New job has meant I’m a bit behind on the blog. I still have 2 to do on our last trip to vegas (here) and one for this game. The first of the season, on the second day of July, in the boiling heat of old London town.
Despite the litany of dour behaviour that was Sam Allardyce, his poor tactics had one silver lining. You see, if you don’t tackle anyone, ever, and shake the 4th officials hand after the game, you get chucked into the 2nd tier of European competition, along with the Dog and Duck of Armenia, and Ebbsfleet under 17’s, right at the beginning. And so our European tour begins…..
Anyway, off I went to watch the Hammers under lights (sort of, its only 5 days after the longest day) against Andorra’s best, The mighty FC Lusitans. I have done no research on them, but they brought 22 away fans, and play in a ground that holds less than 1000. That said, i would cut my throat to play in the UEFA cup so fair play to them. Half the Premier League players haven’t.
Our new manager was presented just before the start of the game, and then was banished to watch the game in the directors box . Our other new appointment off the pitch was fan’s favourite Julian Dicks who was in Dublin, with the remainder of the first team. There was some cock and bull why this was the case, for both situations but I’m not buying it. It just struck me as weird. As did no names on shirts, and no goal line linos (as per UEFA regulation). Apparently even UEFA don’t give a toss either at this stage of the competition. Unlike the 35k that packed Upton Park that night. To say i was surprised was an understatement.
West Ham put out a competitive team, with Sakho, Tomkins, Jarvis, Burke, O’Brien and Amalfitano starting. Also on the park was Zarate, which was interesting. When he went back and forth in Jan between us and QPR, I’ll be honest I lost interest. I thought he was a QPR player (eg not on loan). So welcome back Mauro !
Reece Oxford made a much heralded start as the youngest WHU player ever, and apart from some early nerves looked OK. Hard to tell if he has made the grade , as the opposition were shocking. Mad tackles, rolling about like a trawler if a WHU player was within 10ft off them, hounding the ref over every decision, and basically time wasting the hell out of the game just to keep the score down. Obviously nobody told them we are not really the sort of team to smash anyone about.
We played the ball around a very inferior opposition for most of the first half, and Joey O’Brien looked like Messi. Just before the break the game was finished as Sakho got 2 goals in 5 minutes to finish off any sort of game that may happen.
The second half was real practice game stuff with Captain for the night Tomkins netting one to add to the tally. Best bits were Amalfitano volleying back a misplaced goal kick and nearly scoring, and the ball boy at the Bobby Moore end, fronting up their keeper, when he tried to stare him down after deciding the ball came back a little quickly. When their players were deliberately moving towards the middle to lie down “injured” and waste more time , I left.
Nice to see the young boys, I just hope Slaven sticks with them for a few more games in this cup. Roll on Birkirkara FC or Ulisses FC in the next round (!). Currently 0-0.
To sum up the summer: Happy with the signings, happy with the manager, happy with the direction the club is taking. I dare you to find that in any other post I have written on WHU.