1. A Good Walk Spoiled
Not that I would ever consider golf to be a sport, but I quite enjoyed replacing my weekly boo with Boo Weekley for a while this weekend.
That said, I'd like the chance to boo Boo Weekley weekly. What a tool.
2. Forza Hammers!
Who knew? There we all were, wondering how "our" West Ham under Pardew had been so turgidly deconstructed and replaced by Alan Curbishley's wonderful world of tedium. And yet, just a week into the job, Gianfranco Zola has us playing one touch football, has released the full backs, transformed Carlton Cole into Alan Shearer and still preserved our constitutional requirement to concede poxy late goals.
Before we go all US Ryder Cup fan on the back of one result, it is worth tempering our joy somewhat. Let us not forget that beating Newcastle United is a feat that could reasonably be expected of just about any collection of 11 adults in the western world.
3. The Statistics
Interestingly, for a game that felt like a comprehensive victory, the numbers are surprisingly even. Both sides mustered 17 shots with just 5 on target, and with possession split evenly at 50% each. The visitors actually forced 10 corners to our 2, although this might be taken as a positive for us given that it suggests we have finally done a better job of stopping crosses coming in from the wings - a problem that has plagued us in recent matches.
Digging a little deeper, however, the ESPN gamecast shows that at least 8 of those Newcastle attempts were from outside the box, and 9 of them came after we scored our 3rd goal. So in short - too little too late.
Elsewhere, Michael Owen scored his 54th goal against us in 12 career performances(*), despite Lucas Neill's heroic attempt to prevent this by eating him.
(*) This statistic may or may not be true. I'll say this though, he has never had any trouble scoring against us.
4. The Opposition
Let us not beat around this bush people, Newcastle were, are and remain absolutely dire. If you thought we had the market cornered on abject defending then you had all forgotten about the unique ability of Steven Taylor to look suspiciously like a large potted plant when faced with real life Premiership strikers.
From the outset of this match the visitors seemed totally flummoxed by the deployment of three forwards, and spent much of the first half looking stunned at the presence of Matthew Etherington more than 10 yards from the wing.
Their curious decision to play Michael Owen as a second striker didn't seem like a sensible use of their only major talent, but I won't complain as it removed the only goalscoring threat 40 yards from our goal.
Of course, by the time this game came around, Newcastle were in disarray with all of the shenanigans off the pitch, and the departure of their beloved Messiah, Kevin Keegan. And boy did it show.
(It should be noted that lots of other football fans would like to see Keegan stay in charge at St James's Park, but perhaps for slightly different reasons than the (Car)Toon Army.)
Help is at hand, however, in the brilliantly left field emergence of a a group of Nigerian millionaires. These chaps have approached Mike Ashley with a view to buying him out at a price of approximately £400m. They have emailed Ashley and as soon as he sends back details of his bank account the money will be transferred.
Good times are ahead.
P.S: Nicky Butt is made entirely of balsa wood.
5. The Referee
Surprisingly for a game that saw one side playing a quickly paced passing game, and the other drowning in a sea of frustration, there were only two bookings. Lucas Neill and Steven Taylor went in the book for hefty challenges on Owen and Cole respectively.
Newcastle fans might wonder exactly why the latter didn't happen a whole lot earlier in the piece.
Phil Dowd saw fit not to book Luis Boa Morte for either of his two late misses. This vexes me.
6. Right Back Atcha
Gianfranco Zola's first action as our manager was to shift Neill into the middle of defence, accomplishing the previously impossible feat of making our central pairing slower, and introducing Julien Faubert at right back.
Ordinarily the prospect of Faubert being our last line of defence would make me queasy, but against a team with no actual attacking threat then I guess it's a logical enough move. In fact, there is something to be said for having your best crosser of the ball in a position where he can take advantage of that skill. Unlike say, as our winger, where up until this point he will have simply developed a crick in his neck.
It should be noted here that he was in direct opposition to Damien Duff, a man who was a good player once upon a time. Then he moved to Newcastle.
So what I'm saying then is that I can cope with this line up against crappy teams, but if I see that back four against Arsenal I am liable to have an aneurysm.
It's quite hard to simply pick one player from a team who were collectively so good. In spite of eye catching turns from Parker, Noble and Neill, however, I would have to pick out Carlton Cole as the man around whom this was all built.
I don't know if he was energised by the presence of familiar faces from his past, or simply the Christmas present that is the ongoing Laurel and Hardy homage currently masquerading as Newcastle's back 4, but the man was inspired. Indeed his turn and pass to set up our third goal as the best piece of forward play I have seen from a West Ham striker for quite some time, even allowing for the arboreal nature of Steven Taylor's defending.
Elsewhere, new boys Herita Illunga and David di Michele showed plenty of promise, although they also displayed enough foibles to suggest that they will spend quite a lot of this season in the drawer marked "maddening".
There they will find long term occupant Matthew Etherington who managed to pick himself up from last weeks minor £800k gambling debt and popped up with our third goal. He also availed himself of Zola's newly installed maze of underground tunnels to turn up in locales as exotic as our right wing, and at one point I swear I even saw him in our half.
Whilst we're on the subject, Etherington's goal was set up by either: a) the best pass seen at West Ham since Di Canio or b) the worst shot seen at West Ham since erm... Boa Morte. I personally don't care, but it's been a subject of great debate on t'web.
Scott Parker showed me enough to suggest that we shouldn't sell off his body parts for cash just yet.
8. I Am Ready
.....for Craig Bellamy to be resurrected.
9. Luis Boa Morte Footwear Report
This feature has been missing for a while now, primarily because Boa Morte hasn't featured much recently - a fact applauded by my stomach lining.
Here, however, he made an unforgettable cameo here as he contributed two of the most egregious misses seen at Upton Park since his last one.
The first of these featured a technique for striking a football not seen since Diana Ross lit up the USA '94 opening ceremony (http://kr.youtube.com/watch?v=WXjCKwBtG0I).
The second was one of those curious moments where all else seemed to stand still as Boa Morte raced through on Given's goal, filled out his tax return, fired off a couple of memo's to the Labour Party conference, changed his pants before calmly placing the ball 5 feet wide of the goal.
Only then did I realise that instead of normal football boots, Boa Morte was instead wearing cricket pads and spikes. Ho-hum, at least he isn't owned by a third party.
Welcome, Gianfranco. You're a true West Ham manager now.
I can say no more on this topic. We've got our West Ham back.
11. Sheffield United
Another subject upon which I cannot speak - primarily as it tends to leave me foaming at the mouth, apoplectic with rage.
For a reasonably balanced view try reading Mick Dennis of, God help us, the Daily Express ("The Best Newspaper in the World" - seriously?) at http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/62970/Football-loses-in-sorry-saga.
For a less balanced but at least not avidly pro Sheffield piece, try Martin Samuels of The Times at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/martin_samuel/article4812559.ece.
For a chance to send your blood pressure through the roof, read Henry Winter of The Telegraph at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/3069183/A-star-performer-like-Carlos-Tevez-made-all-the-difference-to-West-Ham---Football.html
Incredibly, Winter was called as an "expert" witness at the arbitration, where he testified that Tevez was a significant part of our survival and agreed that this value could be quantified as a distinct number of Premier League points (which coincidentally happens to be 3 - enough to keep Sheffield United safe). Brilliantly, the crux of the above article is that Tevez was a one man band during our 1-0 win at Man Utd on the last day of the season, heroically forgetting that a draw would have kept us up anyway, and that Winter himself gave Rob Green his man of the match award.
Quite how any panel can claim to be able to accurately forecast games is beyond me, and shame on The Telegraph for printing this bilge, and even more shame on Winter for jumping into bed with men of avarice who would make our national game a John Grisham sub plot.
My disgust knows no bounds for these people., and I include Duxbury and Joorabchian in that statement. But the day that nonsense like this is allowed to pass is the day that British football dies. To Lausanne, good people.......