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, June 01, 2009

The H List - End Of Year Ramblings (Part 1)

And so another season disappears into the ether, as we are all left to ponder exactly why David di Michele is paid to pay football. But for your hard working bloggers at The H List, I am afraid that there is little chance for us to put our feet up as our tens of readers demand some sort of year end review, on top of the bi monthly match reports.

And thus, without further ado, we bring you our vaunted player reports for the 2008/09 season:


Robert Green : Appearances - 43

Green began the season with a "life changing" trek up Kilimanjaro and a visit to the slums of Kenya. No longer would he be "chasing the extra fiver" he declared, but instead he would be a tremendous human being and an all round good egg. This lasted all of two weeks before he was splashed across the red tops demanding a raise and pay parity with our top earners. I didn't object to the (valid) point, but the hypocrisy got to me a little. Which I think will wound Robert somewhere deep inside.

In fairness his on pitch form was once again exemplary, and apart from the Bolton debacle he was solid as the proverbial rock all season. Indeed, he should get a chance with England shortly if there is any justice. Which there isn't. So he will instead get to watch one of Paul Robinson, Scott Carson, Ben Foster, Cheryl Baker or Makka Pakka do it instead.

Didn't keep a clean sheet until November 15th, but thereafter managed an impressive 12. Would have benefited from a living breathing back four in the early parts of the season.

Best Performance: Arsenal (a)

Rating: 7/10

Jan Lastuvka : Appearances - 1

Seriously, I don't know what you want me to say. Played once, away at Watford where he made an error for their goal. Thereafter, was never seen again, quite possibly because he was eaten by Lucas Neill, or because he took a wrong turn and wandered up Gareth Southgate's nose, or because Scott Duxbury sold him for scrap during our non fire sale fire sale in January.

Seems unlikely to return as he's on loan and didn't actually do anything whilst here, but what do I know. I thought Calum Davenport was a good buy.

Best Performance: Watford (a) (by default, cos he was quite shit)

Rating: 3/10


Lucas Neill : Appearances - 37, Goals - 1, Bookings -8

As I write this it seems that our captain is unlikely to return next year now that his £150,000 a day (Source: The Daily Mail) contract has expired. I, for one, will miss him if he does depart, as he has been a much undervalued player during his stint here. Began the year at left back, which was Curbishley's last cruel joke before leaving, and had a spell at centre back too when Zola went a bit mad before Christmas.

By season's end, however, he was playing somewhat excellently at right back, and looking rather more like the player who did so much to keep us up in 2007. He also made some cameo appearances in central midfield which was a decision that erred on the adventurous side of mental.

Managed a goal at West Brom, which isn't really remarkable for a professional footballer, but certainly is for a West Ham player.

Best Performance: Stoke City (a)

Rating : 6/10

Jonathan Spector : Appearances - 4 (5), Bookings - 1

Our resident American was injured for most of this year, largely as a result of our crack medical squad attempting to fix his injured hip using only office stationary and post it notes. When he did return he almost immediately got knocked unconscious in an aerial collision, although this did at least have the side effect of shaming Kieron Dyer into returning from his broken haircut injury.

In truth, if the Club persist with the idea of a small playing squad supplemented by various competition winners, squirrels and holograms then Spector is exactly the kind of player that we need given his pseudo versatility. Whether he has the requisite technical ability to play as Zola would like is questionable, but anyone who tries as hard as he does gets my support.

Best Performance: Blackburn (a)

Rating: 5/10

George McCartney : Appearances 1 (1)

It's pretty hard to recall, but the winner of the Not At All Coveted H List Player of the Year for the last two seasons did actually turn out for us this season. Sadly, he was promptly sold to Sunderland against his wishes (is there any other kind of sale to Sunderland?), and Curbishley resigned in furious protest. Or so the story goes.

At the time he was much lamented given his impeccable form of the previous two years, but in the event Ilunga was so good as his replacement that we barely missed a beat.

I shall miss him, if only for the Lennon/McCartney vibe that we used to get in games against tottenham.

Best Performance : Macclesfield (h)

Rating : 5/10

Herita Ilunga : Appearances - 39, Goals - 2, Bookings - 3

My fellow blogger, and sometimes marauding left back was the surprise hit of the season at The Boleyn. Immediately settled in by allowing West Brom score against us 4 minutes into his debut, but bounced back well and by the time we were challenging for the Europa League he was an integral part of our back 4.

Ilunga is slightly curious in that he doesn't appear to have a great deal of pace, but does tend to cover a lot of ground, and gets much further forward than Neill on the opposite flank. At the same time, he rarely gets exposed defensively, and has done a credible job against the best wingers in the division, and Aaron Lennon.

My concern, and it's a big one people, is that he's going to be the new Sebastien Schemmel and now that he is here permanently, will eat and drink his way out of the first team. Proceed with caution.

Best Performance : Bolton (h)

Rating : 8/10

Matthew Upson : Appearances - 41, Bookings - 2

Another remarkably consistent season from Upson, who once more exceeded expectations in terms of his fitness, and was rewarded for his continued excellence with a call up to the England squad. This was before they called up Gary Cahill and therefore still counted as an honour at that point.

Never the flashiest of operators, he was simply a model of professionalism all year, and his positive impact on James Tomkins was an additional boost. At this point my main hope is that he agrees to sign a new contract rather than dashing off to Villa or Man City, although given the likely hike in wages I doubt many would blame him for doing so.

I am still unable to determine if he is left or right footed. I am also unable to determine if this is a good or bad thing.

Best Performance : Liverpool (a)

Rating : 7/10

James Collins : Appearances - 20 (1), Bookings - 4

A frustrating season for the big Welshman, who endured a number of setbacks as he attempted to return from a bad ACL injury. Having had my own glittering career struck down by this particular knock I can sympathise with the amount of effort that will have gone into regaining his place, only to suffer a succession of niggling injuries that hampered his year.

When he did play it was business as usual. Solid and dependable against lower/mid table types, and prone to being slaughtered by elite forwards (Berbatov at Old Trafford springs glaringly to mind). He still distributes the ball with all the accuracy of a government economic forecast, but he does try exceptionally hard.

Put in a contender for individual performance of the season at Sunderland as he single handedly repelled Djibril Cisse and his ridiculous barnet.

Best Performance : Sunderland (a)

Rating : 5/10

James Tomkins : Appearances 14 (1), Goals - 1, Sent Off - 1

Friends, I have seen the future and thy name is Tomkins. The callow, willowy youth of last year is gone, and in his place is a genuine bona fide Premier League centre half. In fact, I would go so far as to say that James Collins may struggle to regain his place next year as Tomkins possesses better technique, pace and hair for the Premier League battles ahead.

Will be on international duty this summer, where I pray that he learns absolutely nothing from Steven Taylor, and spends no time eating with the coagulating fat mass that is Tom Huddlestone.

Somewhat sadly, it is his development that will eventually allow the Club to move on Upson, which is kind of a good business model and kind of a kick in the teeth. C'est la vie.

Best Performance : Stoke (a)

Rating : 7/10

Calum Davenport : Appearances - 8, Goals - 1, Bookings - 1, Major Strops - 1

Ah Calum, we hardly knew ye. Davenport began the year in the side and didn't perform too badly at all. Always a classy enough footballer, his big problem tended to be that he couldn't cope all that well with speedy forwards or strong winds, which often snapped him in half, such is his gangliness.

After a towering display in our 1-1 draw at Chelsea he threw a Mariah Careyian hissy fit when he was dropped for the home match with Stoke, as Zola decided that he needed someone a bit less namby pamby to cope with the visitors marauding Orc hordes.

Subsequently joined the exodus to Sunderland where he once more got to experience the joy of a relegation battle and trying to understand what on earth Anton Ferdinand thinks about. Seems unlikely to return either to the Boleyn or to Wearside but might well have a career as the bottom half of the giant doctor from Scrubs.

Best Performance : Chelsea (a)

Rating : 5/10

Walter Lopez : Appearances -1 (5)

The best Uruguayan we've ever had. Managed one whole game against Watford in the League Cup and 5 substitute appearances that totalled 20 minutes, in the League. I think it's safe to say that Zola does not see him as a game changer.

If I'm totally honest, my biggest query about Lopez is not really football related, but I am intrigued as to exactly why the name "Walter" is so popular in South America.

Could still be with us next year, or he could alternatively devote his life to resolving the issue of how best to slice mushrooms for optimum taste.

Best Performance : Watford (a)

Rating : 4/10

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:18 PM

    I personally dont thinks Tomkins is that good, yes he has height and he is strong, his pace minimal, football intelligence is poor, and his technique poor [especially when he is pressured by the opponents or in tight areas, he cant manipulate the ball to wriggle free]. I would take Collins all day long until Tomkins show considerable improvement even though England coaches keep picking him