Saturday 29 December 2012

Reading vs West Ham Preview: Championship Charlies seek the Cure

A Ho Ho Ho!!! Here comes just the Crimbo present the poor misfortunate Hammers need to break a run of disappointing results. The good news began in midweek with the overturning of Carlton ‘Killer’ Cole’s red card conviction for extreme ultraviolence in the Everton game. The joy seems certain to continue as the Hammers seek revenge for two severe drubbings at the hands of a rampant Reading in last years Championship which ended with an aggregate score of 7-2 in favour of the Royals.

Sadly for the Berkshire Braves, fortunes have changed considerably since entering the top flight and with half of their season complete, they rest joint bottom of the Premier league with just a single win in 19 games. This is principally because they have conceded a whopping 37 goals – more than any other club, possibly in the history of footie itself! The Royals desperately need a Tevez-like player to turn things around but sadly, Jason Roberts is no Argentinian magician.
                                              In case we forget: there's always hope, always!

Meanwhile, the Hammers have gotten up a head of steam in the afterglow of the verdict in the Carlton Cole enquiry and are now also seeking to have the 2-1 scoreline overturned as it would have been inevitable that with eleven men that they would have overrun a modest Everton side. If this proves successful, it can only be a matter of time before they appeal the injustice of the last minute Stevie-G goal that denied them a Cup final victory as recently as 2006. The Hammer’s case will be founded upon the observation that the scouser feigned injury and should have been asked to leave the field to seek much needed medical attention rather than be allowed to sneak around the edge of the Hammer’s 18 yard box mooching for knock downs.

As for the Royals, they will be calling on all available supporters to row in behind their cause as they seek to escape from the hopeless position they find themselves in. This will require their celebrity fans in particular to add their magic to the cause. Cure bassist Simon Gallup will undoubtedly respond to the call and whip out the Reading FC flag that he regularly drapes his on stage bass stack with.

Cure frontman Robert Smith is also closely aligned to a club that likes to dress up as prison inmates – but in his case it’s to the blue and white hoops of QPR!  With the two sides hopelessly marooned at the foot of the Premiership, fans are wetting their lips for a return to the angsty delights of early Cure product and looking forward to the band exorcising their relegation dysphoria with tunes of the standard of classics such as “Boys don’t cry (except at moments of major sporting significance)” and “Why can’t I be (Man) U?”.  Unconfirmed rumours suggest that recently rejoined keyboardist and former wild man Lol Tolhurst is a devout follower of Southampton FC.

Finally, Sports medicine expert Dr Sam Allardyce has called for fitness tests for the pitifully overstretched referees who bobble about the Premiership hoping to occasionally make a correct call. However, his suggestion that salivary testing could assist in this process has already been criticised as an underhand means of gathering genetic material in order to create a race of referee superclones who could be used to deal with the many law and order issues that confront modern society since the demise of the ‘on the beat’ bobbie. It is thought that with the assistance of the UK’s omnipresent CCTV system, that these superrefs would NEVER make a bad call – thus contrasting with today’s hapless whistleblowers who are forced to make instant decisions on incidents that are frequently embellished by no small amount of thespianism on the part of our soccer ‘sportsmen’.
                                                        I Referee...

Maybe if video footage could be used to review incidents where players are cited for obvious cheating and linked to meaningful punishments for offending players and their clubs, perhaps managers would be less likely to offer the ‘I didn’t see the incident’ kop out that bedevils the game.  However, that would be an unsettlingly logical move.  

And finally finally, while we are identifying a complete and enduring solution to the problem of  referees, has anybody observed the startling contrast between player-referee interactions in rugby and footie?
                                                 Errr, perhaps not a totally modern phenomenon after all

Arsnail 0 -6 Worst Ham: The game they couldn't kill

And so welcome to the Emirates where we have to apologise in advance for the problems we are having with reception but hopefully we will be able to sort that out, as the game kicks off with West Ham defending the goal to our righ.....KKkkZZZzzxxx???????


Oh....and welcome back to viewers for what has been a truly amazing game. And now Jussi Jaaskelainen has come up for the corner - even though his side are 5-0 up! OOohhh he's gone and flicked it in to the Gooners net. It's six. What a sensational scoreline!!!


Wednesday 26 December 2012

West Ham 1-2 Everton: anti-gun lobby on red alert as Gibson-Cole case escalates

Well it was all set up for some pre-Christmas cheerful fun and games at the Boleyn last Saturday with the effervescent entertainers from Everton coming to town. That is, until match referee Anthony Taylor went on a fun-killing spree that left the game in tatters and two men down. Observers reported a sudden bodily twitching before an apparent calmness followed by a heedless outbreak of ‘total injustice’.

Head-less, not heedless, Mr Moyes
Anti-gun lobbyists have seized upon the incident as yet further evidence that free availability of deadly weapons such as red cards can play no part in a truly civilised society. One particularly emotionally needy campaigner pleaded ‘how many times does this have to happen before we take action – this is ruining the lives of our children who have to go into school on a Monday morning knowing that they will be mercilessly taunted when their team loses due to bad refereeing decisions’.

                                       'Free Carlton Cole'

Predictably, the increasingly fascistic NRA countered that referees are faced with difficult decisions and need ‘support not condemnation’, a statement that reflects the growing mood amongst an elite band of referees who are pushing for harsher punishment for offending players. “ Showing a card, whatever the colour, is little deterrent against some of these thugs. What we need is harsher sentencing and zero intelligence”.

Taylor’s main rival, Mark Clatter bug (with four red cardie moments already to his name this season) was said to be totally unimpressed with Taylor's performance even though it puts him top of the refereeing hard man table with a whopping five reds - averaging a dismissal every three games! Taylor has long shown the potential for this sort of pedantry  - last season he sent off three players in his first game in charge (Leeds vs Middlesborough) while managing to unload a stunning nine yellows and one red in the Blackburn vs Liverpool clash he refereed later in the year. He's fast becoming a legend amongst those cuddly folk who have a penchant for control and restraint.
                                                                                   Referees are preparing for another possible Di Canio moment
Meanwhile the Hammers suspiciously poor record against the Toffees continues and has extended to ten games without a win. Insiders are beginning to take rumours of witchcraft more seriously, especially after a garden shed in Southport was discovered with black magic paraphernalia alongside a full West Ham subbutteo team with their heads missing.
Moreover, observers have commented ön the "weird and untoward" goings ön for the Toffees 'unsettlingly strange' second goal, where Stephen Pienaar seemed to pass through Hammers defenders like a ghost with the match ball darting about like the ball in that silly game that features in Harry Potter.
For Cole and Gibson, it’s likely to be a Christmas behind Premiership bars, awaiting the results of their respective appeals. Some optimists have predicted that Taylor will have his bonus points for the two reds removed amidst rumours that, in an unprecedented move, West ham and Everton have agreed to represent the other clubs player at the appeals. It is thought that this is likely to provoke the same landslide of goodwill that followed Paulo Di Canio’s sportsmanlike gesture in December 2000 when the volatile striker opted to catch the ball to stop play even though the  Everton goal was empty in order to allow their injured goalkeeper to receive treatment and thus declining a certain goal.
                                      St Nick, at it again
Some less altruistic observers have commented that he could have just as easily scored and that would have stopped play just as quickly. Either way, the result was ultimately meaningless and the incident merely added to the Di Canio legend.
                                                                  A sight of rare beauty

Saturday 22 December 2012

West Ham - Everton Preview: Hammers to Chew Sticky Toffees

And so, the Mayans had it right all along: the world as we know it ended yesterday. Everything is changed, utterly. No longer can Everton expect to enjoy the bizarre and grotesque good fortune that has seen then benefit from an almost incredible run of results against the brave but unfortunate Hammers who have not beaten the Toffees in their last nine meetings!

The Hammers will again be forced to field a makeshift side due to an appauling outbreak of infirmity at the club where such is the injury epidemic that some players have been left waiting on trolleys for days without receiving medical attention. Midweek visitors to the Upton Park Museum reported hearing a ‘howling noise – like an animal in severe pain’ but were fobbed off by club officials who said that it was merely Andy Carroll receiving physiotherapy.

A scene from the Hammers treatment room earlier this week

In other developments, critics have lashed out at Leon Osman’s American cousin, Little Jimmy Osmond, who paved the way for the Marouane Fellaini’s Liverpool adventure by penning his late 70’s pop tingle ‘Long haired lover from Liverpool’ and were aghast that the lyrics in no way warned observers of his propensity for extreme violence such as that dished out to the vulnerable and inoffensive young Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City last weekend.

Meanwhile, continued rumours of a cloning conspiracy that have beset the Premiership were somewhat assuaged when a picture of Leighton Baines and Joey Barton in close proximity, although the explanation for the surprisingly effeminate choice of boot colour worn by both ‘chaps’ was somewhat less convincing and theorists remain ‘almost certain’ that they are in fact both failed clones of Gareth Bale.

Also, the extremely suspicious similarity between Jack Roswell’s surname and the site of the first confirmed alien landing in 1947 has prompted sceptical types to speculate that the Premiership is in fact part of an alien conspiracy and that FIFA is controlled by 12 foot tall lizard-aliens who have been chemically modified to look like humans and  ex-footballers. Either way, today’s clash is most definitely shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
                               Yet another one heads for the treatment room at the Boleyn
                                                                    That's Ridiculous!!!

Meanwhile in other news that is entirely unrelated to West ham, Diego Maradona has been announced as the new manager of the Tipperary U21 hurling team.


Thursday 20 December 2012

Madness as Premiership Pups Pee on Baggies Trousers: WBA 0-0 WHU

And so it ended all square, even Stevens, and level pegging at the magnificent Hawthorns stadium on Sunday. For the courageous Hammers squad, the final whistle came as something of a relief after they endured a torrid time in the second half as the Baggies launched wave after wave of attack, but without being able to breach the steadfast Hammers defence.

Entering in to the game the Hammers squad was so beset by injuries that they were forced to exhibit a ‘fabricated’ substitutes bench that included a number of suspicious looking emergency recruits including the previously unheard of 'G Fawkes' and 'S Crowe', rumoured to be Paraguayan Internationals, but in this case definitely NOT owned by an illegal third party.

That dodgy Subs bench

Never the less, the threadbare Hammers side held firm to snatch another vital point in their campaign for European football next year.  On the down side, poor Guy Demel may be a doubt for the next match after being substituted with a severe case of vertigo induced by trying to keep up with the twisty trickery of Peter Odemwingie. James Tomkins, who came on in replacement fared a little better but was said to be ‘pukking his ring up’ on the team bus travelling back through the foggy West Midlands

Big Sam, however, was particularly pleased with the result, boasting how he had managed to make a single piece of chewing gum last the whole 90 minutes. He was also delighted with the impressive number of muscular Row Z clearances attributed to the hammers back ten, which was supplemented by James Collins managing to kick the ball over the stadium roof and onto the neighbouring road with one particularly hefty clearance.
                                                             Ooooh...they'll never retrieve that one!
Dejected Shane Löng, a former Tipperary hurling starlet now slumming it with the Baggies, is said to have remarked that he had got’ worse service than a Clare hurler in a trophy shop’. Moreover, in scenes reminiscent of the World’s greatest ever film, Zoolander, Winston Reid and James Collins held a 'dance off' competition where they marked the Irishman so close that they managed to remove his underpants without the referee noticing.

And so the Hammers march on to face off dour David Moyes grim Everton outfit next. Big Sam has organised for specially designed kick boxing headgear to minimise the risk posed by poorly executed head butting manoevres from the truculent toffees.
                                                                 Who's laughing now?

Sunday 16 December 2012

West Brom vs West Ham Preview: Hammers target saggy baggies on way to chocolate heaven

After three consecutive defeats on the trot and without a win, the last thing that nosediving West Brom need right now is a visit from the wounded wildcat that is Big Sam’s West Ham. The Bubbles boys are said to be distraught after conceding a winning position against Liverpool last week and will be out to exact revenge upon the footballing world. Conversely, for Steve Clarke, things are once again falling apart after an initial honeymoon period – just like the ex-Hammers defensive coach’s experience during the Gianfranco Zola regime. At this stage the baggies seem to be staring into an endless chasm of defeat, with little hope that the visit of West Ham will provide any respite from the misery.

One thing that has become clear during the Baggies recent demise is that other sides have wised up to their stealthy ‘we are just a harmless relegation yoyo side’ image and have recognised their ruthless predatorial nature for what it is: a scurrilous ruse to hoodwink naïve visitors before inflicting horrific defeats such as the 3-0 thrashing of an unsuspecting Liverpool side back in August.
                                              ShsssssssH…don’t let them know we’re actually quite good

In even worse news for Baggies boss Steve Clarke, the West Brom board have insisted that he abandon his lucrative sideline as the choleric comedian Jack Dee until the Baggies ensure Premiership survival. More cynical observers have suggested that Clarke-Dee has engineered the team’s descent in order to generate material for his depressingly dysphoric comedy “Lead Balloon”
                                                          You try to put on a brave face, but...
Meanwhile, the Hammers also have their worries ahead of the big game with the squad so threadbare that with the latest injury scare to George McCartney, they may be forced to field 12 year old wonderkid Dan Potts.  The lad was said to be ‘up to high nines’ last night and ‘unable to get a wink of sleep’ due to the excitement of stopping off at Cadbury World on the way back as promised by Uncle Sam. One stipulation of the confectionary visit has been that the Hammers squad refrain from using the appauling white suits that they wore on their recent ‘secret’ visit to Ireland.

                                                           Honestly, i never touched your chocolate bar

Meanwhile, Shane Long’s availability has been put in doubt after an uncharacteristic outburst from Tipperary hurling legend, Lar Corbett, who has bemoaned the loss of Tipperary sporting talent to ‘foreign games’. Long fired 2-1 (i.e. two goals and an ‘over the bar merit’ ) for the Premier county in the 2003 Munster minor hurling final against lowly Cork. Thankfully for Tipperary, they haven’t needed Shane’s presence in order to totally dominate Munster hurling over the past few years, but could probably do with his trickery in dealing with the cunning cats of Kilkenny.

                                                         Put it over the bar



Monday 10 December 2012

Hammers Bag Five But Still Shot Down as Police investigate Possible Dart Gun Attack: West Ham 2-3 Liverpool

There were truly remarkable scenes in the final 15 minutes of the upper-mid table clash between West Ham and Liverpool that took place yesterday in the mid to late afternoon. The game was progressing towards a predictable victory for the vastly superior home side until proceedings were suddenly turned on their head by a disturbing incident involving Hammer’s midfielder Momo Diame and an inexplicable injury to his left hamstring. Some observers reported possibly seeing a blow dart flying through the air before seeming to lodge in the misfortunate player’s thigh.
How a blow dart might look if in fact one was involved

One alternate explanation is that, with the death of the ultimate astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore, the Earth’s alignment within the solar system has been seriously disturbed thus contributing to the bizarre turn of events at Upton Park including the barely believable tomfoolery that led to the own goal by James Collins.

Moore than just an astronomer

One disappointed Hammers fan remarked that is was barely credible that Allardyce’s side could concede from such a strong position with fifteen minutes to go and speculated as to probable witchcraft in the Liverpool camp before musing that, on the plus side, at least for once we weren’t robbed by Stevie G-string.
                                                   Rodgers does his best Suarez impersonation

The once feared club have been in serious decline for over two decades and are thought to have turned to black magic in recent seasons in an attempt to avoid a Sheffield United-like demise into the minor leagues.

                                                     It clearly says Reading, QPR and Southampton

Meanwhile Joe Cole and Glen Johnson were inconsolable after their desperate errors of judgement and were said to be terrified at the prospect of meeting a furious Tony Carr who is said to have remarked " I taught these lads how to play proper footie with the expectation that these abilities would be used in a constructive and sensible manner". It seems those who leave West Ham are doomed to wander aimlessly thereafter...

                                                                           Nice Jersey!

Finally, geeky types can brace themselves for a right stonker of a question in future pub quizzes enquiring  “when did three West Ham players score own goals in one match” - surely one for the record books?
                                                                               Go Bubbles!


Sunday 9 December 2012

Hammers Braced for Edentulous Enemy: WHU vs Liverpool Preview

Preparing for another incisive encounter
Yes indeed, the Scousers are in town hoping to kick start their season  while the Hammers will be looking to dish out some more of the pain that Chelsea encountered during last week’s trip to Fortress Upton. While the Hammers will have to make do without the havoc-inducing physicality of Andy Carroll, the reds seem toothless without slippery Suarez.

                                                                     A Uruguayan Assassin
There can be no doubting the bite that the Uruguayan hitman brings to the Liverpool attack and his absence will not be lamented by the Hammers. Undoubtedly ‘Killer’ Cole is a more desirable replacement than Jim Bob Shelver who is filling the role from his usual midfield berth. Moreover, magnificent Mark Noble will be relishing the opportunity to demonstrate to Roy ‘Blind boy’ Hodgson that he is a vastly superior option to the inexperienced and unpredictable Shelvey as well as the curmudgeonly half-pensioner that is Stevie G.

                                                                  Cereal Killer

Although King Kevin Nolan was a Pool fan as a boy, Newcastle fans can attest to his ruthlessness when dealing with old friends. It seems likely that he too will want to emphasise the injustice in Stevie G’s 100 caps versus his being ignored at International level. Either way, the midfield battle will be intense. Let’s hope Momo Diame has another man-mountainous performance and that Yossi Benayoun reminds the Pool of their remarkable capacity to let the good uns go…
                                              Shelvey offers the best scoreline Liverpool can hope for


Saturday 8 December 2012

Liverpool: The new West Ham

Sunday 9th December brings together West Ham and Liverpool for an intriguing battle where former Upton Park favourite, Glen Johnson will square up against ex-Red Yossi Benayoun. Recent years has seen considerable transfer activity between these two clubs such that a team composed of stars who have played for both clubs makes up an impressive  ‘West Pool XI’.  Dave Hammer and Walter Scouser give their verdict on how well these players performed during their spells at each club.  

Dave Hammer says:

Walter Scouser says

Hilarious character. Very talented keeper and all round fun guy. He almost single-handedly kept the Hammers afloat during the relegation season of 2003 but stayed faithful to the cause for a season in the Championship until Man City came a calling. Verdict 8/10
The only goalkeeper to have played for both clubs and one of the most talented of his generation, ‘Calamity’ never realised his potential. Career highlight? Had to be ‘that suit’ at the 1996 FA Cup Final. Verdict: 6/10

Drafted into a sinking ship as a mere 17 year old he showed remarkable maturity but Uncle Trev’s heroes couldn’t dodge relegation and Chelsea pounced. His subsequent career has never quite realised that early potential but he was excellent for the Hammers. 8/10.
The arrival of Brendan Rodgers has finally got Glen playing like he did at West Ham. Rob Jones, whose single appearance for the Hammers in the 1999 Intertoto Cup, made him eligible for selection, almost gets the nod at right back, though. Verdict 7/10

Had a decent two year spell at Upton Park helping us to a European placing in 1998. Always pushing the limits, Naughty Neil picked up more than his fair share of bookings usually for hauling back opposition forwards as his declining pace became a millstone. Verdict 7/10.
Provided much needed steel to Liverpool’s defence when signed from Spurs in 1993 for £2.5million. Didn’t survive long after the arrival of Gerard Houllier in 1998 and was transferred to West Ham for £300,000. Verdict 6/10

Signed for £2.5m from Liverpool to replace Rio Ferdinand in 2000. Did not live up to expectations. Verdict 4/10
Performed reasonably well for the Reds but mainly as a right back. Never quite matched his International success and slipped off the selection radar before being released to West Ham. Verdict 5/10.

Absolute legend. 100% uncompromising and committed. His skilfulness was often underestimated by opponents, including a deadly left foot. Amazingly for a defender, he averaged a goal every five games over a 262 game Hammers career! Verdict 10/10.
An uncompromising left back who came to Liverpool in a swap deal involving David Burrows and Mike Marsh. Why? Verdict 3/10

Although he upset Hammers faithful during a messy departure,  he was a top performer whilst at the club. Ironically his greatest performance was probably vs Liverpool in a 4-1 League cup mauling where he scored all 4 Hammers goals. Verdict 8/10.
The ultimate box to box player. Came to Liverpool after a successful career with West Ham, Manchester United and Inter Milan. Like Neil Ruddock, was one of the infamous team of Spice Boys who did not survive the arrival of Gerard Houllier. Verdict 6/10

One half of the crazy signing that ultimately cost the Hammers much financial heartache. Appeared lost and strangely out of his depth during his spell in East London and seemed relieved to escape to Liverpool. Verdict 4/10.
Signed from West Ham in 2008 and dubbed a ‘monster of a player’ by Rafa Benitez. Two seasons that established him as one of Europe’s finest central midfielders were to follow before a £24 million transfer to Barcelona. Left a gap in midfield which Raul Meireles struggled to fill. Verdict 9/10

All round likeable guy, young Joey was a thrilling prospect who delivered lots of eye catching trickery but without major product whilst at West Ham. Another for whom circumstances conspired to force a premature exit but fondly remembered at Upton Park and don’t outrule a return. Verdict 7/10
Though arrived to the club as Roy Hodgson's first signing, has failed to deliver the form he showed for Chelsea. A lengthy loan spell with Lille, his recent Europa Cup performance against Young Boys suggests he may be another who will benefit from the Brendan Rogers system. Verdict 3/10

Classy midfielder who performed with gusto during his first Hammers period and has looked the real deal since his recent return. Hammers fans will be hoping that he is fit for the fixture vs his former employers. Verdict 7/10. 
Moved to Liverpool from West Ham in somewhat, ahem, controversial circumstances in 2007. Was starting to really develop as a player until transferred to Chelsea in 2009. Known to pub quiz afficionados as ‘the only player to score Premiership, Champion’s League and FA Cup hat tricks ‘. Verdict 8/10

An ‘interesting’ character – moody and unforgiving of underperforming colleagues but a real gamechanger with his pace and finishing. Hammers career blighted by injury and  petered out as we came off the rails (again) allowing him to go to Man City for £14million. Verdict 6/10
Joined Liverpool in 2006 and after one moderately successful season (involving an alleged incident with a putter), became West Ham United’s record signing in a £7.5 million  transfer. Returned to Anfield for another season in 2011, which saw him partner well with Andy Carroll. Verdict 6/10

Hammers fans wondered what Big Sam was on about when he suggested that signing Carroll would make the difference between struggling to stay up or not but he has justified Allardyce’s faith and despite only scoring his first goal last weekend, he has proven a game changer making the Hammers a difficult team to play against. Verdict 8/10
With Nando Torres on his way to Chelsea for £50 million, Andy Carroll’s £35 million transfer from Newcastle made him the most expensive British footballer of all time (hard to believe Luis Suarez cost ‘only’ £23 million on the same day). Now on loan at Upton Park, will West Ham make the move a permanent one at the end of the season? Verdict 7/10

 Substitutes: Paul Konchesky, David Burrows, Don Hutchison, Robbie Keane, Titi Camara.
So, with the exception of Javier Mascherano, there is a clear pattern of players performing better whilst at the supportive and homely atmosphere at West Ham compared to the pressure of expectation at Liverpool.  Maybe more underperformers at Anfield should head south to realise their true potential?