March 31, 2007
Wasn’t it great to see Billy Bonds back at Upton Park? Eggert Magnusson had apparently rung him up and asked him to be his special guest at today’s game. Bonds had vowed never to return after his sacking more than a decade ago. The fact that Terence Brown was no longer the chairman presumably had something to do with his decision to accept Magnusson’s reputation. Well, Billy is obviously a good luck charm to us as he watched West Ham put in one of their best displays of the season – and there haven’t been too many of them, as well all know only too well.
The first 45 minutes were a joy to watch. Tevez and Zamora really clicked together, probably for the first time. They both laid off balls to each other beautifully and Tevez in particualr was a constant danger to the Boro defence. Boro never really had a look in and didn;t have a single attack in the first half which threatened Green’s goal. Only in the last ten minutes did they look anything like an attacking force.
I’d like to single out George McCartney and Mark Noble for outstanding performances. McCartney has never looked very safe to me as left back but today he was excellent defensively and was a constant threat going forward. Noble was tenacious in every tackle and precise in every pass. He exemplified West Ham’s renewed fighting spirit, which some of us thought they had lost permanently.
The second half was never going to live up to the first half and West Ham’s dangerous attacks were few and far between. But they defended a lead, and how many times have they done that this season?
Green – 9 Never under threat and always confident
McCartney – 9 Best game yet – excellent defensively and attacking
Collins – 8 Masterful in the air
Ferdinand – 8 Many good defensive headers
Neill – 8 Excellent attacking run in the second half. His best game yet
Bowyer – 8 Really good first half, quieter in the second
Etherington – 7 Good attacking runs and a couple of shots
Noble – 9 Great all round performance. A real terrier
Reo Coker – 7 Several powerful runs, but substituted with 15 mins to go
Tevez 9 A constant danger but too many mazy runs which were going nowhere
Zamora 7 Held the ball up well and took his chance. May have had another
Finally, apologies for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks. Normal service will now be resumed!
March 17, 2007
Well no one can say we weren’t lucky in this game. A dubious penalty and a blatant goal that wasn’t, on at least two if not three accounts. But who cares? Perhaps this is the start of the big turnaround. We didn’t actually play that well, with the defence creaking badly, the midfield out of sorts and Harewood largely anonymous. But again, who cares. It’s the three points that count. Just a pity that Man City won. We’re 8 points behind Sheffield United and 10 points behind Wigan and Man City. I guess it’s still do-able but if you look at the games we have ahead it still looks bad.
Carlos Tevez is becoming a cult hero. His effort and skill today were tremendous and he deservedly got Man of the Match from Sky. Not that there was much competition. And not another game for two weeks. The Middlesbrough game will tell us how far we have come and if there is indeed a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
March 17, 2007
The Independent has a piece today on what footballers read. Apparently each premiership club has appointed a player as a “reading champion” to encourage their fans to read more. Watford’s Malky Mackay chooses The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, while Alan Smith from Man U opts for What if I had never tried it? by Valentino Rossi. Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann choose The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, while Bolton’s Gary Speed foes for Winter in Madrid by John Forster.
And what of West Ham? Robert Green has chosen… wait for it… Roald Dahl’s Charlie & the Chocloate Factory. Suddenly, it’s all becoming clear…
March 16, 2007
It seems an age since the Tottenham game. It seems that Nigel Reo Coker and James Collins will be playing, but Upson is still unfit. The one thing I am most interested to see is whether Mark Noble retains his place. If he doesn’t, there really is no justice in this world, but I can’t quite see Noble, Quashie and Reo Coker playing together. It only leaves a space for one wide player, presumably Yossi Benayoun. I suppse with the lack of form of Boa Morte and to a lesser extent Matty Etherington you could do that. We should remember that Balckburn are a dirty team and will look to win the midfield battles. An interesting dilemma for Curbishley.
Another thing I would like to see tried is Tevez playing on the wings. It’s where he seems to spend most of his time anyway and seems to be most effective. It might mean playing 4-3-3 sometimes but has got to be worth a try.
March 13, 2007
It seems that Wales want Danny Gabbidon and James Collins to play in their Euro 2008 qualifier next week. West Ham should tell them where to go. Neither has played for the Hammers for some weeks and the last thing we need is for them to get injured again. Neither can be match fit.
March 4, 2007
It’s scant consolation that we saw probably the most exciting game of the season today. In the first half we looked awesome with Noble and Tevez in great form. Tottenham didn’t really look in it. They had a couple of good chances but just didn’t seem to be at the races. Jol must have given them some half time team talk because they emerged a different team in the second half. Somehow you just knew that they were going to get a couple, but when Zamora scored with his first touch even I was optimistic that we’d do it. But Anton Ferdinand made a needless challenge on the edge of the area and Berbatov’s quality showed. Konchesky didn’t get back on the line quickly enough and the shot went in over his head. But the fourthg oal should never have been. It came after 5 minutes 50 second of injury time, when the fourth official had only indictaed there shoul dbe 4 minutes. Such things happen when the Gods are against you.
We are down. No two ways about it. But we have to take heart from this performance. If the players had put in that amount of effort all season we wouldn’t be where we are. We now have another two weeks before a game (trip to America, Anton?). It had better be used wisely.
The two big plus points to come out of the game were the performances of Tevez and Noble. Tevez was fantastic in the first half and his goal was so well deserved. His celebration showed what it meant to him. Noble was in tears at the end of the game. He should now play in every remaining game as he is going to be a key player for us in the Championship.
And to cap it all, we’re fined £25,000 for getting six bookings in what was never a dirty game. Sometimes you just know things are not meant to be. And so to the marks…
Green 8 – made several crucial saves, shame about the spill at the end.
Ferdinand – 6 – crucial error led to Spurs third goal
Upson – 5 – only managed ten minutes
Davenport – 6
Konchesky – 7 returning to his old form
Neill – 8 – a leader of men
Noble – 8 excellent, committed first half and took his goal brilliantly
Quashie – 6 – gave the ball away too often
Etherington – 7 – returning to his old form
Bowyer – 6 – bad tackle for the pen
Tevez – 9 -outstanding in every respect
Harewood – 5 – was he playing?
March 4, 2007
What a shower. Click HERE.