Fulham Report: Was Bellamy Even Watching?


8.10pm TO TALK

Just as this game started, I turned to my neighbour and said: “I don’t fancy this.” “Nor do I,” he replied. How wrong can you be?

There are few matches where you could nominate three players from the same team as man of the match, but this was one of them. West Ham played like a real team, with no obvious weakness and no sign of missing Craig B*****y.

My three nominations for MOTM would be Valon Behrami, Jack Collison and Carlton Cole. In the end I would give it to Behrami, but only very narrowly and mainly because his performance was constant throughout the match. This boy has an engine on him the like of which I have rarely seen. He never gives up, personifies the word tenacious and has a bundle of skill as well. He was everywhere today. Jack Collison had a superb first half. Although he played on the left, he too was everywhere. He also showed several delightful moments of Joe Cole-like trickery, which was a side to his game which was new to me. Although Cole had a quiet start to the match, in the second half he was almost unplayable. He won the penalty and his goal was sublime. He had another two spectacular efforts. Amazing what a bit of confidence can do, isn’t it? That makes it 5 goals and 5 assists in 5 matches. We shouldn’t forget that he has scored more goals this season than Craig Bellamy, and has 9 goals in 21 appearances – a respectable ratio by any striker’s standards.

Defensively, I would say this was one of our surest performances of the season. I can’t remember any moments of real danger even in the two spells when Fulham looked as if they were about to control the game. Collins was powerful in the air again and while Upson was quiet, that was purely because he didn’t have a lot to do. Both Ilunga and Neill were getting forward quite a bit and Ilunga in particular had an excellent game down the left. It was Neill’s cross which led to the Di Michele goal.

In midfield the two wide players, as I have said, were superb. In the centre both Noble and Parker were buzzing. Noble found it more difficult to get into the game initially but played very well in the second half. He took the penalty well, although I reckon if Schwarzer had gone the other way he would have saved it. He also won the ball and played it through to Di Michele who set Cole up with the third.

I was disappointed that Zola picked Di Michele to start in preference to Sears or Tristan, but within 7 minutes I was eating my words. He put in a good performance. His final ball was sometimes disappointing but that was more due to lack of match practice than anything. You can’t ask for much more than one goal and one assist from a player. Craig who?

It was good to see the crowd give warm welcomes to Konchesky and Pantsil. When Zamora was subbed he got a tremendous ovation and a round of the Zamora song. But I have to say his performance was dire. He looks to have put on quite a bot of weight and seemed quite immobile. Konchesky’s goal was a fantastic strike. We weren’t at fault defensively as there was no way of knowing he would shoot from 35 yards. It was his first goal since the Cup Final. Typical! John Pantsil was subdued and was at fault for our first goal. He was also booked.

One question I ask myself is this. Was Craig Bellamy even watching? I suspect not. If he was, he will have heard the sporadic chanting of “Who needs Craig Bellamy” or “**** off Craig Bellamy”. While we missed his pace to a degree, we now know that we can perform very well without him. Just as well.

Green 7
Upson 7
Collins 7
Ilunga 8
Neill 7
Behrami 9
Noble 7
Parker 7
Collison 9
Cole 9
Di Michele 8

A final word about Phil Dowd, the referee. Dire. Konchesky should have been sent off for the penalty.


99 Responses to Fulham Report: Was Bellamy Even Watching?

  1. Matt says:

    good match report Iain

    totally agree with you on Behrami MOM, he was outstanding today, as to were Cole and Collison.

    Looking good we are at the moment.

    if bellamy was there, he would have gone into hiding after the first 7mins after 3 or 4 times of who needs craig bellamy and di michele scoring!!


  2. Eric says:

    Am i supposed to hang that Swiss David Beckham picture in my locker?
    Great match and although Di Michelle did well he still seems to lack something and i hope Zola can do for him whatever he did to Cole or give Sears and Tristan a shot.

    Good to see Dyer out there. I’m confident the team is united and happy to play for Zola.

    Now i will wait for Bottomham Hotspurs to lose and the footy shows to still slag us and not give any credit. What a game! COYI!!!!

  3. iron man says:

    Cracking game fully deserved the win. We really looked like a team today , even Neill had a good game, hope we can build on this and push upwards. Carlton played really well and is starting to reach his potential, Collins also had a good game and our defenders were rarely troubled. I think the majority of support has kept behind Zola ans Clarke, now it is paying off. If the Spuds loose my day will be complete!!! COYI !!!!!

  4. irontc says:

    great result. the ref had a crap game.

    Craig who?


  5. D&G says:

    Behrami will be off in the Summer HE IS QUALITY and the likes of us just cant hang on to players like that 😦 We will double our money though (if an consolation)

    Another 3pts against Hull and it will set us up nicely for the top boys!

  6. Goatygav says:

    Brilliant team performance.

    I said that “I hope I eat my words about Carlton Cole” and I have to say that he’s proven me, and many others, wrong. I never thought he could cut it as a Prem striker but he’s showing that he’s exactly that as well as having other attributes too boot. Good luck to the lad. He’s looking very confident and should go from strength to strength. Good on him for giving credit to his team-mates as well. Hence my vote for MOM goes to Mr Cole.


    Great game – great result – a very happy hammer tonight!!


  7. Helen says:

    Agree with almost every word of the match report. Just had two quibbles: I thought that Zamora actually gave Upson a quite hard time in the air compared to what we’re used to seeing Upson win and Collins’ distribution still drives me mad – long hoofs to Di Michele is madness.

  8. HammersWest says:

    Just watched the “other” game on TV, shame about the result, though it probably suits us. But my main thought was both teams passing was awful, we looked so much better than either of them, looks like we are heading in the right direction. And there wasn’t one player on either team I’d take, though DJ was class, we just don’t need a keeper

  9. colin say's says:

    you could find that the other players are glad to see the back of Craig what’is name.
    Great game, Had a quick look in Kens cafe mobbed out. I’ll get there a bit earlier next time…

  10. Iain Dale says:

    Colin, I was there from 12.15 to about 1.

  11. jon.london colney says:

    played very well and stopped a form team playing today.cole was frustrating at times but he keeps scoring so ill shut up.collison and biriani were superb but getting worried about parkers passing? hes all over the place in tackles but not so good at passing.nobel had a decent game,

  12. gossy says:

    I’d take Glen Johnson for Neill (2mil Newcastle = result). Not sure why we did not try before he signed a new contract. Would love to bring him home.

  13. redkipper says:

    Ian, thank you for a very good report, full of detail and to the point. You are a credit to your party! (even though I’m never likly to vote politicaly with you)

    Bellamy now has to go, which is just as well as he must be close to his usual injury period.

    However, that does mean we have no real pace up front without him.

    I’m sure Zola is aware of this problem.

    One other thing; what a relief to see and hear both manager’s today speak the truth and none of the clap trap usualy churned out.

    Its turning out a good new year so far!!

  14. Kevin says:

    I agree totally with your article. We were both definitely at the same game.

    Behrami is looking a great buy and Collison looks like he was born to play for us!

    Loved watching Cole and just feel that his confidence is a direct result of the work that Clarke and Cole are putting in. Watch Clarke congratulating our guys come off who are substituted.

    It was definitely flat today as like you I think most fans feel that losing Bellamy or any of our key players is a big blow. It may soften now that he has once again exposed himself as a complete self centred T*sser, however if we are all honest it would have been great to have him playing for us for a couple of seasons.

    Lets just hope we can sign another good striker to play alongside Cole or if we can’t do that Di Mikele or Sears is able to step up a level.

  15. HammersWest says:

    Yeah gossy, now you mention I’d take Johnson too

  16. Jolly says:


    I may have in the past have referred to Carlton Cole as the worst striker to ever play for West Ham. I may have questioned his ability to score goals, pass a ball or even stay on 2 feet for longer than 10 minutes.

    I can now see that i am a buffoon and that Carlton Cole is the finest young striker in the premier league and a future england international….. i may also be slightly drunk with joy.

    Carlton – i apologise for my previous abuse humbly and with a full retraction.

  17. Goatygav says:

    Difficult to tell whilst watching on the tele but it sounded very quiet in the 1st half. The pundits and commentators said that they were surprised how little noise was coming from the home fans – even after we scored the first. I hope the nerves start to disappear now and that our home support gets back to where it belongs.

    I wonder what Fabio Capello thought as he watched from the stands? Out of the three obvious ones Matt Upson edged out Parker and Green for my money. Not much Green could’ve done about the goal. I rate him very highly but he still needs to command his area and boss his defence a little better. Scott Parker did ok but was a bit sloppy in posession in the first half – three or four times giving the ball away cheaply.

    Today, however, is not a day for negativity. Super Irons!!!

  18. irontc says:

    six – eight weeks ago I never thought the Cole man had it in him – but he has delivered!

    Just shows how wrong I can be!

    Could I just add -I dont think Bellamy will ever get injured again! especially in the near future!

  19. chris says:

    Incredible!!!!! might start posting again,dont fell so depressed after all.
    Good blog today Iain.

  20. Falvey says:

    Amazing, a year ago, Carlton was getting booed at every game. Now he’s becoming a fan favourite and earning some apologies from us fans.

    I personally always thought that if Chelsea had him he must have some kind of quality hidden and hoped that given time, the floodgates would open.

    Proved right. Cheers Carlton 🙂

  21. simon says:

    great gamw…love Collison and swiss tony

    I wish the crowd would sing Zola’s name a bit more though…he’s doing a great job for us, has a lot of sh1t to put up with and still smile…
    Come on guys, let him know we’re all behind him !!!

  22. Goatygav says:

    Who was that lifelong hammer who posted his last before going off to support Spurs about 6 weeks ago? Love to know how he’s feeling now?

  23. Hammerputt says:

    Given that the first two goals were as a result of errors by former conrtracted West Ham players can we expect the Premier League/FA to launch an inquiry into third party interference in matches?

    A great day for the Hammers.

  24. DM says:

    Cracking report as always Iain.

    Maybe now we will get some positive press for once. Since before xmas we have been playing well but all you read about is who leaving us and how we should be docked points and relegated for Tevezgate.

    Im gonna stick my neck out here, but if Carlton continues like this he will be in the next England squad. What other english strikers have his current form? Zola has done wonders with him and he is showing he is the class player which he was billed to be when he was at Chelski.

  25. colin say's says:

    Hi Iain, we got there about 12.50, never mind, We had to meet some friends in the lower centenary stand, there wasn’t as much banter with the away fans as there normally is, but by the second half, the atmosphere was so relaxed, there was one comical fan who kept the banater going, and kept us all laughing, Keirron Dyer had a good run down the wing, & a fulham defender was just about to go for the tackle, when this voice rung out ” DON’T YOU HURT HIM!! WE’LL COME DOWN & BREAK BOTH YOUR ******* LEGS!! and the whole stand was laughing & cheering!! It was one of the best afternoons l have had in a long time,

  26. DevoDevo says:

    An excellent TEAM performance, with not ONE player putting in a bad performance. I did get a little worried early in the 2nd half as we seemed to be so comfortable, we were playing at half speed.

    Glad you’re finally seeing Collison’s ability Iain! 😉 I have to agree, that i would have started with Sears but Zola got it right with Di Michele. He’s not my favourite player because he has no pace and in the past Zola has employed him in midfield, but he does have a good brain and touch and worked well with Cole.

    Carlton Cole! What can you say? A totally different player to the one that we saw a month or so ago. If Zola can transform a player so quickly with one to one tuition, we will have a team of world beaters in a years time!

    Behrami. Again, a tireless performance.

    Last,, but not least, to all those on here that don’t rate Parker. This man controls midfield nearly every week and a lot of what he does in unspectacular, but invaluable. A great professional.

    Positives: Pretty much everyone. Neill has looked a lot more focussed in the last few games and is always better on the offensive. Ilunga is a great acquisition, Collison continues to belie his years and is almost as busy as Parker & Behrami.

    Did Fulham have a shot apart from the goal?

    Green 6
    Upson 7
    Collins 7
    Ilunga 8
    Neill 8
    Behrami 8
    Noble 7
    Parker 8
    Collison 8
    Cole 9
    Di Michele 7

    Another 3 pts against Hull and we will be up Wigan’s pipe!!

  27. Japatti says:

    Goatygav, I bet he’s feeling a right tw@t now – like bellend will feel if he ends up there. In fact I now hope he goes there and they get relegated.

  28. Rob says:

    Tonight I am having crow for supper, and I will enjoy it.
    Well done Carlton! So glad you are playing well, you deserve your success.
    As for the rest in claret and blue, GREAT TEAM PERFORMANCE FROM ALL!!!
    Zola has earned a very tall glass of wine tonight.

  29. Joe, Gozo, Malta says:

    Such a wonderful afternoon! This is the real Westham team. Thanks Zola & Clarke! Well done all especially Cole, Di Michele and all the rest. This is what we deserve! A deserved smile at last to all Irons supporters in England and abroad. Lets look forward!

  30. Goatygav says:

    That would be Poetic Justice Japatti. They deserve each other.

  31. Richard says:

    I listerned to the match on 5live. We did play well. And I am pleased that the players all played well for Zola, because bellmy is justing showing his true colours now. It would appear when he knows that a another club wants his services he begins to behave like a baby throwing his dummbies out the pram!!.
    Zola done the right thing by leaving himout of the squard.
    Go to spurs for 15mbecause next year he will be playing championship football!!
    I would like to say well done Cole. I was not a fan of him and I must admit I wanted Zola to sale in this month. But he is showing that he may have the ability which Zola seems every day in training.

  32. Graybo says:

    How exciting … we have a team to be proud of, and in my opinion better for the absence of the unmentionable one.

    Here’s an anagram for you to work out…

    Amicably rare weaklings

  33. Bobby says:

    Great analysis Iain, agree with everything you said. Great performance from everyone, and let’s all hope that Bellamy was watching and listening.

  34. DaDon says:

    Di Michele step up a level? A goal and an assist, what more do you want from the guy? Considering he’s only really played 5 minutes here and there, he had a an excellent game and what he lacks in pace he makes up for in clever runs and and very good work ethic. I think he and Cole will work well together as neither is a true super talent and so the partnership/understanding is very important and I already saw signs of that coming together today.

    And as for the verdict on Cole, I’ve always been amazed at the lack of credit he’s received. At the very least he always puts in a good shift and as long as a player is trying then he deserves our indulgence and support. Clearly his hard work and determination is paying off and he looks a snip at the £2m I believe we paid for him.

    Today was a very important victory for us especially as two of the next three league games are against Arsenal and Man U. I enjoyed the game but I think we can play a lot better than that and with a decent number of points on the board now (just eleven more points for likely safety) we can relax a bit and play some really lovely football unencumbered by fear and hopefully therefore littered with fewer mistakes..

    I’m really loving it right now, the onus has shifted to the fans to rereate those hostile atmospheres and really get behind the team so we can bloody some significant noses. Fear is the only enemy!

  35. Ben Downing says:

    Ilunga would have got my motm. I thought he was solid as usual. We definitly need to purchase him at the end of the season. If we don’t buy him Liverpool are interested

  36. OZ ex chicken runner says:

    Great result, midfield were excellent, defence untroubled, Di Michele looked pretty lively and Cole has put more egg on my face..great goal, keep it going sunshine!Great result all round…bye bye Craig and I am being polite!Looks like Zola stills likes Faubert though COYI

  37. Bex Bissell says:


    Sorry Iain i’m answering the anagram.

  38. Dan says:

    Proud of that team.Proud of the management.We are playing like Arsenal.This is football,ball on the ground,plenty of movement,solid at the back,active,creative and tenacious in midfield and Carlton/Didier Cole up top.Di Michele was busy and took his chance. Get rid of Bellamy asap bring in the money and buy a forward for half his price that is ready to go straight into our team.Get Sturridge from City.
    We are playing some great football,the system is working. Just a bit worried about Upson,seems to be struggerling with his jumping and looks a bit slow. Want to see us out play Wengers lot at the Emirates,then we know we are on to something.
    Time for a Zola song,any ideas?

  39. Andy B says:

    Do u fancy behrami? he was good yes but compltely outclasses by cole and collison

  40. SJ Chandos says:

    I said a win and no excuses. And the team well and truly delivered.

    Good performance. I agree Berhami and Cole played very well. Even Di Michele took his early chance well and looked lively. His little through ball to Cole for the third was very intelligent and skillful play. Noble is playing himself back into form and, as always, struck a good penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way!

    It was a fantastic team performance. Solid defensively, excellent movement and passing via midfield and strength up front. Cole is really starting to use his physical presence; in addition his touch and finishing is much improved. But I also think there is another element to his improved performance. The psychological aspect, he looks motivated and confident!

    Konchesky really enjoyed his goal did he not! Great strike, but the wild celebration was a bit disrespectful of the warm welcome the fans gave him! He should remember his problem was with Curbishley, not the fans. But I actually think Curbs was right about him, great going forward, but dodgy defensively. He showed that later with his foul for the penalty! I think he is best deployed on the left side of midfield, rather than left-back!

    Now, lets flog Bellamy to City for £15m and invest the money in a replacement. We need a quality striker that can go straight in to the first team. In my opinion, Di Michele did well today, but he is not the answer. Sears is obviously not ready yet. So, we need to recruit!

  41. Eddie Chappers says:

    We are Francos claret and blue army……!!!!

    Every part of the team were superb in my opinion- closed down everything, created chances, put chances away……..isn’t it great to win emphatically and not be able to pick a MOTM because everybody played so well, today was definitely such a season high point for me (versus the low of everton) partly because of such a superb team performance but also because the Franco and Clarkey showed that ‘Who needs Craig Bellamy…..who needs Craig Bellamy…..’

    As an aside I can’t believe Redknapps post-match interview- blames not getting the 3 points on Bent who should have scored but ignores who defoe missed two similar chances and no word- what a prat, singling out a single player as a scapegoat because on this occasion the ref had a good game and you cant use him, what a prat!! To me he was Mr West Ham when I was growing up but now I realise my wrongs…..

  42. Eddie Chappers says:

    P.S. In agreement with SJ- Nobes sent the keeper the wrong way so he wouldnt have saved it because he was sent the wrong way……..great pen yet again

  43. SJ Chandos says:

    Also, well done to Hodgeson for having the good grace to admit that the best team won. Take note Wenger, Fergie, Benitez and co, the admission that the opposition deserve the result is not a sign of weakness!!

    This week the Chandos award for the most off the wall comment goes to Mr Moyes at Everton FC. He allegedly claimed that West Ham were a club that were a danger to the future of the game (based on their former transfer and wages policies)! Well, one could also suggest that Mr Moyes’ negative (five man midfield) tactics is a far greater danger to the game. Who would want to watch football played the Everton way????? Thank heavens for Zola!

  44. Eddie Chappers says:

    Touche monsieur Chandos!!

  45. DevoDevo says:

    Here, fellas, if you want a laugh, check out the ratings at the Telegraph report.

    Apparently, Paintsil was as good as Collison amongst others. 😀

    How do these plums get jobs?

  46. SJ Chandos says:

    And a special supplementary Chandos (and a tissue) to Mr Kaka. Apparently, Mr Kaka has been reported to be in tears at the prospect of earning £500,000 a week at Man City! His agent commented that it was not the money that was upsetting the player, it was the prospect of living in deepest, darkest Manchester!!!!!! Well, I suppose we can all relate to that them! lol.

    Bellamy’s just been given permission to talk to City. Go get our striker now, Mr Zola, and make him a good one!

  47. av hammer says:

    People are talking about beating hull and we are up wigan’s alley but really we are almost up everton’s as well. Its only 6 points and not sure if they will take maximum points against lpool 2moro. I just hope the players keep working for each other and playing together as we definetely have potential. How many times are we tried to be unsettled, constantly abused and degraded in the media?? Yet we just get on the game and keep putting in quality performances and winning games and getting results. Hopefully the board keep declining offers for our top players and tht the players stick together and recognise wat we can achieve. Also, there is also talk about striker replacements and such. Any1 considered getting saviola on loan?? He mite come for a few months as would probs get a game too. Maybe King Carlos could help us out with this one seeing we let him move on. Here’s hoping anyway!! This mite sound stupid but i actually don’t want our stars to have real stand-out games in the next couple of weeks, just want them to play solid enough to get wins. We can’t allow them to be even more greatly recognised as other clubs mite keep coming back for them. Anyway a prosperous future for the Hammers!! COYI!!!!

  48. nr2iron says:

    We at last look like a decent side and with Zola doing one to one with cfc and getting him to notice the goal is between the two white sticks i feel we are going somewhere at last.

    Collinson imho will turn out to be the best youth product we have produced for years.

  49. SJ Chandos says:

    And Redknapp’s fanatically putting in counter bids! Forget it Mister, we ain’t dealing with Spurs at any price. However, I hear Dean Windass is available and waiting for your call! Quick, before Man City beat you to him!!!!!

  50. Goatygav says:

    Just want to point out that I rate Parker very highly. He’s a tremendous player with very quick feet. His contribution to the team is massive, his energy levels immesurable, an intelligent player with good defensive qualities and I’d be hugely disappointed if he left. I just don’t think this afternoon was one of his best in a West Ham shirt due to him getting caught in posession a few times in the first half.


  51. SJ Chandos says:

    Goatygav, Man City have struck a £15m deal for Da Jong from Hamburg, so hopefully that should see the end of their pursuit of Parker!

  52. Goatygav says:

    Happy days SJ. Your comments on Bellamy’s likely destination look on the mark too mate.

  53. SJ Chandos says:

    DevoDevo, because all tabloid hacks are plums? Its in the person specification!!!!

  54. SJ Chandos says:

    It’s so good to see Mr Redknapp looking so pissed off on TV! He should not fool himself that Spurs missed out on Bellamy just because of City’s extra spending power! They got him in large part because of Spurs dubious tactics and the refusal of West Ham to allow them to prosper by them!

    It will be interesting to see if it is straight cash or whether a player exchange is involved? The club has changed it’s policy, I am convinced that they mean what they say. For me, all the recent indicators prove that the club are financially stable. Would a cash strapped club turn down 2-4m for Neill or offer Bellamy a contract extension? No course not.

    Duxbury has been telling the truth and the tabloids have got it wrong! Now confound them further by bringing in a class striker. That would blow the tabloids out of the water! Happy days, indeed!

  55. Goatygav says:

    Reports have just come through, just read out by Adrian Childs on Match of the Day, that Bellamy will be at Eastlands for discussions and a medical tomorrow.

    Just about the best thing that can happen I reckon. Looks like the fee’s in the region of 15M so a good bit of business. Could even get a decent player as a makeweight as well. Outside of our very own academy Man City have produced many of the other decent young players in England.

  56. djclipz says:

    i think im fallin for cole…… lol…. no, but he was great again!!!! Along with everyone else!!! I even thought di michele had a good game, he showed some great touch, got his goal, set up coles, and a great finish for his disallowed goal!!! Did look a much better player than what we have seen in his substitute appearances, so well done to him!

    I thought the bellamy cloud was gonna have a bad effect on this game too, but they responded magnificently!!!

    Also how much running does Behrami do! Its crazy. he was also immense!!

    Not long off now until man u and arsenal and i honestly think the way we are playing as well as how they are playing i really think we can take the game to both of them!! (really werent surprised to see the scum get a last minute winner against bolton, it happens o to often)

    Awesome game today, bring on hartlepool and the next round!!! COYI!!!!!

  57. Goatygav says:

    Overuse of the word Just in my last comment. Must be past my bedtime. Off to bed to dream of more Carlton Cole goals and Mighty Hammers victories.

    Goodnight all.

  58. Basildon Bob says:

    Another “Sky Sports News understands” story but one that sounds highly lilkely in the circumstances, is Bellamy given permission to talk to Citeh after clubs agree a fee, reported to be £14 million. Question is who do we replace him with? Someone earlier suggested Saviola on loan?

    Watched game on Sky, we played extremely well. Rather than MOTM I’m going for unsung hero’s of the day, Ginge Collins and Cheri Ilunga thought both were very assured at the back never gave Fulham a chance.

    Roll on Hartlepool, COYI

  59. E1 says:

    WHO NEEDS that welshman let the looser go and he can take his toys with him, we have turned the cornor and his actions have helped it happen the rest of the squad have shown him and us that he is not as important as HE thinks and we thought he was.
    A great perfomance and I am glad to see cole improve even more we will soon have the new hesky a hard working goal scoring TEAM PLAYER my MOTM and gets a 9
    as do collinson,berahmi and illunga the rest of the team even neil get 8. HOW GOOD WERE WE TODAY ?!! Can’t wait for the next game it’s been a long time since I have felt this good after a game. Anyone coming to Upton Park now will know they have a game on their hands. As I said at the start WHO NEEDS THAT WELSHMAN.
    Oh ZOLA ZOLA Oh Zola Zola Oh ZOLA Zola Curbs out Clarke in RA RA RA

  60. Karl says:

    What an incredible few days, its never dull being a Hammers fan is it?

    Im feeling really optimistic now about rest of the season. It appears the board do want to keep the key players unless as with Bellamy circumstances conspire in which case they are getting a very good price. I do believe Zola will now have 15 mil to spend on the squad and if Nanis scouting network has been doing its job we could well see some exciting, young players joining. Fantastic performance today, with a midfield working that hard to support the strikers Belamy wasn’t missed at all and wont be, he got what he deserves, a place on the bench at Man City. Positive vibes about the Tevez enquiry too, how very embarrising for the Premier League, perhaps there money grabbing, incompetent chief executive should do the right thing and resign now.

    From ‘The Times’

    “Once Manchester City are in for a player, the rest of us have no chance,” Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, said. “They outbid and out-pay. It is difficult to get him now.

    Im playing the worlds smallest violin on a pubic hair Harry. HA HA………..


  61. Hammer Ray says:

    Great day chaps. DevoDevo summed it up very well although I thought nobody deserved less than 7 today! Made Fulham look very ordinary. Behrami, Collison, Cole the stars for me and LBM didn’t get a look in either…which was nice! Happy days playing for Zola & Clarke..great response to all the doubters & critics! COYI

  62. SJ Chandos says:

    Trust the press to try and muddy the waters. According to the Times, Bellamy wanted to stay, but the club needed to sell for at least £10m to repay a mythical loan !!!! Also, West Ham did not offer Bellamy a contract extension, even though it is common knowledge that they did!

    Is there any lengths they will not go to in order keep their failed story lines going! If it ain’t in The Independent, don’t believe it!

  63. SJ Chandos says:

    Zola has confirmed that he is going to get the whole Bellamy transfer fee to strengthen the squad. This would seem to disprove the Times nonsense about using the fee to pay off a non-existent loan! The enemy now is time, the 1st of February is on the horizon. Lets hope Nani has been setting up the deals, quietly and efficiently in the background.

    Things should now get interesting. We can start checking the transfer news more in hope than apprehension for a change!

  64. eleeNYC says:

    get Bellars a cab and take the check for wherever. I’m over it. He will never be worth this much again. You know as soon as you buy a car its value goes down as soon as you drive it off the lot?

  65. David the Yank says:

    March 1, gentlemen!!! March 1. Will they have the guts to put the talking welshman on the pitch?

  66. SJ Chandos says:

    ‘And Cole was ablely assisted by 10 fantastic players, they are playing as a team.’ From the match report in the Daily Express! Perhaps the times, and the Hammers fortunes, are a changing?

  67. David the Yank says:

    Look, everyone, I, too was thrilled with the 3 goals and the decent defensive effort. We still have a terrible tendency of not closing down on players as they come out of midfield, as happened yet again with Konchesky. Unclear under Clarke’s defensive schemes whether Upson or Collins are supposed to step up, or whether Noble/Parker are supposed to close down much quicker, but it will be a problem against the better teams. Pantsil gifted us a goal (nice poach by diM), and I’m not sure Cole would have converted if Konch didn’t take him down. We desperately need pace and someone to run with the ball like Bellamy can. Matty ran with the ball, and Yossi did; this year Bellamy. Who can do that on this current roster? Parker, but he doesn’t.

    There is still a terrible tendency to stop counterattacks and pass the ball back and then square, and then back again, and then back again, and then to Green. Happens again and again and again.

    Today feels good, but late goal at Tyneside, a bad spell against Man U & Arsenal, and there is no bad team in the Premier League this year. Hence the 5-way 21-points at the bottom. I am still very nervous about a relegation dogfight. If Nani brings in someone with pace and who can run with the ball, then terrific.

    I like the fact that they are playing Moneyball; selling McCartney at big profit, bring in Ilunga. Sell Bellamy at huge profit, bring in ??? The previous overpayments for Ljungberg/LBM I hope are over.

    I guess I’m cautiously optimistic, but still nervous; need to keep winning against the minnows and not giving 2 points away at end of matches. Was nice to see the 3rd goal today so last 20 minutes weren’t nail-biting…

  68. David the Yank says:

    I just watched MOTD here in America, and the goals were all gifts from Fulham defense. I still think our midfield is not creating enough. Collison should have been shooting more. He really didn’t cross the ball. Faubert crossed the ball when he came on. Behrami was great and crafty, but doesn’t cross the ball either. Happy but concerned…

  69. Tony Titan says:

    Behrami was my man of the match by a country mile – Simply never gave up – Much credit to Di Michele for the pass to Cole for the 3rd goal – How many prem players would do the same ? – Fair play to Cole – but – would he have converted the goal if he wasnt fouled – I dont think so – Hes great at holding up the ball – but for me as a Prem striker – the jurys out.

    After listening to some “insider stories” at WHU yesterday, was told Bellamy had cleared his locker Thursday before WHU tabled a long term deal – he simply told them “im off” and my agent will decide where – Short greedy bastard is the term that comes to mind – but thats reserved for Jermy Defoe – So I will say good luck and good riddance to the Welsh sheep shagger instead. Who needs Craig Bellamy ?

  70. Tony says:

    We have 2 more very winable games coming up , Hartlepool and Hull, so I predict 3 more points and an easy draw! in the next round of the cup… nice.

  71. Goatygav says:

    David the Yank. Nobody’s getting ahead of themselves here. We know the threat of relegation still looms but there’s no point talking about that when we’ve dominated all areas of play like we did yesterday. Someone else quoted “Fear is the Enemy” and that’s all too true. When you start looking over your shoulder and worrying is when you play with less freedom and expression. Fear inhibits performance. The best thing to do is to look forwards, upwards and onwards.. It was a terrific performance which was a joy to watch. Days like yesterday are the reason West Ham fans are so loyal. Now let’s look forward to making further progress in the competitions where we remain.


  72. DevoDevo says:

    HammerRay – only gave Green a 6 because the only thing he did was pick the ball out of the net!

    David the Yank – your point about the crossing from midfielders is correct and why I have been proposing the ‘wing back’ formation. However, Zola is not far from playing that as we speak. The midfield play very narrow, which enables us to retain the ball better than we have for years and Neill & Ilunga are more advanced than normal full backs and this is where our crosses normally come from.

    Whilst we can’t get carried away by the latest result, our form has been improving week in week out over the last couple of months (bar Spurs). Fulham are no mugs but they were never in this game. The rest of the Premiership had only put 6 past them on their travels and we managed 3 in one game.

    3pts against Hull, a win at the Monkey Hangers and the rest of the season will be set up nicely.

    I also have a funny feeling about the matches with Manyoo & Arsenal. 🙂

  73. Dujon says:

    As what DevoDevo said, i have a funny (in a good way) feeling of the matches against man u and arsenal. We’ve got everything we need to beat Man U, and they have won an awful number of games 1-0. So if we attack at our best and defend likewise then there is no reason we can’t. With Man U’s defence, i do believe pace will be a major dimension of the attack. Sell Bellamy and buy a quick gifted youngster (with proven experience in big leagues), give him 1 or 2 games to settle in and tell him to bring it against man U.

    No point in worrying about that game yet, we have to focus on Hull and Arsenal EPL games before then, aswell as Hartlewood.

    Who has been the main rumoured striker to be brought in. Wasn’t it a Juventus 23 year old? If so, is this guy noted for his speed?

  74. Roy says:

    BBC have reported that we have accepted a £14m bid from Citeh for Bellamy and he’s going there today for his medical. (His physical fitness should not prove a problem but the deal could fall through if they conduct tests on his head).
    Zola is quoted – as he was in some of today’s papers – that he will get the money to buy a replacement. I’m willing to be that he doesn’t get it all.

  75. brooking still the best says:

    I can’t say i liked Bellamy before he came to West Ham. Whilst he was here, he showed apart from being a prat, he is a very good player. Anyone who says the team won’t miss him are fooling themselves.
    Doing what he has done just shows us the real Bellamy, good players obviously dont equate to good people all the time. Now i am glad he has gone, Hopefully Zola can buy a player who gives a sh*t about otherthings apart from himself.
    Bellamy, your a knobend!
    One player who is proving me wrong is Calton Cole. the lad is on fire at the moment. I nearly panicked when he went down injured, without him we a scuppered!

  76. Roshi says:

    Was working at the NEC Birmingham all weekend and managed to avoid the result by listening to dodgy cd’s for the drive home, when all the time this little niggle in my head kept telling me to put Talk Sport on…just about managed to avoid it, even turned my phone off.
    Thank God for SKY +, (it must be the best invention ever)

    What I thought was the most significant point about the whole match was the fact that I had not seen anyone better on Match of the Day, Saturday night. When you think about it, our players all seem to be on good financial packages (Boa Morte certainly made that point last week)) so who would want to leave a team that is rapidly moving forward with a really exciting managerial team.

  77. Roshi says:

    What is it about sportsman and showing their torso’s recently. The Daily Mail has again shown Andy Murray half dressed in it’s sports pages, that’s about the 5th time in a week. And now its Behrami!

  78. Iron Lung says:

    Great performance, great win. They’ve really clicked in recent weeks and made the msot of a kind sequence in the fixture list. It’s tight at the bottom and there’s no-one apparently getting cut adrift this season. Only Everton look likely to finish where they are now…all the other places are up for grabs. A compelling spectacle, this season. What worries me isn’t the team, or the players coming & going (15M for Bellamy? Yes please!!), it’s the fear that someone in power isn’t going to stop until we’ve been docked points for Tevez…so the name of the game is to grind out enough to cope with that possibility. The way Zola & Clarke have them playing just now….there’s plenty of reasons to be upbeat about things. Is there another team in football that has such ups & downs as ours? Certainly keeps things interesting!

  79. pjd says:

    bellamy will be a miss but hes not played enough games to say how much,same as ashton really i would sell him asap,he will always be injury prone and i dont know if he really is that good.he is very immobile and seems lazy to me.cole on the other hand has blossomed lately and i believe its down to zolas coaching of him.i hope zola gets the bellamy money but hey its west ham so i will be very surprised if he does.we do need to replace bellamy,hopefully with a srtiker who has a bit of pace to compliment coles hold up play

  80. Hammero says:

    I think that 12-14m is very good for Bellamy, It was a shame that we never got to see him and Ashton both fully fit playing the good attacking football that we are playing now. That said I have liked the way the club have coducted its self during this transfer window by not selling Bellamy to Spurs. Lets see who Zola brings in as a replacement? COYI…

  81. E1 says:

    It’s all good news so enjoy it while we can. The squad is taking shape zola and clarke have plans and the club appears to be right behind them. we still have some clearing out to do and it maybe Ashton is one to go, We have got to have faith in the club and stay positive. We know the aim is to have a strong squad of 20& 3 keepers and a reserve squad/ team made up with youngsters,time will tell it ain’t going to happen over night. COYI

  82. James says:

    Great news that City look to be the team to take Bellars, Spurs tottally denied by Duxbury, what a great example of power shifting, fair play to Mr Duxbury for once!! Totally enjoyed MOTD2 stating that West Ham confirm they will reject Spuds for Man City!!

    Also Sky(“make it up as you go along”) Sports News are stating that Ovaldo is Zola’s choice as a replacment!! Also good news if true

  83. r33g says:

    I have to agree with everything you wrote – even though I’m a Fulham fan. You totally dominated the game and I was embarrassed sitting in the away end while our defence fell apart. Good luck for the season.

  84. Kevin McCabe says:

    I can tell you how much bellamy is worth – 3pts!!!

  85. Anthony Morrissey says:

    Great performance yesterday, full of encouragement and I must give a big thumbs up to Gan Franco Clarke and more importantly the fitness guys as we look so strong at the end of games and players such as Belrahmi Collison etc look like they could keep going for another 20 mins. With the £15m for the Welsh captain (dont even want to say his name) we have to complete the signing of Illunga for the £2.5m agreed and then bring in someone up front as while Di Michelle was good yesterday, I really dont think he is the answer and Sears is too young and Tristen too old. Most likey an Italien for around £8m and try and nick Joe Ledley from Cardiff and that would make me happy. Mr Duxbery is doing what he said he would and selling/trying to players he wants rid of like Davenport, Bowyer, Boa Morte, Matty, Quashie etc so the squad is down around the 20 mark. I have no problem with that at all in fact I am happy. Another reason to be happy is that Welsh Captains wages were massive and as such that has been reduced along with a £7.5m profit all in all not too bad. Great to see Mr Harry Redknapp moaning away as well as some good management comments about Darren Bent . . great way to build up his confidence eh Mr Redknapp you plumb! Fourth road away to Hartlepool is not something I can ever look forward too as a West Ham fan but still at present isnt it nice to see possitive things written about our club .. long may it continue!! COYI . .ps: Great blog Iain . . keep it up!

  86. johnnyhaynesregular says:

    I was sitting (quietly) with my Hammer supporting mate in Row V (so far up it’s almost a different time zone) of the Doc Martens yesterday. Well done, WHUFC, you played well. I have to say that we (FFC) have played better than that: I just think you guys have a jinx over us. We were Pants(il) yesterday. That said, I’m hopeful that we won’t trouble the relegation zone this year. My ideal 3sum for the drop would be Spuds, Newcastle and anyone-else-so-long-as-it-isn’t-us… can you imagine the whining coming from WHLane and St James’s if those two “big” clubs slipped out of the Prem?
    Finally, just keep away from us in the FA Cup… I can’t take much more grief from you boys!

  87. irontc says:

    I dont understand – why did some boo Koncho yesterday?

  88. mokum hammer says:

    A little too much celebration by Konch after his goal might have something to do with it. Very bad taste

  89. irontc says:

    It was a great goal. Hed doesnt get many, apart from the odd cross in the cup final.

    And he didnt kiss the badge or anything.

    He and all his family are hammers fans are they not?

    I thought it was very small minded. We should be above that crap!

  90. Ned says:

    Bellamy’s move to City is the result of a remarkable “gentleman’s agreement” between Harry Redknapp and Mark Hughes, which sees City and Hughes dropping out of the race to sign Wilson Palacios, while Spurs and Redknapp have ended their interest in Bellamy. (Various)

    Is this 3rd party influence? Should they be up on charges?

  91. DevoDevo says:

    The booing seemed to start AFTER the penalty incident. I think the booing was because he was still on the pitch.

    To the Fulham supporters: I think you are pretty safe tbh. Hodgson is a fine manager AND man (unlike twitchy) and although you weren’t at the races Saturday, all teams have off days.

    My concerns for you, would be losing Bullard in the window and the lack of goals.

    I’d like to see Man Citeh (with Bellend),& Spurs go down. The 3rd team doesn’t bother me too much, probably Stoke for their awful brand of football.

  92. Roshi says:

    My fave’s to drop DevoDevo would be Spurs (because it would wrong not to want that) Man City (because a reality check is needed) and Newcastle (just to stop the whining “were a big club and deserve more”)

  93. HammersWest says:

    My faves to drop are Spurs, no reason needed, Man City, just because it would seem fitting, and Bellamy, I loved you while you were here but you really blew it! and anyone else, although I’d like Fulham to stay up, not sure why, maybe the Hammers old boys club.

  94. jpt says:

    Was WHO even watching?

  95. WHU Kim says:

    Excellent report Iain, I don’t think too many can argue with it. It was so good to see such a wholehearted all round display by everyone on the team. I’m not a Di Michele fan but fair play to him, he was fine yesterday. Onwards and upwards and I’m over theat Welsh twat already.

  96. Shropshire Hammer says:

    Just a couple of comments;
    I didn’t think Konchesky deserved the booing, his 1st goal since the cup final, so a reasonable reaction from him. Anyway, we need to reserve all our vitriol for 1st March! Mercenary Bellers will derserve everyting we can throw at him.
    Nice to see Clyde Best on the pitch at half time, that really did stir the memories, and reminded me how long I have been watching the Hammers for.
    Agree with all the positive comments re Behremi & Collison, the midfield is looking good, as is the defence, but I for one would not be sad to see Lucas Neill depart, Newcastle would be good, followed very quickly by relegation. Yep, Spuds, Geordies and anyone but us, would be good for the dreaded drop.
    The journey back to Shropshire didn’t seem too bad yesterday, long may we keep progressing.

  97. OZ ex chicken runner says:

    A very good performance , thought the midfield played well, Cole (yes I apologise for doubting him as well!) and Michele did ok, our defence just shut them out really, apart from the goal from Konch (he will never score another like it) they never really threatened. Fulham should be ok though, virtually the best defence but worst attack…maybe they can pick up Bellamy on the cheap in the summer when he complains of being on the bench! Hopefully! He has blown the best chance to play probably his best football of his career with us and I do not wish him well!! Future looks brighter for us and hopefully with one of two good signings and the spirit remaining as high as it is , it is onwards and upwards. COYI

  98. colin say's says:

    Sky news report WALES is now empty due to the mass migration to Manchester. Mr Hughes is offering a 4 year contract a K A. HOUSE AND FAUL TANKER to be a Man city fan, l’m practising my Walsh what do you think Boyo…………………….

  99. DevoDevo says:

    Kaka refuses to join. Robinho walking out. Enjoy yourself Bellamy, relegation still a possibility. 😀

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