Personal and undiluted views
football

14 days ago

Boris Johnson patronising the working class in Hartlepool caption contest

The woman on the left in the picture is the multimillionaire landowner who is the Tory candidate in the by election in the post industrial working class ghetto of Hartlepool. Such is the State of the Labour party that the Tories will probably win this poll. But just to make sure, this lady and the Prime Minister went to the local football club to kick a ball to show that they really understand how the working class think. So what is your caption? I shall kick off with:

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315 days ago

Picture Article: The bravest sportsman on earth - a lone woman defies the mob

Everyone should agree with the spirit behind Black Lives Matter. However, the idea of taking a knee to show support for an organisation that wants to end capitalism, defund the Police and which engages in knuckle-dragging anti-semitism fills me with horror. Oddly, the liberal media lauds our sportsmen and sportswomen for their bravery in taking a knee in respect to that organisation. It is not brave at all. The real bravery is in calling out millionaire ball jugglers as hypocrites, for they are millionaires only because of capitalism. The bravery is saying “no” because you do support the Police and you don’t hate Jews. Imagine the guts this sportswoman below showed in doing just that. Forget the cowards of the Premier League, this woman is my hero. 

 

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699 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast - the gender pay gap in football & £3m coke & hookers money from the sorry Mporium saga

I start with a discussion of the gender pay gap in football and why it is so much hogwash. Then I look at Neil Woodford and the useless FCA. Then I cover two stocks I own, Fox Marble (FOX) and Venn Life (VENN), and two which I don’t Ted Baker (TED) and then a long term target of mine MPorium (MPM), a tale of AIM woe.

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1038 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: time for Cabot, Fishing Republic & Frontera to 'fess up!

The great news is that our Woodlarks walk has now reached 57% of its sponsorship target. I'll do another training walk this afternoon with Joshua so as we do a quick march how about you check out the latest incredibly generous donations here and chip in yourself? In a long bearcast I cover Tesla (US:TSLA), Fishing Republic (FISH), Kibo (KIBO), UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) as lyin' Steve does the right thing - Frontera (FRR), Conroy Gold (CGNR), TrakM8 (TRAK), Avanti (AVN) and Cabot Energy (CAB). PS Wasn't the football incredibly exciting and a source of such joy? I view myself as British, not English but go on Eng-er-land!

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1519 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: On dangerous ground telling a joke about crap Scottish Football

As the Rangers (RFC) comedy show is back into town again. I could not resist it. Elewhere I discuss Challenger (CHAL), Concha (CHA), a golden stockmarket rule or two, Strategic Minerals (SML) and how its honesty on matters LOC compares to that of the liars running the fraud African Potash (AFPO), Quadrise Fuels (QFI) and then in some detail, Telit Communications (TCM)

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2206 days ago

Come on You Yellows – Watching Oxford United at the Kassam

Please do not get me wrong. I still support West Ham. It is West Ham till I die. But…I really enjoyed an afternoon at the Kassam yesterday as the mighty Yellows (Oxford United) beat Cambridge United two nil in a League Two encounter. To be honest it could have been 5-2 but Oxford were clearly the better - of two not very good - sides.

It was the first time I’ve seen Oxford play and it was a family day out. The stadium has only three sides so behind one goal is a wall. Occasionally the ball was hoofed over it and a lad was sent out into the car park to chase it. We sat behind the other goal with the loudest section of the 5,900 crowd and it was a great (and cheap) day.

The referee really did not know what he was doing. For once, the chant was spot on. But then nor did quite a few of the players. In the Premier League

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2510 days ago

When do folks take their Enger-land flags down?

Wandering down to the Avon on Sunday, the Mrs and I passed through the sort of streets where everyone currently has an Enger-land flag on display in their window. This is of course to celebrate the National Side playing the National Sport in Brazil.

I am not sure of the etiquette here but when should those flags go down? Should it have been last week when Enger-land’s status as rank no-hopers was officially confirmed with an early World Cup Exit? Should the flags have gone down after Roy Hodgson’s over-rated prima donnas failed to defeat Costa Rica thereby ensuring an early exit without a win? Or do the flags say up all summer as a sign that “We may be rubbish but we don’t care?” As of tonight the flags are still up.

I only ask.

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2550 days ago

Am I being sexist? A comment on Women’s soccer players

The head of the Premier League will probably be sacked this week for sending sexist emails. This matter was debated on Newsnight on Friday with two England soccer players (women) taking part.

The England goalie Rachel Brown-Finnis kicked off but the main player was Eniola Aluko who also plays for Chelsea. I shall not hold that against her. Ms Aluko is, as you can seem a bit of a looker. If she fancies playing away in Bristol….

I digress, what really struck me was just how well spoken and articulate the two women were. Ms Aluko in particular struck me as thoughtful and intelligent. Am I being utterly sexist in observing that Women’s soccer players seem to be a far brighter lot than their Neanderthal male counterparts? 

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2628 days ago

Who Should Present Match of the Day? The BBC thinks hosts re “too white & male”

BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen thanks that Match of the day needs to change. Hanson, Lineker, Shearer et al might know about soccer, be pretty entertaining and have a good on screen rapport but they are all white men. That is clearly no good at all. It is not representative, blah, blah, blah.

So who should host MOTD? Naturally I nominate Hazel Irvine (for whom I have such a soft spot that I even watched a few minutes of the watching paint dry Winter Olympics) who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of soccer. Garth Crooks is excellent. And why not bring in Graham Norton for true diversity and since he appears to be camped out at the BBC so he can appear almost 24 hours a day on our screens.

I am sure Norton would do it. Irvine and Crooks, however, strike me as decent folk who would argue that the current team is excellent (if overpaid) and that merit should out. Neither has risen through the ranks through affirmative action but through natural talent. The BBC once stood for excellence. What is so bad about that?

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2633 days ago

A Mixed sporting weekend – Ireland, Wales & West Ham

Whatever one things about the sheep shaggers, and as I explained on Friday I have mixed feelings, an evening match at the Millennium Stadium has a world beating atmosphere. It was a wonderful night. Wales played well, France were abject. I returned to Bristol rather worse for wear on the last train.

Worse was to come with Ireland against the Old Enemy. I really do loathe the swagger of English rugby with a passion. I loathed it when I wore the green jersey of London Irish

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2634 days ago

Bulletin Board Moron of the Week: Michael “It Will be Different this time” on Monitise

My bear piece yesterday on Bulletin Board darling Monitise was always going to generate a stack of abuse from “the believers.” I knew it, I expected it and I was not disappointed. Among those commenting was this week’s Bulletin Board Moron of the week, Michael, who posted in the comments section on the original piece. The Moron writes… 

I rarely comment on articles especially after viewing your YouTube videos but one minor point in your article. When did West Ham win the World Cup as you state?

Not going to even respond to the rest of your points as your article lacks understanding of tech, mobile payments and plus football. Not to mention a lack of attention to detail.

Ends.

West Ham won the World Cup in 1966.  Real football fans know the joke well as they remember who skippered England and who scored the goals. I suspect that Michael is the sort of football fan who thinks that a headhunter at Stamford Bridge is, and always has been, the sort of fellow who finds City chaps a new job. That is an aside.

Michael as with all good BB morons plays the man not the ball. That is to say he does not like my videos and he asserts my lack of attention to detail without going into detail himself as to why I lack detail. That is because there is no answer to the points raised in the piece. But that does not make him a moron, just a fool.

My article was centred on hard financial metrics - slowing rate of sales growth, failure to deliver any operational gearing at all, aggressive accounting viz capitalisation of costs and above all the fact that Monitise is running out of cash fast. Michael seems to regard all these matters as irrelevant,

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2648 days ago

When did Ireland & West Ham both win on the same day last? Er…7 days ago

Last week I expressed my shock that Ireland and West Ham had both won on the same day and wondered when this happened last? You see, I am used to supporting sporting sides that are just not very good. Well blow me down Ireland and West Ham have now both put in back to back wins on the same day – when did that happen last?

For Ireland it was a home game against Wales. Such occasions usually prompt a post-match call between my father and myself “At least Olivia will be happy.” My daughter is like her mother (Big Nose) a proud Welshie. But not this time.

Ireland were ruthlessly efficient and made Wales (who are not hopeless) look just ordinary. The pack lead by Paul O’Connell was magnificent at the lineout, with the rolling maul and in all aspects of secondary play. The scrums were a bit of a mess but overall it was a powerful display. Throw in the kicking of Sexton and the tackling of the backs – and their strength under the high ball and Ireland looked really good.

Next up is the Old Enemy at Twickenham

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2654 days ago

Ireland & West Ham both win on the same weekend – when did that last happen?

As you might have gathered, teams that gain my support on the sports field can rarely be described as consistent models of success. West Ham, Northants CC, Ireland & Ulster at rugby, Eire at football and England at Cricket. The less said about the last on that list the better – for now I have decided that supporting the England women’s cricket team is less painful.

My big loves are, for my sins, Irish rugby and West Ham. For the former I can blame my father. For the latter I have only myself to blame. But this weekend both Ireland and West Ham won. I really cannot remember the last time this happened. 

At this stage of the season I usually have a conversation with God on the matter of sport. Heavenly father, will you allow West Ham to avoid relegation and as a trade-off I will give you that Ireland will not win the six nations. But would you mind terribly if we won the Triple Crown? I sense that God is not really interested in such discussions (although why he should have anything against Irish rugby is beyond me, surely he cannot support England?) and thus Ireland will probably not win the Triple Crown and as for West Ham? If the appeal against the red card shown to Horseface (Andy Carroll) on Saturday is successful – as I think it should be – we actually looked like a half decent side. 

Okay we are still in the 3rd relegation spot ( 18th) but in theory just one win would put us 11t

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2795 days ago

West Ham v Southampton – the most dismal fact you can imagine

I watched the first half of today’s 0-0 draw away at Southampton on the box. Two howling errors by James Collins in defence, a magnificent Jussi keeping us in the game and more chance of the BBC enjoying a sex scandal free week than of West Ham actually scoring. I gather that in the second half it was much the same with the only difference being the failure of Collins not in defence but at the other end failing to put away an easy chance provided by Mark Noble.

But it may be harsh to pick on the Ginger Pele.  West Ham’s most telling statistic is shots on goal in four Premiership starts. In the first game against Cardiff we had four and scored twice. In the three games since then we have managed just two shots on goal. Maiga and Vaz Te could not score in a brothel. Frankly my cat or, even James Collins, are more likely to find the back of the net in the Premiership.

We are told that Croatian Fulham reject Petric and Carlton Cole are honing their fitness and should be ready soon while we all pray that Andy Carroll recovers tomorrow but big girl's blouse that he is, he will not. After today’s dismal showing by our first choice fit strikers I do not care if Carlton Cole is slower than Cheryl Cole, play him anyway.

Ok. Petric might be over the hill and not good enough for Fulham and only half fit but at least he knows where the goal is.  I know Geoff Hurst attends most games at Upton Park. He might be 70 odd but I wonder if he still has a spare pair of boots... has anyone called Tony Cottee to see if he fancies a game?  My mate Barry Jenkins might be 50 and smokes 20 a day but he says that he scored a few goals in his time playing on Hackney marshes and he already owns a collection of West Ham tops so the club only need provide him with shorts and socks and he'll be available for the Everton game. Any other ideas?

2 shots on goal in the last 285 minutes of football (inc stoppage time)...

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2812 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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2824 days ago

18 Hours to Kick Off: West Ham vs Cardiff

I am more than a bit excited, the inner child in me is in control. The new season is upon us and I am off to Upton Park tomorrow.  My old pal Neil Masuda (who as my babysitter made my sisters and I watch the FA Cup Final on the box when Sir Trevor scored with his head) will be coming along with his latest bird. Neil, as you may remember started his long and glorious career as a peddler of sleaze on Fleet Street by breaking the Howard Jones (like to get to know you well) three in a bed scandal when on his local paper.

Anyhow, myself, Neil and his bird will meet up at Real Man Pizza before heading to the Academy. Cardiff were promoted last season so anything could happen. With Andy Carroll injured it will be interesting to see who can actually get it in the net for the Irons. Anyway, another season is almost underway. Another 40 weeks of misery is upon me. Like an addict I cannot wait and as 3 PM looms and we start “I’m forever blowing bubbles.”

I am excited already. It is almost as much fun as asking the Serious Fraud Office to investigate Pinsent Masons and Sefton.

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2879 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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2887 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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2914 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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2922 days ago

Reaction to the Retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson

The TV and newspapers have glossed over trivialities such as the Queen’s Speech, the escalating war in Syria, the ongoing collapse of the Eurozone and whichever TV star of the 70s has been knicked for alleged kiddy fiddling this week to focus on one story alone: The Retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United.  My full and detailed thoughts:

a) Fergie is a loathsome and ungracious individual
b) Read Michael Crick’s book on various issues
c) I loathe everything that Manchester United PLC stands for these days.
d) Fergie is a champagne socialist and so beneath contempt
e) Hell’s teeth , this is  a man who manages 30 Prima Donnas who kick a ball around a park for 90 minutes ( or 98 minutes if United are at home and need time to equalise) once a week. Who really gives a damn?

And that is it. Who cares?

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2962 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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2963 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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2963 days ago

West Ham vs. West Brom Match Preview

Noble injured but Cole J. and Nolan back( as well as Linda!) I think I can live with that trade. The Premiership table is fascinating. I think we can now assume that Reading and QPR are down (23 points – 8 games to play. But the third team to go down? Wigan are on 27 points with 9 games to go and Fulham are in 10th on 36 points and 8 games to go. In theory any one of the 9 teams between Fulham and Wigan (including West Ham on 33 points with 9 games to go) could be going down with the Redknapp.

West Brom are safe (44 points), have lost their early season blinding form and have nothing to play for any more: no hope of Europe and no fear of relegation. Without that blinding start to the season West Brom would be fighting it out with the rest of us – its recent form should not drive fear into the hearts of the Irons. And so today who knows what will happen? If West Ham play as they can with Nolan offering steel and Cole flair we win. If West Ham play as we can (away at Reading or Wigan) it is 3 points for the baggies. You just cannot call this one.

A win and I would start to feel half safe. My instinct is that with a GD far better than Wigan and Villa (30 points) 39 points should be enough to stay up. We still have Reading and Wigan at home and Southampton away all of which are winnable games but I’d rather that we did not go into May 19th having to beat an already relegated Reading at home in order to ensure survival.

I pray for 3 points, going into April in 11th place and one win away from safety. My head tells me that 1 point would be a satisfactory and a not surprising result. COYI

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2976 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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2984 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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2991 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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2991 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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3003 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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3011 days ago

I have abandoned the White Bear - sporting Disaster x 2 and now it gets worse

The white bear in Shipston seems to be populated by folk who support Aston Villa and England. Given that we are on South Warwickshire that should be no great surprise but as a West Ham and Ireland support I have had enough. And it is going to get worse.

West Ham lost 2.1 and were useless. This is the third time this season that we have given hope of a kickstart to useless sides (Reading, Wigan and now Villa). I hope that we stay up although that is by no means guaranteed. But surely no-one can want another season of this nonsense. At the end of May Fat Sam’s contract is up and he has got to go. West Ham will finish this season between 12th and 18th and with two early cup exits to our name. Enough is enough.

At half time Ireland are trailing and our captain could not catch a cold at the North Pole. So much for the Lions Jamie. My father is earnestly praying for divine intervention at Church right now but I fear the worst and if we are to be vanquished by the Old Enemy I’d rather watch in misery alone than surrounded by cheering England supporters. What next?

Oh, my sister Tabby and her family (England, Man United and deluded on all matters) arrive for supper. I have a long list of restricted subjects which I am not allowed to mention but she has none, I am under orders not to respond on any matter.

Postscript: No rows with Tabby. I bit my lip once but all very amicable. Her husband opined that only aristocrats read the Daily Telegraph ( theirs is a Guardian reading household, natch) and I was unable to hold back then generally all peace and brotherly love.

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3011 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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3033 days ago

West Ham vs QPR: Match Preview & why Sam MUST go in May ( again)

I have looked at the table from the bottom up since the start of the season. If you have been a West Ham fan long enough that is your routine. And gradually that exercise has taken less and less time. Today’s game is a match we really must win.

QPR have new signing Remy but are not that good. Rednapp has started to turn things around but on 14 points from 22 they have just 16 games ( of which four are against big name clubs where they will secure nil points) to get to 40 and safety. In effect they have 12 games left to secure 26 points. Thus QPR have to win today. I really hope they do not. West Ham’s financial woes started with ‘arry’s ludicrous transfer wheeling and dealing which ultimately did not benefit the club. Who did benefit? Answers on a postcard to a luxury mansion in Dorset. ‘arry then went to the Scum. He is uncle to Fat Frank Lampard and that gives me three good reasons to hope that QPR join Reading in heading back to the Championship.

West Ham are on 26 points. So we have only another 14 points to bag to be (probably) safe and 17 to be safe beyond doubt. Wigan, Reading at home, Southampton and Villa away and …QPR at home are the games I am sort of banking on. But the fact is that our recent form (bar the home cup match vs Man United) has been piss poor. I hope Joe Cole plays and we might get a result. But I am getting increasingly nervous.

I shall comment on managerial change at Southampton later. But even the most blinkered Fat Sam Allardyce fan must now accept that this is not a season to be proud of. League cup disgrace,

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3038 days ago

Great Birthday Present for a West Ham Diehard

It was a great 45th and rounded off with this present in the picture below. I have been wearing it ever since Saturday (even in bed). If you are no au fait with soccer, West Ham is known as The Academy becuase while other clubs buy in talent we nurture it.

So when West Ham won the World Cup in 1966 the backbone of that side (Hurst, Moore & Peters) came through The Academy. Today’s West team contains graduates like Noble, Tomkins, Collinson, Cole (J) and the younger Potts & Moncur boys. And elsewhere in the Premiership academy graduates include Fat Frank Lampard, Rio & Anton Ferdinand, the well known multi-cultural awareness campaigner Mr Terry and Michael Carrick.

A great present.

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3045 days ago

David Bowie’s New Single: Emperor’s New Clothes moment – it’s crap

Sixty Six year old David Bowie has released his first single in 10 years on youtube. Checking out twitter I gather that I am meant to say what a wonderful piece of work it is, how creative Bowie is, how his voice is wonderful, blah, blah, blah.
I would love to say all that but I cannot. I watched the pretentious video, followed the pointless lyrics and fell asleep after a couple of minutes as it was just plain boring.

I have written before about how Bowie was the coolest man on this planet when I was a teenager and how I adore his music. That is his stuff when he was a tad younger. If Bobby Charlton donned his shorts and tried to play for Man United again ( he can’t be that much older than Ryan Giggs, surely) would I have to say that he was still a great footballer?

Somehow with ageing rock stars it is different and we are not allowed to say that Bowie should have stuck to organising pretentious art shows and being a recluse. As I brace myself for losing 100% of my twitter followers, I commit heresy since everyone else is lining up to praise the Master. “Where are we now” is banal and will be soon forgotten.

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3051 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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3053 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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3054 days ago

Reading vs West Ham – Match Report & Allardyce cannot stay after May

Vaz Te missed an absolute sitter late on. James Collins handed Reading an early goal with his speciality suicide back passes. It was an ill tempered and unattractive game with neither side showing any flair. Both teams looked like the sort of sides that deserve to get relegated. I am struggling to remember the last time I saw a football game this bad. The girlie’s soccer at the Olympics maybe?

Reading will not play many teams that gift them goals in the way Collins does far too often. And 9 out of 10 Premiership strikers would have snaffled Vaz Te’s chance. If this is the best this side can offer (and judging by the crowd’s unbridled delight, I sense that it is) then on 13 points, Reading are indeed “going down with the Rednapp.” Reading are just a crap and boring side and there is no doubt in my mind that they will not only go down but that ‘arry’s QPR will overtake them in the final furlong leaving the Royals bottom of the table. That would be a fair place for them.

But as for West Ham, we were awful. I stayed to the end but could not wait to get away. I cannot say that I took anything positive away from the game at all. No-one played well and some

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3055 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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3067 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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3074 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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3074 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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3082 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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3083 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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3083 days ago

Hari Kiri economics – Premier League Agents Fees

How many clubs in the Premier League make a profit? Er.. Man United sometimes bit not much of a profit and certainly enough to justify its market valuation. But the rest are all losing money and so in an industry pursuing Hari Kiri economics it is no surprise that last year the top 20 soccer clubs in the UK pissed at £77 million on agent’s fees alone. Leading the way was Man City with £10.5 billion frittered away but it is the next few big spenders that says it all.

The next most generous were Liverpool (£8.6 million) and QPR (£6.8 million) not far ahead of Harry Rednapps’s Spurs. Liverpool have had one of their worst starts to the League in decades. QPR are bottom of the league and have already fired their manager.

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3087 days ago

Sad Git West Ham supporters I despise – but the climate does not deter anti-semitism

Not only did my beloved West Ham lose at arch rivals Spurs but some of the travelling West Ham supporters engaged in patently anti-Semitic abuse. I think you know my views on Spurs ( intense dislike) but also on anti Semitism ( rabid dislike). My mind is filled with various thoughts.

I know what will have been said or rather hissed. There is a hissing noise mean to be reminiscent of the gas chambers. Adolf Hitler is Coming for you – a variant of Tottenham Hotspur we’re coming for you, will have been chanted. I remember hearing “There’s only one Adolf Hitler” being chanted at a Spurs game a long time. I cringed with shame.

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3088 days ago

The Scum (Spurs) vs West Ham - match preview

Nervously I look at the Championship and see that the form side is Millwall. Now 6th they are on fire and have got to be thinking that they can still secure an automatic promotion spot if the current form continues. I was at Upton Park the last time West Ham met Millwall and have no desire to go to another Derby game ever again. In the absence of Millwall our nearest rivals are Spurs who we play at 4PM today at White Hart Lane. The scum. It is more than the fact that Spurs are local rivals.

There is the little matter of Master Defoe. Judas.

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3090 days ago

Martin Wickham – Mad Hatter & Vialogy shareholder

I have really enjoyed writing about AIM Listed Vialogy (VIY) this week. Nailing a chairman for telling a lie is fun although why he told such a pointless lie defies belief. But on the basis that the company is a worthless, loss making heap of junk that has never delivered and that the chairman, is clearly ramping its stock as it tried to get away its 10th placing since 2007 (a well paid board needs supporting) I liked penning the pieces.

I explain why Vialogy is a screaming short HERE

I nail the chairman for the great Ronald Reagan lie HERE

The reaction when you have a go at companies like this is always the same. At first there is real anger on Bulletin Boards as the believers (those who have bought and bought at every lower prices, calling the board by their first names or initials and regard any criticism as blasphemy) lash out. They do so by attacking the bear writer. His record, stocks he got wrong, anything. They do so often without reading the piece. It was like that with Sefton in the early days. The comments at the bottom of the Reagan piece are a scream: I think my faves are

IStock “leave bob and vialogy they haven’t hurt anyone and are doing fine just
because of your biased article I am going to invest in vialogy tomorrow !
they do not need to prove anything to you ! vialogy one day will become a billion dollar market cap company !

and bob “You sir, are a cock. You are heading to the courts. Bon chance nob head x

But gradually as you are proved right and the awful truth emerges the anger shifts

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3093 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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3094 days ago

West Ham versus Stoke City: Match Preview

My good friend Mr Rowley from Stoke has fled to Nepal to miss this game. I have handed my tickets to Lucian Miers as my presence at the Academy does not tend to bring West Ham good fortune. So that is a reason for optimism. But, as Lucian points out, our record against sides from grim Northern shit-holes is a poor one and so he fears for the worst. I am afraid that despite our recent form so do I.

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3096 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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3099 days ago

Light Blogging Day Ahead: All the Fault of Zak Mir

Saqib Ahmed Mir ( Zak) is my daughter’s godfather and one of my few friends. He is also the most unreliable man on this planet and it is entirely his fault that this will be a light blogging day. You see he was meant to pop in to Real Man Pizza for a quick glass of wine at around six last night. By the time he actually pitched up it was 11 PM, I had already had a few glasses to while away the time and was finding it hard not to pen a third article comparing the accuracy of shots by the woeful England football team and the laudable Israeli Defence Forces.

By the time Zak left our mutual pal Alpesh Patel was heading off for a 5 AM TV appointment despite my misguided efforts to persuade him to pop into Real Man for a quick drink instead.

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3102 days ago

West Ham Win, go 6th and I cannot look at league tables like this

I had it down as 1 point at best. But Kevin Nolan returned to whatever St James’ Park is called these days to haunt his old club. West Ham defeaedt Newcastle one nil to record our first league win against the Magpies since October 31st 1998. Sam Allardyce ( sacked by Newcastle after eight months in charge) will have enjoyed the win. It seems to have been a close enough game and sometimes lady luck smiles on you. A good day at the office – the league away record now shows 2 wins, 2 defeats and a draw: no disgrace.

A test of how long you have followed West Ham is how you look at a league table. Naturally I start at the bottom. My daughter is now a fully trained supporter and in her second full season seems to think you start at the top.

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3103 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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3103 days ago

West Ham vs Newcastle, Walsall v Swindon Match Previews

West Ham ( or Vest Hem for my Albanian readers – a fact my father picked up last week while visiting Europe’s second fastest growing economy) travel to Newcastle for a 3PM Sunday kick off at whatever St James’ Park is called these days. We have not won in the league against Newcastle since 31st October 1998 (3-0 at Upton Park, Wright 2, Sinclair) and frankly I cannot see that changing this weekend.

Newcastle has a couple of players out thanks to suspension and Alan Pardew also has a couple of late fitness tests to concern him. But West Ham

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3109 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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3110 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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3117 days ago

Wigan 2 West Ham 1 but at least Swindon were glorious

I switched off when West Ham went 2-0 down. Wigan looked the better side and took only a few of their chances. West Ham were piss poor. That is part of being a West Ham supporter. One week you look majestic the next week you give Wigan, hardly a class act, their first home win of the season and make them look (almost) good. What a load of rubbish.

That now makes 3 of the last 4 halves played by West Ham piss poor with only one 45 minutes of glory. Now West Ham face a string of tough matches.

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3118 days ago

West Ham v Wigan – Match Preview

I have never been to Wigan in my life and will not be breaking my duck today. It is snowing in the North and with its Orwellian echoes the town sounds like the sort of place I can live without ever encountering. The same could be said of its football team and the Premier League. Wigan Athletic brings nothing to the top flight. No great history, no grace, no style, small home crowds, nothing, apart from a certain mean spiritedness from chairman Dave Whelan.

Ask any football fan who they want to see relegated this season and other than the obvious contenders (Man United, Man City and Chelsea) I would imagine Wigan would be up there. My personal wish list for relegation? Man United natch. Spurs – as always. And yes I’d probably go for Wigan.

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3124 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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3124 days ago

West Ham v Southampton – Match Preview

Last season in the Championship Southampton were better than West Ham. So far this season we are ahead on points but the reality is that we have had an easy start to the season while the Saints have had some tough old games. And so back at fortress Upton Park ( yes that is irony) this could be anyone’s game.

Like West Ham, Southampton look a bit dodgy at the back but can score goals. With Vaz Te out I hope that Yossi gets a start as he could cause real problems. Start with my favourite living Israeli, Carroll and Jarvis and there should be goals.

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3137 days ago

West Ham Arsenal Reviewed, Boris you are a git and now to Downton

There is little to be said about the match. It was a great atmosphere. Arsenal took their chances. West Ham did not. West Ham were not completely outplayed and – at times – were on a par. Why Fat Sam replaced Vaz Te with Taylor and not Yossi defies belief. That could have made a game of it. But the better side won.

Naturally a London Derby is going to cause high volume tube traffic. So why the hell, Mr Mayor, did you schedule major repairs on the District line and block off sections of the Hammersmith & City on a match day? You promised that post Olympics the tube would run smoothly. Well I guess that was a Nick Clegg sort of promise. You git.

Getting from Liverpool Street to Upton Park is normally one change

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3139 days ago

West Ham v Arsenal – the late kickoff

Family time overnight in Shipston on Stour. Everyone very tired and it was an 8.30 bedtime for me. Early to bed early to rise and my mind now starts to turn to the home game vs Arsenal. I am attending along with former babysitter Neil Masuda (the man who broke the Howard Jones three in a bed scandal) and The Goddess who is getting out her passport for her first visit to East London. An odd grouping.

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3143 days ago

West Ham Triumph, Goddess on Form but with a horrible knowledge gap

It is well known that my attendance at West Ham games brings almost certain defeat and thus I trust that Hammers across the world will thank me for not heading along to Loftus Road tonight. A 2-1 win sees the Irons on 11 points after just 6 games. Last time we were in the top flight it was sometime like December before we reached that number of points.

Put it another way, with 16% of the games played we are 26% of the way to 42 points (the highest ever points total to be relegated – er, West Ham) and 27.5% of the way to 40 points (almost certain safety). QPR, Norwich and Reading look pretty good bets for the drop. Surely Wigan who bring nothing to the top flight will slump at some stage. If you are a West Ham fan

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3143 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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3149 days ago

West Ham vs Wigan or Midsomer Murders

It is the Capital One Cup tonight. Wake up, really it is meant to matter. West Ham is at home to Wigan. Call me a fake hammer but I cannot get excited and am staying at home to watch a Midsomer Murders special instead.

Wigan is a poor team. Come May they will be in the bottom six and so they will rest players and focus on the League. West Ham are not a great team but a good enough one not to be in the bottom six come May but no chances will be taken and players will again be rested. Perhaps that means a start for Yossi instead of Vaz Te or for Tomkins ahead of Collins and Linda (McCartney) ahead of Matt Taylor. In all three cases I hope so and I hope all three have blinders and thus keep a first team place on Saturday.

I have always been a Yossi fan

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3151 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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3152 days ago

150 minutes to first Upton Park kick off of the season

No more writing for me today. Something more important…my first home game of the season at Upton Park. In 150 minutes time my daughter and I shall be belting out “i’m forever blowing bubbles” as the teams walk on the pitch. If you are not a soccer fan you will not understand but that moment always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on end.

No doubt we will be whingeing about Fat Sam before half time “Same old West Ham, always taking the piss”. Yup I know it. But we have not been to a game for ages. We always chat about the score after every match. But this is it…off to the Boleyn we go. Then back to Real Man Pizza. Chocolate pizza for her. A drown my sorrows, glass of red for me.

Blogging (plus video + Tomograph) resumes tomorrow.

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3155 days ago

Manchester United: Poor Full Year Numbers -Sell Down To $7

Fourth quarter and full year results out from Manchester United (MANU) on 18th September were marginally below forecast – to miss estimates just a few weeks after your IPO is pretty poor form. Talking of pretty poor form, Manchester United are currently 2nd in the English Premier League but have looked unconvincing against some weak sides so far. At $12.58 the shares are already well down on the $14 IPO price and also on the $13.35 price at which I explained in detail why this was a sell on 27th August. But there is worse to come: my target remains $7.

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3160 days ago

Attacked viciously by a poodle pup and West Ham match preview

I founded t1ps.com in my bedroom 12 years ago. But as of Wednesday my involvement is nil. It is none the less surprising to find the site you founded publishing a vicious and untruthful personal attack on you as happened on Friday.

I do not blame the young men whose names appear on the piece and whose safe hands the site is apparently in. They were still at University just a few years ago and are innocents on a wider stage. I am happy to be judged on what I produce, not claiming credit for others actions or blaming others for failures.

And so I do not propose to comment again on what appears on t1ps.

Despite this one unfortunate misjudgement, as I noted on Wednesday I continue to believe that folk at RSH are very good people and I continue to wish them all well. Let’s put things in perspective, West Ham are playing Norwich today. That is really important.

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3171 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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3173 days ago

3-0 and 4th in League – Happy Days at West Ham

A three nil win was a fair reflection of a game West Ham dominated. But for the failure of the referee to spot a blatant push on Andy Carroll in the 18th minute, Mark Noble could have made it four. And, since this was the early kick off game West Ham are now 4th in the Premiership. It will not last more than a couple of hours but let me enjoy it while I can.

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3174 days ago

Yossi Back to The Academy as well – Starting to think West Ham can stay up

Andy Carroll on a season loan was a start. Fat Sam has managed to hang onto players where there was interest from other clubs (Carlton Cole and Mark Noble – the two longest serving first team members) and now, at the 11th hour Yossi Benayoun is back on a season loan with Chelski still picking up most of his wages. Well done Fat Sam.

Apparently a number of clubs were interested but Yossi chose to come back to where he started in British football.

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3174 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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3174 days ago

Lunch with Paul Atherley of Leyshon Resources - Valuation is just wrong

Wednesday saw me enjoy lunch with Paul Atherley, the CEO and largest shareholder in AIM listed Leyshon Resources ( LRL) which at 11.5p is capitalised at £27.76 million. That is simply the wrong price. Other than the value in Leyshon, and the fact that Atherley is a Man United supporter who actually hails from the grim North rather than Esher, a number of other matters struck me.

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3175 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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3177 days ago

West Ham – I’m Feeling Old and Fingers Crossed for Paulo’s Swindon

The West Ham starting line-up last night featured in the backs a guy called Potts. Coming on as substitute was a guy called Moncur. Instantly I think of Steve Potts (Pottsy), the very short West Ham stalwart of 17 seasons and John Moncur (a midfielder who never really fulfilled his potential from the same era – early mid nineties). But it is Daniel Potts (son of Steve) and George Moncur (son of John) who wore the claret and blue last night. Am I really that old?

The match was in the Capital One Cup second round. It took me a while but that is the League Cup to you and me. The opponents were Crew Alexandra from the first division (3rd division in real money). The Capital One Cup has been incredibly devalued as a trophy in recent years. The biggest clubs play scratch teams against weaker sides because this trophy does not really matter and occasionally they do come a cropper. West Ham played a team with lots of youngsters from “The Academy” last night to rest players for the League match against Fulham on Saturday. Given how woeful the “stars” were at the weekend the youngsters could not have been worse and the Irons sailed through 2-0.

Do I really care what the 3rd round draw brings on Thursday? With one caveat, no.

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3178 days ago

Explaining to Americans why the Man United IPO is for suckers

About once every three days, the New York Stock Exchange seems to tweet or issue a release saying how proud it is to have linked up with Manchester United (MANU), the British soccer club which gained a listing three weeks ago, raising $233 million at $14. The company claims in its prospectus lodged with the SEC July 30th to be one of the world’s “leading brands,” but is it a good investment? Without a doubt the answer is No! Perhaps it might help if I explain why, from the perspective of a British soccer fan who happens to be an investment writer as well.

Let us start with ancient history. 1968 to be precise.

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3180 days ago

Same Old West Ham: A Very bad day at the office ( 0-3 at Swansea)

Away at Swansea was not a must win game for West Ham. The teams we must beat are Wigan, Villa, Reading, Fulham, Norwich, QPR – sides who we hope will finish below us at the end of May. Having said that, West Ham were dire today. Two goals were gifted to Swansea by utter howlers and the less said about them the better. The third Swansea goal was well worked and they could have scored more.

For West Ham there were few reasons to be cheerful. New signing Jarvis looks useful. Vaz Te will score goals this season. And Kevin Nolan was not sent off. That is about it.

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3193 days ago

Manchester United – Biggest Brand in Sport? Why DealCloud? – Target price $7: Sell

I explained on Friday why the Manchester United (MANU:US) IPO was, at $14, a joke. I am asked what I think that the stock is worth? I am not sure that there is any terribly scientific answer to that as there are so many imponderables/unknowns, but since most are on the downside I would happy to start with a prediction that the shares could well halve to a share price of $7.

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3223 days ago

Rangers to Division 3 and John Terry Not Guilty

There are two big soccer stories today both of which make me fall a bit more out of love with a game that is now anything but beautiful. I start in Scotland with Rangers FC who have gone bust and have now been voted into the Scottish 3rd Division. This means three things. Firstly, Celtic will win everything for half a decade because (apart from the brief Fergie driven glory years of Aberdeen) Scotland has only got two decent teams. Secondly, tiny Scottish clubs will get a cash windfall for a few seasons when Rangers come to play them. And thirdly within a decade we will be back to the normal duopoly.

Who cares? Scottish club football has not got enough money. I know Celtic were the first British side to with the European Cup ( 1967) but for two decades Scottish League football has been a third rate affair. We used to joke about how Scottish goalkeepers were all useless. You can make the same joke about the other 10 players in any given Scottish team these days.

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3234 days ago

Spain – An Apology

I suggested here in an earlier piece that Spain were a boring side. To be fair they had shown real Arsenal-ish tendencies in earlier Euro 2012 games. But last night they were magnificent. Even before Italy gave up with 20 minutes to go Spain were just masterful. After 20 minutes I had given up on an Italian victory as Spain mentally destroyed their opponents in that opening spell. That they were only 1 nil up at that point was irrelevant – the game was won.

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3236 days ago

Italy versus Spain: Euro 2012 Final

I shall find somewhere to watch the game tomorrow. My head tells me that Spain are the reigning World and Euro champions and will win. My heart fervently wants an Italian victory – it would be a far better result for lifting the human spirit. We shall see.

Spain enjoyed one goal-fest in the group stages. But that was against a very poor Irish side playing without passion, intelligence or – frankly – much skill. Crushing a Hackney-marsh side like that Ireland team told us nothing. For more or less the rest of the tournament Spain have been, for want of a better word, plain boring. Reminiscent of Arsenal sides of old, the Spanish seem to regard a 1 nil victory as a reckless experiment in attacking football.

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3242 days ago

Italy vs England – The Right Result: What Next?

At the start of the game I was supporting England. After 120 minutes I felt that it would have been a monstrous injustice had Italy not gone through. Over 90 minutes and 120 minutes they were by far the better side and deserved to win. They showed flair and were a pleasure to watch. Italian playmaker Andre Pirto was just a delight – his ultra-cool penalty kick completed a game which he dominated with a cool brilliance which was just inspiring. The commentators reaction was that England are only “average” – hmmm.

Italy are not a great side, not even a great Italian side. But they are very good. As are the other 3 semi-finalists. My heart wants Italy to defeat Germany and then Spain in the final. My head expects a Spain v Germany final and in that game I think Spain should win and I pray it does win as a) they are the best side in the tournament and b) they are not Germany.

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3244 days ago

Greece v Germany: Up Yours Merkel

As I am sure you know Greece is my “second team.” Tonight they will be the second team of everyone in Europe as they take on the krauts, oops sorry Germany. I am sure there are folks out there who regard the Greeks as workshy tax evaders led by crooks. Yes, you can make a case for that. However…

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3248 days ago

West Ham: Tom Ince - Bury a Hatchet, Bye Bye Greeno, fixtures out

Judas, Judas go out the cries every time Paul Ince shows his face at Upton Park. Those photos in a Man United shirt ahead of his transfer in the dim and distant past have made him a hate figure at the club for whom he signed at 12 and where he enjoyed a heroic career. Ince was a lifelong West Ham supporter and other photos seem to have emerged showing him drinking from a West Ham mug years after he left the club. It seems as if, despite it all, he has a soft spot in his heart for the club and that “that photo” was a youthful error and the fault of his grubby agent. I can believe it – soccer agents are lowlife and most football players are borderline thick/naive.

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3251 days ago

Engerland, Engerland

If I was Scottish I would no doubt have been cheering for Sweden last night. Most polls suggest that most Scots support whoever England is playing even were it to be Germany, Argentina or an all star Rwandan war crimes XI. As an Ireland supporter I hope that I can take a more grown up approach to the former Imperial masters. When it comes to Rugby, I am afraid that my second team is pretty much certain to be whoever is playing the old enemy. With football it is more complex.

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3256 days ago

Gearing Up to Support a Lost Cause: Ireland v Croatia

Now that I am set to establish residency in the City of Lost Causes the mind turns naturally to the football teams that I support as well as to the affairs of the European Union. And tonight whatever anyone else in this house wishes to do I shall be watching TV. Ireland versus Croatia kicks off at 7 PM.

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3264 days ago

Dismal England but is this a cunning plan?

Historically England prepares for a big tournament thus: Appoint a new national saviour as manager on a multi year telephone number contract. Talk up the Premiership prima donnas as being the heirs to Hurst, Peters and Moore. The nation expects. Go to the tournament and play atrociously but scrape through to a knock out stage and lose on penalties as soon as possible.

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