Personal and undiluted views
Aston Villa

4 days ago

Football and the demand for gender equality – the stats from West Ham don’t lie

Football is not a beautiful game it is a business. Those who play it well earn a shed load because there is such a huge demand to watch them kick a ball around the park and for merchandise associated with the great and good. But those who demand equal pay and airtime for the women’s game sometimes forget this.

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2770 days ago

The Environment Agency, Gay Pride & Mugs and how to waste Other People’s Money

he Environment Agency is in the headlines again. This time not for its obvious ineptitude in dealing with floods but for its obvious skill in pissing away cash on matters that have nothing whatsoever to do with its stated remit.

The list of shameful waste is a long one. £639 on mugs stating “Some people are gay, get over it” for its staff, £30,000 sponsoring the Birmingham gay pride march, £13,631 hiring meeting rooms at Fulham, Aston Villa and Sheffield United all of which are located within a few miles of where the Agency has its own offices; £3,600 sponsoring a speech and reception at the Royal Society of Arts (a speech given by EA Chairman Lord Smith); £1,056 on pin badges for 500 staff working on an Olympics event; £1,134 was spent on a plush dinner at Hotel Du Vin in Bristol for board members of the Environment Agency and Natural England to discuss ‘joint working and collaboration, etc, etc, etc.

As ever the issue here is that those spending the money (quango bosses) have a very different agenda from those providing the cash (the grateful taxpayer). I support gay pride marches and also a football club but if I want to give my money that is my call. The EA is giving other people’s money away.

I am sure that if one goes through the fine detail of how other Government agencies spend taxpayer’s cash one will see similar tales of how cash is used to sponsor pet projects outside the core remit and also to give senior staff a jolly good time. The State and State funded bodies’ ALWAYS

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3092 days ago

3 -1 to the Cockney Boys but at least 1 more win needed

It was a good win. Three great goals with Andy Carroll’s second and West Ham’s third a wonderful strike. I will hold my nose and watch the BBC tonight just to see that again. West Ham looked dominant for most of the game, bar the first 15 minutes of the second half when I must admit to feeling a bit nervous. Overall a good day at the office. A few thoughts:

I cannot remember which West Brom player got himself a straight red in the 94th minute for sheer petulance but when folks say that most soccer players are morons, this guy strengthens that case. What a moron.

The Irons looked solid at the back and menacing up front. Rob Green always made me a bit nervous. Jussi made a couple of great saves and I feel quite calm with him between the posts. I suspect that radiates out to an assured defence too.

Now for the bad news. Wigan won as well and thus on 36 points we are still only 6 points (okay call it 7 because of GD) ahead of the trap door. I know that Fat Sam reckons 38 points is enough on the basis that it is hard to see Villa, Wigan and Sunderland each getting 3 wins (or two wins and two draws for Sunderland) from their last 8 games I am not so sure. Wigan always somehow manage to stay up and offer us another season of graceless mediocrity. Villa and Sunderland are big clubs who should have done better this season than they should. They might just have a run.

I rather hope that we beat Reading on the last day of the season when the Royals are already down but having seen the away leg first hand I bank on nothing. I would feel a lot happier if we could grab three points somewhere well before then. I have a horrible feeling that someone might get relegated on 39 points this season and that it might come down to GD at that. Three more points should be enough.

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3114 days ago

Might QPR NOT be relegated?

It has been a given for months that QPR will be relegated. I found myself at Lunch yesterday next to a QPR season ticket holder and he accepts that they are going down but it is a funny old game football. I utterly despise Harry Redknapp but he can make awful teams look good. And QPR are awful. But have a look at the fixture list.

QPR’s next three games, starting today, are Sunderland at home, Villa away and Wigan at home. All three are winnable. All the other bottom four clubs (Reading, Villa and Wigan) play either each other or sides they cannot win against over the next three weeks. And so one can construct a scenario whereby the Redknapp and his team sit on 29 points (three wins) and above the relegation zone as we enter April.

And the other teams will then really start to feel the heat. After April QPR still has a few games where they must fancy their chances: Newcastle and Stoke at home (the latter has a dire away record) and Reading away. QPR must still be odds on to go down and defeat today would be very bad news. But if Rangers can win the next three games then I would have thought they should be good to get 7 points from the 7 that remain and that might just be enough. Whatever my feelings for Redknapp I rather hope that QPR do achieve a miracle, it makes life more entertaining and as long as it is not at the expense of West Ham, my hopes are with them. Besides which I positively would like to see Wigan, Villa and above all Reading heading out of the top flight.

It would truly be the Great escape. But Harry has got himself out of tighter corners. It is just conceivable.

As for West Ham, now on 33 points and not playing for another eight days (Chelski away) you would have to hope that safety will be assured well before May 19
th and the last game of the season when we face Reading at Upton Park. By then I suspect that Reading will already be down. They deserve to go down and 3 points for the Irons would be a good way for Fat Sam to end his spell at Upton Park.



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3121 days ago

Stoke v West Ham Match Preview and Fat Sam’s Excuses Do not Wash

At 3 PM West Ham are playing Stoke. We always lose against teams from Grim Northern Shot Holes and Stoke is almost a definitive GNSH so i assume it is another nil points. I also assume that because our form of late has been dire. And the excused from Fat Sam Allardyce are just woeful. Please God may we avoid relegation. And please God may Fat Sam be let go in May and replaced with Paulo di Canio.

Among Fat Sam’s classics from yesterday’s Evening Standard were:

“If we had had Gareth Bale in our side we would have beaten Spurs.”

Sam. You decided who to sign and who not to and God knows the chequebook was big enough.

“Now we have too many strikers fit ( 5) but not enough games to play in March (3).”

But Sam we keep losing. You could have seven games in March but lose every one and it makes no difference.

We play better than the other side but keep losing

Not always. We have been outclassed twice by Wigan and also by Reading away. They are rubbish sides. The fact is that our form has for months been fairly ropey.

39 points and our GD being so much better than that of Villa should ensure survival. West Ham is on 30. We have Reading at home to come and Southampton away. Get a win today and we are once again three wins ( given GD ) off the drop zone. Lose today and it could be less than two. If the rot does not stop soon then the pressure will mount as a relegation battle looms. It is vital that we try to come away from today’s trip to a GNSH with at least a point.

But win, lose or draw we should not be on 30 points at the start of March given how much Fat Sam had to spend. This has been a disappointing season and only a thoroughly daft board would give Fat Sam another contract in May. Sadly on occasion West Ham has had such a board.

COYI at Stoke and viva Paulo.

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3141 days ago

Aston Villa vs. West Ham – Match Preview and those John Lyall memories

For once West Ham are spoiled for choice. Andy Carroll, Mo Diame are fit and on fire. The starting eleven almost picks itself but – and I never thought I’d ever write this – there is competition among top class players to just get on the bench as an attacking player. Carlton Cole gets the nod but Maiga is back from Africa Cup duty and Wellington Paulista has scored three in three for the U-21s. It is an odd position to be in.

The last time I was at Villa Park was for that memorable John Lyall FA Cup Semi against Middlesbrough. The week after the great man died the crowd was asked for a minute’s silence. The ref’s whistle blew and you could have heard a pin drop. Suddenly someone shouted out “Johnny Lyall’s claret and blue army. For a second there was shock & silence. Then everyone was chanting along. It was truly emotional and of course we won the game ( Marlon Harewood goal). The video below recaptures what was a spine tingling moment.

After the game, I headed back to the station in a cab shared with three Middlesbrough supporters and my old friend Derek Musgrove.

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3181 days ago

West Ham v Norwich – match preview

Skipper Kevin Nolan is out thanks to suspension. So much for the lack of yellow card discipline you get with Fat Sam. The good news is that for the same reason the hopeless liability, sorry should that read bedrock of our defence, that is James Collins will also miss the game. Norwich will be gutted about that one.

There are no key players returning from injury and so the four man midfield lining up behind Carlton Cole and Vaz Te upfront will be Noble, Jarvis, O’Neill and Taylor. I cannot say that this strikes me as either rock solid or threatening. Having said that Norwich have a few key players missing too and so it is hard to call the result.

What we do know is that if we win we go to 26 points and that would see some clear claret and blue water between us and the teams battling to avoid going down with the Rednapp and with woeful Reading. That is to say Villa, Southampton, Wigan ( who are bound to escape as the bastards always do) and – arguably – Fulham. If we lose we will have won one game in nine and have been sucked back into the relation mire.

So this is a must win game. I am doing my bit by staying away as West Ham never win when I attend. Having witnessed the Reading debacle first hand I cannot say that I am optimistic so I am off for a long walk and will say a prayer.

Whatever the result I am more and more certain of one thing. The deal with Fat Sam was that we might not like his style but we paid that price for not having to start January contemplating the awful possibility of a relegation dogfight. Whatever happens today, I stand by my view of the other day that in May Sam must go and we need to appoint di Canio as our new manager on a long contract.

COYI, I say rather weakly.

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