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, October 20, 2008

Hull City 1 - 0 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)

1. I'm Confused

We're really becoming quite a contradiction in terms, and it's now somewhat confusing to be a West Ham fan these days. Let's consider : we are 4th in the League in goals scored and yet don't look like we will ever score again : only Man City have scored more times at home than we have but our Goal Difference is 0 : we are owned by a billionaire who apparently doesn't have any money : we're 8th and tottenham have 2 points yet everyone says that we're both in crisis.

I'm not going to lie here folks, but I don't know whether to start jerking my knee or not.

2. Before We Begin

We're through the looking glass here people. We had a comment on the blog last week from a friend of none other than H List favourite, Herita Ilunga. Imagine our surprise when we were asked to post a link to Herita's blog with the promise of a reciprocal agreement.

Being the excitable sort I did so, and lo and behold, we now appear as a link on Herita's own blog. Now he writes in French so he could be slaughtering us, but such is my ridiculous adulation of West Ham players that this would be perfectly fine with me.

I think it's probably a fair guess that Herita himself isn't avidly waiting for the H List's biannual updates, but either way here is the link to the website for The H List Player of the Year 2008/09 (not that I wish to appear biased but unless Scott Parker makes a guest appearance at my daughters 3rd birthday party it's basically all over now).

Man, this is more fun than writing about trips to Hull, let me assure you.

3. The Statistics

It's hard to be too churlish about a game when we had 60% of the possession, which I think means that Hull basically had the ball at set pieces and nothing else. However, the truly representative fact about Sunday is that we managed just one shot on target all game, which was Carlton Cole's execrable first half effort. One shot on target! Against Hull! I'm going to set fire to my own teeth.

We have now lost games this year to West Brom, Watford, Bolton and Hull. When I'm done with my teeth I'm moving on to my feet.

4. The Opposition

I imagine that it would be pretty hard for even the most ardent Hull fan to argue that they deserved to win this match, but then I am not an ardent Hull fan so who knows what they think. It should be said that Hull were really only ever going to score from a set piece, and lo and behold our back four gently removed their collective cerebrums in the 51st minute, and produced some zonal marking that only their mothers could love.

As with pretty much every other team we have played recently, I admire the ability to wring each last drop of effort from 11 journeymen (don't get me started on Geovanni - the man who was so good he managed 2 starts for Man City last year), but Jesus, I'm pretty much done with watching us lose to a group of earnest triers.

All of that being true, and angry blogging aside, it's hard not to think that Hull's success is pretty good for the League, if only because it greatly increases the chances of tottenham going down. So it's not all bad.

5. The Referee

It's always a waste of time to blame referees for anything, because I refuse to accept that over 90 minutes a football team cannot do enough on their own to win a game. Now that's fairly high and mighty, but I admit to frustration about Chris Foy's decision not to award a penalty for the trip on Mark Noble. The midfielder didn't help himself by dropping like the price of my house, but it was still a foul.

Elsewhere, there was some fairly agricultural tackling from the home side but in fairness they are still Hull City when all is said and done so it's to be expected.

I don't actually understand why Ilunga's goal was disallowed, but the laws of football these days are so mental that I can't be bothered to look it up.

6. Cole Patrol

Carlton Cole lead the line manfully again, but contrived to miss two great chances in doing so. The worst was the second half effort which began with a lovely turn and finished with a shot that hit the bar from all of 12 millimetres. I'm enamoured of his work rate and willingness to get involved but I would be appreciative of a finishing ability that could be described as better than the current level of "sub-Kuytian".

It worries me immensely that our striking options these days consist of Cole, the lesser spotted Craig Bellamy, the even lesser spotted Dean Ashton, the oft spotted but rarely feared David di Michele, the rotting corpse of Diego Tristan and Freddie Sears, who may well be enjoying a "bring your child to work" year.

7. Speaking Of My Favourite Goblin

Craig Bellamy can't hide his admiration for our all conquering back four.

Just the 4 seasons since a clean sheet now.

I have immolated my teeth and feet, and am now seriously pondering the notion of removing my appendix with a fork.

Still, at least he didn't hit anyone with a golf club.

8. The Art Of War

Gianfranco Zola is a lovely fellow. We're all agreed that he never forgets his mothers birthday, dresses nicely even when he's just lounging around at home, and hardly ever sends out junk emails pretending that he is a prince in his home country and if you just give him your bank details he will send you £2m.

But the problem is that every now and again I think I'm going to need to see him go a bit madder than he did after this defeat. You see, I never cared that he was a Chelsea player, as it didn't seem inconceivable to me that a man could take a job with previous rivals and be passionate and motivated in the process. In fact, I am positive that Zola cares deeply about the role, otherwise why would he bother to move his family to Walthamstow from Southern Italy? That's a pretty big life step he's taking right there.

But bad luck aside, when your team has just lost to Hull and it might be apropos to suggest to the world that you're not very happy about that. I know he's only 5 games into his tenure, but those have now included some nonsensical defeats and as indisputably West Hamian as that may be, we're all hoping for a change on that point.

It may be perverse, but now that I'm older, fatter, wiser, fatter, more relaxed and fatter than I was, I have come to realise that West Ham losing no longer tears quite as big a hole in my soul as it used to in my youth. That's fine, but I really need to know there is a manager out there who is still utterly inconsolable when we lose 1-0 to a poxy corner routine.

It's churlish, petty and stupid, but I'm ready for Zola to yell at someone now.

9. Kudos

To Herita Ilunga, naturally, for another excellent display of left backism. A word too, for Lucas Neill whose play as a centre half has been better than when he was a full back, in the same way that Nelson Mandela is a greater international statesman than Kerry Katona.

Craig Bellamy remains extremely fast. When we stop using him as some sort of deep lying midfielder, we may even see him be useful.

10. Not So Much Kudos

To Herita Ilunga again. Sadly his first half missed header will live with me for a while as it essentially disproved the theories of Evolution and Relativity, the Heisenberg Principle and the basic acceptance of physical law.

Mark Noble and Robert Green contrived to allow Andy Turner's header to creep in, despite the fact that they were both positioned specifically to prevent this happening (I'd like to think this is always true for Green, but the Bolton game has thrown me somewhat).

Men on the posts at corners = good.
Men tied to the post at corners with no ability to move = bad.

10. Luis Boa Morte Footwear Update

Luis sadly didn't make it on this week. See if you can guess why from this shot of him warming up...

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