Match Report

Should Have Bought Haller From Amazon

It’s a shame we didn’t buy Haller on Amazon, as we would have been able to send him back and get a refund. There are arguments in his favour. He had a relatively good start when he joined us and the system we are playing does not suit his style of play. Having written this, He has scored a good goal with a header for Ivory Coast.

But, his sense of positioning seems to be lacking. He hangs back instead of threatening on the edge of offside. And one would have thought, he would be learning a lot from Antonio about how to get involved in the game. After all, Antonio has made great strides. I used to ascribe to him the phrase ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’. And I used to say, he wasn’t a centre forward, so I can eat my words on that too.

We also must take our hats off to Cresswell. How many of us thought he was finished as a Premier League player? Now, he is showing us how he is one of the best crossers in the game. Masuaku too is a revelation. I always thought he was talented, but he was often criticised for his lack of defensive capability. Now, as a wing half, he has come into his own.

One person I would like to be is the chap who presses the buttons to add crowd sound. Button 4 for an ‘Ooooohhhh’. Button 1 for wild cheers for a goal. I hate it. Fake, fake, fake.

Greg Clark missed his vocation as a grave digger. When he sees a hole, he continues to dig.You might think that there is not much difference between the terms ‘coloured’ to ‘of colour’.In fact, after all the publicity about Black Lives Matter, for a man in his position, the misuse of words is a huge insult, especially as it is not the first time he has used the wrong words.

I just want to make a comment about the West Ham sponsor Scope Markets. This is a financial product licensed in Belize. The company puts about that it is regulated, but that is by the Financial Service Authority of Belize. Financial service brokerages use this route to avoid costly establishment procedures in a more legitimate location. They have to pay of fee of just $1000 and there is no requirement to separate client funds from company funds, nor to make any comprehensive reports.

There is probably little danger that any West Ham fan will lodge funds with Scope Markets. They are just using West Ham to give more prestige to their operation. You might think this is fair enough, or you might think that the West Ham management owe a duty of care to their supporters. You only have to look back at the debacle of Barrett & Gold, who are now in liquidation, with their funds dissipated into some obscure adventure.£36 million was lost by some 1800 investors. I hope there were no West Ham fans in that number.

I spent a few minutes debating on Saturday, whether to pay the £14.95 fee to watch the game legitimately. I could see no legitimate reason why the fee should be any more than one pays to watch Sky for a day. However, I decided to treat myself, as the streaming site I use is subject to glitches. I understand these fees will no longer be charged, but we shall have to see.

And, on a similar subject, I think is very unsavoury that one has to pay to watch an England game. We each own a little part of England and it should be our right to watch our national team without charge. Sky has already ruined cricket for most of us and how are we supposed to get kids interested in the game with limited access?

I am not sure how it is working out for fans who paid in full for a season ticket. I paid 30% just to secure my ticket, as I was convinced there would be a second wave of Covid-19. I understand some clubs are now instituting phased refunds. I am sure, we shall have to wait for the 2021-2022 season before we shall see crowds at football games.

We have witnessed the two of the most dramatic ends to a game. I do look forward to seeing Lanzini given more of a chance to see if he can recover his old form , given the boost in his confidence the goal must have given him.

As far as the Lookman penalty is concerned, I blame the manager as much as him. Surely, the taking of a penalty should be a more scientific matter. They should study before the game which type of penalty would be most effective and then they should instruct the penalty taker exactly where he should place the ball. Surely, this would take a lot of pressure off the penalty taker, who should just have practised exactly where he was going to strike to ball. Instead, Fulham demonstrated an amateurish cock-up on a massive scale, particularly as I believe Lookman has never scored a penalty.


Match Report

An Opportunity Missed

Let’s face it, none of us thought we would be where we are today. After a couple of games, we were already talking about relegation.

A change in formation brought about an epiphany. We were transformed. The manager demonstrated his skills and experience and the attitude of the players was transformed. And for the fans it was a delight. Personally, it was becoming difficult to even watch a game with all the negativity surrounding the club.

There is certainly no shame in achieving a draw against Man City and losing to Liverpool by a goal. However, putting all this aside, there is some criticism I wish to express.

The change to three at the back meant we could get out wing backs forwards and still have security at the back. Masuaku has been transformed. This system even allowed Cresswell to get forward and start delivering those wicked crosses he is so good at.

Unfortunately, when you become more defensive, this system doesn’t break down entirely, but you lose some of the advantages. Liverpool are a fearsome side, but, if there was one time they could have been vulnerable, it was yesterday. That vulnerability would have been in their defence. However, out tactics were to withdraw our forces towards our goal, so we did not take advantage of any weakness they may have had.

If we wanted to be more defensive, I would play Diop instead of Cresswell and then allow a more aggressive approach in front of the three defenders.

And that pour soul, Haller. How many times do we have to learn that sticking him up front on his own is not the way to bring him up to speed? We might as well have been playing with ten men and he could have been knitting a jumper on the sidelines. He has to be given more support. However, on the other side of the coin, Yarmolenko did show him, in the few minutes he was on, that coming back to his own goal on either flank could have brought more rewards. Harry Kane has been a marvel at showing how a striker can play deeper.

Once again we saw the use of the last few minutes substitution. Lanzini was supposed to produce another miracle with one boxing round left on the clock. After his wonder goal, it is just possible his confidence has been revived. Unfortunately, in the two games following his miracle, he has not been given the opportunity to prove himself.

Benrahma came on with Lanzini to give him a taste of Premier League football. I still can’t understand the logic of getting rid of Diangana and buying Benrahma, when DS had stated as an excuse for getting rid of Diangana that we had too many wingers. Someone explain it to me.

So, on we go to Fulham at the London Stadium. Having written about it, the defensive displays against Man City and Liverpool were impressive. But against Fulham, I hope we can produce a free flowing attacking formation.


Match Report

A Fresh Beginning for West Ham

The BT commentator made an appropriate remark during the game against Man City. He thought the Hammers were playing more solidly because there was not a home crowd to convey their anxiety to the team. You may not think this is correct, especially as we seem to be playing as well away as at home, but it is something to consider.

On the whole, when fans were allowed in the stadium, the general attitude of fans was not just anxious, but hostile to many aspects of the regime at the club. Fans acted as if the players could not read and would not be affected by negative comments. There were many games where the team could hardly pass the ball.

We seem to be entering a different era. The team is playing as well as any West Ham side have ever done in the past. Their defensive strength against Man City was truly remarkable. They pulled off a miracle at Spurs and their performances against Leicester and Wolves were sublime.

David Moyes surely deserves great praise. He has saved the club twice from relegation and now he has settled on a system which has transformed players such as Cresswell and Masuaku. The purchase of Soucek, Bowen and Cofal have turned around years of bad decisions in the transfer market. Antonio, who I never considered to be a centre forward has gone on in leaps and bounds.

I must say I was disappointed that Lanzini was not given a chance against Man City. I hoped that his strike against Spurs may have boosted his confidence. Instead, the manager decided to bring on Yarmolenko, leaving us without a striker and it almost turned out to be a disastrous decision.No doubt, he will be given an opportunity in the near future to see if his talents are restored.

I am bemused by Haller. He has the ability to score goals and he does get back in defence when required. I would have thought he would be inspired by the efforts and commitment of Antonio. But he does seem to lack a sense of positioning. I may be wrong but he often seems to be a couple of yards back from where he should be.

So going back to the fans, I do hope we realise now that fans make a difference. We have got to do more to make more atmosphere at the London Stadium and put aside all negativity.
I hope we shall be able to watch our side with confidence, instead of feeling a knot in the pit of our stomach, expecting a mistake to cost us the game.

It does seem as if it is unlikely fans will return to football stadiums this season. It would make sense to let a few thousand attend each game, so that at least we can get rid of the fake crowd noise, and personally I am sick of measures, which are not scientific which restrict our freedom, such as not allowing any attendance at sports events and closing pubs at 10.00pm. I am 70 years old and believe that the Government has now interminably explained to me what I should do to avoid getting Covid 19 and spreading it and they should let me get on with my life.

Anyway, I pay tribute to David Moyes and the team who have restored hope and enjoyment in watching them. I even give the owners a reprieve for now.


Match Report

One Extraordinary Performance, One Extraordinary Day

Sunday had to be one of the most extraordinary days ever in football league history. Man U lose by six and Liverpool by seven, but I thought the Hammer put in the performance of the day, especially as Spurs were playing against 10 men for most of the match and the Liverpool game resembled pinball.

In my last article, I wrote that I seemed to be with Alice Through The Looking Glass after the performance of the Hammers against Wolves. . So, the performance against Leicester sent me to seventh heaven (that’s the one where God and the Angels dwell). Seven goals scored in two premier league matches and none conceded !

We have to analyse what has brought about this startling transformation. We don’t have to look far. We have a formation that should have been adopted as the standard years ago. Even an old geezer like me has been saying this for a very long time. Having three at the back allows our full backs to get forward and deliver crosses. Cresswell has captured his old form.

It allows Masuaku, who I have always rated as a player, to go to midfield and using his talent on the ball, without the threat that if he lost the ball it would result in a goal. He too can move forward more often.

And just beyond the back three , there is the brilliant Rice. We can see the final compliment to his game will be to see him moving forward more often and have a go at goal. I thought the move he made to provide the pass which resulted in the Bowen goal was outstanding.

After some extraordinary mistakes in the transfer market, we have Soucek and Bowen. They have given 100% in every game they have played. We can see the threat Soucek is in the air to defenders and Bowen is impressive and will improve.

And now with three at the back and a solid midfield, Antonio can be given the support he deserves. I was very critical of Fournals and never thought he was up to the job. But now he is a revelation.

And we may hope that this new sparkle in the Hammer’s game can inspire some of the players who have not fulfilled their potential, such as Haller and Johnson

Yes, we are in extraordinary times. Without crowds, the top sides seem to unable to maintain any consistency. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a side plays at home or away. That suits us very well, since our concrete bowl will never produce the atmosphere that was generated at The Boleyn.

We know now we have enough players to compete with teams at the highest level. Beringing more players in could disrupt our new found brilliance. Coufal should be congratulated for an outstanding debut. He does look solid. I do object to the fact that the commentators don’t seem to look up the Czech pronunciation of his name. It took me ten seconds to find out a Czech ‘C’ is pronounced ‘TS’. It seems strange they can tell me Billy Wright scored a penalty against West Ham in 1959, but they can’t pronounce a name correctly.

Another mystery to me is how Gary Lineker can be paid a fortune, but doesn’t turn up on a Sunday. Is he related to the Pope?


Match Report

Through The Wolverine Looking Glass

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Leicester City on Sunday is ready to enter HERE . The deadline for entries is 10am on Sunday morning.

As I prepared to watch the game at Wolves, I prepared myself for another psychological drubbing.I know a lot of us have been questioning whether it was worth it or was the game up as far as the Hammers were concerned and I am one of them.

As I passed through the living room on the way to the lounge, I paused in front of a large mirror. ‘What if ?’, I thought. Nothing lost by giving it a chance. I went up to the mirror and tried one leg first. It passed through the mirror. Then, the other leg and I was through the looking glass.

On the other side there was a football pitch mowed so that the squares looked like a chess board. A game is about to start, one team in gold and the other in claret and blue. But this is alternate universe. West Ham are playing with three at the back, a formation they should have adopted years ago. Instead, the Red King a Chilean, who it turned out was suffering from dementia, insisted on playing his formation. His lat posting was at the Charge of the Light Brigade.

This team seemed so solid. I lost that sick feeling in my stomach that whatever happened up front, anything could happen at the back. Cresswell had seemed to find his place. He felt confident he could go forward and deliver his beautiful crosses. Baluena, who was supposed to be out of form , was solid. Rice was brilliant. If he were to be sold for £40 million, it would be the crime of the century. Soucek and Bowen were inspired and seemed determined to give everything. Antonio, the bull up front, was causing chaos amongst the opposition. Masuaku was a wonder with his skillful plays on the ball.

And then, an inspired goal set us on the path to glory. We were unstoppable. Why did we need to buy more players, when our reserve team cost more than than the first team? Even Haller gave us a glimpse of what he could achieve. Bringing in new players could be disruptive.

The Red Queen approached me. ‘Don’t you like our new stadium? It’s so big. Have you seen me on TV pretending to be a top business woman? Don’t you think we should change our name to Olympic West Ham? It’s so much more prestigious.’

She was followed by Teedledum and Tweedledee.’Did you listen to my interview on Talksport ?’, Tweedledum asked. ‘It’s everyone else’s faults you know. I haven’t got any money’. He turned out his pockets to illustrate his point.’The fans wanted the Red King, so it’s their fault he turned out to be loco.’

Tweedledee tried to sell me a dildo, as he said his shops were in trouble.

There on a wall was Humpty Dumpty. He could come near me as he was self isolating. As the game progressed he started to do cartwheels across the wall. I warned him to be careful, as he could fall off the wall at any time.

The White Knight , who had an American accent, appeared and started negotiations to buy the football pitch from Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But they wanted at least nine hundred million currant buns and the White Knight only had three hundred million in his backpack.

The whistle went and West Ham had won 4-0. I realised this was a fantasy and woke up on the couch with the cat licking my face. Oh, if only this were possible. A West Ham with a strong defence, a brilliant midfield and an attack which could produce wonderful goals.


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