Monday 25 February 2013

Tottenham Ham-Spurs XI: From the chapel to the church

Ahead of tonights North-East London derby between the warring factions of West Ham and Spurs, we consider the relative merits of a team composed of players who have represented both clubs and asks – at the end of the day will they consider themselves primarily Hammers or Hotspurs?

Dave Hammer says:
Tony Parks
Long spell at Spurs as reserve goalie followed by a variety of spells at various clubs fulfilling stop-gap roles, including 6 appearances for the Hammers during the 1991-2 season. Verdict: Hotspur
Chris Hughton
Longstanding loyal servant at Spurs – tenacious and determined left back. Hammers got a decent run from him towards the end of a proud career. Both clubs watch his continued managerial successes with interest! Verdict : Hotspur.
Neil Ruddock
Great fun to watch – always close to the edge of acceptability! Two spells at Spurs and a decent two year stint at the Boleyn in a career that involved appearances for eight different clubs and a single England cap. Verdict :Score Draw!
Mitchell Thomas
Luton lad who had a decent five year spell at Tottenham and almost made full England honours but form dipped and move to West ham never quite got into second gear. Returned to Luton and then on to Burnley. Verdict: Hotspur.
Steve Walford
Brief spell at Spurs before moving to Arsenal where he won a cup winners medal in 1979. Moved to hammers where he had a successful 5 year spell. Presently a coach / scout at Sunderland. Verdict: Hammer.
Scott Parker
Almost singlehandedly kept Hammers up two seasons ago but forced to leave soon after a relegation despite being footballer of the year! Honest and industrious, albeit injury-prone. He has not quite found his role in a rotating Spurs midfield where he is not necessarily the main man, unlike when he was at the Hammers and his initial club, Charlton. Verdict : Hammer.
Michael Carrick
Classy midfielder who came through the Hammers youth system with Joe Cole and Frank Lampard etc. Stayed for a season after 2003 relegation but found physicality of the Championship testing and moved to Spurs for a short spell before Man United where he remains. Seems now to be finally peaking after many years in second gear! Verdict: Hammer.
Martin Peters
Part of the 1966 World Cup Boleyn triplets. Known as "the complete midfielder" as he could pass the ball well with either foot, was good in the air and difficult to mark because of his movement. His versatility was such that while he was at West Ham he played in every position in the team, including goalkeeper in his third game. Moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 1970 in Britain's first £200,000 transfer. Verdict: Hammer.
Les Ferdinand
Powerful and athletic striker – est periods at QPR and then Newcastle before these two clubs got a turn out of him towards the end of a glittering career. Mostly Spurs who enjoyed a decent spell from ’97-2003. Verdict: Hotspur.
Jermain Defoe
Lively little striker with a good nose for goal but who has never quite realised the potential evident when he engineered his move away from the relegated Hammers of 2004. Left on bad terms and may not meet an entirely warm reception tonight but still  Quite likely to pop up for Spurs in dangerous positions and Hammers fans will be hoping he doesn’t have his shooting boots on! Verdict: Hotspur.
Jimmy Greaves
Absolute legend and a gentleman. Britain’s most prolific striker of all time. Greaves played at Spurs from 1961 to 1970, scoring a club record of 266 goals in 379 matches. Washed that down with a season at the Boleyn where he enjoyed close friendships with some Hammers legends, especially Bobby Moore. Verdict: Hotspur.
Final Score
Spurs 6.5 vs Hammers 4.5

It's unlikely that Spurs will have it so easy tonight!

Come on you Irons!!!

Big Sam reassures Hammers faithful that beating Spurs will be as easy as riding a bicycle

Despite all the positive talk about the replenishing boost that the Hammers squad will have received from their recent trip to sunny Dubai, reports from the training ground suggest that after their prolonged break from Premiership mayhem, some Hammers are struggling to remember how to play footie. However, Big Sam has laughed off such notions while suggesting that his style of football is so simple that it’ll be as easy as riding a bicycle for players tonight.
Easy, Easy!!!
Winston Reid and James Collins, with their Kiwi and Welsh backgrounds respectively, are prone to rugby style tackling and ball catching at the best of times, while Irish ace Joey O’Brien’s default state involves clattering the ball and baitin’ nine bells of shite out of any opposing players using any implement or stick  that might come to hand – very much in the style of hurlers from his native country.

However, The Irishman’s knowledge of another Irish sport may prove crucial to overcoming the Hotspurs tonight. Hare coursing has developed a bad name over the years due to the cruelty inflicted upon the harmless little rabbit-like creatures by the chasing hounds, but Hammers fans will shed few tears for Gareth Bale if he gets ripped asunder by the chasing Hammers defensive pack. In an effort to appease the bleeding hearts, James Tompkins and Guy Demel have apparently agreed to wear muzzles for the evening.

Either way, Hammer’s fans will be hoping that the aerially-adept Andy Carroll can inflict his own version of bloodsport upon the Spurs defence.  Word on the street has it that he has been getting special help from his French cousin, Sebastien Chabal, AKA the Caveman.
Either way, we can expect some rough and tumble out there tonight!


Saturday 23 February 2013

True legends are made of this

Welcome to Upton Park
Even in this era where everything is talked up to the point of being ‘sensational’, ‘unprecedented’ and ‘legendary’,  there are moments when we get to appreciate what true legendary status means. In our lifetimes we have experienced Charlton, Best and Moore to go with International phenomena of Pele, Beckenbauer, Cruyff and Maradona, and yes from today’s crop, Messi and Ronaldo.

Another good day at the office
It would be churlish to try and sum up what made Bobby so special, but equally, one cannot overlook his unusual capacity to read and predict a game couple with a precision of timing that gave him such presence on the field of play. Today’s coaches, including our own present incumbent, might have judged the young Moore a little short for a centre half, but thankfully the coaches at West Ham back then knew better.

                                                         Even legends have to endure training fads
The seasons come and go, relegations and promotions, with cup runs and occasional forays into Europe, but Bobby forever remains in our consciousness.

Now that is true legend.


Friday 22 February 2013

Lampard to release childish stories

Little did the mentors down at the Boleyn know it at the time, but the ‘token’ educational sessions provided at the academy for Frank ‘destined to be a major star’ Lampard would reap the benefits of a top publishing deal and join the long list of footie literary heavyweights. It was recently revealed how Lampard plans to release a series of childish stories about football that parents can use to induce sleep in their kids at bedtime. Sources have revealed that the stories are really insomnia inducing – up there with counting sheep and the like.
ZZZ...Lamps saves the day again...

Loosely based upon his own experiences as a top flight professional footballer, readers who will be hoping to get some insight into the saucy goings on in the Chelski dressing room will be disappointed as the stories are more than loosely based upon the well tested Roy Race / Fulchester Rovers theme with’our’ Frank starring as the hero. The majority involve a storyline where our hero is unable to make the start of a crucial Chumpions League tie due to flight delays / military coups in one of the many African countries where he is involved in important charity work, but amazingly, gets back just in time to score a double hat-trick and save the day, deblah blah…

Meanwhile, Irish soccer pundit, Eamonn Dunphy, who penned possibly the greatest football book of all time “Only a game?”, has lashed out at the project as a pointless waste of time, even for a washed up has-been before using the whole debacle as yet another example of the seemingly boundless narcissism of our football ‘stars’.

However, in a surprising twist, Lamplard has revealed the plot of one of his stories is about how a spoiled brat who having been given all the breaks turns against his formative club for the bright lights, forgetting those who helped him during his crucial early years and even vowing to score a goal to relegate his formerclub!!!. The story takes a predictable turn when the jumped up little spoilt brat gets dumped by his new ‘friends’ who refuse to give him a new contract and he is left to wander in the wilderness and to reflect upon themes of decency and loyalty.
                                                             Next to face Chelski betrayal?

Other rumours suggest that Lampard may embrace a range of new roles when he finally deems to quit top flight football including as a peace negotiator in war torn zones such as Somalia and Newham, as well as an astronaut in a planned mission to Uranus. It seems for polymathic Frank that the options are infinetessimal…


Tuesday 12 February 2013

Villa prevail in ‘game that never was’ as Premier league greed extends to fictional football

Hammer Horror
After last Sunday’s power failure debacle at Villa Park, the Premiership panto pushers have been forced to try and think up a suitable excuse for the gullible public. Drawing on the incredible coup achieved by the makers of Dallas in the seventies, when in order to bring Bobby Ewing back to life a whole series of the show was consigned to the ‘it was all a bad dream’ bucket, Premiership bosses have secretly filmed footage of Sundays abandoned game where INCREDIBLY, hopeless Villa actually win!!!
Hammers fans have poured scorn upon Villa boss Paul Lambert who has tried to seize the opportunity to resuscitate a moribund Villa squad by pretending that they actually won the match! Meanwhile, Big Sam has refused to enter into any dialogue for fear of receiving yet another hefty fine for stating the obvious truth.

Rumour is that the footage of the ‘fake’ match was ironically filmed at the old Hammer house of horror studios in London and that Oliver Reed is the evil referee who unjustly awards Villa a penalty and free kick for their ‘surprise’ second half goals. Film critics have laughed at the project, labelling it utterly implausible – especially the bit where Darren Bent prevents a certain Hammer’s goal by patrolling the Villa goal line with 15 minutes to go!

Sunday 10 February 2013

West Villains XI: Those who had a double measure of Claret and Blue

Today sees the second leg of the Claret and Blue Derby as relegation-hassled Aston Villa host the mid-tabled Hammers and try to avenge the 1-0 defeat they experienced at the Boleyn on the first day of the season. In the interim, Villa have missed the solid leadership of James Collins at the back after he returned to the Hammers in the Summer. Dave Hammer offers the verdict on a first XI who have represented both clubs and asks – at the end of the day will they consider themselves primarily Hammers or Villains?

Dave Hammer says:
Mervyn Day
Merve the Swerve was an Essex boy who had the world at his feet after minding the nets for the Hammers triumphant 1975 cup winning side. Then suddenly the crosses started spilling and he had to go…he endured a quiet spell at Villa for two seasons reaching 30 appearances but never quite realised the early potential. Verdict: Hammer
James Collins
Seemed perfectly settled at West Ham until a mysterious transfer to Villa in 2009. Upon returning last Summer he commented that he wasn’t really sure why he left in the first place. Neither were we! Interestingly, he has more appearances notched up for Villa than the Hammers but clearly his heart is with the Bubbles boys. Verdict : Hammer
David Unsworth
Prone to homesickness and the influence of his ‘hard to settle’ wife, Unsworth had a decent season with the Hammers in ’97-98 before moving to Villa for few weeks before decideing to bounce on up the motorway back to Everton! Never actually appeared for Villa and they got their 3 million fee  back in the whole crazy saga! Verdict : Hammer.
Liam Ridgewell
London boy who came through the Hammers youths but was ‘let go’ to Villa where he was part of the team that won the 2002 FA youth cup. A six year career at Villa ensued before stints at Birmingham City and now West Brom. Rather embarrassing episode where pictures were released of him using pound notes when simple three-ply toilet paper should suffice did little to endear him with cash-strapped footie fans. A journeyman that the Hammers let get away. Verdict: Villain.
Gary Charles
Troubled Bubble – was the other half of the famous Gazza Cup semi final ‘lunge’ that changed Gascoigne’s career. Both men subsequently have admitted to severe alcohol-related problems and in Charles’ case prison time for ‘foolish’ activities. Had a decent 4 years at Villa. Conversely, bobbled through the Boleyn with 5 appearances before other distractions took priority. Verdict: Villain.
Alan Curbishley
Back when the Hammers turned out stylish creative midfielders for fun - a Late 70s Hammer  who wasa  Boleyn Boy at heart and did well to notch up 85 appearances in an era where Brooking, Devonshire etc were competing for places. Later returned as a manager in a disappointing but not unsuccessful spell that ended in acrimony. A single un-noteworthy season at Villa on his way to Charlton where he established a second home. Verdict : Hammer.
Nigel Reo-Coker
Energetic midfielder who had a productive 4 years at the Hammers before being snathched by Martin O’Neill to join his Villa crusade. Clocked up 120 Hammers appearances compared to 102 for Villa. Period at Upton Park was marginally more successful but ended unhappily. Verdict: Hmmm…Villain - just!
Thomas Hitzlsperger
Picked up a crazy half-Brummie acacent during his 4 years at Villa park in the early noughties – classy midfielder with a ‘hammer’ shot. Much loved by the Midlands outfit before returning home to Germany for a 5 year spell. Came to West Ham many years later for a season that was ruined by injury and ultimately managed only 11 appearances for a relegated Hammers side. Verdict: Villain.
Marlon Harewood
Powerful striker – managed almost a goal every third appearance for the Hammers over a four year and 150 match spell in the mid noughties. Less happy time at Villa where he was used as a back up forward and managed only 30 appearances  Has drifted since – to places as exotic as Turkey and China! Verdict: Hammer.
Carlton Cole
Travelled striker who has finally made the Hammers his spiritual home. Had a season on loan at Villa in 04-05 before joining the Hammers in 2006 where he has remained. Not the most prolific but a committed and loyal club servant who even took a pay cut to stay at the Boleyn during our recent season ‘out’. Hammers fans have warmed to his robust and sometimes amusingly forthright style. Verdict: Hammer.
Frank McAvennie
Hammers legend after two wonderful periods at the Boleyn. Formed a much feared partnership with Tony Cottee, which reached a peak during the 1986 season where the Hammers finished third. ‘TC and God’ had highly complementary skills. Had a brief spell at Villa but latter part of his career was punctuated by an increasing fondness for the high life. Another troubled bubble who at one point received a 4 month suspended sentence for affray. Verdict: Hammer.
Final Score
Hammers 7  vs Villains 4

Substitutes: Ray Houghton; David James; John Carew; Nobby Solano; Robbie Keane


So, the Hammers come out on top – just like our match prediction today…Villa 1 -3 West Ham.

Thursday 7 February 2013

FA sentence Big Sam to Public flogging for Bold Trafford remarks

Hang Loose, dude!

In almost astonishing news today, it was reported that Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has been heavily punished by the FA who dished out a colossal £8000 fine for illegal parking outside their offices in London and then sentenced him to a full ‘Manx style’ birch-assisted public flogging for his recent post match comments after West ham’s ‘disappointing’ experience of match officialdom during their recent visit to Old Trafford.

A warm Manx Welcome awaits Allardyce

Former National hangman Albert Pierrepoint , who may be related to 19th Century French guillotinists, rowed in strongly behind the FA bureaucrats expressing his support for their efforts to ‘finally crack down and set a bloody good example to the rest of those undisciplined Premiership managers’ in moves that are in no way thought to reflect a cynical effort to garner lucrative contractual work for his hangman and guillotine company, he added ‘ They should up the ante for any who persist in these flagrant breaches of the rules by adding a range of additional more severe punishments’

                                           Some of the ‘Chaps’ at the FA discuss the merits of control vs restraint

Rumours abound that Big Sam may be bold enough to launch an appeal seeking that the sentence be commuted to the lesser punishment of a mere ‘public humiliation by rotten fruit and veg pelting’. His case is thought to have been greatly strengthened by the kind offer to assist with the ‘pelting’ from some Hammers fans along with squad members who have been consigned to the reserves and are, as fortune would have it, at a loose end.
Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has conveyed his royal approval for the moves but is keen that the FA also address the growing problem of visiting sides who have the audacity to refuse to concede a goal within the first twenty minutes or who rudely contest calls for throw ins and corners. He has offered to add a detention suite to the Old Trafford development to assist in remedial therapy for such offenders
In other developments, Sir Alex and his backroom staff have agreed a deal with the North Korean Government that will bring a revolutionary solution to their recent ‘misfortunes’ in the Champions league. In a top secret deal with UEFA, the Devils have agreed that from the knockout stages onwards, any opposing players or staff who do not adhere to the ‘away side will desist’ house rules at Old Trafford will be immediately removed to the Devils Asian training facility for sustained corrective intervention.


Hammers get off lightly with new shirt sponsors

A Pleasingly harmless logo
There was a sigh of relief with the announcement yesterday as West Ham announced their new shirt sponsor as the mercifully mundane Alpari FX. Any true fan can endure a range of hardships in their devotion to ‘their ‘ club – thrashings from Arsenal, humiliating cup exit versus lower league hackers, even relegation – but undoubtedly the wickedest cruelty comes in the shape of cringeworthy kit adornments. 

Suits you Sir!
Our current sponsors have kept Hammers fans on full alert as to the possibility of ridicule with SBobbet tinged with an uncomfortable hint of the severed penis, but in general Hammers fans have been pretty lucky over the years. Jobserve provided oceans of bland naffism, while the short lived XL was a tad ironic for some supersized supporters, but equally we had the chic mystique of Dagenham Motors and probably the coolest to date, Dr Martens with all its bovva-boy nuances. All of which served to lessen the embarrassment of having to chant about blowing bubbles. Hmmm.

Sure to have provoked a stampede of purchasing at the club shop

In order to really test the depth of loyalty amongst it’s fan base, some clubs have elected for the double distaster strategy of combining impossibly poncey shirts with irretreviably embarrassing sponsor logos. Take Brighton and Hove Albion’s pink shirt with NOBO logo combo from the ’86-87 season…..Oh, and by the way, yes we have noticed the outlandish vertigo-inducing pattern…Yeuch!!!! Maybe this is what Eric Cantona was referring to with his “when the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea” quote. Then again, maybe not.

Must've been a competitive tendering process
In some cases it’s simply impossible to explain the extent of what’s wrong with a particular sponsor. Take the oh so Rock n Roll sponsors of the mighty Rochdale FC for ’85-’86. You can already hear the opposing fans chanting “I’m a little teapot, short and stout….”

For the potent foxes strike force
Then again, some fans bring it on themselves. This delight was designed by fans of Leicester City FC as a proposal for their club’s new shirt for the 2010 season. Self inflicted injuries category here for sure. There have been few strikers who could possibly justify this level of attacking protection, and none of them have turned out for the mighty Foxes

C'mon, it could stand for anything?

Modern Britain certainly is awash with ‘helpful’ acronyms but undoubtedly this penchant for catchy abbreviation can backfire, badly. Potteries Motor Traction! You’re not kidding anybody! Fortunately for the Port Vale team of ’85-’86 they didn’t suffer from a few ‘off’ days but rather a sustained season-long run of moody and irritable performances.

Of course many of these titillating faux-pas can be excused on the basis of language gaps, but how can you honestly explain…

That's dreadful shite, laddie!
…..Surely Big Joe could have alerted his Italian employers to this appalling style infringement. Destiny can be a strange thing – AC Milan were later to sign the ironically appropriate Kack-a!  This example is so extreme that it does raise the issue that surely National football associations have an obligation to intervene when, for the sake of a few quid in sponsorship,  clubs inflict this kind of unacceptable humiliation upon their fans. ‘Bringing the game into disrepute’ would start to do justice to this criminal misjudgement. 

Home and away, your only man
And finally, this delight is really for real…..No, it's not the new Referees jerseys for Premier League 2014/5, but rather - Los Wankeros or Deportivo Wanka are based in the city of Huancayo in the Peruvian Andes. The club was founded in 1996 and is named after the Wankas -  people who formerly inhabited the area. Strange but totally true!