Thatcher Is Not Good Enough

Now there’s a headline I would most certainly never write on my political blog!

I have so far kept my counsel on the subject of Ben Thatcher. I suppose I couldn’t quite believe that Alan Curbishley was serious about taking him on. But since he played yesterday it’s quite clear that he intends to offer him a contract. So I’m going to have my twopennyworth.

His personal history is just that. History. The fact that he’s an unpleasant thug should not automatically bar him from playing for West Ham. After all, we have had a few of them in the past…

What should disbar him from being even considered is the fact that he is well past his best. He was discarded by Spurs, couldn’t keep his place at Man City and is now being hunted by the likes of Ipswich. And yet Alan Curbishley thinks he is good enough for West Ham. He is wrong.

West Ham are not Charlton. We should be building for the future. Yes, we need a left back to cover George McCartney, but is Ben Thatcher really the best we can do?

He’s not good enough. Simple as that. If we need a left back let’s look at a young player from the Championship. Joe Mattock of Leicester has been mentioned. Surely he’s got to be a better bet.


46 Responses to Thatcher Is Not Good Enough

  1. Matthew says:

    Well said Iain, i think we as a club are in a funny place at the moment. Some of the players being touted about are good enough and seem to be within our budget but we don’t seem to be in for them. Take Shorey, reportedly 3.5 million, surely he would add competition for places and quality. If a couple of the friendlies Curbs has played Neill at left back, is this what we have to look forward to? How disappointing. As mentioned in an earlier response i mentioned that i have seen a few of the friendlies, we have looked very ordinary. Yes, i am worried, i think we will struggle this season and i really think that if Mark Hughes doesn’t resign from City Curbs will be sacked or will walk. Bilic in by January, the great escape II.

  2. Richard says:

    I agree with you. Ben Thatcher is well past his best!. I don’t think he ever had a Best Time!. It is a bit worrying that Alan Curbishley is looking at players at this standared.
    I am begining to feel that Alan has losting his way!. I still think we need a striker and a centre back. We should be looking at younger players not 30 plus!.
    I think the owners may look for a new manager by xmas!.

  3. Prince H says:

    I would never vote for Thatcher! At the moment I vote for Widdowson! Young eager and did well against Beckham. Should do against Wigan – and the week after that McCartney is (probably) back. For more cover we must find better solutions than Thatcher. Cause he is the worst.

  4. Hammer Gav says:

    Totally agree Iain, we could do a lot better, Franck Queudrue at Brum is a far better option for cover plus Alex McLeish has said he can leave too.

  5. VerbalVolley says:

    I agree with most of what you say Iain, but I think there is something else here that needs to be considered.

    As a club that seems to be constantly criticised in the media post Sheff Utd saga and have gone from a club that many “neutrals” had a soft spot for, to one that many now cheer against, employing Thatcher would be PR suicide.

    I think a fit Bellamy would be fantastic at Upton Park this year but you know that one step out of line from him and the press will have a field day…. Thatcher would be the same minus the talent… and we already have Bowyer.

    Even Hartson was gotten rid of very quickly after the Berkovic incident.

    I really hope this doesn’t happen.

  6. says:

    I can not beleave that he is seriouly considering Ben what a joke what is going on in Curbs’s head he’s not doing he’s job, it’s going to be my first season of having a season ticket and if this is what we have to look forward too then im starting to regret buying the ticket

  7. Roy says:

    Totally agree with all that has been said on Thatcher. Quite simply he never was Premiership quality and has been getting worse for years. Why the club would want to spend any of the understandably tight wages budget on such a talentless waster is beyond my understanding when there are better options within the club like Joe Widderson or others like Mattock, but let’s face it, anyone would be an improvement on Thatcher. I have been trying to give Curbs the benefit of the doubt, despite his love of the average and the injury prone, but if Thatcher joins, then I’ll add my shout to those calling for his departure.

  8. Seems Curbishley is being belligerent in his decision making with Thatcher and does not feel the ire of the fans to be justified. With Season tickets sales not going through the roof and cash short in supply for the fans due to the credit crisis you’d think that the club would be looking to excite instead of irritating the fans.

    On the whole if you look at the Management of the club these last few years its been very bad from Brown through to the new owners with the latest being last week’s 6 Million pay off of a player who 2 months ago was the Swedish national captain. They, the Management, seem to drag the good name of West Ham United through the dirt constantly. Really we are a laughing stock in comparison to 95% of the Premiership with Newcastle and Man City pipping us at the post just about.

    Its going to be a long hard season, God forbid if we get hit with injuries too soon.

    Personally I think Curbs is out of his depth tactically and will not last the season unless he gets a long run of very good luck – but as the song goes Fortunes Always Hiding.

  9. ColmMCCool says:

    Ya What is he thinking!!!Thatcher is crap its almost like Curds wants to get the sack!

    I have always stood by Curds thinking he just needed time. If he signs Ben “Im 32 and elbow people in the face” Thatcher I will have lost all confidence in curbs. Surely playing Widdowson is a better option

  10. geoff says:

    Iain, you are totally right. How can Alan Curbishley even contemplate bringing in a thug like Ben Thatcher. How ironic, that we have just retired the ‘Gentleman of Football’s” No.6 shirt, and on the same day Thugger plays alongside our number 6.

    It’s disgraceful, and as much as it’s important we get right behind our team this season, I still think West Ham as a club, and Curbishley, should be fully aware of the fans feelings.
    Prince H, sorry I can’t agree about Widdowson, I’ve seen him a couple of times and he’s got a lot to learn, but that needs to be in the reserves. Against Ipswich, time and time again he was caught out of position and gave the ball away too easily. Hopefully he will improve with age, but I found it hard to believe he’s been coached by Tony Carr. Let’s hope he proves me wrong.

    But the important thing now is to get behind the team on Saturday and get a good start to the season. With the way the fixtures have turned out, if we don’t do well in our first 8 games, it could be a long season.

  11. e1 says:

    Green Upson Barami Parker Noble Ashton and Ferdinand Thats all weve got excluding the younsters Sears Tomkins reid Collinson Widdowson as back up.
    7 first teamers a few prospects and a bunch of make weights and cripples is hardley a team to finish in the top 7. We were very lucky last year and were given 10th spot due to poor results of the teams around us rather than earning it . I very much doubt we will be as lucky this year does any body really think we can finish above Spurs Newcastle Boro Man City Villa Everton Blackburn + THE BIG FOUR means the best we could expect would 12th of course we would have to better than Bolton Wigan Pompey and Fulham so purhaps 17th is more like it. If we are not going to spend money or indeed get a manager who atracts top players I can’t see much more than a relgation season and BEN THATCHER is not the solution.

  12. Marleeeen depreciation society says:

    doesn’t really set your stall out giving a talentless thug who is past what best he had a trial. i agree that widowson should be used as cover. we badly need cover at the back and up front, really hoping we sign pinto as rumoured but that we don’t lose ashton to spurs, surely this is a joke! i’d also like to see behrami used as a holding midfielder against some teams that pose a threat rather than a stifling 5 man midfield and lone striker. nothing against his effort either but i’d rather see cole dropped in favour of hines or sears to increase our goal threat. but i’m sure i’m not the only one who’s not very optimistic at this point for our season.

  13. chris says:

    just been to see batman,good film ledger was great as the jocker,but curbs could go one better.

  14. Bob says:

    Totally in agreement with you Iain Thatcher is a thug but apart from that he is an average player, in the position we find ourselves at the moment we need to be aiming higher bring in a much younger player that can improve with time not waste away, we need a striker and maybe a centre back as Richard says, in fact I firmly believe we need a change of Management Curbishley seems devoid of ideas lets have Billic as Manager and De Canio as fitness coach as soon as possible.

  15. John K says:

    ‘Not good enough’ isn’t the issue. At a time when the No. 6 shirt is being retired in honour of a man who played the game the right way I find it obscene that we would even consider having this thug in our club colours.

    I have a lot of time for Curbs and think he gets a massive amount of undeserved stick, but for someone who came through the West Ham ranks and understands the club’s traditions, I really am surprised he is even thinking about him.

    I am still ashamed we have Bowyer on our books. And in the media we seem to be associated with any mindless idiot who might be jettisoend by their curent club. Thank God Keegan kept Barton.

    I like to think of our club as one that has always had players the fans can be proud of.

    It was horrible to see Thatcher in claret and blue. I don’t want to see it again.

  16. danny bee says:

    Get Curbishley out! He should be looking for a top class left back to compete with mcartney not an old charlton pal that was never any good who cant get in a championship team.The manager is completely out of his depth,with Bellamy injured if anything happens to Ashton he is finished.Bland football with no creative players,im bored already.Bring in Bilic ASAP

  17. Biffo the bear says:

    I was optimistic, pre-season seemed to be going well. i thought we played well in America.

    All of a sudden my enthusiasm has plummeted, other teams strengthen their squads, release players who aren’t good enough (like Charlton did with Thatcher) and we get rid of Ljungberg, keep Boa Morte and give a trial to this geezer. Aside from the fact he played for Millwall and Tottenham, which is bad enough in my humble opinion, he’s just not the calibre of player a premier league club should be looking at. I’ll get behind the team on Saturday but if Thatcher plays I’ll exercise my right to express my dissaproval. (i’ll boo him and call him all sorts of bad things).

    I wasn’t too convinced of Shorey but he would have definitely been challenging McCartney more than Thatcher. The other thing that confuses me is when Curbs says he doesn’t understand the fans reaction (on saturday) to Thatcher come on mate you’re from Canning Town, an over the hill ex millwall and spurs player turns out for West Ham???? What’s not to understand?
    Thatcher is a name associated with the worst kind of thuggery. The football player has quite a bad reputation too.

  18. Andy says:

    Joe Mattock doesn’t play in the Championship, but he would be a much better option than Thatcher ……

  19. Roshi says:

    Pay peanuts……get….Thatchers!

  20. aussi hammer says:

    Ian, after following WHU for many years, home and away I now live in Australia. I rely on the web for news and Foxtel to watch the games even though this is at midnight here. There are a few of us in Aus so we still get a decent chat. I like your articles but feel that as you are ,to a degree ,in a position to influence more than us you should be doing more to make the feelings known.
    Thatcher should never of been allowed a trial let alone serious consideration for a contract. it has nothing to do with who he has previosuly played for or his thuggish behaviour. it is simply the fact that even when he was yound and fast he could not hold down a regular 1st team place in the Premiership. he brings nothing to the Hammers in regards of helping younger players and is already to old to be considered as a chance for the future. If money really is that tight, and it certainly appears to be the case then why bother recruiting for this position at all. At this level surely Gabbidon, Collins or Neil could fill for one game. As we are at home we could even adopt 3 at the back with Behrami as a sweeper. I am sure the young lad will develop and McCartney is not far from fitness. i would much prefer any spare money being directed towards cover for the strikers. If Ashton get injured we are in shit street. We have nobody who can hold the ball upfront and Sears is more of a Bellamy type than Ashton type so who is going to win anything in the air. Sell or give Cole away and focus on this please. Ian, cant you put something in a daily paper where the Board will have to take note???

  21. Plaistow54 says:

    Yes, Curbishley must be getting desperate to even consider him. Thatcher is trouble with a capital “T”. His tackle on Pedro Mendes was vicious & not the only time that he has used the elbow. He has a nasty streak & we don’t need him at West Ham. He will never play for Wales again because he told Toshak he was injured then played a Manchester derby three days later. Draw your own conclusions. I wonder what happened to the Gael Givet rumour. He’s looking for a move & he played next to Evra. Why are we looking for second rate players on a free? The bookies may be right, if can’t collect some decent players, changes may be on the way.

  22. Pete says:

    i find it hard to belive the club let him through the gates let alone gave him any form of time on a pitch the bloke will never be any good for the club the fans dont want him he is in his 30s and the only thing he has ever done that has caught anyones eye was that stupid thugish tackle on mendez and for me i would of made sure thatcher never kicked a ball in any team anywhere across the globe the fa let him off far to light him being at the club will just drag our name through the mudd. as for curbs well i have stated my case to everyone i have spoken to about this ok we have had a bad run of injuries but then again they are most of players he signed in to start with players so the blame lies with him if you ask me. i think billic would be a good place to start and i do think he would make a diffrence with the fans at least as there is more common ground curbs is charlton and thats never going to change in the fans eyes anytime soon i think we need some fresh ideas and faces maybe.

    i would love to see di canio back with some kinda coaching role fitness i would of thought. assistant to billic that would be fun in the dugout and dressing room we would not be short on passion thats for sure lol

  23. ironsmith says:

    I am very embarrassed indeed that Curbishley has introduced this highly questionable association with a has been and known footballing thug to bring nothing but shame and ridicule on our club. He should know better but he obviously does not and he should be sacked immediately for his error of judgment!

  24. konark says:

    joe mattock would be the best pick for the left back,cover, right now

  25. colney says:

    i cant help thinking this nani geeza isnt doing much southampton last week behrami looked way short of being a prem player.thatcher is just another average player thats managed to ruin his career with crap decisions.west ham havent changed and were still buying bargin basement rubbish. why after last season hasnt lbm gone ?i just cant see us getting above 12th all season.still,whutillidie as we all say!!!

  26. Jimbo says:

    To think that we’ve had a whole season with just 1 recognised left back and only now that MacCartney is injured does Curbs decide to address the problem is pathetic. Not only that, we now settle for a left back who should never make our first team, not in a million years should a team supposedly aiming for Europe have to resort to a 32 y/o free transfer, a renowned thug, a player no other club in the Premiership seem to want to tought with a barge-pole, on a free transfer. While clubs like Portsmouth and Villa are out there spending money, we have managed to turn a profit with our transfer dealings this summer. There is no evidence of this supposed new ambition at the club. Well done West Ham.

  27. richo says:

    Yeah, I was expecting more decent addittions to the squad by now, lookin’ at our squad if we have injuries anywhere across the park we’re in deep sh17 and what about when we want to rest some of the 1st team.

    Finishing so high last season was probably a bad thing with hindsight, now Curbs thinks he’s some master tactician, it’s the only conclusion one can come to when you look at our spending so far.

    Can’t wait till saturday and i’ll bloody cry if Curbs lines up a 4-5-1 formation, surely he’ll play Bellars and Ashton in a two man attack.

  28. JT says:

    Ben Thatcher comes under the kind of label that the media give to Joey Barton and Jermaine Pennant, who have both done spells in prison.
    And i feel Thatcher is not far off that punishment himself.
    We dont want someone who will disrupt the balance of the squad, or tempt others in the club to go down the same route.
    Thatcher means trouble.

    And as for Curbishley, i feel that he is losing the plot a bit.
    As mentioned in another comment, we are not Charlton Atheltic whos main aim in the prem is midtable, we are a club with ambitions and squad ability of Champions League qualification but i feel with Curbs in charge we will not get past 10th place.

    Give him half the season, see where we’re at, and if we are not progressing at a suitable rate, have him out and approach Slaven Bilic who has done wonders with his national team.

    Who knows, with Bilic in charge we might get a bit of Croatian flair and some passion to wear the shirt.

  29. chris says:

    Curbs cant attract anyone of quality his not a big enough name.

  30. Bob says:

    JT, are you serious give him half the season and see where we’re at, we can’t afford to give the clown half a season, by then we could be in serious shit and even Billic wouldn’t be able to sort it at that late stage, COME ON GET REAL!!

  31. tommo says:

    I am getting more and more a anti curbishley man by the day!,what the hell is he on?,he is beginning to make us a bit of a joke.Prince h is totally right when he says widdowson is a perfect replacement for macca,Curbishley has gave all the youngsters a real good go in the pre season which has been really refreshing so continue that and show faith going into the season with them, all be it as cover!.If Ben Thatcher joins i will be giving my season ticket away,the man is a complete PUMPHEAD!.

  32. Thucydides says:

    Yes it is now official. We are now one of the countrys most whingeing bunch of fans. What’s woth West Ham fans lately? We never ever used to be such moaners.
    Reality check; three and a bit years ago we were a Championship side and a year and a bit ago we just escaped relegation back to said league. The team have done remarkably well considering our injury list and the dubious quality of many in our squad. Why do you think Curbishley was given the job? Survival and stability, that’s why. One season in the top half is not stability, it has to be repeated year after year and only then will we have shaken off the tag of being a yoyo club. It may not be the football of previous West Ham teams, but then most of those teams gave us the yoyo reputation in the first place.
    And as for those ludicrous calls for Bilic; get real, one or two results against poor international sides doesn’t make you a good Premier League coach, as Scolari will soon find out. And the least said about our favourite fascist, Di Canio, the better. The thought of recordings of Mussolini speeches blaring from the changing room as part of his motivation at half time doesn’t bear thinking about.

  33. colney says:

    curbs doesnt understand why west ham fans booed thatcher? man he must be thick.

    still he has said he will have a think about it! derrrr come on mate,its not rocket science!

    i agree that were all becoming very negative but why can we all see it and curbs cant?

  34. winchester hammer says:

    Whingeing it may be, but there is a lot of truth in most of these posts. Thucydides – the real reality check is that Curbishley was brought in to bring European football to Upton Park after a year of righting the ship. During that year, most of the whingeing was done by Curbishley himself. Every club has injury problems. We had a massive squad of supposedly Premership quality players to cover for the injuries, but he still moaned about not being able to play his preferred team. Well, how many managers get to play their preferred team more than once before someone else gets injured? That’s what getting real is. No, he has to go – and quickly. I sat at the Man Utd home game, despairing that he was starting with just Cole up front and five in midfield. But Curbs was spot on – IN THAT GAME. That was the way to squeeze and stifle a team of Man Utd’s quality. However, that isn’t the way to play against teams like Wigan, Hull, Stoke etc. that we simply have to take six points from this season. So if he lines the team up like that on Saturday, it’s time for the axe.

  35. down to bare bones says:

    You say we are not Charlton but we are steadily turning into a carbon copy of them.
    I think that the lack of any decent signings sums it all up (and I include Behrami who did nothing to impress me in Euro 2008).
    Mid table mediocrity again this seson, if we are lucky. If we have another bad run of injuries, which is highly likely, we could be flirting with the drop again. The injury prone players like Dyer, Etherington etc are just not going to go in hard in the tackle for fear of injury and the opposition know it.
    I fear another pasting by the Spuds this season.

  36. Thucydides says:

    I think Curbs can see it but what is he to do. We get linked with many players but the simple fact is they don’t want to play for West Ham for various reasons. Managers alone don’t attract players, reputations do. And our reputation is as a side always favourite for relegation. If Curbs’s targets refuse to even speak to the club then what’s left? the greedy, the injury prone happy to pick up vast sums while recuperating, and the journeymen like thatcher; that’s what’s left. If Thatcher is the only full back willing to be cover for McCartney then he’ll have to do. What’s the alternative? have no cover? rely on youth? or get someone to fill in for a few games that then won’t complain at being a bench warmer. It’s not like we haven’t had our share of nutters previously is it? blimey we worshipped the likes of Dicks and Repka, not to mention having two players nicknamed psycho (Cross and Pearce) and one nicknamed mad dog (Allen). Seems like as well as becoming a bunch of whingers we’ve also gone a bit Mother Theresa.

  37. Ind says:

    Thatcher is a symptom of everything that is wrong with Curbishley’s leadership. After last season’s dull offerings we need to hear his vision for the team and one that distinguishes us from Charlton. What does he do? Trial a Charlton cast off and reinforce our worst fears. This season will be a test for Curbishley. I hope he succeeds. I fear he won’t. I fear he doesn’t have it in him. Sound familiar Gordon?

  38. Pete says:

    think i would rather see her in left back they both lack pace and run the risk of breaking bones at least we may get some better press out of it

  39. Stuart says:

    what Thucydides says. Good post.

  40. Bob says:

    Thucydides, you wouldn’t happen to be a shittenham Hotspur supporter by any chance would you cos you sure aint a Hammers fan!!

  41. richo says:

    As fans of a club we all love we have the right to whinge, maybe if a bit more whinging was done in the past we might not be known as a “yo-yo club” as someone above put it. Accepting below par signings and below par management without constructive criticism doesn’t really show support in my book.

  42. James says:,19528,11661_3971540,00.html

    Warnock would strengthen the squad rather than simply providing backup and no competition

  43. chris says:

    dont no about everyone else but I fell we’re gunna struggle this season,our squads not got enough quality, 1 signing, same injury problems,if ashton gets injured we’re knackered!!!

  44. Thucydides says:

    Thanks for your warm words. How long have you held the post as head of the West Ham supporters verification unit? And is it an elected post? Maybe you could contact Iain and suggest he let’s you have a regular slot where you can give instruction on how to be a true Hammers fan!!

  45. chris says:

    pumphead!!!thats great,I like that tommo

  46. Van Der Elst says:

    KUMB says Thtacher is set to sign for Ipswich today. Rejoice, rejoice.

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