Personal and undiluted views
Chelski

1824 days ago

Me of Little faith - Happy Hammers with my daughter

Would we try to find somewhere to watch the game? As we wandered back from kicking a football around at the park this was what my daughter and I discussed. Chelsea at home in what used to be the League Cup, I was convinced we would lose 6 nil and admitted as much. 

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2979 days ago

Alan Pardew Manager – an Indictment of football as a business

Alan “he shags who he wants” Pardew was appointed as manager of Newcastle United in December 2013. The word is that a P45 with his name on it is slowly on its way. But as things stands Pards is the second longest serving manager in the Premiership. Only Arsene “with a packet of sweets and a cheeky smile” Wenger has been in situe longer. What an appalling indictment of how football is run as a business. 

Premiership managers trouser seven figure salaries. And it now seems taken for granted that after a couple of years (or half a season at Chelski) they are fired, getting vast compensation, before some other fellow gets a temporary stint at the helm. Sooner or later you end up with Mark Hughes in charge for a while. Hughes has managed six clubs within the past six years. Still only fifty, there has to be a good chance that by the time he finally retires he will have managed at least three quarters of England’s top sides.


In business (and football) there is a good correlation between having bosses in charge for the long haul and success. Looking back at my own club, our glory years came when we had someone at the helm for a decade or more. The idea that you might get a Johnny Lyall managing a club he loved for years and years just seems so out of kilter with the modern game.

There is also the financial madness of this merry go round to consider.  Inevitably new managers want to reshape the sides they are in charge of and so the merry go round of bosses simply adds to the merry go round of players. More fees for agents, more “cuts” for the players, more losses for the clubs.

Footballeconomics makes no sense at all and the managerial merry go round is just one part of it.  That may well be highlighted further. If Wenger gets his marching orders (as may happen) and when Pardew is asked to spend more time with his wife (again), who do you think will be the longest serving manager in the Premiership? At two years and 84 days step forward West Ham’s very own Fat Sam Allardyce. Amazing.

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3047 days ago

Is Andy Carroll worth £15.5 to £17.5 million and £100,000 a week?

So Old horseface has signed up for six seasons at the Academy. It seems as if the board has dug deep because £15.5 million to £17.5 million up front and £100,000 a week is not small beer. Is he worth it?

At one level patently he is not. The emergence of a new breed of clubs with unlimited financial resources which started with Chelski and has now spread to Manchester City and – thanks to its mug bankers – Man United means that wage and transfer inflation has run riot through the game. The prices clubs pay to sign and retain even ordinary players bear no relation to their economic value to the clubs concerned. Carroll is just one example of that.

In absolute terms Carroll is not worth the money. But then when you see really ordinary Premier League prima donnas getting £50,000 a week in relative terms he might be.

I accept that horseface picks up more than his share of injuries. But assuming he starts most games then I think that we can bank on the Carroll/Kevin Nolan partnership netting West Ham 20-30 goals next season. Their track record together is pretty good. Yes it does mean that folk like Jarvis will be required to supply stacks of crosses and there will be plenty of long balls played up from the middle of the park.

It may not be the beautiful game but 25 goals from this duo (plus the penalties horseface will undoubtedly secure for us) would go a long way towards ensuring another mid-table finish. Last year we scored 45 goals all season. A decent foil for horseface up front (as well as Nolan) and West Ham has a good foundation for another top half finish.

My daughter is delighted and shamefully I admit that I am too.

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3054 days ago

West Ham Season Ticket Renewal…Against My Better Judgement

I truly dithered about this one but already I find myself looking forward to a new season at Upton Park. I guess it is like dating. You break up with your bird (not that I have, as far as I know) after 8 months of pain and anguish. You were not having fun for a lot of the time and frankly sometimes she was just taking the piss with the sheer misery she inflicted on you. And she was pretty expensive too. Having a season ticket at West Ham can be like being forced to spend most Saturday afternoons heading round a shopping centre being forced to buy new clothes for the bird or worse still for you and then afterwards having to go to some overpriced vegetarian, alcohol free restaurant. The sheer misery of it all is interrupted only briefly when you find a new Ramones T-shirt to buy to add to the collection. But it is a rare moment of joy.

I stress that my partner inflicts none of this on me but I know that some birds regard that sort of thing as fun. And watching West Ham, knowing that you have forked out £650 for a season ticket can be like that.  Jeepers. Losing at home to Wigan in the Carling Mickey Mouse Cup. That was torture. The game at Reading on 29th December will long stay in my mind as a masterclass in making a ninth rate team look like Brazil.  But: You are my West Ham, my only West Ham you make me happy when skies are grey you’ll never know how much I love you until you take my West Ham away.

And so after you split up with one bird and enjoy a short break of freedom, of being allowed to wear clothes with holes in them and of being able to wash up dishes before you eat rather than afterwards, what do you do?

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3144 days ago

Chelski vs West Ham Match Preview

My daughter is finally getting the hang of supporting West Ham. She has assessed this afternoon’s game and declared that West Ham has a “2% chance of winning.” She may be a tad harsh but she is at last grasping the reality of being a West Ham supporter. We can all fantasise about Fat Frank being sent off, Joe Cole scoring a last minute winner for the Irons on his return to The Bridge, etc, etc. If we win we are on 36 points and within one victory of pretty much certain safety. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But while we may have turned Chelski over at Upton Park, West Ham’s away form this season has been dire. 9 defeats on the road is as bad as QPR and only Reading has lost more often away (12). Chelski has an 8-4-2 record at home and after today the odds are that it will be 9-4-2. There is simply too much of a gap in class between the big sides and West Ham. We might get the odd result but that is it.

After Ireland’s humiliation yesterday I’d to think that God owes me one and will allow me some joy today. If he is reading I will settle for a goalless draw and Fat Frank sent off. How about that God? But I do not think God owes me one. I fear that my weekend of sporting misery will continue from 4 PM today. I cannot bear to watch.

 

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3144 days ago

Ireland Rugby Humiliation – what can I say?

My formative rugby years were in the 1970s watching on a black and white TV screen with my Dad. Why do we support the Men in Green is asked my Dad: they always lose? Well my father and I still support the men in green. He taught me to do so as his mother had taught him and we have had a great couple of decades. But it is over. The good times have officially ended and we return to what I consider normality. That is to say a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

This season has been terrible. For the first 45 minutes against Wales we looked like world beaters. Since then it has been just dreadful. Frankly the Irish ladies team (who, I think, won their grand slam) have played with more passion and discipline and – at times – skill.

It is the end of an era. Not once have I had a chance to call Aunt Valerie (an Ulster woman) to share joy in a way that she cannot with her husband Uncle Chris, as Ireland have triumphed. Calls to my father have been sad as we wonder if those glory years – a twenty year period when Ireland were not good but great as opposed to the normal fare of brave also rans – are just over.

I am not even sure that I would describe Ireland as brave these days. Back in the 70s we would pray for the rain to poor down on Landsdowne Road. Keep it tight in the forwards and fight with passion, pray and hope. The late Moss Keane, Fergus Slattery, those were the days. In defeat those Ireland teams were brave.

And now?

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3152 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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3170 days ago

Di Canio quits Swindon – Fat Sam Bookie’s favourite for next Premiership P45

It had to happen sooner or later, Paulo di Canio’s relationship with whichever consortium thinks it is managing Swindon Town these days has broken down irretrievably. It had become a bad marriage and di Canio has quit with immediate effect. Selling a key player behind the manager’s back really is like shagging the wife’s best friend. It was game over at that point.

Di Canio achieved wonders at Swindon and will, I guess kick his heels for a while not wishing to rush into a jon with the sort of club that sacks its manager at this point in the season – i.e. one heading for relegation. But come May the contract of Mr Sam Allardyce expires at West Ham. Even the biggest Fat Sam admirer must now recognise that this season is starting to look like a bit of a painful experience. We are on 30 points – still three wins away from probable safety and for from almost certain safety. I look at the fixture list and, I suppose, hope for 6 points from Reading and Wigan at home but frankly I cannot really plot a clear course to safety.

For all the money spent we will have 2 early cup exits and a league finish of 12th- 18th to show for it. That is why Fat Sam is now at 10/1 the bookies favourite for the next Premiership managerial P45 – although it is probably about time for Chelski to sack someone again.

My reason for wanting di Canio

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3214 days ago

West Ham vs Man United: FA Cup 3rd Round Preview (and two videos from past Cup games)

It is a 5.15 kick off so for now I can relax and look at how the other games are unfolding. I was chatting to a Newcastle supporter yesterday and the mood at whatever the stadium is called these days must be very bleak right now. On 20 points in the league (just two points above third bottom Wigan) and today out of the Cup thanks to Championship side Brighton. The side has injuries, its best player has just gone to Chelski ( and scored already) and I suspect that West Ham old boy Alan Pardew must – at the back of his mind – be starting to think that a P45 is on the way. Newcastle thinks it is a big club and unless Pards turns it around quickly, he looks like toast.

As for West Ham, Fat Sam has been active in the transfer market. Two new strikers (Maguire and Chamakh) are on board given options other than Carlton Cole up front with Carroll still injured and Maiga off to the African Cup ( and perhaps shipped out in the transfer windown anyway). But Joe Cole will almost certainly be playing today. With him, Jarvis (he of the covershoot in gay magazine Attitude fame), and Noble (if on form) playing behind Cole we do look able to score goals. Top scorer Kevin Nolan is back from suspension and although he is not universally loved I welcome his return. He may slow the game up a bit but a) he scores and b) he adds a bit of grit in defence which is where I always panic.

Injuries means that we have recalled young Danny Potts from his loan spell at Colchester.

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3216 days ago

Yossi Out, Joe Cole Back at our home team West Ham – Great Business

Yossi Benayoun has not flourished in his second spell at Upton Park and so has returned to a career sitting on the bench at Chelski. I wish him well but in terms of who is coming back to Upton Park I could not be happier, it is Joe Cole, a midfielder who can run with the ball, pass and who will add both skill and also attractive play to the side. We now have genuine options in the middle of the park.

I remember a bloke who sold flowers outside Finchley Road tube station telling me about his nephew who was a 15 year old at the Academy and who would be better than Rio, Fat Frank and the others of that era. That was Joe Cole. Unlike the others Cole was not keen to leave Upton Park in the years we struggled. And this week he could have gone to rejoin ‘arry at QPR but instead came home. Of course that is largely as Redknapp himself admitted – because Rangers will, notwithstanding the Chelski result, almost certainly still go down in May.

But Cole has always been liked by the supporters. And he clearly regards West Ham as his home club – we must hope that he plays out his career in East London. In signing him, the board shows that it has ambition. This does not change my view that Fat Sam Allardyce needs to go in May and di Canio also needs to come home as manger. But it means that the next few months should not be quite as grisly as I had feared.

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3222 days ago

Reading v West Ham: Match Preview

Will Reading get relegated this season? Is paedophilia a national sport in Belgium? Do sheep get nervous when they cross the border into Wales? Is the Guardian a paper fit only for lighting fires with and using in the cat’s litter tray? Is the Pope a Catholic? Of course Reading (and QPR) are going down.

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3235 days ago

West Brom vs West Ham Match Preview & relegation thoughts

My correspondents in Stoke assure me that West Bromwich is a Grim Northern Shit Hole and that alone should make me nervous ahead of a 4 O’Clock kick off at the Hawthorns today. West Ham has a dire record against GNSH sides. Adding to our woes, the injury list grows by the day with Linda McCartney the latest casualty. Losing Diame last week was a blow and a midfield of Noble, Nolan and O’Brien is not quite the rock it once was.

Up front Carlton Cole has got the big C – confidence. Well what to make of it all? West Brom started the season superbly but has now lost three on the trot. Having said that, West Ham’s last five games have seen us pick up just 4 points so neither team could be described as a “form side.” So, on balance the home team must be favourites. And that brings me back to the question of relegation once again. I am sorry to be gloomy but have you looked at the table recently?

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3242 days ago

West Ham vs Liverpool Match Preview

Sign on, sign on, with a pen in your hand, and you’ll never work again. Sign on. Sign on.

Or perhaps given the time of year and a chance to think of those less fortunate than ourselves a few choruses of “Feed the scousers, let them know it’s Christmas time.” Actually I have no hard feelings for Liverpool. My Aunt Lucy’s family are all Liverpool fans and my sister was born there. She clearly picked up the Souse mindset in those early days. As a Doctor paid £50,000 plus for two days a week she fits in well: living off the state and not doing much work.

When football Santa grants me the chance to decide the league table, I won’t really be thinking about Liverpool. Naturally Santa and I will start at the top. West Ham to come first. Then Santa and I will head straight to the other end. The old man in the beard does not need to ask the first question. Spurs to finish bottom. And then

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3249 days ago

West Ham 3 Chelski 1 & now on to Wimbledon and MK Dons

I did my bit by staying away as my presence always ensures West Ham defeat. But even with this heroic sacrifice I did not expect a result like this. Unbelievable. From Stamford Bridge to Upton Park you can stick the blue flag up your arse. Frank Lampard’s fat, Joe Cole’s er… not here, you’re going to win fuck all this year. And more to the point it looks as if West Ham might not be relegated.

Yup I am still looking bottom up. 15 games down 22 points and 8th. Had we not been cheated by a linesman with a guide dog against Man City and did not have this nasty ingrained habit of messing up against second rate teams from grim northern shit-holes who we should beat ( Stoke and Wigan) we would by now be on 29 points and challenging for European football. But one step at a time. Avoiding relegation first.

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3250 days ago

West Ham vs. Chelski Match Preview

There is good news. Since West Ham almost never win when I go to Upton Park you will be glad to hear that I am not attending today’s game (Kick Off 12.45). My tickets (Trevor Brooking lower) are with the Bard of the Boleyn, my disreputable pal Lucian Miers and an even more disreputable friend of his dragged from a gutter somewhere plus the (ultra posh) Goddess who makes the second visit of her life East of Canary Wharf. She seems to think that she might support Chelski (not knowing anything about football) but perhaps her second visit to The Academy might dissuade her. I do hope she does not scream an inappropriate comment at an inappropriate time.

The bad news is that despite my absence anything other than a Chelski win is very unlikely. Yes the team with no history

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3275 days ago

Obama v Romney, Man United v Chelski – I want BOTH to lose but on balance I go for ...

After 6 billion dollars and what seems like an eternity of evasion and unfulfillable promises America must decide today whether to re-elect President Obama or to replace him with Mitt Romney. What a god awful choice. It is just like Manchester United versus Chelski, you want both teams to lose. But after another evening with deluded lefties I think I have now decided who I want to lose less.

Rating the two men on a number of issues is a pretty thankless task but here goes on what matters to me.

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