With 2 key players out for the recently better performing opponents, and us pretty much back to full strength, we could have taken this game by the scruff of the neck and started to hold off those with games in hand.Continue reading “WHUFC 1 Newcastle 1 EPL 2021/22 19/02/2022”
Very late as is becoming the norm, and I know I’ve missed a couple of games, but Fulham at home was just that. Fulham at home. Despite their early lead, as soon as it went to 1-1 they really didn’t want to know. Since then their manager has been sacked and former hammers favourite Scott Parker has been installed, so good luck to him , he will need it.
Newcastle arrived on a decent run and were likely to be a better test than when we beat them at their place earlier in the season.
Actually, stuff that. The Geordies were also devoid of ideas and even their fans were (for them) a little quiet. Today was all about a real club legend. Billy Bonds. Six foot two, eyes of blue and all that.
The stand I usually sit in was being renamed after him, and he now sits alongside Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking in getting this honour. This led to Gary Lineker winding up twitter suggesting the remaining stand was becoming the Mark Noble Stand. Although a little premature I think that would be better than what it probably will be. The Lycamobile stand ? The Betway ? The Kens Cafe ?
Anyway I say the stand I usually sit in, as for the first time since we moved I sat elsewhere for the game. In the prawn sandwich seats no less. Not quite a box, but very corporate. We (me and @mrsmackay) were kindly hosted by a supplier of hers to enjoy the game in a different atmosphere. This involved getting there considerably early and me seeing the “dark side” of the stadium I have never been around to that side, not even for other events.
Its very much what you would expect if you have been in the Club England section at Wembley. Lots of escalators and people knowing where they are going (except for you). We ended up in a lounge called the Forge for our lunch. Whilst munching, we enjoyed an interview, on a stage about 10ft away, about Mr Bonds, from some ex players. Namely, Alvin Martin, Ray Stewart, Stuart Slater, Pat Holland and Kenny Brown (jnr). Being the game was against Newcastle, Alvin was given the liberty of retelling his historic hatrick against the magpies (again!).
Food was 7/10. Entertainment was 8/10. Half time was interesting , listening to a guy on an acoustic guitar, playing Jump Around by House of Pain. Different, but he just about got away with it. Service was as you would expect, polite.
Anyway we filtered out early , as Bonzo was getting his presentation 20 mins before kick off. We were greeted by a great sight.
Billy was led out though an honour guard of ex players
And then was interviewed by Alvin Martin
And then cut his ribbon, to open the stand. During his lap of honour there was not a dry eye in the house, especially from the man himself. as he made his way around the stadium a tribute played on the screens.
Then there was the little matter of the game. Mark Noble is the closest we have to a Billy these days, and we are all hoping that the mantle will be taken up by Declan Rice in the future. He did himself no harm by netting a header after 7 minutes, much to the consternation of @mrsmackay who wanted a bet on him to score the first goal only to be dissuaded by yours truly! From then on there was only one winner and a mistimed tackle on Hernandez gave us a pen just before half time. Ably converted by Mr Noble. The second half was only notable for me for 2 reasons. One, Longstaff at Newcastle is being touted as better than Rice, and was hooked at half time while Declan was picking up another MOTM and more plaudits. Secondly, and more interesting was Marko entering the fray (mystery illness from Wednesday cleared up). Clearly not happy at being a sub and not the darling of the fans anymore, outside of 2 runs it was Marko pre Moyes of sulking and and waving arms. He needs to sort himself out or the manager has no option but to start him from the bench every game, which actually is doing peak Marko a disservice and could actually cost us points along the way.
So, another good day at a stadium that is slowly (very slowly) becoming home. Not sure if I could do corporate every game but it has its advantages.
Hopes were high as The Hammers entertained their struggling opponents under the lights at the Boleyn. Newcastle were not having the best start of the season ever, but WHU were yet to register a point at home, whilst taking full points on the road at Arsenal and (historically) Liverpool.
Since that game at Anfield, some 4 players have joined WHU and one made his debut last night as Victor Moses came in for Obiang, and Tomkins found himself once more in the right back berth. Mark Noble also made his first appearance as officially the club captain, although with the fans he has held that position since Scott Parker left.
WHU started the game with a spring in their step, with Payet and Koutyate especially taking the game to the Geordies. The players seemed happy to close down, move around and make quick passes. Something we haven’t seen for a while. In the 9th minute a neat interchange between Noble and Sakho fed the ball to the edge of the box to Payet, and he shaped up perfectly to meet the ball in his stride to smash it into the top corner
As is usual for WHU the game started to drift and although we maintained the attacks, we were not really making the best of our chances. The Newcastle No.8 Vumon Anita was playing as a one man defence and was stopping everything and everyone coming his way. We continued as is now usual to half time, content to be ahead but not really pushing. But it must be said we were playing further up the pitch than normal and not buggering about passing it around the back.
It made a change not to go in 2-0 down at home, so happy days.
Once again we started the second half with the wind in our sails attacking the Bobby Moore. We cleared an early attack from Newcastle to Moses who ran the whole length of the pitch and got himself in on goal. He shoots, beats the keeper, but not the bar. The rebound comes straight out to Payet who volleys it in to make it 2-0. Big shout to the the team here, as Payet ran off on his own to celebrate, everyone else was congratulating Moses, who had his head in his hands ! From here on, Payet ran the show and gave us his full set of tricks and passes. This started to breed confidence within the team and soon everyone was at it. Against a better team we may of suffered , but Newcastle could not capitalise on the showboat circus. Even Mark Noble was taking people on and getting crosses in. There were back heels and fancy passes all over the place. The crowd were loving it, but occasionally you could see where the loss of the ball could reduce the deficit easily. The biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for the reintroduction of Andy Carroll (again), who nearly picked up a yellow card with his first touch (or non touch as it was on Tim Krull). His five minute cameo ended the night perfectly. The crowd were chanting “Are you watching Allardyce” for the last few minutes in between cheering on the back flicks and nutmegs.
2-0 to the Irons and 5th place in the league with Man City up next to hold on to our perfect away record this season (!). Why are we playing better? My theory is that now that we have a real squad, competition for places is driving players to play a higher standard of football. Lets hope this continues Messrs Bilic and Dicks
On a side note, Kevin Nolan was on Goals on Sunday this weekend and spoke glowingly of the club and his time there. With the stick people (myself included) have given him for the last 6 months, fair play to him, especially having his boy in a WHU kit. In parting, good luck to him in his future endeavours.
So in short, we have a top, top, quality flair player in midfield,backed up with some steel, we can pass balls all over the shop without fear, we score some tremendous goals, we can defend and attack in numbers, we are all in it together, and are always on the edge of going too far and screwing it all up.
THE WEST HAM WAY IS BACK !!!!!
MOTM: Payet, big shouts to Moses, Kouyate, Noble, and Tomkins.