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, January 29, 2008

West Ham United vs Liverpool: Match Preview - 30/01/2007

1. Disclaimer

For this article I have attempted to create, research and uncover gems of interest with which to bedazzle you all. I have given up on this notion however as it's far too much like hard work. Instead I shall type type type and pray that the libel positively oozing from this page slides it's way under any legal radar.

2. Wasn't Me, Your Honour

Now, I'm not one for sweeping generalisations, but all Liverpudlians are thieves. This has long since been established. When they're not prying the hub caps off a Vauxhall Astra, they're routinely robbing the houses of their own players.

They do however have a knack of besting us on the football field, and this my friends is what we must strive to overcome. Reversing the crime wave (crime-tsunami, if you will) that is Liverpool is a futile exercise.

3. History

Last season's corresponding fixture saw us lose 2-1 thanks to a couple of thunderbolts early in the second half from Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch. Crouch sprawled across the pitch that night like some sort of rampaging super-spider.

We managed to nick a goal in the last 15 minutes courtesy of Kepa Blanco's first and last touch in a West Ham shirt, but that was scant consolation as we were in the midst of a nightmarish run.

Over recent years we haven't done well at home against The Reds, having lost our last three and conceded seven goals in the process. Of course, this news reads as joyous as Robbie Williams's declaration he would go on strike from EMI when compared to our form at Anfield.

Funnily enough, I have a sneaking suspicion that we could get our first result at Anfield since Jackie Kennedy was forced to steam-clean her husband's face from that pink ensemble with the black trim.

Should that miracle happen, you heard it here first. Should it not, that last passage will be deleted from this blog and you can't prove a thing.

4. Another Year Older

Bizarrely, this game falls exactly a year to the day from last season's corresponding fixture. A lot has changed since then - we have acquired an injury-prone goblin from Merseyside and Liverpool have snared their very own back-stabbing Israelite for a mere 30 pieces of silver.

Anfield is also now home to Liverpool's latest impressive all-round striker, Fernando Torres, who follows the likes of Owen, Fowler, Rush and Dalgleish.

Whilst we are undoubtedly less creative than last season, we are probably now more robust and have faired reasonably well against the big teams, only losing by the odd goal when we haven't won. A decent rest since our away draw to Man City should see the players refreshed and raring to go.

Again, it's the same story I seem to have been repeating ad infinitum - if we can get in their faces, we can nick a result.

5. The Boys Are Backed By Barack

It emerged this week that US Presidential candidate Barack Obama is a West Ham fan, having followed the ups and downs of the team during a trip to England five years ago.

He joins what must rank among the most illustrious set of celebrity supporters in the footballing world - including the likes of Lennox Lewis, Ray Winstone, Matt Damon, Russell Brand and Graham Gooch. Not to mention Kris Akabusi.

As if we needed any other incentive to oust the Republicans from The White House, the sight of the sky blackened with Stealth Bombers and Apache helicopter gunships en route to White Hart Lane would be something to behold.

Just think, if Obama gets in and we can employ every ounce of NASA's considerable resources we might, just might be able to construct a rocket large enough and with sufficient vertical thrust to blast Frank Lampard into space.

6. Not So Special Relationship

While West Ham United court Presidents-elect, it appears that the American contingent at Anfield only serve to court controversy.

Less than a year into their tenure and American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette have already fallen foul of the Liverpool fanbase, thanks largely to half-hearted support of manager Rafa Benitez and some spectacular PR own goals.

The Yanks are buying up Premiership clubs faster than Heath Ledger's signature is appearing on Ebay. Derby County are the latest team to have been devoured by the almighty dollar, following in the footsteps of Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool.

Perhaps it's a touch xenophobic on my part, but I'm glad that our club has remained under European control. With our Icelandic owners, we know they are football people. Yes, they're ultimately businessmen looking to turn a profit, but one doesn't get the impression that their takeover is purely a commercial venture.

7. European City Of Vultures

Merseybeat. The Beatles. Cilla Black. Yes, they all emerged from Liverpool. Forty five years ago.

The day Scousers stop banging on about John Lennon and their "glate sensa huma" will be the day that West Ham win the Premiership and Cliff Richard marries. A woman.

I don't know about you but I'm tired of hearing about the fabled Scouse humour. Just how did they convince themselves of this? Let's look at the evidence - Jimmy Tarbuck? Root canal surgery. Les Dennis? Appendicitis. Mike Reid? Genius.

Liverpudlians have been picking at the bare carcass of Beatlemania for nearly half a century when the fact is that the only thing they have contributed to British society in the last twenty years is to provide Harry Enfield with a career.

What did The Beatles do as soon as they made it big? Moved to London.

8. Sideliners Sleep Tonight

Yet more absconders from our ranks with this match considered too early for Bellamy, Solano and Gabbidon. Faubert has picked up a slight calf strain and is doubtful whereas disappointingly James Collins managed to injure his knee ligaments during his 'return from injury' and is is now a long-term absentee.

John Pantsil continues to shine in the African Cup Of Nations and is rumoured to soon be drafted in to resolve the social turmoil in Kenya.

Javier Mascherano loses the chance of a returning round of applause as he serves a one-match suspension after five bookings.

9. Benayoun Baiting

I had a much better title for this section, but it was bordering on the anti-Semitic.

Yossi Benayoun is the latest in a long line of ex-Hammers to return to Upton Park with a bigger club. I don't hold out much hope for a warm welcome, thanks to the manner in which Yossi left us in the summer.

We have a bit of a reputation for being an unforgiving bunch, but I think that's largely unfounded as the outstanding reception of Pope Tevez proved in December. It all depends on the circumstances in which a player leaves and in this regard, Benayoun has done himself no favours.

A couple of quotes for you from the Israeli captain:

25/05/2007 - "I'm very pleased to have agreed this new deal. From the moment I arrived at West Ham, the Club felt like home. We have the best supporters in the world. I'm very happy because I want to stay at this Club. It is the best place for me."

12/07/2007 - "..."

The shady little snake didn't even have the bottle to try and back peddle his way out of his prior shallow declaration, instead leaving it to his new manager, Rafa Benitez:

"He said he was desperate to only join Liverpool. He was offered a big new contract at West Ham and received offers from a lot of other clubs offering him more money - but Yossi's message was always the same."

Was it really, Rafa? Something must have been lost in the translation. What's the Spanish for "F*"k off you back-stabbing, big-nosed geek"?

"Joda lejos usted apoya-apuñalar, tipo de grande-nosed."

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