Personal and undiluted views
Paulo di Canio

2156 days ago

West Ham - defying Mark Lawrenson, it all seems so different these days

Before the FA Cup 3rd round tie against Wolves yesterday there were two big calls. Once again TV pundit Lauro called out West Ham to lose in one of the day's big upsets. Happily Lauro was once again wrong. The other big call was from our relatively new manager Slaven Bilic who said that he'd rather win the FA Cup than finish in the top four of the Premiership so ensuring Champions League football next year at the Olympic Stadium. These are not the sort of words long term Hammers are used to hearing.

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2895 days ago

Fat Sam & Kevin Nolan must go now

Another day, another “six pointer” and West Ham comes away with nil points, after losing 2-1 to a side that lost its last game 6 nil ( Fulham). As a bonus, club skipper Kevin Nolan was sent off for a needless and mindless lunge for the second time in five weeks and now faces a three match ban. Again. Good. He is useless.

First things first. Nolan should be sold for however little at once. Pro tem Jussi should be club captain until Mark Noble returns from injury.  Second up fat Sam Allardyce should (as I have been arguing for a year, warning of this) be fired at once. The World’s 13th highest paid manager has spent more in the summer than all bar 6 UK clubs and West Ham are still utterly shit.

A replacement? No-one could do worse (with the possible exceptions of Glen Roeder and Avram Grant). Glen Hoddle, Malky MacKay, Paul Ince, Paulo di Canio, Harry Redknapp’s dog – I’d take any of them tight now. I am sure the Board have better ideas than me (well sort of sure) but on the basis that no-one could be worse than Fat Sam, the P45 should be issued at once. 

Let Karen Brady take charge for a few days as an interim measure for all I care, things could not get any worse.

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2911 days ago

Why has Fat Sam Allardyce not been fired?

Spurs (7th) have fired their boss already this season. Today as it happens. Sunderland in 20th place, Fulham (19th), Palace (18th ) and West Brom (16th) have doled out managerial P45s already and Cardiff (15th) look set to axe their boss, former West Ham player Malky Mackay, within days.  So which team is in 17th spot and looking utterly useless right now?

Step forward my beloved West Ham. If Mackay becomes available surely a P45 for Fat Sam must be imminent? If Malky is not free I really do not care who we appoint: Paul Ince, Paulo di Canio, Marco Boogers, Harry Redknapp’s dog, the late Nelson Mandela. I just do not care anymore. Fat Sam must go.

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3122 days ago

West Ham vs Reading- Match Preview

A 4 O’ Clock kick off at Upton Park means lunch beforehand for my daughter and I at the Diner on Curtain Road. That always used to be part of my pre-match ritual but that was before my ex-wife threw away a lucky shirt (ok more holes than shirt) which had got West Ham to a Cup Final. Naturally we were relegated that season. You now know who was to blame.

Perhaps the Diner can restore its magic. My jinx on seeing West ham lose every time I attended this season was broken with the 0-0 draw with Newcastle. Reading are rubbish and were down a while ago. If we win we finish 10th. If we lose we could just plausibly finish 15th. It’s an okay end of season tally.

In fact we have lost our last three games against Reading so that is a bad omen. Having said that will the Royals play for pride? No. They are professional soccer players so do not give a damn. Will the Reading “stars” want to showcase talent so a Premier League side might snap them up in the summer? Er…they have no talent to showcase. But will our boys “turn up”? Who knows.

At the end of the game the squad will walk around the pitch to say thanks. Will it be the last time we see Andy Carroll in a West Ham shirt? I fear that is possible – Monaco (flush with hot Russian billions) want to sign him. We shall see. At a sentimental level I fear it will be goodbye to loyal servant Carlton Cole. Who else will go in the summer? Heaven only knows. I hope that we say goodbye to Vaz Te and that is it. Sadly I fear it will pan out rather differently.

Will I renew my season tickets despite Fat Sam getting another two years? Heck I am almost tempted if only for the home game against Paulo di Canio’s Sunderland. The messiah returns.  That match I shall not miss. It is almost worth renewing just for that game.

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3170 days ago

Paulo di Canio off to Sunderland - I have fallen out of love with football & sport

Announced just before April 1st Paulo di Canio has been appointed the new manager of Sunderland on a 30 month contract. Good luck to him.  He replaces Martin O’Neill whose managerial career seems to be heading rapidly south and who was fired after Sunderland’s most recent defeat. The team now lies just 1 point ahead of Villa and in form Wigan and the last relegation spot. If di Canio can turn this around he will be a hero. And it should not take much. Both Villa and Newcastle who are a place above Sunderland look pretty useless. Wigan are useless but always seem to escape the drop.

Di Canio has seven games to secure two wins and a couple of draws and ensure safety. Naturally I now hope that he manages to save his side from the drop (unless it is at the expense of West Ham who still need one more win). In response, David Miliband has announced that he is quitting the board in protest at di Canio’s “past political views.” That would be the David Miliband who is also quitting his poor constituents because he fancies earning loads of wonga in New York. Di Canio is a well-known anti-racist campaigner. Admittedly he is also a great admirer of Mussolini and Fascism, a philosophy rooted not (like Nazism in concepts of racial purity) but in the idea of a big state which controls the economy and spends lots of money. A bit like the last Labour administration in which Miliband served.

I cannot see how Miliband added much to Sunderland’s board. As a London boy I am sure his support for the team was down to appealing to his constituents rather than a real passion. And the man was clearly happy for an excuse to sever another tie with the UK. I suspect that Miliband will be missed at the Wearside club almost as much as they will miss Martin O’Neill.

And sadly I am now resigned to Fat Sam Allardyce staying on at Upton Park after May for at least another two years.

The performance on Saturday by the Irons was exciting and attractive. But that has been the way this season. One game on and a couple off. It is not enough to get me to renew my season ticket. I may renew in a couple of years but £650 for 19 games when half of them are dire and I only manage to attend nine games (all of which are the dire ones) seems poor value for money.

I suppose that for a number of years I have felt less and less minded to renew my season tickets. The truth is that I have just fallen out of love with football.

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3180 days ago

West Ham wins Olympic Stadium – On balance I am happy

It looks as if we will be playing at home in an 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium for 99 years starting in c2016. Like everyone who supports West Ham I have mixed feelings. Green Street may be a shit hole but it is our shit hole.

I shall miss the various cafes where you can have some exceedingly unhealthy food before and after the match. I shall miss the Queen’s dive though it is. I shall even miss my Jamaican barbours. And I shall miss Upton Park. For all its faults it is a ground with atmosphere. I have some very happy memories of the place.

But if we can start to fill the Olympic Stadium West Ham will have the financial muscle to be a Big Club and I know this will sound like heresy to some West Ham Supporters but I’d like to win something now and again. The question is can we fill an 80,000 seat stadium. Right now we sometimes struggle to fill a 34,000 seat stadium. There are c26,000 season ticket holders. If we are serious we need to double that number.

And that means that we need to engage a charismatic manager who can start RIGHT NOW to reach out to the wider community in East London and Essex and who will make a long term commitment to the club. If the contract of fat Sam is renewed in May then we can look forward to three more years of football which does not turn anyone on and three years with a manager who will not be there after 2017. And who does not have the charisma to reach out and get folks signing up for season tickets, etc.

If West Ham is serious about becoming a top six club it has to hire someone NOW ( well in May) who can deliver a seven year plan not only on the park but also in the wider community. There is only one man who can do that and that man is. Paulo di Canio.

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3200 days ago

West Ham wins 1 nil – Relief and Despair: do I renew my season tickets?

It was an ugly game devoid of skill and flair. If MOTD can find more than 90 seconds of highlights to show this evening I would be amazed. But having said that Stoke has a great home record and to come away with a one nil win is a great result for the Irons. At this stage of the season and on 30 points before today, who cares how we get the points just get us to safety.

And now we are on 33 points, nine (call it 10 because of GD) ahead of the drop zone. Two more wins should be enough, three wins from the last ten games really will be enough. I rather suspect that 37 points will be enough to ensure survival this season. So it is looking better.

But that does not alter my view. In May the West Ham board could offer Fat Sam Allardyce another 2 or 3 year contract and I despair that the Board seems minded to go with this option as it shows zero ambition. And so we will have two or three seasons of big ticket signings offering us a 12-16th place finish, no cup glory and football that three games out of four is a total turn off. Sam does not have the charisma or the youthful energy to reach out in the wider community in East London and Essex to build the widespread support needed to get the tills going ching ching and make West Ham a big club.

Paulo di Canio on a seven year contract would offer such a hope. West Ham’s best days have been with a younger manager who has a long term relationship with our club and whose veins flow claret and blue. Give Fat Sam another contract and I shall not renew my season ticket. I shall always support West Ham but I am not paying £650 a year for more of this. Give the job to Paulo and I renew at once.

You get flamed on West Ham chat rooms if you are seen not to be “backing the club” but if I wanted to follow a dull team with no ambition I’d have switched to Fulham years ago. That is not the West Ham way. Can the board please show ambition and call Paulo the second that safety is assured.

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3200 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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3212 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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3243 days ago

The 11.30 From Paddington – Feeling a Bit Nervous ( snow)

My normal Friday sees me taking a very late train out to the West of England from Paddington. The 11.30 from Paddington sounds like an Agatha Christie but the novel that springs to mind as I contemplate today’s trip is Murder on the Orient express, when the train gets trapped in the snow half way across Yugoslavia.

Of course we will not see 10 foot snowdrifts in Southern England but it only needs a few inches of global warming to fall and Network Rail throws in the towel. I wonder what is the worst case scenario? To be told at Paddington that there are no trains and to be stranded in the capital? That would be bad enough. The trains are quite warm so getting stuck in a snowdrift would be acceptable. I think my real nightmare is the train stopping at either Didcot or Swindon at 1 AM. Neither station is warm and both are grim.

At least Swindon produced the delightful Melinda Messenger (who is now 41, can you believe it?) and (only until May I pray) is home to Paulo di Canio. None the less a night in its station waiting room is not a prospect I’d relish.

Overall today’s travel fills me with dread.

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3256 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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3260 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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3261 days ago

Why Allardyce should go and Paulo di Canio be appointed in may as West Ham Manager

There will be folks who say that you should back the manager when the club is in trouble. And make no mistake, West Ham is heading for a bottom half finish and if we do not start winning a few games (1 win in eight now) we could still be going down with the Rednapp. And with dismal Reading. My suspicion is that one we get a few players back from injury and with Gold & Sullivan prepared to chuck cash around in the transfer window we will stay up. But it is not a given. And in May West Ham must decide whether to renew the contract of Sam Allardyce. I do not think we should and here is why we should say farewell to Fat Sam and bring Paulo di Canio to Upton Park at once. I start with Sam.

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3263 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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3282 days ago

West Ham vs Liverpool - Two ways of losing

Do you prefer to lose when your side just play plain badly and deserve to lose or when you are good for a draw and are just unlucky? I thing I feel more resentment at over paid football woosies who do not really care when the former happens, with the latter it is just one of those things about life. It is not fair. But that still makes me cross.

And so it was yesterday. Losing Diame to injury was a blow as he was inspirational. Arguably that turned the game. But I still think we were good for a point. Hat off to Joe Cole for not celebrating his goal. There is not a lot more to say.

West Ham are now 11th. West Brom, Everton and Reading ( away) loom. Since we always lose to Everton (it is after all in a grim Northern shit-hole and we always lose to teams from such places) we then look to the other two games.

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3302 days ago

Thoughts on West Ham 1 Stoke 1 and on a Big Match at Swindon tonight

On form going into the game West Ham should have been favourites. I had this one down as one where three points should have been taken before Lucian Miers reminded me how badly we do against sides from grim Northern shit holes.

Certain readers who live in the truly grim Northern wastelands insist that Stoke is in fact in the Midlands or the South. I find it hard to believe. Stoke used to have coal mines and apparently 24.2% of the non pensioner population live in households where no-one has a job. They elect a donkey with a red rosette, the biggest employer in the town seems to be the State and its most famous living sons include darts legend Phil Taylor and Robbie Williams as well as Lemmy from Motorhead. I rest my case: Stoke is a grim Northern shit hole.

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3305 days ago

Majestic Swindon go Third, P45 for Mark Hughes and December 2nd in Milton Keynes will unite the nation

West Ham are not playing until Monday night and so nothing needs to be said about may favourite team today. Naturally I was delighted to see Spurs routed by Arsenal and the sending off ( entirely justified) of Adebayor is a bonus as he now misses the looming visit of West Ham to White Hart lane as he will be suspended.

At the bottom of the table, not an area which – to my surprise – features West Ham, QPR lost 3-1 at home to Southampton, one place above them at the start of the day. This leaves QPR on 4 points after 12 games and the only team in all four English leagues not to win a game all season. Mark Hughes, QPR’s manager, really must be set to encounter a P45 before long.

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3311 days ago

Swindon Town – Now One game off an Automatic Promotion spot

I sense that my sorting solace this year will be Paulo di Canio’s Swindon Town. As predicted here yesterday, Walsall away (I still have no idea where Walsall is, and am not sure that I care greatly) was no great hurdle. A fine 2 nil win now sees my second team sixth on 29 points. But with a cracking + 11 gold difference the Robins (I am getting the hang of being a Swindon supporter) are now just three points off second place.

There are, sadly, now no cup distractions.

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3318 days ago

West Ham v Man City Bonus Point, Swindon shocker

Well there is to be no more cup glory for Swindon this year. Dumped out of the FA Cup against non league Macclesfield at home two nil. One red card, three yellow cards and one of the goals was an own goal. One imagines that Paulo di Canio will have had a few words with his players and that they will not have been “cheer up, let’s all concentrate on the league and promotion now.” What a shocker.

As for West Ham a nil nil home draw against Manchester City is a bonus point. From what I have seen either side could have won and West Ham played with pride, skill and organisation. Surely this is a West Ham in a parallel universe or we have all been transported back forty years, it is all rather hard to believe. Anyhow, I am not complaining and feel that I did my bit by staying away, given how my presence seems to ensure defeat.

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3319 days ago

West Ham vs Man City – Preview and the tough eight weeks ahead

I am under no illusions here. We can all work out where West Ham will get the 42 points needed to avoid relegation and none of us bank on Man City at home providing three of them. Man City is one of the three top sides in the Premier League and my expectation is that from the six games against them, Man United and Chelski we will do a Eurovision Norway. Nul Points. I would be delighted to be wrong.

The good news

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3333 days ago

4-1 to the Cockney Boys – How far from relegation are West Ham?

The first half was dire. It was nil nil but the Saints were far better than West Ham. But the second half was essentially one way traffic. Nolan, Noble, Noble (pen) and a blinder from Maiga offset by one cracking Southampton goal left it 4-1 to the cockney boys. Triumph. I watched it on the internet and was shouting pretty loud by the end. If the Irons can replicate that second half form week in week out this will be a great season. They will not.

And so after 8 games the Irons are on 14 points with a +3 GD. Exactly the same as Spurs and in 7th place. If you support Spurs you are at this point thinking that you might get a European spot. Naturally I hope that they do not.

As a West Ham supporter I find myself thinking that we are now exactly 1/3 of the way to safety.

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3352 days ago

West Ham vs QPR Match Preview and Paulo speculation starts to grow

I am interested to see Iain Dale speculating about who will fill the managers chair come the end of the season. Alladyce’s contract comes to an end and apparently there will be no discussions until Premiership survival is ensured. So that would be about late April then.

It seems that some within the club who want to see a manager who favours a more free flowing (i.e. less dull punt the ball up the pitch to the big guy) style of soccer. And as such the names in the frame are ‘arry Rednapp and (my choice) Paulo di Canio.

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3360 days ago

West Ham Sunderland – I do not understand Fat Sam

My daughter loved the game and the chocolate pizza at Real Man Pizza Company afterwards. For me, it was great to be back at Upton Park. The same seat as ever. A bloke called Roger standing next to me as he always does. I know nothing about Roger except that we always shake hands and he is a nice chap. There were some new folks behind – Ulster Hammers. I am glad my daughter did not ask me to explain why those around us were chanting “She said No” whenever Titus Bramble got the ball.

West Ham conceded a soft goal. On balance we looked the better side and Kevin Nolan’s last gasp equaliser was the least we deserved.

The defence frailties continue to concern me. If our back four and goalkeeper keep on insisting on making howlers

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3380 days ago

Paulo di Canio – Just a class act

I realise that my support for Paulo di Canio as the man who should be managing West Ham does not please anyone. There is the win at any cost, we love Fat Sam brigade. And there are those who say that he needs another couple of years of lower league soccer before he can be assessed fairly. Losing 4-1 away at hopeless Preston on Sunday does not help the race for a back on back promotion to the Championship but I still reckon Swindon will go up. And there are those who say that his eccentric political views are unacceptable. So what? Judge the man as a football manager, he is not running for elected office.

The latest chapter in the Paulo tale was his decision to substitute an underperforming goalkeeper just 21 minutes into the game against Preston. The goalie stormed off in a huff. He may even demand to leave Swindon. But Paulo is standing firm demanding that they guy apologises to the whole team for being so useless but more importantly for his reaction to being taken off. Well done di Canio.

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3383 days ago

Capital One Cup Draw - Wigan at Home (unexciting) but Swindon dream alive

Not a great tie in the 3rd Round of the Capital One Cup. The League Cup to you and me. Wigan at home. It hardly sets the pulse racing. Neither team is going to win the trophy (well it is a long odds bet). Both are far more concerned about avoiding relegation from the Premiership. Wigan are piss poor and surely this will be the season that they go down. But then we say that every season and they always survive. Fingers crossed that this time they are relegated. They add little to the top flight.

The good news is that West Ham can win and so too can my second team, Paulo’s Swindon.

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3384 days ago

Andy Carroll to West Ham – Mixed Feelings

He does not really wish to join the Hammers but bad boy England striker Andy Carroll is to join us on a season loan from Liverpool. If we stay in the Premiership we have the option to buy him. Apparently he will earn £80,000 a week (after tax) which is not a problem – West Ham has just sold Nicky Maynard to Cardiff for £3 million so that will pay the wages until next summer.

So as far as I can see the game plan is now Noble/Nolan lobs it up to try and land it on Carroll’s head to score or Noble/Nolan lobs it to Jarvis on the wing to cross it onto Carroll’s head to score. Great. Really attractive football.

Supporters say that Carroll may have had a shocking time at Liverpool but he had two blinding seasons at Newcastle before that; that he is more than just a tall bloke who can head the ball and that 20 goals from him

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