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

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Liverpool 4 - 0 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)


I'd like to think I am not without humility, but I would also like to think both of my readers visit this blog in the hope of being mildly amused by the contents. Given the events of Wednesday night I am finding it hard to mine much comedy gold from proceedings - although our defending would certainly fit the bill - and therefore would like to present you with a an alternative source of amusement.

Nope, not a Peter Crouch overhead kick, but http://www.framleyexaminer.com/.

Hey! Wait, come back!

*Note to self - post link to funnier website at the end of the article*

1. So, This Is What Pride Doesn't Feel Like

Another day, another gloriously plucky defeat. Boy doesn't it feel good to hand over your hard earned cash to follow this gunslinging, carefree, merry band of cavaliers about the country?

I am perfectly attuned to the emotions that accompany our trips to Merseyside. Brief, misplaced hope quickly followed by the crushing inevitability of our incompetent defending, and watching the rest of the game through your fingers. My own threshold for embarrassment was tested to the limit by this particular capitulation, however.

All the players and staff should be ashamed of themselves, and not just for managing the previously impossible task of making Dirk Kuyt look competent.

2. Ambition, Thy Name Is Curbishley

Everyone knows our history at Anfield. We don't win there. There is no debate around this point. In fact, at this juncture I think it might actually be club policy to play like a group of strangers and shame us all.

But here is the rub - what on earth were we expecting from this game? Our approach was Boltonian in the extreme, with the customary one man up front looking a lost, lonely soul as our midfield stood on the edge of our box many miles away.

Let's face it, we played for a draw last night and when we conceded after just 8 minutes then that was the end of that. We appear to have attempted to get back into the game using only the power of the song, which is admirable if somewhat misplaced when Liverpool decided to use the power of Fernando Torres instead.

The rest of us simply reverted to the power of Smirnoff.

3. The Statistics

God, who cares. Anytime you let in four goals (which for us is anytime we play), then statistics are really only going to back up your titular crappiness.

In case you're interested, or Fernando Torres' mother, then here are some more details. We had the ball for a spectacularly inept 39% of the time, which is absolutely appalling. We mustered 2 shots on goal all night, of which one was taken by Luis Boa Morte and therefore does not count. By contrast the home side had 20 shots, despite playing well below par, and carrying the aforementioned Kuyt up front.

We were even outcornered 16 to 3, which really just goes to show that we were there in spirit only. And to think that I didn't believe there was any conceivable way in which we could have been worse than the previous game.

4. The Opposition

Our recent fortuitous 1-0 home win over Liverpool came against the backdrop of civil unrest on Merseyside. Truthfully, I could not care less about this, although it is an interesting insight into what can happen when foreign owners cross swords with a displeased fanbase. All of that aside, the Liverpool team that played at Upton Park were the worst Reds side I had seen in 20 years of watching West Ham lose to them.

Last night hasn't really changed my mind in any way. Torres looks every inch a £23m player, and Steven Gerrard remains my favourite non Hammer in the league (Cardiff notwithstanding, the bastard), but the rest of them look like a fairly turgid collection.

There is an interesting comparison between the two clubs in the sense that both teams have abandoned the footballing principles that had traditionally been their calling card. Whilst we struggle to cope with Curbishley's safety first nonsense, Rafael Benitez is feted on Merseyside for delivering consistent Champions League success playing in a very similar fashion, albeit in a more testing environment.

The moral of the story is that irrespective of how principled we might like to be as fans, our tolerance for less entertaining football is entirely linked to the success that it brings. Clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Bolton have all experienced relative prosperity playing less expansive games and yet their fans have been all too willing to put up with this if the ends justified the means. Elsewhere, the likes of Newcastle and increasingly, ourselves, have turned on the managers who have elected to play the dreadful dross, as it is bringing no more achievement than previously.

There is another element to this of course, which is that Liverpool are key players in a European system designed completely to ensure that they (and the rest of their G14 cronies) always have a significant advantage over the rest of the league. Despite having no earthly chance of winning the Premier League barring acts of God, Spiderman or Amy Winehouse, they are guaranteed a £20m windfall every year by qualifying for the Champions League as our 4th best placed club. We are not supposed to beat teams such as this because if we did it would upset the carefully constructed applecart. And by God, we're keeping our end of the bargain.

5. The Referee

Given that we didn't really do anything pesky like tackle or run, last night, then Steve Bennett didn't have to trouble himself greatly. Anfield was baying for Carlton Cole to be sent off at one point for a typically clumsy aerial challenge, but Bennett sensibly recognised our strikers innate Coleishness and just booked him, and quite possibly asked him if he was ever planning on scoring again.

6. Don't Give Him The Chants?

If you're a West Ham fan then the only worthwhile parts of the second half were the many and varied chants of displeasure aimed at Curbishley and the players.

"It's just like watching Charlton", "Boring, Boring West Ham" and "Too Fucking Negative!" all got worthy airings, as the travelling fans tired of watching us Not Attack for the 23rd consecutive game.

There are some fans unhappy at such a public airing of grievances, but given that I don't have the opportunity to pop my head round the door at Chadwell Heath and inform Alan in person that his style of football is making me want to gouge out my own eyes, then I don't have a problem with it. And if the players get wind of it then, all the better.

Everyone at the club needs to understand that if this performance is repeated on Sunday at tottenham, then bad things are going to happen. Not biblical, but possibly some loud tutting and crossing of arms, followed by some eye rolling and uttering of "Honestly", certainly some profanity and maybe even some finger pointing. You heard it here first.

7. The Life Of Luis

One half of the H List readership, my father, threatened to stop reading unless I started being a bit ruder about Luis Boa Morte. Now truthfully, it would be hard to say that he was any worse here than he usually is, or that he was any worse than our back 4, but you gotta give the fans what they want.

I shall remain eternally puzzled by the existence of Boa Morte. He is the only man I have ever seen who plays football as though he is wearing ice hockey skates smeared in butter, with the laces tied together and simultaneously blindfolded. On his best day.

It's not a personal vendetta, but I cannot for the life of me see that we gain anything from having Boa Morte on the pitch. I can't say that I was unhappy with his ability to get Lampard sent off, but even that sprang from his own clumsiness.

The fact that he is the 5th of our 5 ineffective midfielders is just the final insult. I do not want to see this man on the pitch on Sunday unless he is somehow contriving to get Dimitar Berbatov sent off.

In case you don't already know we have a kid who has scored 25 goals this year in 24 U18 and reserve games. His name is Freddie Sears, and I personally like people with the name Freddie, so I'm going to say that he is a favourite of mine despite the fact I know nothing about him.

At this point, with the season disappearing into the night like smoke, would we be too disappointed to see a promising youngster get a game over Luis Boa Morte? Actually would we be disappointed to see an unpromising youngster get a game over Boa Morte?.....

1 comment:

  1. pater9:04 PM

    Now that's what I call a blog !!

    Still think you have been too kind to LBM, & fully agree with the suggestion of playing the youngster Freddie as he most surely cannot do any worse than the current useless shower that we have upfront.