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

Friday, June 05, 2009

The H List - End Of Year Ramblings (Part 2)


Valon Behrami : Appearances - 27, Goals - 2, Bookings - 5

When I heard that we had signed Valon Behrami I just shrugged in that uber cool, but still quite attractive, way that I do. "So what?" I wondered. And for the first few games my insouciance seemed reasonable as Behrami ran around a lot but failed to have any tangible impression on anything.

Then, one winning goal at Sunderland later, he was off and by the time he got injured in our 1-0 win over Man City in March he had established himself as our indisputable Player of the Season Except for Injury.

One hopes that he is able to return in the same condition as he left - although with our elite medical staff it is entirely possible that he could return minus a limb - as we will depend on him greatly again next year.

Lovely highlights too. One for the lay-deez.

Rating : 7/10

Best Performance : Chelsea (a)

Lee Bowyer : Appearances - 5 (2), Goals - 1, Bookings - 1

It takes some doing to be a total fucking waste of space not once but twice in your career. This is Bowyer's second spell with us, and the second time that I have decided he is simply not worth the hassle and the bad press.

In some ways he actually seems like a Zola player, as his game revolved around passing and (increasingly slow) movement. However, after a series of decreasingly effective performances before Christmas he was thanked for his hard work and banished to Birmingham where the fans really didn't like him.

Now out of contract I suspect he will drop down the divisions and score 3 goals in 26 appearances for Cardiff. But I can't be sure.

Rating : 5/10

Best Performance : Sunderland (a)

Jack Collison : Appearances - 19 (4), Goals - 3, Bookings - 2

In a season where several players took great strides forward, it is hard to think of anyone who progressed further than Welshman Collison. Hailing from the heartland of the Principality (Watford), he first appeared as a half time sub at Old Trafford and thereafter became an integral part of the team quicker than you could say "Bye Bye Matty".

Playing out of position on the left, he is often compared to Michael Carrick, although I think he's probably closer to Lampard, sans the spare tyre, at the same age, in the eyes of this untrained observer. Either way, he has blossomed under Zola like no other, and with a pre season behind him could well be our most important player next season.

Also wins "Most Painful Injury of the Season" award after dislocating his knee at Wigan. Shit, I wince just typing that out.

Rating : 7/10

Best Performance : Portsmouth (a)

Kieron Dyer : Appearances - 1 (7)

He lives! On one hand it's hard to imagine exactly how one solitary man can get so very many injuries without being a cage fighter. On the other hand this is the medical staff that failed to diagnose that Freddie Ljungberg had a broken hip when he played for us, so perhaps he should be congratulated for still having all his toes.

I am still enamoured about the idea of Kieron Dyer. Once upon a time he was really quite good, but I rather suspect those days are long behind. Whether he can ever recapture some of that form or fitness is debatable, but any attempt would be greatly appreciated.

I actually rather like the idea of Dyer as a late impact substitute when his pace could stretch tiring defences. Mind you - £6m for a supersub is a bit bloody pricey.

Rating : 5/10

Best Performance : Aston Villa (a)

Matthew Etherington : Appearances - 9 (6), Goals - 2

Here's a weird fact - Matthew Etherington didn't pick up a booking whilst with us, primarily because he does not tackle or run backwards. After moving to Mordor and playing 14 times for Stoke he has now managed 3 yellows and a red card.

In some ways, I was sad to see Etherington go, possibly because he was the last real link to that famous first season in the Premiership under Pardew. Truthfully however he had been coasting here for a while and did not appear to have the requisite technical ability to play in Zola's new fangled fashion.

I wonder if we ever got those gambling debts back. Turns out we could have used the money.

Rating : 4/10

Best Performance : Fulham (a)

Julien Faubert : Appearances - 19 (5), Bookings - 3

Of the West Ham players most likely to be loaned to Real Madrid I would have had Julien Faubert behind Vic Watson, who died in 1988, aged 90.

The fact that we paid £6.7m for Faubert rather boggles the mind when you consider that other than Bellamy and Ashton we had never before shelled out that much on a player. In light of this may I strongly suggest that you do not allow Alan Curbishley to have any input into to your future investment decisions.

Apparently smokes 20 a day, which suggests to me that his "TGV" nickname might well have been the first recorded instance of the French being "ironic".

Rating : 3/10

Best Performance : Sunderland (a)

Radoslav Kovac : Appearances - 9 (1), Goals - 1, Bookings - 2

When we first signed Kovac from Spartak Moscow it didn't seem immediately obvious to anyone what exactly he was going to be doing that Hayden Mullins couldn't. Of course, I'm an admitted Mullins fan, but Kovac's 5 yard passing range didn't overly excite me I must confess.

As he was having trouble fitting in with the rest of the lads, Kovac then got himself suspended from the Czech national squad over an incident involving late night drinking and prostitutes. Respect now earned, he began to settle into our midfield and he even slipped in a marvellous 35 yard thunderbolt at Everton that Hayden Mullins could not have scored if he sold his soul to Victoria Beckham.

I would not object to Kovac signing as a squad player for a reasonable fee, although anything over £1.5m would strike me as excessive, particularly given our current bank balance of £12.91.

Rating : 6/10

Best Performance : Wigan (a)

Hayden Mullins : Appearances - 8 (13), Goals - 1, Bookings - 2

I'll admit there was a tear in my eye when I heard we had accepted a bid from Portsmouth for our erstwhile midfield whateverhewas. Mullins was a H List favourite even though it was his presence that initially forced us to give up on the useless Javier Mascherano - although I blame that decision on Alan Pardew's loins and not Hayden Mullins.

In the event of Curbishley going, he was always unlikely to play in a Zola team ahead of Parker and Noble, but was a very handy squad player to have around. In fairness to the club they did not object to him wanting to play more regularly and thus moved him on for the presumably cheaper Kovac.

Scored a tremendous goal at Middlesbrough that unfortunately took a deflection on the way rendering it not quite as good as it could have been. An apt summary of Mullins if ever there was one.

Rating : 6/10

Best Performance : Liverpool (a)

Mark Noble : Appearances - 33 (1), Goals - 5, Bookings - 8, Sent Off - 1

It's hard to think of a player who divides opinion more than Noble, the Marmite of the West Ham midfield. Prevailing opinion seems to be that because he is a local lad he deserves a break when he doesn't perform so well, whilst the alternative view is that because he is a local lad he should be flogged on the steps of East Ham town hall for a misplaced pass.

Of course, the answer lies somewhere in between (he should be flogged in Plaistow), but I would certainly like to see an upturn in his form over the next year, especially under Zola's tutelage.

To give some balance, I should point out that he scored a goal at Blackburn of tremendous quality. Had it been scored by Steven Gerrard we would have seen Alan Hansen smear himself in goose fat live on Match of the Day in sheer pleasure.

Rating : 6/10

Best Performance : Blackburn (a)

Scott Parker : Appearances - 31 (1), Goals - 1, Bookings - 8

Although Parker may have won the mass vote for Hammer of the Year, as Carlos Tevez knows only too well, that doesn't cut any ice with me. I initially thought that Parker must have one leg shorter than the other, given his ridiculous propensity for wheeling around in circles, but over the course of this season he emerged as a major player for us.

It was his energy and drive that really propelled us through our strong January run, and by the end of the season we were noticeably sagging in his absence. Of course, this could have been alleviated if he had a recovery time of less than 8 weeks for absolutely any injury, which seems to currently be the case, but given our medical team let's just be glad he is still alive.

Should probably be in the England squad but I shall not complain about that as we all know that nothing good can ever come of a West Ham player turning out for England.

Rating : 7/10

Best Performance : Bolton (a)

Josh Payne : Appearances - 0 (2)

Josh Payne's total West Ham experience amounts to 11 minutes in total. Curiously this is exactly the number of stepovers he managed in one particular swerving run against Liverpool.

Somewhere Dale Gordon is sitting in his bathrobe, stroking a purring cat.

Rating : 5/10

Best Performance : Really, really not applicable

P.S: The other day I was woken at 5am by my daughter for her early feed. As I was downstairs making up her bottle I got a TEXT from Mrs Shark asking me to bring her up a glass of water. This is what I am up against, people - so you'll get Part 3 when I'm good and ready. (Maybe tomorrow though, as Holby City is on tonight)...


  1. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Belated congratulations on the arrival of the latest mademoiselle shark, I tuned out for a while. Also, thanks for reminding one that kieron dyer is still on the wage bill. I wonder if, considering the clubs Zimbabwe-esque financial situation, he could be made to bring the tea or check tickets or something. Lord knows he'd be more fucking use than he is now.

  2. Many thanks. Try not to think about Kieron. It's bad for the blood pressure.