country.

If you are simply too weary to trawl through the detritus of the British media then might I suggest you log on to the brilliant Just Like My Dreams (http://jlmd.blogspot.com/index.html) where fellow blogger Trilby does a marvellous job of collating all the nonsense for us.

In that vein then, Man Utd had announced that they were expecting Tevez to have a medical with them before the week was out. Anywhere else on the planet this would be known as "tapping up" but as it involves a potential media ban from Sir Alex Ferguson it is reported as "excellent planning" over here. West Ham subsequently went medieval on their legal asses and refused permission for the medical, and immediately following this up with as strongly worded a statement as you are likely to see from a professional football club.

Reading between the lines as best I can, it seems that they have essentially refuted any claims that Kia Joorabchian owns the economic rights to Tevez, ruling that the agreement between the two would not be legally binding in the UK. Should Joorabchian want to dispute this (and given that he spent several million pounds acquiring those "rights" I would suspect that he will), then we are bound for the High Court. There are whispers that FIFA and the footballing powers would not be unhappy about this, as defeat for Joorabchian could theoretically lead to the end of third party ownership of players, which some liken to modern day slavery.

That last sentence is a bit dramatic, I watch Rome after all, but if we were to successfully prove that Joorabchian has no legal right to any money for Tevez then you can be reasonably confident that he won't be leaving West Ham any time soon, as there is little or no chance of Man Utd being able to cough up £30m for him.

Whilst all this has been happening, poor Carlos Tevez has been stuck in a Manchester hotel waiting to tell the world how happy he is to finally be in the same team as Darren Fletcher. Ferguson has now abandoned the medical and said he can go on holiday, which is very nice of him considering that Tevez is still our player.

To top it all off, midway through the week Joorabchian was indicted for money laundering in Brazil, highlighting once again just what a tip top job our former chairman did during his due diligence on the potential new owner of the club.

The Inferior Claret

Whilst we are hounded through the press for apparently splashing our cash with reckless abandon, it's probably worth noting that we are trading at a profit this summer. The sales of Reo-Coker and Harewood to Villa netted us a cool £11m, whilst the Benayoun deal saw us pick up both £5m and a new terrace hate figure.

Konchesky has gone to free spending Fulham, who have somehow contrived to spend £20m on a group of players whom I could charitably describe as "molluscs", whilst Derby apparently gave us £1m for Tyrone Mears. I have assumed that the latter transaction involves chocolate coins as there is no way anyone would spend real money on Tyrone Mears.

The first deal is the most interesting as we see two of our more controversial figures depart for the indisputably dull Aston Villa.

Martin O'Neill or not, I suffer immediate apathy when talking about the inferior claret. The two will either enjoy a stupendous renaissance under the Irishman, a la Neil Lennon and Emile Heskey, or disappear from this plane of consciousness as a direct result of being so bored that they will simply cease to exist. Yawn.

What is interesting, however, is the wave of ridiculous signings being made across the country. There is no justice in a world where we are threatened with High Court actions on a daily basis and yet West Brom have got away scot free with charging £10m for Jason Koumas and Diomansy Kamara.

Not content to be left out of the buffoonery, Sunderland then spent £10m on Michael Chopra and Kieron Richardson, showing that Roy Keane still likes a joke, if nothing else. Steve Bruce took one look at that and shouted "Anything you can do, wor can do worser!" and promptly spent £6m on Mido. Yes - that's "1 league goal a season Mido" (Although have a guess as to who you think he might have scored that goal against).

It almost makes Darren Bent for £16.5m look like a reasonable bit of business.

I Couldn't Be Appiah

The latest men to be linked with the Hammers are Ghana captain Stephen Appiah (sensible), England full back Nicky Shorey (sense we might be clutching at straws) and Kieron Dyer (senseless).

Quite why any manager would want to buy Dyer is beyond me, but doing it when he already has Lee Bowyer and Craig Bellamy in his squad smacks of a bet. Either that or Curbishley is trying to set up a Matthew Upson Appreciation Society in the physio room.

Appiah would be a tremendous acquisition. He has been a favourite son of Shark Towers since he and Michael Essien bestrode the various World Cup fields of Germany 2006, outplaying the eventual winners Italy in the process. Shorey, too, would be a significant upgrade on our current left back, George McCartney but if Reading allow him to leave in the same close season as Steve Sidwell then they may as well run up the white flag now.

Which brings us to the man we have already bought and who has today missed his first penalty for the Hammers. It's probably tough for you to imagine that a blissed out peace lover such as myself has a "Hate List", but I do, I bloody do, and Craig Bellamy was once sat atop this list.

I use the past tense as I can no longer hate him whilst he wears the claret and blue, despite the understandably human desire to do so. He's a footballer, I have no delusions that he is a charity worker on his days off, but an arrest free season would be appreciated.

A Change Would Do You Good

Our opening day line up against Charlton last August:

Carroll, Mears, Konchesky, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Bowyer, Benayoun, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Zamora, Harewood

Our possible line up against Man City, one year on (barring any further unfortunate ruptures):

Green, Neill, McCartney, Upson, Ferdinand, Bowyer, Boa Morte, Parker, Noble, Bellamy, Ashton

But for Faubert's injury it is entirely feasible that only Anton Ferdinand would have started both games. And he's not exactly a sure bet to be around the whole season........


  1. Hey, thanks for the shout-out. I was trying to fathom why my hit counter was actually moving and now I know the reason! Another stellar post btw. I really love reading your stuff.

  2. Anonymous1:11 AM

    I am a Sheffield United fan and I read your blog (perhaps the only one who does).

    Verrray funnay