The Jimmy Cooney Column

"The MoyesMan Prophecies!" (Or "When things are Good, enjoy it")

First, I’d like to say Happy birthday to my father, the real Mr. Cooney, 76 years old today, and can still throw down!!!

(Just kidding), he is 6’3 and doing well, but he’s still fighting A fib in his heart, but his pneumonia has subsidized, and I swear, we though he had COVID. Thank God he did not.

I honestly had no idea what to write about. However now, there’s a few things, the support is going to be back allowed in after the 2nd or 3rd of December, (I’ve not had a chance to check out the details yet, been just a bit too busy, but we can definitely discuss that on the threads as part of the content, and most likely when you read this, we will all know more, …..) and, where I have mixed feelings about it, I think all sports really need the fans back, just short of endangering more outbreaks.

However, bringing the home guard and the away army back will only help this squad for for real, for real :)

The Sheffield United match has already been covered in literary, and spot on detail by David, Hamburg, Gav, and, hopefully by the photographic artwork by Dawud. However, imma put my twist on it soon.

However, with that subject sure to be discussed very frequently in the upcoming week, more so, will be first and foremost, the MNF clash and first of a possible two 6 pointers in a row with our Birmingham friends, Aston Villa., then Man U, (the club we beat the most but get the least amount of points from…..hmmmm….) ;-))

I’ll try to keep my moaning to a minimum ;))

I really can’t moan about Sunday, as a matter of fact, our form is one of the only things that is keeping me from pulling a “Falling Down” and “losing the plot” much like the 1993 classic film with Robert Duval and Michael Douglas as "D-Fens.

One big encouragement is , not just our squad, not just our our gaffer, or our position, but the most impressive aspect at this juncture, is the unity within the boot room right now.

I know, we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop, and where I’m not so stupid to think it’ll be this smooth the whole time, but a club like this don’t go down, and sometimes, wins the League Championship at 3000/1, like Leicester City the same year we got off to just as good a start as we have this year…….maybe just a wish, and an even longer shot, but just as crazy things have happened. (5 years ago……..)

My biggest complaint is a selfish one, it’s that I wish Soucek had passed it to Bowen in the first, instead of shooting it well wide left. so at least I could have made up points with Jer scoring the first West Ham Goal due to Johnson being on the bench, and Fredericks out, Diop on the bench, and Balbuena starting, (of which also worked out), and I did get “win” correct, not the score, however, but the only #’s I gave a crap about, came up on our side and that was 3pts for the Hammers in the top flight at Bramall Lane for the first time since 1968!

This overall has little bearing on me though, cos, our GD is still in the black, were in 8th thanks to a huge win for Burnley over Palace……

Is anyone else getting sick of them? Palace, that is? Other than missing Kouyate, Tomkins (I’m not starting the “who left who”, game with Tommo, I just miss him, he was just a good versatile defender, an academy grad, and a Dagenham lad, if I’m not mistaken… ) and other than coveting Wilfred Zaha??, I get annoyed by them, but I don’t disrespect them, since we’ve both been back, they have mostly gone back and forth with us, we’d win there, they’d win at Boleyn or London, the work of art that was Antonio setting Andy Carroll up with the scissors kick of Andy’s career, I’m sure.

Most importantly, however I think we need to get some vengeance on them this year by doing the “dub” on them. At least a draw there and a Win at home.

Now, even though I loathe Roy Hodgson, (as a manager, mostly, but I could see him getting on my nerves) still, don’t hate them as deeply as Wigan, Leeds, Chelsea, Spurs, Man U, and Bolton, Liverpool, and Wigan. (Did say that I hate Wigan yet? :) and few other clubs, Sheffield United but thats cos they hold something that ultimately was in their hands to begin with

Regardless of how that sounds, I’m VERY happy with West Ham United, and, given recent years trends, this was exactly the type of match that would have had the bookmakers favoring The Irons, yet, somehow, our lads would show up looking like they forgot how to play, just smoked bath salts, or huffed Tywall (a super solvent that is big with glue sniffers).

Not this year, however, we’ve met two potential banana peels, and walked close, cos both Fulham and Sheffield U were desperate to get something and a win respectively, however we navigated both fixtures with organization, shape, excellent field stretching, determination, and a little luck, but all together, this is a better side and are so due in a very large part in Kevin “Skipper” Nolan, Alan Irving, Xavi Valero, and Paul Nevin, and, the “MoyesMan Prophecy”! so far proving me, who, once again, myself, and about 68.7498475% of support are correct thus far that at this moment in time, he [David Moyes] couldn’t be a better gaffer for West Ham United.

I do want to point out a correlation between Kevin Nolan joining West Ham as a true center mid and Captain in 2011, and playing a big role in us getting back to the PL at the first time of asking. Within this, however is another story a more important story of a chain of events that has me calling Skip the “Grand Capt” cos even those two other blogs that shall shall remained unnamed, they ALSO called me delusional in the “autumn”….. of 2012, for; A. Suggesting that Nolan was grooming Noble to be a Captain, and B. That Noble would make a good Captain……. hmmm….. how’d that work out “Mr Roboto” ;-))

Now, like father to son, “Papa” Noble has mentored Rice, which, is probably what’s keeping him here, my guess is Dec is gonna give it this year, and if we finish in 6th or better, it’ll take 9 figures for Rice to leave if we do that well I think he’d give it another half of a season, and go from there, however, I don’t think Dec stays if not for this. Skip taught Noble how to be a proper Captain, and Nobes is teaching Dec, not only how to skipper, but how special the history of West Ham United is, how rare, but far loyalty can take you if you pay close attention, and if he played another 15 years for West Ham, producing 2 FA cups, no lower than a 10th place finish in that was time, and in 2027/28, the League Championship, maybe some of those “old school” values still exist.

David has a squad, that fights for him, each other, and dare I say, us! I’ve pointed out before, this is worth more that a clutch of individuals, however, our next text is Aston Villa, a early doors 6 pointer, who, if I’m honest, im more worried about that Manchester United, another early doors 6 pointer.

It’s our best start since 2015/16, which, in terms of years, is not that long ago, however in terms of perception, it’s a lifetime ago, (at least from my perspective). And we finished 7th which will split the difference of my original prediction before the season, but 7th killed us by that fair play thing, (which was funny cos we were called for amongst the highest pens that year, had we not, we’d have mostly likely finished 5, then, who knows….

Hindsight is always 20/20 (which, should be the first cuss numbers in history……..: “you horrible 2020!!! Go do one ya, sea ewe next Tuesday!”

Jack Grealish……. obviously the #1 threat, although, the whole squad, who’s form improvement has followed a similar track to us, last year, especially after the restart, they fought their way to safety by the time we met them in the penultimate match of the delayed ‘19/’20 season, in a 1-1 draw, that probably would have been a win had we not secured survival at Old Cheatford a few days before.

So, how do we keep this unbeaten streak going? Don’t think to much about it, change this starting XI ONLY when necessary. I only noticed a few things that I thought were a bit concerning, Bowen, was good, but he’s had better, and as hard as he works, he’s knackered by about 70, perhaps multiple contingencies could be thought of.

Next was Fornals, his work rate and attitude are second to few, and where I love his commitment to his teammates, he coulda maybe scored had he been a bit more selfish. If you see some daylight when you are at around the 20 yard mark, pull the trigger!!!

Haller, oh Haller……just as all those who want him sold in January, had me convinced, screaming at rj and about to look up a few posters, and yield to their assessments, cos he did not look that confident on the ball, and he and Bowen had a few moments in front of the keeper that Curly, Moe, and Larry, (and even Shemp) are looking on and saying…“gee whiz, that coulda been an amusing bit”, :)) Fornals takes the shot he shouldn’t, but fortunately, of the many blocks Sheffield’s defense put in (in think Sheffield are better than their record shows right now, they will be scrappin’ but ultimately, will survive I think), it rolls right in front of Haller and he shoots an Exocet right into the top right, which Ramsdale got a few fingertips on, but only to help tuck it into the top of the sack.

In spite of that, and just a few errant passes, we have lost one match in 7. My only issue is if Antonio is fit, he should start, and where I’m happy for Haller, and would rather add a striker instead of selling him for a loss in January, and getting a striker, I’d rather he keep improving to perhaps play in the same side as Antonio.

Since its been two on the trot, it’s not as much an issue, however Antonio is a phenom. A real life “Rocky” story from South London, every bit of success that comes his way he deserves, so to beat Villa, the only change I make, is Antonio for Fornals, I know, its rough, but if Antonio is 100% and you sit Haller after opening his PL account, that would pretty much be tantamount to asking him to put in a transfer request, therefore, if Antonio is fit, 3-1 Irons, if not, Villa won’t let us get away with the few, but glaring miscues made Sunday and I could see a 2-3 home loss. Or more likely a draw.

I don’t see any reason we cannot win the next two, I’m honestly not that delusional to think we couldn’t lose the possible next two “6 pointers” as well but in really don’t think so, 3pts at the least, mostly likely 4, but another 6 sets us up right pretty, “don’t cha just know it?!?!”

Love You All

COYI!!!!!!

Jimmy


The Jimmy Cooney Column

International duty, boredom, and managing overconfidence.

I’m going to be very honest, I’ve never became very interested in international duty. I don’t hate it, I like the World Cup, and you can’t have the World Cup without the tourneys it feeds.

I’m happy Haller scored for the Coast!! Maybe he broke the seal, And, Benny helped Algeria qualify for AFCON (so we will lose him if he’s still here for next Jan/Feb but we have many bridges to cross before we get there) :)) I learned that the latest round of international duty, called the Nation’s League.

And, at the time of editing, Rice scored in a 4-0 rout of Iceland, Soucek also headed one home for Czech Republic in a 2-0 win over Slovakia, in which Vlad Coufal played all 90 mins, Gen.Balbuena helped Paraguay remain unbeaten against Bolivia in 2-2 draw, and Randolph earned a clean sheet in his 50th cap as the mighty Irish drew Bulgaria, only Fabianski suffered an unfortunate come from behind 2-1 loss against the Netherlands, and as of 18:08hrs (6:08p.m. EST in the U.S.) none of the abovementioned players suffered any injuries (thank you, Higher Power of Good) and no more West Ham players have tested positive for the “VID”, and other than feeling back for Fabs, I’m genuinely happy for all who went out, I’m really psyched for Haller, Rice and Soucek, all scoring. However, in spite of how glad I am for them, I’m still more concerned what this will mean for putting out the best XI for Sunday. Beating Sheffield United is my top priority.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the U.S. men’s team has met with mediocre success in the World Cup, and, there haven’t been too many Star Spangled Hammers that graced the pitches of East London (according to John Northcutt up until 2007 and I was following by then, so there’s only been 3, I believe, John Harkes, Ian Feuer, who between the two of them, had 14 League apps, but one, who between 2008/11 made 101 League apps and one that had a really good night on the 30th of November, 2010 Jonathan Spector), who had a brace in a classic match, during a 4-0 whoopin’ of Man U, along with Carlton Cole scoring the other brace in the League Cup match, I’ve called the “Snow Cup”, but that’s pretty much it, you have your good American keepers from the States, Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, and you had some firepower with Landon Donovan and someone I’d have loved to see at West Ham was Clint Dempsey, I was pretty up us making him an offer in 2011 but everything worked out as it should have.

it’s not that I don’t care about the Lady Hammers success or the U.S. women’s “soccer” success, I’m very proud of the Women’s U.S. club who are the best in the World! I’m very pro women’s sports, but just being honest, between the work thing, the family and friends I have left, my electric guitar and rock & roll addiction, and the other few pro sports clubs that haven’t been changed so much that I still recognize them, (all are a whole different games I just choose to accept the change, some I welcome, most make me cry when I’m alone) I just have enough fight left to cheer them on!

(Since I’m most likely gaffing this up, Courtesy of Nigel Kahn; below is a link of the highlights of “The Snow Cup” match that feature the Jonathan Spector, and Carlton Cole braces.)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EqnAxUMTP50

Thank You Nigel. All yours, and Dan Coker’s video work is priceless. I personally appreciate it.

It appears that the South Americans prize international play the most, and imho, Germany has excellent football, however, if I were an aspiring American who’s was trying to go as far in my career as possible, it would most certainly be to make the EPL, not just because I’m a “semi pro” Anglophile,
the most intense football leagues are in England, sometimes, I think the most exciting can be the Championship, (old Div 2, I wish they would include the Divisions era stats along side the Premier League era stats, but, I suppose they have Google for that now) however, I never want West Ham to be in the Championship again, the Vaz Te goal at ‘87 mins at Wembley live on Television is good enough, and if I were Noble , next time, we are at Wembley, let it be in a few months playing for the FA Cup. I’d definitely choose the Premier League if I were that good, and the rest would fall into place (and chances are, if I’m good enough for the Top flight of England, I’m probably playing for the “USMST”). So, it’s all good, I just love the grit of league play.

Really, my biggest beef with it [International duty], right now, first and foremost is that Yarmo’s life is danger cos he’s got the “’VID,” and of course on the less life impacting, but still important factor to our season, the loss of our impact striker for Sheffield United away. And back to my concerns about Sunday, Antonio is apparently ready to rock, so, the Predictor this week should be interesting.

Honestly, at this point I’m not changing anything, except I do trust Diop to fill in for Balbuena if he needs a rest, and especially if Oggy is ok, that is key. We just need to be better on the ball, and work on better passing, cos I think our 4-5-1, should look more like a 3-4-3 against Sheffield United, even on their patch. We need to be on the front foot from the jump.

For some reason, I still ask myself why, why are they risking the future and overall fitness of the ALL the world’s football players and anyone they come into contact with? FOR THE MONEY!!!!, It’s all about the cash. This is where I reveal that the only reason I like money us cos you need it to live. I’m not greedy enough….. hmmmm… (perhaps I’ll expand on that another day) anyway, They easily could reschedule until sometime soon, but not during yet another spike in the ongoing, and seemingly never-ending world wide pandemic. UGGGGH!!

Anyway, Was there a strange moon out last Friday? Things were kinda cruising, then, an air of negativity (sucks being an empath)…..

Perhaps, because a week after it was Friday the 13th? (The first shutdown world wide officially started on the 13th of March,) which, will now bring out my inner “Cliff Clavin”, "Its a little known fact that ‘Friday the 13th’ being “unlucky” is derived from the day in history, of Friday the 13th of October, 1307 A.D., when French king Philip IV the Fair, declared the Knights Templar the enemy of the people, and the persecutions of all the different orders of the Knights Templar.

It kicked off a pretty lousy weekend Tbh, My explanation, (not excuse) is that I was taken by surprise on both flanks cos, at that moment, I’m doing my best to get stuff done…… and since my mood is dictated on how well West Ham does, I was feeling pretty good, cos we were still the buzzin, coming off the scrappy win over Fulham, AND The Philadelphia Union won their first Silverware, later that day by winning the Eastern Conference, but also for having the best record in the whole league. When you pair that with the West Ham win, and it really was alot more important than we realize, we didn’t know about by Yarmo having COVID, the passings of Doug Wragg, or Ray Clemence as of yet, (R.I.P.).

However, as the week wore on, the feel good wore off quickly cos of a surprisingly confrontational debate regarding our CF situation, there is the Oggy scare, who sounds like he may not be available now after all, I guess over all, we really are a “glass half empty” lot, like Iain pointed out in the “Why Football?” Podcast. (Great job, btw, fella) :) and, eventually, the negativity creeps in, and of all the misunderstandings, resentments and the rivalries. I ain’t the only one who goes off when they feel insulted, there’s a few other rivalries round this digital pub! However, as Smurfy says, that’s what makes it fun!

I’m not sure if I’d use the word “fun” however, I know what he means, and agree with his point about debates are going to get heated, but I prefer for them to remain civil with everyone “walking” away still “Irons in Arms” at the end of it.

Needless to say, there were a few heated debates, of which a few I either overreacted to, or was just plain wrong about something, however, I’ve made my amends to all who I needed to, and all is well.

The reason I’m saying this is cos I try to stand up, admit my wrongs, ask for forgiveness, and live with the consequences either way.

I hope it’s moving forward, (refining my social media etiquette, that is the main mode of mass communication these days. What I need to remember, is that most of it is just banter, which, when I know we’re just takin it, I’m one of the most fun jokers to be around, it’s when I think I’m being insulted, is when I have misunderstandings. Usually it’s when I see something that offends me.
What I will keep in mind is it ain’t all about me, AND, if there is something too deep that I may not be in the mood for being spoken to about, or something does offensive to me, or, I simply don’t understand, I must remember to not feed into it, I simply put down the pad, and cool off…. for a good day or two if needed… and if, and hopefully when the opportunity presents itself, let those involved sort it out. This is going to sound strange, but I think my fellow columnists would agree, to do this reliably, your life changes a little! (Iain…..4 columns a day???? I admire ya chap. You are “Action Man”!!! :)

Seriously though, I have to do deeper research, and pay better attention, if my column is to improve and become more dynamic….. I feel like I almost have a job, but honestly, it’s almost the same rush as playing a gig, I mean nothing will ever top playing in front of any group of people over the size of about 50 or the largest I’ve played for was 2000, and they are singing along to a song that YOU wrote

I must admit though but this is a very second close, (it could be a job I love!) and In spite of my “Irish” getting up a bit easy, I admit, I really try to get along with everyone, believe me, I actually hate conflict, believe it or not. Not because I’m not good at it, it just I don’t like being angry with my mates Especially my West Ham mates.

I’m also trying to master the template that you must use to file the column, and for some reason (cos tech and I just don’t get along) I’m struggling to insert pics, so there may be a huge West Ham United logo on the whole column!! However, eventually, I will figure it out (even if I have to do it on Facebook) :0 lol :) I moan, cos tech seems to dislike me. :))

Ok Dammit!!! countdown to Sheffield United, the Blades!!!, and as we have the time, for this weeks installment, I’d like to perhaps hear any “Old Guard” anecdotes or memories of their experiences traveling to Bramall Lane in South Yorkshire to over the years. What kinda town is Sheffield? Def Leopard hails from there, and “High&Dry” and “Pryomania” could be two of the most seminal albums of the 1980’s hard rockin hair stage. “The Full Monty”, the play, turn’d film or other way around, depicts a city that looks and at the time, kind of like Bethlehem Pa. and once thriving steel town in the late 1800’s to the 1970’s that fell on hard times.

The more I think about this match itself, the more I remember what happened last year (another dubious VAR decision that cost us a point), with the conspiracy theory that a fair shake may not be had in Sheffield due to the Tevez controversy, that they all no doubt blame us for the spanner Tevez put into their survival chances , by coming to West Ham United under alleged treachery of which I could never understand, by coming to West Ham and playing a huge roll in the great escape of 2006/07, then, quickly turn around, take a higher offer from Manchester United the summer after. As a matter of fact I was thrilled that during the “Why Football” podcast Iain was on, brought up the actual stat that said West Ham United had the most taken away from them via VAR and comparable offenses went left alone for other clubs. I knew I wasn’t that kind of crazy. I’m a different kind of crazy.

Of course I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t know already, unless you happen to be new to football or West Ham United, in which case let me say “WELCOME ABOARD!” (Meds to the left, straight jackets to the right……). :-)

Sheffield United. 20th place 0-W-1D-7L GD -10 1pt.

One may look at this as say “3pts in the hole”, and sure other facts like only Burnley has less goals for (3) than Sheffield United (4). or dismiss worrying about the win, “we can really run up our GD after this, sure, were on their patch, but, no worries………..”

This is EXACTLY the type of match I dread, and exactly the type of match we’d gaff up. It’s almost as if this West Ham Squad is better when they are backed into a corner, we weren’t horrible against Fulham, however in spite of the fact that we came out on full gizmo, hit the woodwork and Areola kept some otherwise guaranteed goals out in a quick flurry, then, once that rush wore off, it was Fulham’s turn to come close a few times. We need to have a more attacking mentality, perhaps train anticipating having more possession, cos we haven’t been used to that, we need to be better on the ball, cos if we can just rattle the defense , we just may be able to win 0-4????

Ok, the key is not Haller, formations, or anything like that…..it’s about confidence, overconfidence, and managing the difference between healthy confidence, and cockiness, and a sharp and sustained attack, like Vicksburg.

Treating them like the were Liverpool, that would be giving them too much respect, but treating them like Southend United, (sorry Hammertime Mikey, but, they did win last week) :-)) however they are the lowest club in the table of Div 2, and to treat them with NO respect, would be an even bigger mistake. Hubris kills. For real, for real! Just take a look at the news.

The key to beating Sheffield United as I may have pointed out earlier, is to attack, attack, attack, I may have edited out due to the excessive changes I’ve had to make writing the column in the style I chose to experiment with this week, and let’s just say, in no meaning of the term, was this a “success”, so, even though I hate to even paraphrase such an opportunistic thief as Thomas Edison, no matter how intelligent he was “I’ve already learned one way NOT to do it!”

As for the squad, I have no idea who I’m going to change, sit start, I wouldn’t change the system, but you almost ha be to if A. Oggy doesn’t start, B. Fred starts for Coufal, and how does Haller feel if he’s not at least started WITH Antonio and Bowen, which mean possibly dropping Masuaku, which I just don’t think is a good idea right now.

I want Haller to work out, some say its too late and it may be, but If doesn’t work for Haller, it would be a shame, cos I think the biggest reason is he has not had enough of a chance, not so much in terms of “time” in the measurable sense with seconds, hrs, days, etc, I mean he hasn’t had enough stability for a long enough time TO establish a steady work rate, good service, a report with his attacking partners, due to injury, some players upping their skills, COVID-19 has probably played the biggest part, and he was bought under Pellegrini, a completely different manager with a whole different strategy, after all.

I really don’t mean to offend those who I get on with well on well with here, that are “Haller Out” and I know I’m not. I don’t know how this fits into “fact” or “opinion”, cos, I really can’t care if the phrase “in my humble opinion,” or “IMHO” offends somebody, it really means I’m of the opinion, that Haller will go on to score 12 more goals and assist 20 however, I’m humble about it, cos, I could be incorrect! Thats all! :)

Either way, I really hope their defense will not be able to cope, even if they catch us on a counter, it’ll look more like 1-3, or 2-4 instead of 0-1 or 1-2, (then again, if we could have a howler), and be the generous suckers that give Sheffield their first point/s of the campaign! Besides,I’ll take a 0-1 Hammers win, gimme those pts baby!!!!

However, With the right attitude, and effort, and match plan, then we MAY see a rare win up in Sheffield, cos our record, historically, was not to encouraging, however, perhaps it’s our turn to change a trend in our favor.

Love You All

COYI

Jimmy


The Jimmy Cooney Column

"Stickability"! - from the mind of Moyes!

I really love the English language……. we have “onomatopoeias” nouns, which are words that sounds like what they describe, (sounds more like an adjective to me) however, think old Adam West “Batman” circa 1966, during the fight scenes…. "THWAKK!!! “BOOF!!” “SPLATT” and so on). Great stuff for a guy who will always be 13 at heart to some degree, viva la The Three Stooges and Mr. Bean as well!

As a matter of fact, The interjection “D’oh!”, that Matt Groening, the creator of the “The Simpson’s”, I thought made a worldwide sensation through the character of “Homer Simpson” and created the interjection “D’oh!” Which is in Merriam Webster dictionary, however was first printed as a “word” in 1945. I think Mr. Groening was born right around then, so, once again, the English language is filled with interesting words with fascinating and sometimes just plain and simple, but effective etymology.

David Moyes used and adjective, the word “stickability” in the post match presser which I actually checked, is in the Merriam Webster dictionary another noun: stick·?abil·?i·?ty | \ ?stik??bil?t? \
Definition of stickability
: the ability to endure or persevere.

Honestly, imho, this is really the perfect word to describe his philosophy, the type of player he favors, and the core value of the system that is being played right now. by the time this is published, David, Hamburg, and the educated members of the site wil have definitely point out the Fulham match in detail, putting their unique views on everything, however one thing I want to ask is who does Masuaku have to pay to score?!?! It is rare that he gets a chance, but he’s had a few where he get is into a great position to score from about 18 hrs out and he shanks, slices, or hits the composite (I liked that, Mr Hautzig) :-)) the one he had last Saturday night, man…… still, this is no complaint of his playing of late, the whole wing back thing suits him just fine. And kudos to Mr. Cresswell who also was within inches of a brace, or even a hat trick, he has been just fine anchoring the back 3 on the left as well.

As a matter of fact, I think that we have a solid, working system, that yes, Antonio and Ogbonna were the unbreakable core of during the run in after the restart, and the great performances since the Arsenal match. I would rather have them then not, however I have faith in Diop to fill the void, and I’m just not convinced that Haller is useless, I know it’s about 50/50 on that issue, however, it appears to be waning in his favor, and I think I’m starting to agree, I’m am watching the match, yet again, (printed a few days ago, now), the and all appraisals of his play from Mr. Hautzig and Mr. Hamburg, and Mr. Daz….. (talk about someone who should have a column, he’s forgotten more about football than I’ve learned!) Cannot be argued with.

If Antonio is fit? It’s a no brainer for me, I wanna see him score 15plus this year, he’s capable, and just needs to stay fit, yet, I’m not against giving Haller, Sheffield, and perhaps more, to get himself sorted, not cos I’m underestimating them, this has loss for the Hammers written all over it, The Blades are winless, were somewhat in form, it’s up in South Yorkshire, we will still be heavy favorites with the bookies, however, recent history tells us that when a club needs to break a 8 match winless streak, go play the Hammers!

One significant key to beating the Blades is to go at them hard, their back 4 and DMF’s get caught ball watching a lot, especially once someone gets in behind, if this can be exploited, we will win 0-4. We’re used to playing more counter attack, I watched the highlights vs Chelsea, from jump street, much like our fast start against Fulham. (Which, very well have ended in a rout had one of those 3 chances got in) By then, hopefully the lads will be working on having more possession.

I wanna see, if Haller can affect that match positively, if scores, assists, or otherwise plays very well, I think his roll needs to be recognized.

The one thing that I do see the point to is that he was bought with a Pellegrini mindset, and the Moyes mindset, he (Haller) may be working his ass off, but he does have a staid demeanor, he’s so tall, he’s not going to be a speed merchant like Bowen, have the raw power of Antonio, or have the spunk that Fornals has, he’s being judged mostly due to the fact that Antonio is a tough act to follow after he’s been in form, however, he’s being judged a lot due to how different a style he has or the way he looks….. just like poor Masuaku looks like one of the “Savage Skulls” out of the South Bronx in 1974! He has no chance in a 50/50 foul! he’s either giving the foul, getting the yellow, or the red, even if he deserved the lesser of the punishments, I get it too, I have a greasy smile that depending on who you are, see it as “cool”, others see it as “cocky”, sort of like Matt Dillon as “Dallas Winston” in the 1983 classic, “The Outsiders” I still wear my camos, boots, rock& roll t-shirts, handcuff necklace, a leather jacket with denim cuts, (no Outlaw patch or rocker, I don’t mess with bikers) :) when I’m not at church, a formal party, or a wedding, I still rock my hair out (I use no color, and currently it looks like Jim Morrison’s did, the chicks love running their fingers through it, and I love it more! :-), I’ve used the pandemic to grow it out one more time, but out in society, when I’m rocked out, I’m treated differently. It’s nowhere close to the racial profiling that still exists and yes, I should just “grow up”, but right now, I’m working class, I paint for a living, and trying to start my own business, if I do that, I’ll look like Dee Snyder if I want to!

However in Masuaku situation I’ve seen him in smile about 3 times, it’s sh#tty that people get judged by the way they look, their demeanor, or their facial expressions. And poor Masuaku looks like he’s one angry man!

O.k., back around to Haller……. we have two long weeks to debate, and I’m just making a suggestion, perhaps instead of when you see something you don’t agree with about the situation, unless already engaged in conversation, just let it lie, or, debate with some common courtesy, debate with facts and examples instead of pointed comments that smack of a personal issue. It really is ignorant to just hop on someone’s comment and say something really clever like “Haller is Pony”……. And leave it at that, those types of shots reminds me of the small, loudmouth toadie in class who would sucker punch you then run and hide being the teacher? “O.k., (person in question) I got, it, loud and clear, you disagree with me, often perhaps just for kicks….. o.k., I got it, I can live with this, my skin is getting thicker, however since you’ve told me now 389 times, can you please just leave me be in peace, please?!?!” ;-))

I think I remember plenty a “proto pundit” around here saying “Antonio is a great right and left, (when needed) winger, but he’ll never learn to be a natural goal scorer………” hmmmm……. it took some time, but, has he not arrived? How much time did it take? How much time has Haller been with us? Just a bit of food for thought.

I could be wrong. I’ve already agreed with a lot of the reasons that Haller is just not clicking right now.

You see, I’m one of those rare males that can actually admit when they are wrong, and where Hamburg is confident that Antonio and Oggy will be available for Sheffield U, In my very very humble opinion, I believe Haller will get Bramall Lane to prove he can work in a Moyes side, cos even I want to be on “full gizmo” for both Villa and Manchester United, who looked better, but right now, I fear Villa more!

Well, there’s a long wait til League play starts back up, We have discussed formations, we’ve discussed Haller, I guess a good side topic is since we have exceeded most people’s expectations of us, does anyone feel we will finish higher than they thought, or even lower, will we be competitive in the FA Cup? What WOULD work up front if Antonio is not available?

Well that’s the good news, we are very lucky that we have matches to watch, (although, I can’t wait til supporters are allowed back in) there is plenty to discuss with this team, that in spite of a bit of an off performance, paired with a club in Fulham, that is capable of getting their defense solid as a rock, but obviously lacks firepower, (we don’t have more than two, now, bone fide “strikers”, perhaps), but even though, with one of them last Saturday, the first 3 minutes, we could have been up 2 nil, if not more, it was wonderful to see 70 mph shots on target, gotta give Areola some credit, especially saving Cresswell’s 19 yard free kick later in the match that, had Areola not got a finger on it, it was going in the top right corner……..

Well, once again, it’s been fun rambling about our beloved Irons and other topics, I think I’m starting to get a little better. There’s a bit more cohesion, it’s a bit scattered, still, but so was Hunter S. Thompson, so……

Seriously, I’ve actually gone from sheer anxiety, to looking forward to filing my column! Thanks to all who encouraged me to do this.

On that note, “tawk amongst ya-selves”……….

Love You All

COYI!!!! ‘><’


Book Review

A Different Type of Test Awaits.

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Fulham on Saturday is open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 5pm on Saturday.

Greetings my fellow Hammers! Holy Moly, such a crazy time, for only having around 23% ball possession against Liverpool, I think we played relatively well, agreeing with most, that Haller (who should start again)….. get the next 3 or 4 matches to prove he wants to be at West Ham, and can produce.

Some folks, are of the opinion that he already has half his arse out the door, and we should implement Benny asap, which, may be the best way, and I’m incorrect, I’m just saying if he can’t be a big part in us getting at least 8pts from our next 4 matches, of which, Aston Villa has me most concerned, however, I will probably say it again, even though last Saturday sucked, the spoiled rotten got their way, so we move on, for another Saturday is approaching, where, indeed, a different type of test awaits.

And let me just say the following statement is not directed at anyone, it’s directed at the mindset that gives managers and players a unusually short amount of time to acclimate.

COME ON Y’ALL, LETS BACK THE PLAYERS!, (like I said, I’m not speaking to the regulars who are here), even those who believe Haller is not gonna work out, cos you guys rarely knee jerk, I’ve actually read alot of good points to take the chance of putting Bowen and Benrahma together and watch them infuriate center backs wearing other kits!), I’m mostly speaking of the tweeters that David was speaking of, who were moaning because Sab didn’t score a brace in the first 10 minutes, or completely blamed Masuaku for the penalty, which, since I’ve engaged in some discussion, there’s a question of how legitimate that penalty was. I’ve now watched it 5 times and the more I watch, the more I think Salah should have got a yellow for simulation, but Masu didn’t help himself by looking right at the ref, and we’re at Anfield. Good luck getting a fair call in that situation.

However, now, it’s done and dusted, we move on to our first of two East vs West London Derby against Fulham seeing a return of Scott Parker, who was one of my favorite Hammers last decade, however he’s a pro, and as I said in a conversation yesterday and will be looking to notch an upset win his first time in “The London”.

Now, I remember, once upon a time, there was a thing called “patience” and “development” :-) Of course, some are better than others, some, like Antonio, can grow into any attacking position. However, with a guy like Haller, maybe a little more encouragement, and patience, are needed. (And at least one striker along side) It took Antonio 5 years and David Moyes, Alan Irvine and Kevin “Skipper” Nolan to become a solid CF, of course, he was a top quality right winger, and even held his own when Super Slav decided to slot him in at RFB. Now, like Hamburg said, Haller gets 3 or 4 matches, and if we aren’t at least on 16 points by the time we play Manchester United on the 5th of December, then, we must put Benny and Bowen up front. I’d really like to see 2 strikers if Antonio is not fit.

There are still 31 matches left, enough time for Haller and Antonio to develop into a good tandem, or Haller and Bowen, or Yarmolenko and Benrahma all are capable of playing CF/STR, and any number of combinations could work, perhaps for a team with 1 bone fide CF/STR, Moyes, Skip, and Irvine can create some decent strikers!!

That being said, Im still gonna hold out hope that Haller can be effective, and, perhaps with a strike partner, or even Bowen as a false 9, (unless Fulham parks the bus, then, perhaps a 3-4-3?) So long as Haller isn’t isolated, and, as Hamburg accurately pointed out, lost to the Reds mostly by Liverpool being “Liverpool” (lol! I loved it Hamburg!)

Poor sods…….. gee whiz, if only we could complain with sympathy from the FA, PL, PGMOL, other supporters, and pundits, and without ridicule and criticism about the calls and Non calls that seem to plague our matches from time to time or, with Pools’ general silly ass sense of entitlement and superiority, how they cry about losing more than 2 matches in one season, (regarding pundits, which, there are some good ones, and I must admit the ones that work for NBC here in the States all have their clubs they favor, but they report with relative objectivity, and give West Ham enough credit and respect when due).

As a matter of fact, all the Big Clubs moan like little babies about this and that, it almost has one asking “do they have a script written over the summer?!?!” Even though the match day experience is very different for everyone, I’m still thankful that we can watch our football, and especially our Hammers on the telly, (I know, it’s nothing like being there), or even if you feature being an “armchair hooligan” or have a group that gets together in the same pub every Saturday.

The main reason of course that I follow via television and social media, is due to being separated by 3546 miles and the world’s 2nd largest ocean, or for any other reason, when I watch on TV, it is still better when there are supporters there, still, sometimes the camera person will catch an amusing moment, and, the “telly mob” has extensive replay advantage. Once upon a time, I’d always tune into the “Tyne/Wear” Derby, even though the last one was 4 and 1/3 seasons ago, they were usually good for some handbags on the pitch AND in the terraces (as they are these days).

Mostly, I love when our AWAY ARMY who faithfully travel the whole of England to support the Irons, who can often be heard over the home crowd, winning losing or drawing, especially when during an away match, say, most recently, against Chelsea, (wimps) :-)) when we doubled up on them last season, our first win was in West London before the lockdown, first time we won at Stamford Bridge since 28/9/2002, (I’m pretty sure) and during the added time in the second half of that match, that rendition of “Bubbles” gave me goosebumps.

As I shift gears all bit, I should probably put in the disclaimer now that I don’t condone hooliganism in any form in modern days. However, I’d be lying if I said that when a I was younger, that I was pretty much your average wild child. I wasn’t evil, or looked for trouble that would immediately hurt others, however I did learn the hard way that vandalism is not a victimless crime, and “Banksy” I was not! :-)) however, if someone was acting the fool, I had absolutely no issue solving someone’s problems for them if they tried to make them mine. I took my beatings as well, but it was rare, and I usually ended up friends with most of the fellas I tangled with as a kid. I still like to rock, (it hurts a lot more now), :-)) but, Its kind of like the romanticism of the neighborhood gangs in the U.S. that existed primarily in the mid to the first half of the late 20th Century that, somewhat like the original firms of the 1960’s and ’70’s, had more to do with local pride, self defense from other roving mobs, and, almost a sport in and of itself, and in the case of football, team spirit, a street level _ Esprit de Corps_ , so to speak.

It wasn’t good or positive by any means, however, it originally didn’t have anything to do with drugs dealing, human trafficking, weapons sales or any of the hardcore activities that a lot of disreputable folks have engaged in since the 1990’s, (and some have used to buy football clubs with their ill gotten gains) ;-))

O.K., how this plays into this as I build to my main point, once again, morale and belief in each other, similar to that “final rumble” for the “vacant lot”….. our beloved Irons, have met the challenge of taking on 6 of the top 8 clubs in the first 7 matches of the campaign, and by standing tall, and never giving up, instead of being in the relegation zone with 1-3 points, were in 14th, with 8pts a plus 3 GD, 5 points off the bottom, (that is a concern, yes), however considering this seemingly new hate for West Ham United within the league as pantomime villains, some may disagree, and that’s ok, but I just see a lot of ignorance by some pundits, journalists, etc.

It was nice to have a bit of a laugh over that, cos NO ONE outside our belief and hope thought that we would throttle Wolves, and Leicester, in the Midlands, no less, and fight for a historic comeback against the reviled Spurs.. (God, it’s tough, one day I hate Chelsea the most, the next, Spurs, then, Leeds, Thursday it could be Wigan, then Liverpool or even Everton…..) :-)) And played solid matches against Man City and Liverpool, both matches that could have been won, however, I feel the lads gave their best, and had Antonio done what Salah did, it most likely wouldn’t have been a penalty. One point that I brought up after Spurs about the “acting” that 6’5" 230 pound men do, and Hamburg expanded on this week, if these gits are soooo good, why the Hell do they need to drop like they have been hit by a 155mm GP fragmentation round fired from an M-777 field howitzer when someone makes the slightest contact???

Yes, Mark Noble has a degree in the dark arts, however he doesn’t feature it like those mentioned below, and it’s in situations where it could be impeding his track to the goal, and closer to a legitimate penalty, but Kane, Alli, Sane, and Salah should be given yellow cards instead of sarcastic “diving scores” as if it were the Olympics, if VAR is to remain (which it looks like it will, unfortunately) then the refs need to use it properly, and not as another tool to stack the deck against the “smaller club”

O.k. now that I’ve touched on the match a bit, and some periphery that irritates us all, but we can do nothing about, we didn’t lose because of the penalty. I honestly don’t think the main reason we lost was cos of uber-cheating, we just didn’t have the offensive chutzpah that I must admit, Antonio does bring, however, a simple tweak in the formation that could play to Haller’s strengths, maybe he can have a career here, it’s really up to him, (he can score goals), it could make all the difference, and give Antonio some competition.

Now, we’ve weathered this hardcore first 1/5th of our schedule, we now have some clubs that has the “script” is saying that West Ham United should go on and rack up points. We would hope, anyway.

I wish there was a little less elitism, more parity, however it is what it is, the possible danger I see is our players taking their feet off the pedals that they have had to the floor to get through this difficult part of our schedule. I really hope that they look at Fulham, Sheffield, and Villa as important, for those may be the clubs we’ll need to double up on, however play with just enough respect to keep the defense tight.

That being said, for that very reason, I’m actually more nervous about the next few weeks, cos, were not in the scrap yet, however, if we don’t keep playing these clubs that are upcoming with the same urgency that has shown since matchweek #2 against Arsenal, we could be in trouble by Xmas.

However, I just can’t see it. Sure, Brighton and Sheffield will probably give issues, however if we play the way we have been? Even without Antonio? (who we probably won’t see til mid December for the Holiday Crunch). I didn’t talk to “Ex” or anything, I just get the feeling he may be rested until then. Probably won’t see him til Chelsea, Away, 19/12/2020

It so crazy, the reason we love him so much is what gets him injured twice a season. Still, I’ve been a fan since talks began in ’15, and, as they were going on (the negotiations) I did research, watched how he played at Forest, and I though “this kid is a Hammer, thru and thru”.

That being said, hopefully we can find similar success with Haller, Bowen can strike, or maybe Benny, he could be vicious, however, Haller deserves a fair shot to slot into this XI, as does Moyes deserve to be given the chance to hopefully adjust the formation to suit Haller, IF, we don’t win 4 on the trot, and go unbeaten in 5. Even though some say we’ve hit a soft spot in our schedule, this is the time that extra vigilance is needed, cos, in spite of the fact that the Overlords of English football want 6 clubs to occupy the top 6 spots, and have two of the other 5 who didn’t win the league, win the Cups, this is still the Premier League, anything can happen, and as I’ve said and the title suggests, I believe a different type of test awaits our Hammers as we enter into the pre Xmas crunch, a test that I believe will set the tone for the rest of the season, of which I’m relatively confident in our lads picking up some points in the next month, landing us closer to solid mid table.

I still think we can finish 8th, IF the goals keep coming from all over the pitch, and the defense keeps up the decent work. However if I was to bet, I’d say 12th just cos in spite of the quality we do have, were thin, and still have some issues that may make top 8 a bit ambitious.

I’d be interested to hear what everyone thinks our chances are to finish top half now that we’ve proven that we aren’t the “kickboys” that many, including fellow Hammers, thought we were gonna be. I’d also enjoy reading what everyone thinks the best course of action regarding tactics and strategy to take to ensure maximum points in the next 4 fixtures (I’m not afraid of Manchester United anymore). COME ON YOU IRONS!!! ‘><’

Love You All

Jimmy


The Jimmy Cooney Column

Steady as she Goes...

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Liverpool on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 3.30pm on Saturday.

Good Tuesday! (almost Wednesday for our friends closer to the international date line!) :-)

Well, I’m checking in, hoping all are doing well, I must correct myself, I believe I identified Sir Trevor Brooking as a “prolific striker” for West Ham United, where I meant to say “goalscorer” was indeed, a midfielder!

Nerves….. I’ll tell ya…..for unfortunately, some issues in the “Big Match of Life” are conspiring against me, poor timing, karma, just the way it is, mostly, however, it does frustrate me cos as racked up with nerves I can can let myself be overcome by from time to time, it’s reminding me a bit of how I’d feel before I’d go on stage with a guitar….. (yep, rockers get scared too) :-)), however, it’s not unlike what ours, and other football players go thru before they take the pitch, usually, after the first words, chord, or tackle, it usually knocks the over load of cortisol, and adrenaline right into line, at which such a point, those very chemicals that were just giving you that sick feeling in your stomach, are now helping you to get the job done.

Of course, this happens to everyone, especially when you wake up, and realize you have something to do that day that has you missing the other type of nervous that even I get when our lads and ladies are gonna take the pitch that day.

I suppose I’m writing all this for a bit of explanation, but it did bring an interesting idea to me, just as I was typing, on how one topic we could explore is how do you think those playing at the highest level of football in the world, can deal with the “hyperpressure” that I’m sure is exerted on all pro footballers on a day to day basis, how we may feel, and how much it may play into bogey clubs, grounds, even dates. Of which, if I could sit down and tell you how certain numbers and dates actually have repeated themselves over my life, for both good and bad, it may have one Googling “numerology” for example, 10th of May, a huge date historically, especially for West Ham United, the biggest, imho, would be the 1980 FA Cup final, personally, it’s the birthday of a ex girlfriend, a current fellow West Ham mate over there, John Simon Ritchie (better known as “Sid Vicious”) and Paul Hewson (even better known as Bono) both were born on that date, in 1957, and 1960 respectively.

O.k, before I become to side tracked, our Mens first team played quite a match against one of the “Big Clubs” in Manchester City, who for me, personally, seems like our biggest ask of all the Big Clubs, as of recently, anyway. Right now, a 1-1 draw is a solid result against the “Citizens”, for where circumstances beyond my control, forced me to miss the match, so I can speak to extensively on it, however, from all accounts, aside from a few yella cards, and 30 odd % possession (which means sod all if you can’t get in there for a host of reasons). :-))

Therefore, while I still come up with a more cohesive column theme, I will wrap this up to let the “freeform” flourish. Where I do agree, a consistent theme is usually one of a few hallmarks of any work of “written word”, I also believe spontaneity has a unique quality of its own.

I wish we could all hang out in person, more often, this is definitely more than just a blog, it can be therapy (in a very interesting way) :-)) I suppose the above is a perfect example of this, there are so many interesting people here, and as I look forward to cultivating a better column for everyone, I can rest assured that as long as the awesome folks who keep it up and running, keep on "truckin’, we all have a sounding board.

Well, “keep talking amongst ya-selfs” (Coffee Talk. Mike Myers. Saturday Nite Live, circa 1988-92), and I look forward to being back sooner than later, as I really look forward to taking on Liverpool this Saturday!

Love You All

Jimmy

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