A Nice Email

October 31, 2008

I just received this email from a reader in the Far East. I thought I would share it with you.

A few years ago I started a blog of sorts. Like you, I chose not to post just for the sake of it but only when I had something to say that I thought might be of interest to others.  Last month I stopped for various reasons.

Firstly, (like me with regard to your blog!), there were the people who visited but never wrote or gave any feedback.  And then there were the bored people who seemed to expect me to spend 100% of my time creating free material purely for their entertainment.  In the end it seemed to be a thankless task and I couldn’t understand why I bothered.  So I didn’t.

As a result of ending the blog, a few people wrote to wish me well and to thank me.  I wish they had done this before as it may have had a bearing on my decision.  That’s the first message: that there are people who appreciate what you write even if they don’t leave comments or write to tell you!

Secondly – as in all aspects of life – it’s always a few idiots who spoil things for everyone else.  I know it’s not always easy to do so, but we should just try to ignore them.

I grew up in Hall Road, East Ham just off the Barking Road near East Ham town hall. Naturally, there was only ever one team in that area and I went to school (played cricket, and even football occasionally) with Steve Whitton who later had a (not very successful) spell at WHU before going into management.

As a youngster in the early 70’s I used to go to games but a family move to Brentwood – combined with the football hooligan era – resulted in a lack of interest for many years.  However, I started visiting Upton Park again in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

In the final game of the 1992/3 season when we beat Cambridge to gain promotion I left the ground by ambulance as a result of breaking my wrist as I tried to clamber over the wall on to the pitch to avoid being crushed in the North Bank!  That’s a game I will never forget – the four inch scar on my right wrist from the resultant surgery being a permanent reminder!

My brother and me had three highly enjoyable seasons as season-ticket holders in the Lower East in the mid-90’s (along with attending half-a-dozen or so away games each year) but called it a day because of the ridiculous price increases that came about every year.

Of course, following a team is something that you never stop doing and it always gives me a lift to see West Ham do well (even better this year to see Spurs doing so badly!).  One of the ways I follow events and team news is through your blog which I enjoy because of the intelligent way it is written.  Also – by and large – the reader comments (for a football blog) are normally good and not just filled with profanity.

So, don’t let a few crass comments get you down. From my own experience I know what it feels like and I sensed your feelings from the comments a few days ago which is what prompted me to write.  I think this is what is known as empathy!  The on-line world is a very public domain and by entering it we put ourselves at the mercy of every sad loser with an Internet connection.

I noticed that some of your other regular readers also chipped in with supportive comments so you have a lot of people on your side.  Football is a topic that tends to attracts idiots – as we all know from some of the comments we have heard from the stands – so this kind of thing is inevitable from time to time.

There are people who do and achieve things in life, and people who never do or achieve anything themselves but just criticise what other people do.  They are the losers.

I really don’t feel there is any reason for you to give up.  You obviously enjoy writing about a subject that you have a great love for, and many people enjoy reading what you write.  Just ignore the idiots.  If I visit the blog and there aren’t any updates I assume you must be busy or there wasn’t anything newsworthy to publish.  No big deal; I’ll take a look later.

You’re doing fine!

The cockles of my heart are suitably warmed. I am also now back from Israel so will hopefully be posting regularly again overt the next few days.


Watching the Man U Game in Tel Aviv

October 28, 2008

Does anyone know a bar in Tel Aviv that is showing the Man U game? Preferably near the beach!

Herita Ilunga has a Blog!

October 27, 2008

Now I don’t know how good your French is, but our new left back Herita Ilunga has a blog, which he updates very regularly (more regularly than me at the moment, I hear you say!). You can find it HERE.

Herita has asked a friend of his to email me with a message for you all.

The main goal of this blog is to talk about the integration of Herita in West Ham and to increase relationship between fans and players. To date, the articles are just in French but you can translate them with the Google traductor tool. Anyway, Herita wants me to translate each article into English as soon as possible.

I am afraid my French is useless. Now, if it were in German we’d be in business! Anyway, it’s a great initiative and I hope others players may follow his lead.

Harry: Couldn’t Give a Monkey’s

October 26, 2008

So what do we make of Harry Redknapp joining West Ham’s biggest rivals?!

If I were a Spurs fan – perish the thought – I’d be experiencing a mix of emotions but overall recognise that he would save the club from relegation.

If I were a Portsmouth fan I’d be very angry indeed and feel totally let down. If I were a Portsmouth player like Defoe, James or Crouch I would feel totally deflated. I wish West Ham were playing them this afternoon!

And as a West Ham fan? You know what? I couldn’t give a monkey’s arse.

NB I’m flying to Israel at 2.30 so apologies if there is a delay in approving comments.

Some Interesting Player Stats

October 25, 2008

Player Fouls won
Behrami 32
Noble 10
Faubert 8
Etherington 7
Parker 6

Player Tackles won
Behrami 26
Parker 17
Faubert 11
Noble 9
Etherington 5

Looks like some of us, including me, have been underestimating Mr Behrami.

UPDATE: The TIMES has a profile of Valon Behrami.

Noble Out for a Month

October 24, 2008

More bad news on the injury front today. Mark Noble has torn a calf muscle and will be out for around four weeks. It will be interesting to see how Zola reforms the midfield four. The obvious replacement is Mullins, I suppose, but I wonder whether Lee Bowyer might be brought in from the cold instead.

I don’t really see the team for the Arsenal game changing very much. Reports suggest that James Collins is pushing for a place, having had an excellent game for Wales against Germany the week before last. But I can’t see Zola dropping his captain.

Just a word about the snide comments in the previous post. I don’t need advice on how to run this blog. If people don’t like it, they cam frankly bugger off elsewhere. Unlike some other blogs I don’t just post for the sake of it. I also have a very busy schedule at the moment. I’ve thought about having a couple of people helping me with it, but it wouldn’t be the same then, I don’t think. There have always been periods when I don’t post so often, and the last few weeks has been one of those. That’s life.

I won’t be at the Arsenal game. I will be flying over the Med on my way to Israel for a few days. Just a shame it isn’t a holiday.

Let’s Attack Hull From the Start

October 18, 2008

Under normal circumstances we’d be hoping to get three points against Hull, but they are on a roll at the moment. However, they have had one tanking at home, so there are reasons for optimism. I think we need to attack from the word go and put them under some real pressure.

The team almost selects itself and I only expect one change to be made, with Bellamy coming in for Di Michele. Rob Green is said to be fit after his minor injury scare with England. By all accounts James Collins had a stormer for Wales against Germany so he may make the bench, although many of us might like to see him in defence alongside Upson replacing Lucas Neill. Ain’t gonna happen though.

I don’t know why, but I fancy Cole to score at Hull. Preferably more than once!