WHUFC 0 vs Manchester City 0 (5-3 pens). League cup 4th round 27/10/2021



What a night, what a night.

The cold realisation after beating Tottenham that a few days later we would be back to face City in the League cup was not the most exciting prospect.

Pre game was fun, meeting up with a friend who has finally got his arse into gear to buy a season ticket. This was someone who I hadn’t seen for nearly 10 years and glad to say he is still in fine fettle.

For those that are interested, more change in the seats behind me for this game. Kids for a quid gave me the opportunity to have a family with 3 under 5’s (not them !) sitting behind me. Believe it or not they were better than the Surrey Train Squad of Genk and Rapid fame.

I fully expected lots of changes on both sides with City having a significant upper hand. No fun in that. And to an extent that’s what I got. Wholesale changes on both sides. Unfortunately, City’s second team had 3 players who played in the Euro 2020 final for England, with 2 more in the bench. We had Noble, Dawson, Lanzini, Yarma, Vlasic and Areola coming in, and Moyes saw sense enough to leave Rice and Antonio completely out of it.. Slight gulf in quality !

And it showed. City’s domination of possession (64% according to the BBC, I thought more) was precise, and smooth. Do they ever miss a pass ? But no cutting edge. Sterling had a couple of runs at Johnson, but was getting no change from a lad really making his way in this squad. I sort of get what people have been saying about City not having a striker now. Without that focal point they are relying on mistakes from the opposition. Not that Areola had nothing to do. Out of the 2 keepers he was easily the busiest, but handled everything with ease, and an agility that maybe has made Fab stand up and raise his game as well. One save from a Stone header would have been talked about for weeks if it was Ederson or Alisson. Keep it up Alphonse, the start is only round the corner.

With the odd bit of counter attack from us, the game followed the same pattern all night. City attack, we get the ball, and provide a poor pass back to them after a small amount of possession. But our defending was resolute. Johnson, as already stated played a blinder again. Dawson and Diop were solid and Cresswell was just Cresswell.

The only player who struggled was Yarmalenko, and I think that may have been due to the quick closedown at high quality from Stones and Ake. Also, he was a bit isolated meaning normally his best available pass was backwards, quite a way backwards. Lanzini was getting bounced about in the middle, but held his own just about.

As the second half went on we saw more of the ball and there were chances for Masuaku (who was good all night, for his first game in a while). Yarma had a clear opportunity taken away after some lovely interchange with Johnson.

We continued to apply pressure, post our subs, as Bowen, Fornals, and Benrahma came on and brought up the effort and creativity levels. Towards the end of the 90 Coufal came on for Lanzini and I assumed this was to take a penalty. And like that penalties were upon us.

Up steps Noble. No problem. Then Foden. Big problem as he lashes it wide. Then we go one for one with Bowen, Dawson and Cresswell getting ours . Our last penalty, and the one to win the match, I assumed would be taken by Coufal. And up steps Benrahma. The same fella who was shocking against Spurs and has shown to be very hot and cold. By this time my nerves are shredding. The stadium is silent. Both teams watch on……..

AND HE SCORES

And that’s that, time to get home. What a night !

What a night again. For the first time since the move, I felt like a fan again if that makes sense. Getting sucked into the drama, revelling in the atmosphere. The sheer joy of that last penalty. Having a sore throat in the morning !

MOTM Areola. Top man all night, made some big saves. Big shout out to Noble, who kept everything tidy, and Johnson, who based on the subs, kept a fit Coufal out of the team. Can he do the same away against Villa this Sunday?

Fireworks are not only for Europe people.

WHUFC 1 Tottenham 0 24/10/2021 EPL 2021-2022


First off , all back to normal on the seating front, with my European neighbours not in attendance (see Genk post) made the day a whole more enjoyable. And its always nice to get one over on the Totts, if nothing else just to chip away at the myth that they are a big club, which they held onto despite not beating us last season, and finishing below us in the league, and being part of the failed breakaway league with some real big clubs.

Continue reading “WHUFC 1 Tottenham 0 24/10/2021 EPL 2021-2022”

WHUFC 3 – KRC Genk 0 Europa League 21/10/2021


Looking after parents during Covid, only 3000 miles a year in the car, kids sleeping in the back, Alton, Farnborough, dad has a steam train. 12 carriage trains into Waterloo, early shifts, no one in the office. 5 a side legend, 6 a side, 8 a side on a 6 a side pitch, over zealous social football games with post game stats. Don’t rate Areola. Choose life.

Continue reading “WHUFC 3 – KRC Genk 0 Europa League 21/10/2021”

WHUFC (2) vs Rapid Vienna (0) 30/09/2021 Europa League


Champions of Europe, you’ll never sing that !

European football is upon us for the first time in a few years and not in a qualifier. Last season got us straight into the group stages and tonight we were looking to keep our place at the top of our group, after beating Zagreb on the road 2 weeks ago.

Continue reading “WHUFC (2) vs Rapid Vienna (0) 30/09/2021 Europa League”

WHUFC (1) – Man Utd (2) 19/09/2021. EPL 2021-2022


A damp day in East London

If this was a movie it would be binned at submission for being too far fetched.

We have the return of the once great one to save the day again. We also have hero returning to the site of his recent exploits to see if he can repeat the formula from the dark side. And we have the introduction of a former hero, now into his dotage, to see if he can just one more time recreate the magic that made him famous throughout the land.

Continue reading “WHUFC (1) – Man Utd (2) 19/09/2021. EPL 2021-2022”

WHUFC (2) vs Crystal Palace (2) – EPL 2021-2022 28/08/2021


West Ham have never won their first three games in the Premier League but with 2 down and a 0 point Palace rolling into town, things were looking good for another small piece of history this weekend. Not to mention the chance to remain top of the league through the International break.

Getting into the ground was considerably easier this time around, but getting there 90 minutes before kick off helps !

Continue reading “WHUFC (2) vs Crystal Palace (2) – EPL 2021-2022 28/08/2021”

WHUFC (4)vs Leicester City(1) EPL 23/08/2021


Welcome home. well I don’t know about home but definitely welcome back. 18 odd months since my last attendance at a live football match, Monday evening was a time to see if it was all worth it. It also means these missives should be more regular. Hard to report on something that you watched on the TV.

I’ll be honest, after nearly 35 years of continuous attendance, a season off actually worked well for me, and it was good to do other things at the weekends. Like watch West Ham on the telly !

So last season was beyond all expectation and with little or no change to the team we started this year beating a team that beat us twice last year, and winning away, and winning our first game of the season for a few years.

However, our opponents today had beaten Man City in the FA Cup final, and the Charity Shield and just missed out on top four (as did we, grrrr) . But in our favour was the fact that last time we played them we, destroyed them at their own ground.

Getting in was an absolute shambles, one it appears shared by a few other clubs this season. We have moved to digital tickets. Taking away the accessibility issue of this, that should not be too difficult a transition, with options to print, etc. But also asking people who are not qualified to verify COVID staus was always going to be ridiculous. What if I show them someone else’s status, or show them mine in my digital wallet, but the date validation data has past. Are they really going to spend all that time with each supporter, while queues were getting somewhat silly . I queued nearly 30 minutes to get in. Due to it being the first game, most people were OK with this. I imagine in December with some rain flying about, this will not be sustainable in any way. I understand Spurs have already announced “random” checks to speed this up. Not to mention that this was to “keep us safe”. I can honestly say that since March 2020, that was the tightest crowd of non masked individuals I had spent my time with . Sort of defeats the point.

Also there is a safety issue. The queues were out to the edge of the concourse all round the ground , meaning you had to push through other queues to get to your own. With people waiting up to 40 minutes to get in they were getting concerned about other people pushing in and there we have the issue. Tempers can flare easily in these situations, and I think being the first game, probably kept a lid on this. Once again, a league cup game in late October may have a different outcome.

The game itself was different entirely. We dominated from start to finish, and the score reflected that. Yes they had someone sent off (VAR actually being used properly, eg for catching a clear and obvious refereeing error), but in reality we were by far the better team.

The atmosphere was almost Upton Park ish, but maybe that’s what happens when you haven’t been to a game for 18 months ! Even the stadium announcer got in on the act singing the Antonio song, when he broke Di Canio’s record for most Premier League goals. That said, I would still prefer a real striker, who can complement our fantastic attacking force. One injury blows that all up, and backup is essential.

If we manage to secure a striker, Lingard and Zouma before the 1st Sept, I will be a happy boy, but we know how that goes over here. The board over promise and deliver nothing. We are still crowing about signing Dawson as a new signing, despite him being on loan all last season.

Palace up next and we should remain top of the pile going into the break. No complaints with that.

COYI

MOTM: Fornals. The fella just holds everything together and has been rewarded by getting called up for Spain in the upcoming break. Well played Senor.

West Ham vs Southampton 29/02/2020 – EPL 2019/2020


Match reports have been few and far between this season as to be fair there hasn’t been a lot to report. Injuries , poor placement of players into positions, and non form of key individuals meant things have not been too great.

This report will not really add to this. We played a sub par Southampton team, but we had all our players in the right places, and Bowen got his long awaiting start, and we just tore them apart.

Haller proved the doubters wrong. Completely different player with others around him.

Today was mainly around the other big WHU event of the day. The supporters “stroll”. Basically this was a marched protest from about 1.5 miles outside the stadium ,picking up more and more people as we traveled in. Alone it proved nothing, but maybe it does give cause for concern with the owners that its not 200 “Old men”. There were women and kids and a few old men, who united in the cause that the lies are enough and we need to move forward.

This is where the issue is for me. The cause seems to be to get them out, fair enough. But we need the alternative, and that doesn’t appear to be forthcoming. There are rumours of American Billionaires and Red Bull, but that’s all they are. Best we can get is a climb down and engagement as we continue the relationship.

But lets keep the pressure on. They have already shut down their undemocratic “Supporters Board”. They have suggested holding elections for supporter positions. They will bend over backwards for this to go away, and we need to be constructive with how we use that leverage. First up for me , is let’s test the mettle of the stadium operators and put in a bid. They are losing money hand over fist, and I imagine will take a lowball bid. Once we have control of the stadium, move all athletics duties to Birmingham post 2022. The anniversary games is not a sell out anymore and must cost money to put on.

Once that’s out of the way, we can dig down and reseat the lower tiers into being next to the pitch, a la the Etihad. Yes we may be out of the ground for a year or 2, but it’s not such a big deal ,when we don’t feel we have played at home since 2015 !

So that’s it , the march was good start and hopefully the numbers will get bigger, but we have to have an objective that is achievable else we will be accused of pedaling pipedreams , just like GSB.

Paris – Jan 2020


Our first trip of the year, and we get the train for 2 hours all the way to Paris.

Weather was very good albeit chilly and despite the press suggesting the city had been closed since before the holidays, we managed to get around using public transport with no problems.

In short , a lot of walking and some amazing eating including the 15 euro cake (amazing), the savory buckwheat crepe with Egg, ham and mushrooms. Also amazing. And lastly a perennial favorite for us travelling to the French capital, Dim sum in the Galeria Lafayette.

Click on photos for comments.

The return of the Moyesiah


Image result for david moyes

OK, first off , slightly joking with the title.

Here we are again, nearly 2 years to the day since i wrote this . And we find ourselves back in the same boat, calling the same batphone. But we also find ourselves in a better cabin on that boat.

Slaven went as he tried to work with players Sullivan bought, who were clearly not good enough. Pelle went as he made good signings , based on recommendations from his team, but couldn’t get them into a formation suited to their skillsets. Which for someone with his experience, is odd and backs up the Man City fan opinion regarding stubborness and unwillingness to change.

So once again, in comes David Moyes, And once again the team he has inherited is way better than he maybe expected. Subtle tweaks here and there are already producing results.

I have been saying for ever we need to get two up top (since Allardyce) and DM has moved Anderson into the space behind Haller to great effect. We seem to to have changed to a back 3 with pushing full backs, which definitely plays to the strengths of Fred and Arthur. However this may be curtailed with the injury to Fred during the Gillingham game. I cannot see Zaba charging up and down against Sheffield United this Friday.

Despite me doubting him massively when he signed , DM needs to find a space for Fornals. His recent performances, cannot be dismissed, and he could be Pelle’s last present to the faithful. Either Snodgrass or Lanzini needs to make way. Snods would be the easiest, however Lanzini doesn’t appear to be at it at all. His Instagram shows him in London very rarely and maybe January would be a good time to move him on for a few quid for someone who needs a playmaker.

Which brings us to the one remaining puzzle. Defensive midfield. Pushing Noble further up the pitch is always good for him (this has also been discussed by me ad infinitum). But 5 at the back and 3 towards the front (Anderson, Haller, Lanzini) leaves 2 . With Noble pushing towards Lanzini, leaves Rice in that hole. Are we good enough for one holding midfielder ? 3 center backs suggests we are . What we cannot do however is this insane substitution of subbing Noble for Sanchez. Sanchez is not equipped to play up the pitch, so invariably plays further back, which when we are chasing is counter productive and brings teams on.

DM will (and has already) upped the tempo of play. He has also dealt with the Haller issue (for now. Against better opposition we may see a switch back). He seems to have brought Diop back in from the cold, and put Noble in his natural position. So far so good.

The real test will be Friday against Sheff Utd. A team on the up, and a team that will fancy their chances against us (home or away). Another clean sheet will be a result for us. Draw or win , I’ll be happy with.

Personally I thought Moyes should have had the job longer term than he was last time. He has enough experience and is young enough to still be hungry. Lets get behind him and see this season out, and hope this time he sticks around !

Before we finish, can we just take some time to digest that Mark Noble is currently the Premier Leagues highest scoring player this decade !