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, January 29, 2010

West Ham United vs Blackburn Rovers: Match Preview - 30/01/2010

1. Opposition

Once Premier League Champions, reduced to unsightly loiterers.

Under Kenny Dalglish, Blackburn Rovers acquired a fine team to win the championship in 1995 courtesy of the millions invested by Jack Walker in the likes of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton

This endeavour proved short-lived as the winning side was quickly dismantled and Blackburn were relegated a few years later.

They are a team much like ourselves in that they hover passively around the lower reaches of the table, occasionally flirting with the top ten, but equally capable of relegation.

The Blackburn squad is an unremarkable eccles cake, garnished with a few granules of sugary competence. Ryan Nelson is a solid, no-nonsense defender and David Dunn capable of hitting influential form.

But for every Dunn, they have a Michel Salgado past his best, a Pascal Chimbonda touching himself over his bank statements and an El Hadji Diouf tossing flaming kittens at disabled people with a lovingly restored Roman ballista.

What must be a greater source of despair for Blackburn fans is that their motley crew are currently presided over by cultural recidivist, Sam Allardyce – a man who still regularly campaigns against universal suffrage.

Mock them as I may, they’re still seven points above us.

2. History

Blackburn Rovers have the shameful distinction of being our whipping boys.

They have beaten us just once since our shambolic 7-1 defeat at Ewood Park back in 2001 – a game which remains a damning indictment of the Roederian era, as both Gary Flitcroft and Craig Hignett were permitted to score against us.

Since then it has been largely plain sailing, a 3-2 away defeat all that obscures a run of nine wins and three draws from thirteen games.

Last season’s 4-1 victory paints a rosier picture than the beige reality, with two of our goals coming in injury time, Jason Roberts missing a penalty and Matt Derbyshire being dubiously ruled offside having scored with Rovers 2-1 down.

All this serendipity was pure gravy, however, ladled thickly upon the fetid top-flight managerial career of Paul Ince.

Ince would last another three and a half months, whereas Curbishley resigned four days later.

3. Picture Book

Sam Allardyce spots Emmeline Pankhurst in the Chicken Run

4. Transfer News.... Whenever You're Ready

In light of the time of year, the majority of this article will address our worryingly late activity (or lack thereof) in this transfer window.

Firstly, the scurrilous behaviour of Harry ‘My Moral Compass Is Down To The Bare Bones’ Redknapp.

It is now common knowledge that tottenham have beaten us to the coveted signature of Eidur Gudjohnsen, conducting negotiations with the former Chelsea and Barcelona man after he had completed a medical at Upton Park.

It wasn’t so much the fact we had been gazumped, as unsigned transfer deals are never steadfast, more the slimy way in which Redknapp went about it. On Wednesday he said:

"I spoke to his agent, he said he was going to West Ham, so I left it with the agent. He's a good footballer and an interesting player on a loan, but I think he's gone to West Ham."

I found this little disclosure to the national media infuriating. Redknapp was wholly aware of the ripples this would cause and it was nothing less than a direct attempt to scupper what up ‘til then had been a bona-fide deal, all portrayed as ‘Arry innocuously keeping his chums in the gutter press updated.

‘Shrewd’, you might think. ‘Scum’, I’d retort.

As convinced as I have been for some time that Gudjohnsen would be a great signing for us, I’m trying to recoup as much solace as I can in our recent record with Icelanders.

Gudjohnsen was supposed to be signed in tandem with Blackburn’s Benni McCarthy, an ageing yet efficient striker with Premier League experience and a Champions League winners medal to his name.

This also appears to have hit the skids, however, with the imminent expiry of McCarthy’s work permit causing problems.

As a result of a focus on Gudjohnsen, another target, Man City’s Benjani, has since entered into negotiations with Blackburn as a replacement for McCarthy. Able egotist, David Bentley, has been mentioned on loan, but we’re up to our ears in midfielders.

It all sounds like a familiar case of the wheels coming off and what worries me is that the transfer window closes at midnight on Sunday. One of our main targets has absconded, the other stalled and Ruud Van Nistlerooy was only ever a pipe dream.

Reinforcements are sorely needed, but desperate deals hurried through more for show than anything else will get us nowhere.

The furious activity of inaction has lead to reports of Celtic’s Australian striker, Scott McDonald, being linked with our front line – a man who failed to make an impact at Southampton, Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth or Wimbledon.

McDonald is currently being kept out of the Celtic team by Giorgios Samaras and Marc Antoine Fortune, pedestrian ex-Premier League strikers both, so how can he be expected to fire us clear of relegation?

It looks as though we’ve missed our booking for a pleasant Harvester Earlybird luncheon, stopping at Happy Shopper on the way home to scoff a dozen Cadbury’s Chomps. Just having something in our bellies may provide a short-lived satisfaction, but it will be swiftly negated once we’re sick in our own laps.

1 comment:

  1. Would of been interesting if Benni had made the lineup.
    Sam made sure that wouldn't happen though.