Why is Deano Not in the England Squad?

August 31, 2008

At least FabiO Capello has seen through his blindness on Robert Green, but can anyone explain why Dean Ashton and Michael Owen are not in the England squad which he has just released? His forward line consists of Walcott, Defoe, Rooney and Heskey. Heskey for God’s sake!!! Capello was at Upton Park when Deano scored a brace against Wigan. He would have got into the squad for the Czech game but for his injury, which wasn’t an injury at all.

What has changed? He played well yesterday. I’m confused.com.

PS Equally confusing is Darren Clarke’s omission from the Ryder Cup team in favour of Ian Poulter. Hey ho.


Carlton Cole: An Apology

August 31, 2008

I have justifiably come under fire for my rating of Carlton Cole’s performance in my match report yesterday. Having now watched the match on TV I realise I made a huge error. It just goes to show how you can miss things and be influenced by the crowd around you – who, to a man, agreed with my assessment.

It’s easy to understimate the contribution of a player like Cole. Because he looks very awkward at times, and doesn’t threaten the goal in the manner of a traditional striker, you tend to miss what else he contributes. He also looks so languid, that the effort he puts in goes unnoticed.

Anyway, I hold my hands up. I got it wrong. It happens!

Crisis? What Crisis

August 30, 2008

We’re a fickle bunch aren’t we? Alan Curbishley could be forgiven if he sought to ram this 4-1 victory down our throats. His team answered their critics in dramatic style. Ok, 4-1 was a flattering scoreline, but who’s complaining when Paul Ince is on the other end of it?

Ince was heckled rather than barracked. The abuse was half hearted to say the least. He’s put on a bit of weight, hasn’t he?

My man of the match was Calum Davenport, and not just because of his goal. He was mammoth at the back and could have had another goal too. I didn’t see who it was who lost Jason Roberts for their goal, but I think it was Behrami. He improved as the game went on. I can’t help thinking he would be better deployed in midfield.

Etherington was tireless down the left and Faubert put in a superb performance down the right. He always looked dangerous and when he runs at full pelt he’s like a tank.

Perhaps the best aspect of the performance was the return to form of Parker and Noble in central midfield. They were superb with both putting in hard tackles and distributing the ball well.

Up front Ashton was always busy, but Carlton Cole was largely anonymous. He constantly failed to win anything in the air, his first touch deserted him and he rarely threatened their goal – until the 94th minute, that is!

It was great to see Bellamy back. He buzzed around causing havoc and his goal was no more than he deserved. No doubt he will now go and play for Wales and pick up an injury.

And a word about Rob Green. Brilliant. But I bet he doesn’t get an England callup.
The table looks good tonight, doesn’t it? We’re third.

So let’s say well done to Alan Curbishley and the team for a good day’s work. And now for the player ratings.

Green 9
Neill 7
Behrami 6
Upson 7
Davenport 9
Noble 8
Parker 8
Faubert 8
Etherington 8
Ashton 7
Cole 5

Blackburn Preview

August 30, 2008

This afternoon should be eventful one way or another. I suspect we will either put on a vintage performnce or get completely tonked. Let’s hope it is the former. I worry about the reaction to Paul Ince. Ince has done his best to defuse the situation in the morning papers, but even though he has admitted he made a big mistake, I don’t detect any mood of forgiveness among West Ham fans. I just hope that people do not go over the top.

Alan Curbishley has a few options this afternoon, but I don’t expect him to make too many changes to the starting eleven. I suspect Lucas Neill may move to central defence with George McCartney making a welcome return to left back. In midfield I think Lee Bowyer may well come in for Mark Noble. Kyel Reid has made a case for a starting place on the left but I reckon he will stick with Matty Etherington. Up front, Cole and Ashton will start, with Bellamy hopefully fit enough to make the bench.

Macari Threatened by Ince Agent

August 29, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I listened to Lou Macari talking about his new autobiography for half an hour on 5 Live. I hadn’t realised he had a son who committed suicide. Anyway, my copy of the book arrived this morning and I have just finished reading the chapters about West Ham. He says resigning his job at Upton Park was the worst decision of his life and now realises he shouldn’t have done it. He praises Julian Dicks to the skies and reveals that Terry Venables tried to sign him for Tottenham. But perhaps the most interesting part is his view of Paul Ince. Here’s how he starts a chapter…

I didn’t know much about Paul Ince before I walked through the doors at Upton Park, but it did not take me long to get acquainted… I was threatened by his agent, Ambrose Mendy. Agents were still in their infancy in the late eighties. I couldn’t remember having dealt with one before. Let’s just say Mendy was a bit of a lad.

“I think it would be in your interests if you did not stand in his way,” he said. “If you do, it could be a problem for you.”

I may have misunderstood the message, but it seemed menacing enough to me. What else could he have meant? … Matters quicly came to a head … Ince was pictured in a newspaper with a Manchester United short on. no one from United had been in touch with me. And I had no intention of speaking to Sir Alex. Now I had a problem. I was determined not to let Ince leave. No matter what Mendy said, I was ready to dig my heels in. Quite apart from anything else, I knew the fans were not going to stand for any of that crap. The West Ham support is firecely loyal. they saw it as a betrayal. I couldn’t disagree with them… But that picture changed everything. United had already been in touch…

Intertesting stuff, eh? Anyway, you can buy the book HERE. It’s well worth a read.

UPDATE: Ince has put his side of the story in the Dailly Mail this morning.

Ince himself has done his best to defuse the situation in recent seasons but, as he is likely to discover tomorrow, he has had only limited success. He was even moved, not long ago, to explain the notorious shirt episode which so upset the Upton Park faithful. ‘I spoke to Alex Ferguson,’ he recalled, ‘and the deal was close to being done. I then went on holiday and my agent said it wasn’t worth me coming back to do a picture in a United shirt when the deal was completed, so I should do one before I left and it would be released when the deal was announced.

‘The photographer took the picture and put it into the newspaper’s library. Soon after, the sister paper were looking for a picture of me and found the one of me in a United shirt in the pile. They published it and all hell let loose. I came back from holiday to discover West Ham fans were going mad. ‘It wasn’t really my fault, I was only a kid. I did what my agent told me and took all the crap for it.’ The photographer in question has since confirmed that Ince was blameless and, unlike a substantial number of West Ham fans, the Blackburn boss is keen to draw a line under the episode.

I suspect that both versions are actually true.

The Woes of a West Ham Fan

August 28, 2008

For the first time in years, last night I voluntarily missed a home game. Despite ticking the box to enable my season ticket for all Cup games, I received no email from the club telling me they had debited my card, so I assumed they hadn’t. Reminds me, must check the bank account…

Why didn’t I go? Probably for the same reason as the 20,000 other people who didn’t. I knew what I would be letting myself in for. Instead, when I got home I listened to much of the game on Radio London, having read the Evening Standard story on the train about how morale at Upton Park is at an all time low.

It was humiliating to be losing to a side that is bottom of League Two for 74 minutes. Only when they were down to ten men did we come to life. I’m told Lee Bowyer looked good and the youngster Hines did well, but really, it doesn’t get much worse than struggling against Macclesfield, does it?

And today we hear that Carlton Cole wants to leave as he is not satisfied by his contract renegotiations. Sell him, I say.

It would not surprise me at all if by this time next week we were looking for a new manager. Curbishley obviously feels that he is being humiliated – firstly by the Board and secondly by his players, who he just doesn’t seem to be able to motivate.

It is ridiculous that we are even thinking about a crisis, let alone talking about one, but that’s the mood of the club at the moment. Yes, it was right to trim the size of the squad and get rid of fringe players, but we haven’t really done that have we? Nigel Quashie and Luis Boa Morte are still there. We all needed one big signing this summer to show us that the current board has the ambition we as supporters have. I doubt very much whether that will happen before the Transfer deadline on Sunday.

As you can tell, I am feeling very down, and not looking forward to Saturday at all. But I will be there. Make no mistake about that. We are owed a performance. Big time.

Fire Sale, Anyone?

August 26, 2008

Anton is off to Sunderland and having a medical today. We now hear that Craig Bellamy may be moving to Manchester City, that Carlton Cole is going to Hamburg or Sunderland and that Matthew Upson is also being touted around. Anyone would think we were having a fire sale.

I cannt believe we could be selling both Bellamy and Cole as that would leave us with only two strikers – Ashton and Sears.

This is deeply worrying. I can certainly see the sense in selling one of the centre backs, and £8 million is not a bad price for Anton. With Tomkins coming through we are well covered in that position, although I would not want to even consider selling Upson, who is one of our most consistent players.

The trouble is that if we sell at this late stage in the transfer window, it only leaves a few days to sign anyone else. It almost beggars belief that Berahmi is the only serious player we have signed recently.

Woe betide Mr Curbishley is it all goes tits up tomorrow night. He will say that these transfers are nothing to do with him, but I am not sure that is very convincing.