Liverpool Match Report

January 31, 2008

That will teach me to leave two minutes before the end! Apologies this is a bit delayed. Am at Heathrow Airport on my way to Washington for ten days. In my innocence I assumed there would be computers available but every single one is out of order. Typical BAA. Anyway, I digress.

The first half yesterday was dominated by a West Ham team who were clearly up for it. Three times the ball failed to drop for us in the penalty area and I don’t think we had a shot, but more importantly neither did they. Defensively we were again awesome. Some of Upson’s play was spellbindingan although one wayward backpass which went for a corner had my heart in my mouth.

Anton and George were, as usual, also on form and I thought Lucas Neill had his best game for a long time. He got caught out of position a couple of times but Gerrard didn’t take advantage.

Talking of Gerrard, it comes to something when he is eclipsed but Mark Noble owned him last night. I know some people on this blog reckon I overrate him but after that performance surely even they can see his quality. He was absolutely everywhere. Indeed the middle three all performed well. Hayden Mullins looks so confident now. Our first half performance was in large part down to the success of Noble, Mullins and Bowyer dominating the central areas.

When I saw we were going to play 4-5-1 at home my heart sank. It’s not the West Ham way. However, it seems to bring out the best in these players, especially Carlton Cole, who, again, was a revelation. He held the ball up superbly and seemed to win everything in the air.

There are three contenders for Man of the Match – Nobes, Upson and Cole. I’ll go (surprise, surprise!) for Mark Noble.

I’m afraid the broken record is about to be played again, but I do have to mention the perforamnce of Luis Boa Morte, who was appalling. After missing two chances he just seemed to give up. He persistently lost the ball and was, well, just crap. And the way he loped off the pitch, wasting valuable time was a disgrace. There are still 12 hours left in the transfer window to flog him, but let’s face it, who would want him in this form.

It has to be said that when he went off and was replaced by Matty, not a lot changed. Ashton came on too and we reverted to 4-4-2.

A final word about Freddie Ljungberg. Another great performance. I may have to eat my words on him…

All in all, just what I needed before an eight hour flight.

And don’t worry, I’ll still be posting every day while I am away.

Green 8
Upson 9
McCartney 8
Ferdinand 8
Neill 7
Bowyer 7
Noble 9
Mullins 8
Boa Morte 4
Ljungberg 8
Cole 9
Etherington 6
Ashton 6


The Best & Worst West Ham Transfer Window Buys

January 30, 2008

I don’t know what my colleague at the Daily Telegraph Martin Smith has got against West Ham – maybe he’s a Sheffield United supporter. But his list of the 25 Worst Ever Transfer Window buys rather beggars belief. In a list of 25 players he’s included no fewer than six West Ham players…

25. Calum Davenport
24. Yaviv Katan
23. Lee Bowyer
8. Luis Boa Morte
3. Nigel Quashie
2. Matthew Upson

You may well be scratching your head in bewilderment wondering if the author of this list inhabits the planet earth. Quite what Nigel Quashie has done to him in a previous life is anyone’s guess, but as well as featuring at number 3, he also features at 4 and 5! And I think anyone who knew anything about West Ham would consider Matthew Upson to be a fantastic buy for us. I am of course fully in agreement with him about Boa Morte, although I feel he could be rather higher in the list!

Mr Smith partially redeems himself in the 25 Best Ever Transfer window buys by including Nigel Reo-Coker at 22, Lucas Neill at 10 and Dean Ashton at 4.


Is Our Season Already Over?

January 29, 2008

No new signings, out of both cups, safe from relegation, mid-table mediocrity. The way some people are talking, our season is over and it’s only the end of January. In my role as a glass half full merchant, let me tell you they’re wrong and how we still have a lot to play for.

We may be in tenth place, with a fair gap between us and nineth, but we can reduce that gap by three points tomorrow. I really believe that we can challenge for a European place. But more importantly I believe the players believe that too. We have several excellent players coming back from injury. The competition for places will soon be very hot indeed. We have the best defensive record outside the top four. If only we could score a bit more often and drive home the advantage we’d be several places higher than we actually are. The key to this are the two wide players. Too often thos season we have played with too little width. When Ethers is on form and believes oin his ability to beat opposing players he is an automatic pick. His understudy on the left, Boa Morte drifts infield too much to be described as a left winger. With Faubert emerging as a force and Solano coming back we have real competition with Ljungberg for the right wing slot. Too often this season we have had to play a player out of place in that position.

So I am really optimistic that we can finish a bit above where are now. We should be aiming for sixth place. After last season, who’d have thunk it?!

What Do You Want From the New Stadium?

January 28, 2008

It seems inevitable that within the next four years we will be moving from Upton Park to a new stadium. From what I understand we are using the same architects who are designing the new Liverpool stadium. The aim is to design a stadium better than the Emirates. The Liverpool stadium is placing great emphasis on getting the atmosphere right, something the architects of the Emirates singlularly failed to do. They want to recreate the spirit of the old Kop. Should this herald a new Chicken Run in our new stadium?! Someone emailed me today on this point…

We want a new stadium that is designed with heritage and thought to help generate atmosphere, lets face it even upton park is not as hostile as it once was! Wouldn’t it be great to see the club put a serious focus on trying to combat the decline of atmosphere. I really do hope they consult us fans, there has to be a way of making the new stadium a great place to play and ultimately enjoy the day and atmosphere.

So what are your priorities for the new stadium? What facilities should be provided? What can we learn from other stadia you have visited both in this country and abroad. People from the club read this blog, so this is your opportunity to tell them what you want.

Barack Obama’s Claret & Blue Army…

January 27, 2008

From Monday’s edition of The Sun…

AMERICAN presidential candidate Barack Obama is a secret West Ham fan.
Mr Obama, 46 – battling Hillary Clinton for the Democrats’ nomination – has been following the Hammers ever since a visit to Britain more than five years ago.
And he keeps in touch with the fortunes of Alan Curbishley’s side through his relatives in England – who are all Hammers fanatics.
The Kent-based clan – related to the US senator after his sister married an Englishman – now hope Mr Obama will be singing the club’s famous anthem “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” all the way to the White House.
The Obama campaign team recently revealed he is a massive football fan and was a nifty player himself while a student at Harvard Law School.
Mr Obama – bidding to become America’s first black President – watches Premier League games whenever his schedule allows, as long as matches don’t clash with his other great love – basketball.
A campaign source said: “Obama is a big sports nut and loves his soccer. He never really followed it, though, until he was told all about the passion of West Ham fans by some of his English relatives.
“He is always keen to find out how his adopted club are getting on.”
Rival Hillary, 60, has been linked with Manchester United after hubby Bill, the ex-President, revealed during a UK book tour that the Reds were his favourite team.

My allegiances are being rapidly transferred from Rudy Giuliani…

Who Are Our Stars of the Future?

January 25, 2008

It was great to see another two graduates of the Upton Park Academy feature against Arsenal on New Year’s Day. Jack Collison played for much of the game and James Tomkins was on the bench. I’m not a regualr follower of youth team football, so I can’t shed much light on who else is likely to make the big breakthrough in the next couple of years. So, who are the budding Joe Coles and Rio Ferdinands?

Move Along, Nothing to See…

January 24, 2008

Only seven more days to go in the transfer window and we have been involved in precisely, er, zero transfers in or out. I can’t decide whether that is a good thing or not. The NEWS NOW West Ham page carries precious few transfer rumours. Normally at this stage every other story would be a new bit of gossip. I can’t really believe we will get to the 31st and the situation will remain the same, but you never know.

I still think we should be trying to offload Dailly (whose move to Rangers fell through), Quashie and a couple of others. Oh, and Boa Morte :).