WHUFC vs Stoke City 31/08/2013 EPL


Weather was nice, game was shit, just about sums up this one. Normally I wouldn’t be so blunt, but sometimes this has to happen.

Stoke under Pulis were sometimes castigated for spoiling the game, and being ultra long ball, etc. Under Mark Hughes this seemed to have stopped for now, with Stoke actually playing well and moving the ball around quickly and accurately.

WHU were rubbish. Let me qualify this. With 2 exceptions we actually played OK. Collins and O’Brien really stood out. Downing was exception no 1. He was soft and ineffective. However he looked like Messi compared to Maiga.

Why we kept this clown over Carlton Cole is beyond me. He has no challenge or presence, cannot hold the ball, can’t pass, and is usually out of position. All of the above can be done from the bench and do not need to be demonstrated on the pitch.

Fans frustrations are nothing new, and fans do have a habit of getting on players backs out of proportion with their performance. BUT, when you see the players getting on his case, and effectively playing around him to stop him having the ball, you have an issue. We beat Cardiff in spite of him, we might of well played with 10 men against Newcastle, and another draw with 10 men was on the cards yesterday, until Jermaine Pennant came of the bench to snatch victory for the potters.

So whats the answer? Not bringing on Elliot Lee too late against a team who have 4 defenders twice his size, thanks Sam. We now have less than 24 hours to get someone in to fill in for Carroll. Sitting on the bench of our visitors was Peter Crouch ? Season loan ? Why not !

Anything has to better than having the new Boogers up top.

MOTM : James Collins.

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Yes, we are booing you mate.

WHUFC vs Cardiff City 17/08/2013 EPL 2013/14


The new season has finally come round and where better to start than against a recently promoted team? Two years ago we entertained CCFC in our first game in the Championship. This time both teams are in the Premier League, but one has an extra years experience.

This summer Sam had been quietly going about his business. Securing Carroll, picking up Ratz and Downing, reintegrating Morrison back into squad. The net result of this pitchside was exactly the same team from last year with Maiga replacing Carroll / Cole.

BUT…. we looked fit. Joe Cole and Nolan for example had definitely dropped some timber over the summer. Ravel had made the bench, along with Downing. RVT was there as well, but Downing coming in might accelerate his exit (hopefully). I will also mention at this point that i was wearing shorts, the first time in nearly 3 seasons. About time !

West Ham started the game looking assured, and Cardiff started at pace, moving the ball around snappily. But after a while it was apparent where the experience laid. One thing i noticed in our first year back in the prem was the fact that the game, although slightly slower than the Championship, is way more accurate and bad passing is punished. This was happening to Cardiff who made a sequence of bad passes, particularly when in attacking positions. Nolan and Noble seemed to be picking up presents everywhere simply by closing down quickly.

One of these led to Matt Jarvis getting down the wing with 13 mins on the clock. His cross was looking all the world like a normal ball into the air until he cleverly cut back and found Joe Cole with a well placed pass. Cole collected, spun and smashed it past Marshall to open the Hammers account for 2013/14.

The game pattern had pretty much been set. Cardiff attacks breaking down and West Ham keeping Marshall and the Cardiff back four busy. As usual the second half came around and we still hadn’t got the second goal we needed. Cardiff showed signs of reinvigoration through Bellamy and Campbell’s interactions, but with no other assistance, most of this effort came to nothing.

We were also looking stale so Sam mixed things up a bit. He brought on Downing after 70 mins. JC should of made way as despite his goal, Jarvis was tearing Cardiff apart on the left. But BFS being BFS he took off Jarvis (is Sam scared of big name players ?).

For a fella who had reservations about coming to WHU, Downing looked like a man reborn, getting straight into the game. Just four minutes into his hammers career, he shot down the right again, and fed in Mark Noble. Nobes in turn pushed it into Nolan who wasted no time in firing past Marshall to double the score. This left the result in no doubt.

I have it on good authority that Cardiff have not finished spending and on watching this game, this is really needed. Some of those lads need to adjust quickly if they are serious about staying up. Their fans will follow them everywhere though, and this must help. Special mention to Craig Bellamy. A firm favourite of mine in his short spell at WHU, he still makes those lung bursting runs, and still looks a class act. He also got warm applause from the West Ham fans when he was substituted.

On the subject of fit for premier league. Maiga? Please. He was getting shoved off the ball all the time. If he has been kept in favour of Carlton Cole, then someone really needs to have a word with BFS.

In short a great start for the Hammers and a 3 point lead on a team we could be struggling against come the end of season. Will Cardiff stay up ? Judging on one game is harsh, so i’ll just say investment is required.

MOTM: On the first half performance, JC by a mile. But over 90 minutes, it has to go to the new trim Kevin Nolan. A goal, loads of blocks, tackling and running back,  he gave the Hammers a real captain’s performance.

My view of the new season.

Can I leave you with this. You really need to take a look at yourself if you are wearing a shirt with the name of a player on the back who is younger than you.

Oldie with Moore 6. Acceptable. 30 years old with Greaves 9. Fine. 40 years old with Wilsher 10 (saw 3 on the way home). Sad and unacceptable. You are not 12.

WHUFC vs Wigan Athletic 20/04/2013


After our well earned point (some would say moral victory) against the Champions elect earlier this week, I really fancied us to continue on to win against Wigan this weekend. It’s always a close game, in fact we were two nil up and then went on to lose to a last minute goal in May 2011 which saw WHU relegated, and Avram Grant getting home under his own steam.

This time around, we are on an unbeaten run of 4 games and Wigan are staring down the barrel of relegation, with an FA Cup final to look forward to.

Sam made no changes to the starting line up, but Joe Cole was added to the bench. The opening salvos from both teams set themselves out to attack. West Ham a chance with a flashing header from Collins just going wide from a corner, and Maloney for Wigan got on the end of a great through ball only to be blocked by Jussi. From then on WHU seem to take control and it was only a matter of time, although the inevitable goal was a little unexpected. Matt Jarvis seem to be having a field day down the wing, and once again in the 21st minute he crossed in the ball after a great burst out of the midfield by Diame. This cross missed about 2 Wigan players, Diame and Nolan lashed at it to no avail, and then the Latics goalie let it go past him, to open the scoring for WHU. For all their dominance, WHU didn’t capitalise on this lead.

The second half was more of the same and then Sam did as Sam does and swapped out the whole midfield, with quick succession, O’Neill, Diame and RVT (who was woeful) were replaced by Noble, Joe Cole and Collison. Notice Nolan was not replaced, even though he seemed ineffectual if I’m honest. Again.

Anyway, WHU went into free fall  and if it wasn’t for Jussi, we would of been behind, as Wigan threw everything at us, and we had no way of stopping it.

This game had draw written all over it until with 10 minutes to go a long free kick found the ever impressive Carroll who moved it on brilliantly for Nolan to volley it in for his 100th premier league goal, and some justification for him still being on the pitch.

So WHU win 2-0, and Wigan might not get out of the hole this time. They did not have the luck, and being a WHU fan, I know what happens when you are down there. You cannot buy luck or goals. However you can buy players and there are a couple I could see playing in claret and blue if Wigan do go down ! Maloney for one.

We have all but secured our position in the league for next year, and can look forward for a change. Being in the top half has a nice feel to it as well, so lets hope we can stay there.

MOTM: Jussi Jaaskelainen. Just pure class again and kept us in the game when BFS block replaced a midfield unit. Gary O’Neill gets a shout as well, for his performance up until he was subbed.

Ton up Kev
Ton up Kev

WHUFC vs Manchester United 17/04/2013 EPL


This years 4th tie against the Champions Elect (beats Birmingham !) was supposed to be a dead rubber as far as I was concerned. Sam had loads of defenders out. We can beat Wembley bound Wigan at the weekend to stay up, and Man U can do pretty much what they want to win the title.

So I was surprised to see Winston Reid back in the team, and Noble on the bench. Still one up top , but hey ho. Man U played probably their strongest available team as well, with both  Ferdinand and Vidic, and Rooney and Van Persie starting.

Talking of Rooney, you can tell what sort of game he will have within 3 minutes of kick off, and this was not going to be one to build his legacy. In fact he was awful, and my xmas prediction of him leaving this summer is starting to look nailed on. His attitude is all wrong for starters.

WHU were on top for a change from the off. The midfield seem to flow into attack nicely, and Jarvis was seeing plenty of the ball. RVT wasn’t but no issue there. United seemed to be taking it in their stride, but the did look frail.

I seem to be on the only one who spotted RVT drift in from the outside right to get on the end of Carroll’s flick on the open the scoring on 16 minutes.

And still WHU looked comfortable. But being WHU you just knew something was going to happen, and just before half time they all switched off, for United to put 3 or 4 perfect balls together, and end up with Valencia getting the equaliser. Just before the break was the only contentious point of the match (for me – see later), Rooney and Carroll had some handbags before a corner which the ref stopped. Carroll reacted when the corner was taken, by bludgeoning through both De Gea and Evra. Most odd behaviour. And no punishment.

I assume this was pointed out at half time, because early into the second half De Gea and big Andy both went for a ball which the Spaniard won but then dragged Carroll for about 10 feet by his neck before dumping him on the floor. Yellow Card for carroll, obviously !.

This spurred on Andy, he then tried a cheeky one from about 30 yrds out that went close, and then he won to ball for Diame to roast the poor Rooney and blast in a 20 yarder to give the Hammers the lead again in the 55th minute.

Rooney was subbed for Giggs and Sam decided to Sub off our midfield (because this worked so well against Liverpool !). Giggs and Kagawa were linking up well (until the little fella was subbed off for the other little fella Hernandez), and pressure was piling on WHU, and resulted with 14 mins to go an equaliser for United after Kagawa managed to hit James Collins and both posts with RVP netting the follow up. Apparently he was offside but in true Arsene style i have not seen it, so only one bit of contention for me tonight. We tried our best in the last 20 minutes to throw it away but eventually got it over the line and another point on the board and our second 2-2 against Man U this season.

The score was about right, with Jussi making some world class saves (as usual at the moment), and no one goes home unhappy, unless you count me queuing nearly 20 mins for a tube, while watch plonkers jump over fences and stewards doing nothing at all.

MOTM, could of been James Collins early on, Carroll for his effort, Jussi for the saves, but this time I’ll go for Diame, as he scored a screamer, kept most of the Man U midfield quiet all night (until subbed), and had he stayed on i think we might have edged it. Still not happy with BFS playing RVT but he scored tonight so what do i know !

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Worth every penny. Mohamed Diame

Liverpool vs WHUFC EPL 07/04/2013


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Not having won here for 50 years, I wasn’t expecting WHU to tear up any trees here today at Anfield.

We started minus Andy Carroll for loan condition reasons, and drafted in Carlton Cole to lead the line. It was telling that after 10 minutes the commentator pointed out that WHU were playing with a back six! We were defending a constant stream of Liverpool attacks. This seemed to get even more intense when Sturridge replaced and injured Downing after 25 minutes.

Collins and Tomkins (in for the injured Reid) seemed to be blocking and tackling everywhere.

Diame for WHU was making to odd forage forward but Cole’s lacks of recent games seem to be showing with poor touches and non-existent passing. Towards the end of the half a loose pass from Liverpool led to Cole being straight on goal and his shot rebounded from Agger when it should of at least made the goal. WHU made some reasonable attacks towards half time but it was Liverpool on points at half time.

The second half was more of the same, but with WHU having a little more of the ball. Collins seem to have moved man to man on Suarez, which worked most of the time.  Jarvis was seeing a lot more of the ball and seem to be breaking down the Liverpool defence, especially  Carragher. Liverpool had countless attacks repelled, and a good shout for a penalty when Gerrad was taken down by Tomkins. The replay to me, showed it was a blatant pen.

In the last 10 mins Pogatetz had to come on for the now injured Tomkins (get well soon Reidy 🙂 ). Collison had a great header cleared off the line by Lucas for an unlikely first goal. In the absence of Tompkins, James Collins was immense in the last few minutes of the game.

No one will deny that this game was Liverpool’s to lose, and with a point today they will feel they have. However it is another step for WHU towards premiership continuity, which is needed even more with the extra money coming into the league next year and the impending move to our new stadium.

James Collins gets the nod for MOTM as he was immense, but Jussi, Diame, Jarvis, O’Brien, and Tomka all put a shift in.

All in all a frustrating game for both sides fan’s to watch, but for different reasons.

WHUFC vs Tottenham Hotspur EPL 25/02/2013


Bit late for new year, but we invited the neighbours over for a party, and ensured they left with the favours. I say left, they were stolen by one man.

This game was billed as a tribute to the late great Bobby Moore, who passed away 20 years ago (seems I was at the gates of Upton Park yesterday), and as a spectacle more than lived up to it.

There was a one minute applause, followed by a fans mosaic celebrating the man. I was in the mosaic and I have one comment. Next time, show it on the screen at the other end, or we have no idea what we are showing ! Judging by the camera flashes (plenty from the Spurs section), it was impressive enough.

Noble was replaced by Gary O’Neill in the middle, and Guy Demel was brought in at right back. The game got underway with WHU on the attack for a change. At the six minute mark there was a another break out of “Bobby Moores’ claret and blue army”, and WHU continued piling on the pressure, with Jarvis getting in crosses, and Joe Cole looking lively.

On the rare Spurs attacks it was being pointed out by the WHU faithful that Gareth Bale looked a little like a chimp. He responded by taking a goal, that on the replay was well taken ,but in play looked too easy for him. Skipping along the edge of the box he then turned to pass the ball past Jussi for the opener. WHU seemed to fall apart, and thing didn’t look good.

10 minutes later, Scott Parker (who was getting booed all night, nice one WHU “fans”) took out Carroll to give WHU a pen. Up steps Carroll in place of Noble and smashes it home. By this time Nolan was already struggling and was replaced 10 minutes later by Taylor. With none of the usual midfield cautiousness, WHU seemed to push on and finished the half well ,with Jarvis going close with an acrobatic volley.

At half time, Becks said to me “what a shambles, bloody disgrace ,etc”. No idea what game he was watching. I’m no fan of Allardyce but I tend to remember what I’m watching !

The second half was pretty quite with Bale being especially quiet if I’m honest, but you know it wont last. When he doesn’t have the ball he is constantly moving, chopping and changing markers all the time. This confuses defenders (poor lambs), and mixes up formations.

Just over a quarter into the half (an eighth ?), up pops Joe Cole, to finish off a good move between Caroll and himself, to poke it past Lloris to put the Hammers 2-1 up. Jussi spends the next 20 minutes being the best keeper in the world, making some of the most outrageous saves, including a double from Adebayour that I’m sure he still doesn’t know what happened.

At this stage a point works, and 3 would be great. Enter Big Sam. Demel comes off for Pogatetz, and we lose a goal mouth scramble for a Spurs equalizer. Then, the main thorn in their side Diame is brought off for Collison, who for all his skills is not a hard hitting midfield general. Then Sam gets his get out jail card, with hardly anything left on the clock, Gareth Bale, scores a world class goal from miles out from nothing, no run up or big swing just pure class.

So did Sam throw it away ? Based on Jussi in the second half probably not, but he could of maybe helped the situation.

The league situation is looking very precarious now, but a win against Stoke this weekend could make all the difference.

 

MOTM Everyone else will give it to Bale. But for some world class keeping in the second half, and making sure we didn’t lose 6-2, i’ll give it to Jussi Jaaskelainen

 

Can you see me ?
Can you see me ?

Viva Bobby Moore !

Big Sam or Paolo ?


In the blue !
In the blue corner
In the red corner !
In the red corner

With Paolo Di Canio leaving  Swindon the Sam out  / Paolo in bandwagon starts rolling again.

Big Sam is not best placed with West Ham at the moment. The club are closer than they look to relegation and Big Sam has no contract at the end of the season (at yet).
PDC has jacked from Swindon citing broken promises from their board.

So this leaves the average WHU fan in a stick or twist situation

Lets face facts, Di Canio will manage WHU one day. Sam will leave one day. The question is will their paths cross sooner than everyone thought?

First up, is Sam really leaving? He was brought in to do a job. That job was promotion. That was achieved, probably not how the board wanted it, but achieved anyway. Next job was to keep WHU in the premier league. At time of asking, despite my reservations, this will probably be achieved as well. So, he has done everything asked of him under the terms of his contract. Based on how he is slowly alienating the fans with his team selection and generally over cautious football (after winning them round earlier in the season), he will probably disappear at the end of the season, having done his job. Where he goes is immaterial.

PDC will either do one of two things, disappear back to Italy, after a fantastic interview on the BBC. Or bang on about how WHU are always his first love (with Celtic and Lazio). As lauded as he is at the club, switching a manager halfway through a potentially tricky season is not the way to do things. Especially when that manager has less than 2 years management experience at a lower league club. PDC will want to play different football to BFS, and we cannot do that with our squad. Kevin Nolan is never going to float past Carrick, and make sure his inch perfect pass to Noble completes, as he looks on with admiration at the deft flick of the Canning Town boy, that finds the outside of Carroll’s boot for him to bend it round De Gea.

Whether we like it or not, we are stuck with our squad, and its good and bad points. The only time to change manager is straight after the final whistle of the last match. This gives the incoming manager plenty of time the set his own team up over the summer. With no international competition this summer, the incumbent will get nearly 2 months to piece together a squad capable of playing good football in the Premier League.

So if we assume BFS leaves at the end , does PDC come in? The guy has won a championship and has got over 50 wins in just shy of 100 games. So he knows how to win games at a poor level. We have all seen how he has treated players and fans. The fans at Upton Park will put up with it as long as results go our way. Don’t forget, these fans put up with him asking to be subbed off because he wasn’t getting his own way. That one whole incident for me sullied a respect I had for one of the best players I have seen in their prime at the club. These fans forget that when it gets tough Paolo will walk away if its not good for Paolo. This man was the main man in a team that got relegated with possibly the most talented team we has since ‘86. His active rebellion, caused the like of Cole and Carrick to behave the same, and look how that ended up ! He is a manipulator, plain and simple.
That said he does have the traits a manager needs. A passion, a plan and yes the ability to manipulate.

But will players on top dollar put up with him in their faces, and slagging them off to the press at every opportunity. My opinion is they should, but reality is they won’t for long. These days it’s all in the players hands. Look at Diarra, not playing so he leaves.

David Gold has been priceless (in a good way) , retweeting both side of the comments he has been getting to ensure more column inches for WHU.

My opinion ? Sam goes at the close of this season irrespective. PDC comes in but only if he is thought to be mature enough to handle a top level position.Otherwise , and I stand by this, and have mentioned this before – Gus Poyet.

Aston Villa vs WHUFC 10/02/2013 EPL


Last week, WHU breathed some life back into a season that was heading southwards at an alarming rate, and they come to Villa today hoping to push into the top half of the table and almost  guaranteed safety. If im honest i expected a re run of the win earlier in the season

WHU have replaced their wingers Vaz Te and Jarvis with Nolan (!) and Joe Cole. Pogatetz came in at the back ultimately replacing Demel. No surprises that Carroll keeps his place up top. But this looks more of a 4-3-3 formation rather than a 4-5-1.

Gabby Agbonlahor is not in the starting line up for the Villains, so not good for them.

Villa came out all guns blazing and had Wienmann had an open goal chance put wide after 2 minutes following a shoddy rebound by Jussi.  Villa , one of the worst teams at home this season , have the best of the early exchanges, against the team that have the worst away record in all the English professional leagues.

West Ham took some big bangs in the first half hour with a saving tackle from Joey O’Brien ending in another early finish for JOB and Guy Demel coming on in his place. The impressive Tomkins also got a kick in the face from Delph.  It was very accidental, and more of a result of putting his body on the line.

Aside a few half chances, the first half came to an end at 0-0, which was fair.  I would say WHU moved the ball around better, but Villa were more direct in the attack.

In what has become Villa’s trademark this season, WHU started the second half way on top. But the Villa defence held on, and the WHU attack didn’t make the pressure tell by way of shots, which is a tad worrying. Corner after corner with nothing to show is not good form Sam ! By the way, your 4-4-2, looks worrying like 4-5-1.

Just after the hour mark, on comes the former WHU transfer target Darren Bent. Bit of a worry for me, if im honest. And after being on for at least 2 minutes, he clears an Andy Carroll goal off the line following a corner from Taylor ! Then RVT comes on for Taylor.

Nathan Baker picked up a silly card just before 70 mins, for taking out JC who was rampaging down the right,. The resulting free kick from JC was put over by Nolan. Villa sent straight up the other end, and N’zogbia was fouled by Noble and Villa get a penalty. Benteke took the pen very cooly into the bottom right. One nil Villa. Sam makes an unusual change by putting on CC for Noble !

CC had a chance almost immediately, but got it caught in his feet.

2 mins later, N’zogbia pops a great free kick into the top corner, to make it 2 and over as a game.

WHU throw everything at Villa in the last 10. And it pays off when a mistake in the Villa defence leads to an own goal from Westwood. Despite all this Villa hang on for a win. Not deserved, but a win anyway.  A draw would of been a more fair result.

So where does this leave WHU. Nowhere as usual. Sam needs to move on at the end of the season. I think the board have this in mind with him having no contract. Nolan could go with him as well at this stage. Nolan especially pisses me off as he has the skill to play, just decides not to bother. I imagine we also lose Carroll if BFS disappears at the end of the season.

Tomkins played well today, and hopefully has graduated back into the first team, or he will be off at the end of the season. Diame seems to be getting back to normal. CC looked lively when he came on.

MOTM for me should be Tomkins, but leaking 2 goals means he is out. I’ll give it N’Zogbia for his free kick and winning the penalty, and his constant attacking down the right flank.

Benteke casually puts away the penalty for the first goal.
Benteke casually puts away the penalty for the first goal.

WHUFC vs Swansea City 02/02/2013 EPL


There are many sayings in Football, and one that I have heard on many occasions, and much to my annoyance normally rings true is that “West Ham always come down with the Christmas decorations”. Our last win up to yesterday was on the opening day of the year against Norwich. Since then we have exited the FA Cup and slid down the league, not so much in position but in the points gap compared to the bottom three.

If I’m honest I think that Sam has failed on 2 counts during this time. He has not drafted in the  right type of players during the transfer window. Also he has not got through his head that sometimes 2 up top will work. And by two i do not mean a striker plus Nolan, or a striker plus Vaz Te. I also notice Vaz Te is listed as a striker in the official squad list. Really? We should of packed him off to the Championship during this window. In Sams’s defence, holding onto Diame is a big deal.

Yesterdays team was interesting with Joey O’Brien moved across to right back, bringing Taylor into the left back berth. Tompkins and Reid shored up the middle. A centre mid of Diame and Noble was flanked by RVT and Jarvis, with Carroll up top supported by Nolan. Jussi as usual was in goal.

I wouldn’t normally list the team, but someone said something to me at half time that made perfect sense. No square pegs in round holes, e.g JoB on the right side, no Joe Cole and Nolan getting in each others way, and with Carroll a striker who can operate on his own.

Anyway, the game !. The Swans have been a team I have admired since they were in the championship, and probably the team i enjoy watching outside of WHU (there is one other but no way am i mentioning them here) . But yesterday they never really fired at full strength. They still moved the ball round well, but failed to get the ball to Michu. This is because WHU came at them all day, closing well, and making sure everyone did their jobs through communication. The usual gaps at the back were not there, and the midfield (Noble especially), were patient and moved the ball where it needed to go, either backwards or forwards. Carroll was as usual winning everything, and Nolan had two chances in the first half which of those at least one should of gone in, a flick on from a Jarvis cross. Tremmel in the Swans goal was on fire, and stopping everything with feet and hands.

The second half was much the same but WHU seemed to run out of ideas, so Tomkins started to hit the ball longer, And Carroll was charging around everywhere. Sam made a great change bringing on Joe Cole for Jarvis on 62. This changes the shape of the team as JC doesn’t mind cutting in either. From here on in, the Swans were really on the back foot, and the Hammers were trying to unlock a tight defence. On 77 we got our first corner of the half. I noticed Carroll was just hanging about outside the box, which was a little odd. But Noble hit a corker into the penalty box which Carroll out jumped everyone by a mile and powerfully nodded it into the bottom right. It was very similar to his goal against Sweden in the Euros. See here

The relief around the ground was amazing, and the smile on Carroll’s face was pertinent. This is a guy who wants to do well, and the injuries have been frustrating, but hopefully he’s back for the rest of the season doing the business.

The remaining 15 (felt like 50) minutes were typical WHU bad passing, panic, backs to the wall, but with Jussi making a couple of good saves, and Noble making some great interventions just to take the sting out of the move, we got it over the line. Sam saw this as well and brought on Emanuel Pogatez to make his debut in place of Nolan for the last 5. Welcome Emanuel !

In summary, we seem to have a squad capable of playing well against most of the league, but we need to ensure the right people play in the right areas. This could of been the game that keeps up WHU this season. Quote of the day, was the guy behind me comparing Diame to Yaya Toure. Nearly but not yet !

MOTM:

The plaudits will go to Andy Carroll for his goal, and work rate, but for me Mark Noble, who is not one of my favourites, was sublime yesterday. He seemed to know what to do every time he got the ball, by interception or tackle, whether it was moving it up to Nolan, along to Diame, or a long pass back to Reid. Everything was done to perfection with no fuss. Keep it up.

One nil Job done
One nil, job done. Arise Sir Andy

Manchester Utd vs WHUFC FACUP 3rd Round replay.


As luck would have it I was working in Manchester the day after this game, so rather than watch on the telly, I ponied up the £45 quid and drove up to the icy Northern wastes of  England to my date at Old Trafford.

Old Trafford was nearly full with over 71000 including 5000 noisy Hammers. Thats a lot of dough to watch 2 teams not even close to putting out their first teams. I’m of the assumption Fergie thought he had enough, and Sam thought Man U was a one shot game, and so sent out the kids in Spence and Potts, and had the weakest midfield i’ve seen start a game for some years. One good thing was Reid getting the armband. The way he has played this season, he deserves it (there I said it)

The game started pretty quiet with WHU on the back foot. This is starting to become a worrying trend for WHU, and something stat happy Sam needs to look at.  So as expected after nine minutes, Hernandez crosses an easy pass for Rooney to sort out. One nil Man U.

This was a bit of an inconvenience, as the WHU fans were just getting into full voice (as no one else was) and were mid way through “Lets all do the Bartez”, when we had to take notice of the game. A small cheer from the 65000 + (!) utd fans, and then we got back into “who’s the w**nker in the white”. Now this was entertainment. Mr White was a guy in a white (surprise) jacket he enjoyed jumping up on his own to wave his arms about in response to the WHU fans songs. From what i understand, the Utd stewards are not big on “banter” or standing up. So despite that fact that about 20 ft away from Mr White there were 5000 WHU fans standing , our new friend got removed by the banter nazis, and was slung out to that well know East London ditty “He’s on a train back to London !”

Anyway, back to football. The first half played out a bit boring, with WHU looking a bit slow if I’m honest. RVT was bottling in a big way, and as I’ve said before, is not up to this level as yet.

Second half was way better with WHU moving the ball about, and Man U attacking in numbers as well. Potts and Spence came into the game well, especially Spence once he realised he could do Buttner 7 times out of 10. CC had a couple of chances and Diame started to get on things in the middle. Even Diarra seemed to be putting a shift in .

With about 20 to go Giggs rolled back the years and weaved through the WHU back line to have his cross met by Jordans Spence’s arm. It was ball to hand, but in front of the Stretford end what ya going to do ? So up steps Rooney and takes probably his last penalty for Man U, as he blasts it not just over, but Waddle circa 1990 over.

By this time Nolan and Collison were on and WHU smelt blood. For the last 15 we were on top and only some bad choices stopped us getting some shots off, as we were making spaces all over the Utd box. Best chance fell to Matt Taylor who was becoming more influential. All he needed to do was pass to CC (8 ft away) who was clear in front of goal, but he took on a shot that hit the side netting. Fergie noticed he was starting to dictate the game, and so put Paul Scholes on, who made it his first job to chop Taylor in half, and only pick up a yellow, which would of been a red card in any other ground. Not really my style to moan like that, but that’s how it was. Happy to have the debate as i would love to hear the defence ! Just as well he’s retiring again, as this season he is ruining a hard won reputation with fans outside of the red half of Manchester.

Elliot Lee made his debut in the last 10. I’m sure Dad Rob will be proud.

Anyway, game ends one nil ,and overall not a bad performance from the Hammers, but they really need to sort this 1st 10 minutes business out.

Oh and it was bloody cold.

MOTM. Didn’t looked phased by the venue, and is getting better every week, and now starting to show some skill to go with the basics. Dan Potts. Closely followed by Jordan Spence

The view from the away end in Manchester Village.
The view from the away end in Manchester Village.
Retire son, and keep your reputation.
Never Touched Him Ref !. Absolute joke.