Saturday 31 August 2013

West Ham welcome the ‘all new’ Stoke City!

Hammers fans will hardly be fooled by the cynical attempt by Stoke City to reinvent themselves as a less Orc-like outfit. Cautious Bubbles will be wearing their specially-designed flak jackets and anti-aircraft shields as the pugnacious Potters arrive in search of Premiership points, and failing that just a good on-pitch rumble.

Just Kidding!
Some observers have suggested that now that the Potters are finally free from the harsh Pulis regime, all sorts of flamboyant footie might break out. However, it would be stretching it a bit to expect the likes of Jonathon Walters, Glenn Whelan et al to suddenly break into free flowing footie mayhem. Moreover, manager Mark Hughes’ reputation for earnest effort will hardly signal a major change in philosophy. This is likely to especially apply away from home where Stoke are far from prolific – netting a mere 13 goals last season which was the worst record for goal scoring away from home in the league bar one, ahem, other club who also feature in today’s match. Without the fortress-like atmosphere of the Brittania there’s little doubting that Stoke would quickly descend down into the Chumpionship, with few tears likely to be shed by opposing teams. Thankfully, Stoke have seen sense for the 2013-2014 season and dispensed with the Barcelona-style away kit of last season, which was more than a little hard to stomach given their decidedly un-Barcelona on-pitch activities!

                                                                          Suits you, Sir!

The unfortunate injury to Alou Diarra (and we sincerely wish him well and hope that this time out injured he doesn’t start whingeing to the French press about not being selected!) has served to highlight how good a decision it has been to promote young Ravel Morrison up the ranks. He has had a stunning preseason and now broken into the first team ranks, but if he gets a run out today he may find the physicality of Stoke City a bit more challenging to deal with than little Cheltenham Town. Never the less, you can only impress against what’s put against you and it would be very interesting to see how he gets on against the curmudgeonly Glen n Whelan and Steven N’Zonzi.

                                                                      Oh Yeah baby!

Up front, the Hammers will have to persist with the rather blunt formation that, if you share the view that Modi ‘Mohawk’ Maiga is really an attacking midfielder,  basically involves 6 midfielders having a go with a pretty random strategy that leans excessively upon opposition mistakes – one thing the ‘old’ Stoke were pretty miserly with.  At the other end, despite a midweek hat-trick (against Walsall) Kenwyne Jones will have to wrestle with Peter Crouch for a starting berth up front. Either way, whoever starts for Stoke is likely to find a robust Hammers defence unlikely to ship to many chances, with Reid and Collins in top form – both individually but also as a hugely complimentary partnership. You have to feel sorry for James Tomkins who really hasn’t done anything wrong but cannot break back into the first team.

Elsewhere, the wing situation continues to stretch the imagination as to how we might best employ Jarvis, Cole and Downing. For now, the balance of power probably remains with Cole, but when Andy ‘Wild Horses’ Carroll returns, Downing’s crossing ability might just edge it. Either way, if all three remain fit they will present a tantalising source of debate throughout the season.  It’ll be a real test of Big Sam’s stewardship as he tries to squeeze the most from these three with canny use of the bench as all three are potential game changers if used in a substitute’s role.

Sam is playing an interesting game with Ratzvan Rat who many presumed would walk into the side at left back. However, so far Allardyce has opted to go with the reliable and quietly effective Joey O’Brien who is not only calm in defence, but also pops up in interesting offensive positions as Stoke will know only too well from last season’s encounter at the Boleyn, when the Irishman popped up to score a vital equaliser after a fortunate Stoke grabbed the lead against the run of play. O’Brien is naturally a right back but again, happily, we can report that Guy ‘Geezer’ Demel is in such good form with an excellent tackle success rate that he will surely remain at right back for the immediate future. Either way, the experienced Romanian doesn’t appear unduly concerned at his omission to date as he has engaged enthusiastically with the press and seems to be settling down well.

                                                                  Look away, Roy

Back to midfield – the place where the game will ultimately be won and lost today – the Hammers should edge it with the Noble – Nolan - Diame triangulation really cooking. All three have looked sharp since the season commenced and as the closure of the transfer window approaches, Diame looks to be happy and stable in his current employment.  Fingers crossed! The continued debate regarding ‘just how good’ Mark Noble is is increasingly ridiculous as he just keeps turning in quality performances and really is the link that keeps the Hammer’s engine ticking over. Hodgson’s continued exclusion of the energetic midfielder may ultimately destabilise his reign as England manager – every side needs a Mark Noble who gets on with oiling the wheels of the team and facilitating others to do their stuff. Does any English player in the Premiership do this better at the moment?

With all this positivity at the club it’s hard not to see a Hammer’s victory ahead, but Stoke love the underdog perception and will relish the opportunity to spoil the Bubbles party. Prediction: West Ham 1-0. Noble to score – probably from the spot!

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Hammers fear case of De Clerambault’s syndrome as Capital One draw turns nasty

As the dust settles this evening after the intense spectacle of the draw for the Capital One cup round three, West Ham are considering making a formal complaint to the FA regarding’ persistent, intrusive and unwanted ‘ contacts from Cardiff City FC. Having already dispatched the limpet-like Welsh club in the opening fixture of this season, the Hammers will have to do it all again if they want to shake off the undesirable  attentions of the Bluebirds.
The evil inventor of this terrible 'illness'
Some Hammers fans have lashed out at the clingy and excessively needy reaction of the Bluebirds to their early season whipping, but top psychobabble-ologists have identified that the real reason behind Cardiff’s stalking “definitely and almost without doubt”  lies in traumas from seasons past – including the absolute thrashing that a rampant Hammer’s side dished out in the Championship play off semi-final tie of 2012. It is believed that the rather plain Welsh club fell head over heals in love with the cosmopolitan and 'Bloke-ish' East Londoners during their thrashing and have been trying to mimic them ever since by employing former Hammers stars such as Craig Bellamy and manager Murdo McLeod.

Forensic pseudoscientists have warned that sometimes this erotomanic behaviour (also known as De Clerambault’s syndrome) can turn nasty – with anger and aggressive behaviour. However, sports scientists have reassured Hammers faithful that there is virtually no chance of the Welsh wizards achieving a giant killing result when they visit the Boleyn.

For Hammers fans, they must dream on to the fourth round if they want to hook up again with the likes of Man United or other glamorous clubs.

Big Sam unimpressed by magnetic balls!

As the Hammers swept aside the stable boys from Cheltenham town, with two superb goals by yesterday’s man Ricky Vaz Te and the hero of the moment Ravel Morrison, various gambling types have speculated that special magnets may be used to try and bring together two of footie’s oldest friends in West Ham United FC (Ball number 24) and Millwall FC (possibly ball numero 30 if they can overcome Notts Forest tonight).  In order for that to happen, fans will hope that Millwall ace, Mark Beevers, can resist the attentions of Forest favourite, Simon Cox.

In the aftermath of new Manchester United chief Paranoic David Moyes’ insinuations about a suspiciously harsh early season fixture list for the ‘Devils’, some Hammers fans have speculated regarding a ‘dream’ pairing with our London neighbours. “It would be so handy for travel – we could save lots of cash in travel expenses that would be free to spend on presents for our nearest and dearest  neighbours south of the Thames” said Sid Sillybutton, head of storytelling at East Ham old folks home.

Sadly, the dream pairing with our old enemies up North at Winterfell will not be possible after they stumbled at the lowly first hurdle losing at home to Burton Albion, who are also a football team, apparently. In better news foe the blunt Blades, sources close to the club have announced a new partnership deal with top second division Argentinian League outfit – Deportivo Moron, who have never been able to fathom their lack of popularity amongst English speaking fans. Handily the Argentinian club share not only the Blades propensity for exciting and gritty lower league endeavour, but also wear a gaudy red and white combo as their first team kit.

Meanwhile, back at the Boleyn, it’s all action as the Hammers prepare for a trip to Barcelona in a tempting mid-season friendly versus Espanyol.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Cheltenham League Cup Match in jeopardy as irate mums revolts against budget Hammers

The West Ham ‘Kids for a Quid’ scheme started to finally pay off for Messers Sullivan and Gold this evening as, in an effort to save up enough cash to buy a back-up striker, they have turned their child-friendly supporters scheme on it’s head and insisted that their young stars on ly receive a quid for turning out tonight! For some Hammers stars parents, this has proven a step too far and it is rumoured that Dan Pott’s mum has forbidden Big Sam from allowing him to play after his usual bedtime of 9.30PM.

The late kick off will also likely prove a major impediment to rising starlet Ravel Morrison who, after  wearing gloves during his 15 minute cameo at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon, will need a full body warmer suit in order to survive the harsh late evening chill that sometimes descends upon the East End at this time of year.

Otherwise, the evening can provide valuable opportunities for fringe squaddies to prove their worth with a rare start up front for Ricky Vaz Te, the return of Georgie McCartney to the defence, a belated run out for Ratzvan Rat at left back and a first Captainship of the first team for Basildon hero James Tomkins. Seb Lletget and Elliot Lee will also be hoping to get some match time, while Leo Chambers is set to start!

Saturday 24 August 2013

de Pardew promises ‘fantastique’ result for Toon

West Ham prepare for their first European match of the season with  today’s visit to  French side Nou-cassel.  With a squad populated by a host of French B-internationals, the Hammers will need to keep a tight eye on proceedings in order to suffocate any outbreak of flamboyant French nonsense before ultimately imposing some East London efficiency on the final result.

Big Sam Allardyce, AKA Mr Cuddly from Dudley, will be cheered by having watched Manky City disembowel the Magpies last Monday and can expect that their opponents fragile gallic psyche will not yet have recovered from the devastating 4-0 defeat. Better still, he will delighted to hear that the chief of frig**g footie at Nou-cassel, Joe Kind on the ear Kinnear, has directed that Nou-Cassel maintain their early season defensive generosity in a bid to attract much needed tourists to the region.

Nou-cassel’s cause will be further dented by the absence of a number of key players, including new loan signing Loic Remy for whom the loan arrangements are rumoured will ultimately cost the Toon and arm and a leg in interest repayments. In addition there is a strong possibility that tasty midfield talent – Johan Cabaye- will also be unavailable as he continues to receive amorous attentions from the Ar- Snail. As a consequence, Hammers fans face the delicious prospect of the Noble-Nolan-Diame Midfield trio once again peforming a Bermuda-triangle –style disappearing act with the match ball thus denying the French tricksters much needed possession.  

                                                  Two Basildon Boyz relaxing pre-season
Current Nou-Cassel boss, Alain de Pardew, can hardly complain about such approaches as he has made a number of advances to Hammers handsome centre back James Tomkins but has underestimated the connection the Basildon Boy has with the club. Moreover, a move to Nou-cassel would have to be seen as a retrograde step as the Hammers currently occupy a champions league spot whilst the Toon languish at the bottom of the league having failed to attract much needed new signings to bolster a squad that stumbled home in 16th last year.

Not to be channelled out of the limelight, Uncle Joe, in his latest media outburst, has announced that all receipts from today’s game will go to his favourite charity – the Tourette’s Syndrome Foundation - as Gentleman Joe urged the public to support the much beleaguered sufferers of the neurological disease.

Either way, Big Sam’s boys will be only too happy to provide their boss with yet another reason to smile as he returns to the club who sacked him under bizarre circumstances five years ago.


Thursday 22 August 2013

Imaginative Irons identify Financial Fair Play Loophole

As the wage bill cap crisis continues unabated at Upton Park and the end of the transfer window looms ever closer without the arrival of that crucial back up striker, Verywestham have come up with a simple yet devastatingly effective means by which the Hammers can adhere to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and legally reduce the footie wage bill to free up Messers Gold and Sullivan to spill some further cash on a new striker.

The UEFA ruling focuses upon the salaries that players receive for their footballing contributions but do not cover the often highly lucrative second careers of out multi-talented soccer polymaths. By simply tilting payments towards these activities, clubs can keep the footie players in the financial splendour that they have become accustomed to, while cutting the wage bill for their footballing services.
                                         Upton Park whilst Collins wsas 'on loan' at Villa
For starters, the club need to finally rubber stamp their arrangement with James Collins who has acted informally as the club’s Chief Nozzle inspector since his return from Aston Villa. The role is seen as increasingly important to the Hammers success as faulty nozzles on the pitch watering system can prove disastrous – there’s a very fine balance between a wet and clingy pitch that impedes any fancy-pansy passing through midfield and an unplayable waterlogged swamp! The use of pre-match watering has been at the heart of the Hammers run of excellent performances against Man United over the recent past and who better than someone for ‘wet and miserable’ Wales to oversee this process. This can easily be used account for 25% of Collins’ salary. Clearly this role will require considerable bonus payments if West Ham qualify for Europe.
                                    Noble models the new third kit whilst preparing for the Palace visit

A similar salary compartmentalization can apply to Mark Noble who is the club’s Executive Infectious control officer. This key role allows the Hammers to deal with any stadium contamination caused by visiting teams- and Mark can attest to the fact that some of the Premiership sides are ‘proper smelly’ when it comes to hygiene. In particular, Mark and the team have to watch out for  : the clubs newly promoted from the Championship where resistant strains of TB and West Nile Virus are rife. They are said to be dreading the visit of Hull ‘Tigers’ as they are rumoured to be struggling to contain a nasty and persistent outbreak of scurvy.

Chief sunshine eradicator (Jussi Jaaskelainen) and Climate control specialist (Momo Diame) will be working closely together in their efforts to ensure poncy foreign-types won’t get to feel like they are at home when they come visiting the Boleyn. Diame spends considerable time preparing for each clash by analysing the opposition and in particular how to create an environmentally hostile dressing room thermal atmosphere. Interestingly, for the upcoming fixture versus Newcastle, the Hammers backroom team have always historically turned up the heat to discommode their northern opponents, but now that 97% of the Magpies squad is French they plan to switch to the Arctic breeze air-con setting.
                                                       George: Also a top hand model
For other Hammers staff, some already have lucrative side careers and it is planned that by reducing their working hours they can reduce salaries. James Tomkins, who is a highly sought after hand model will be released from some training sessions in order to allow him to make up the salary shortfall by taking on extra hand-modelling work.
Meanwhile, Joe Cole is rumoured to be absolutely chuffed at his promotion to Director of Origami at the club, while Ravel Morrison is reveling in finally being given a lead role as the clubs chief scarf-tester.

Not surprisingly, the clubs major signing during the off season, Andy Carroll, has been linked with the glamour position as Stadium tegestologist – or for those philistines amongst you – the man in charge of looking after the clubs valuable beer mat collection. These mats to commemorate club legends and their favourite beers. All in all, it’s a formidable additional task that Andy may find onerous once he is back playing again and has less free time on his hands – it is estimated that this will account for up to 30% of his £100,000 a week salary. Happily, his great mate Kevin Nolan has offered to lend a hand if needed.

                                                           Some of the valuable Beer mat collection

Unfortunately, it’s not all happy families as Big Sam has really struggled to find volunteers for some important roles – Joey O’Brien has labelled the offer of the position of Principal UFO spotter for the club as ‘ridiculous’, while Alou Diarra is none to happy with the additional responsibility of overseeing the development of a club policy on lighthouse containment. But spare a thought for little Matt Jarvis who is expected to turn in 30 minutes earlier each day as the new Chief curator of the water bottle museum.

Finally, Winston Reid has been rewarded for his performances that led to being awarded Hammer of the year for last season with the plum role as assistant cheerleading choreographer – however, sources at the club have warned that he may be less excited when he learns that in keeping with new employment rules governing gender quotas, the Hammerettes will be somewhat altered in personnel for the coming year, providing an excellent opportunity to silence visiting fans with some in your face erotic dancing!

Either way, these measures will surely allow the Hammers to submit dramatically reduced football wages for the club whilst at the same time giving the privileged stars of today's squad some much needed experience towards finding suitable careers after football.

Monday 19 August 2013

Five strikers who would not break the wage cap

As West Ham desperately try to free up resources to allow for a back-up striker to bolster their offensive capabilities, we look at five strikers who would ‘do a job’ for the Bubbles boys for limited financial reward and could thus provide the ideal solution to messers Gold and Sullivan’s latest conundrum.

1. Carlton Cole: ‘Killer’ Cole has been a most loyal servant for the past few years and even took a pay cut in order to stay with the club after our inconvenient relegation two years ago. Rumour has it that Carlton was offered ‘a fantastic deal’ by the board but decided to look at options in Turkey and some former CCCP state where it’s horribly cold and people rarely smile. Unfortunately, Carlton’s meagre scoring record, especially over the past year would mean that he might need to take a more radical complete pay cut in order to meet the approval of the Hammers management. Moreover, the chants of BOOMERANG that fans wold use to taunt him would be likely to be a further major deterrent to any ‘fairytale’ return.

2. Mido: The Egyptian striker is well known to Hammers faithful after his remarkable spell at the club in 2010 when he signed on a four month contract and agreed to play for a ‘miniscule’ £1000 a week. Ultimately, this proved pretty poor value for money as after a whopping 9 appearances with no goals and a penalty miss he was let go. Perhaps his most memorable contribution was when Hammers fans called for him to receive a red card after a particularly abject performance against Everton!


3. Tony Cottee: The diminuitive striker is a Hammers legend having been part of the terrifyingly  prolific Boyz of ’86 partnership with Frank McAvennie. TC later returned to the Boleyn for a second stint during the twilight of his career and performed decently. After 115 goals in 273 appearances for the club, he has subsequently tried to stay as involved as possible with all things claret and blue and even led a consortium who tried to purchase the club a few years back. Unfortunately, all this good work was undone by two subsequent appearances for Millwall that left his career hopelessly tarnished and firmly closed the door on any possible return.

4. Patrick Meagher: ‘The Paxman’ or ‘Shabbice’ as he is known in footie circles would jump at the opportunity to help Big Sam in this time of great need. Rumoured to be a distant cousin of George Weah, his rather unremarkable career on the bench for Portroe Celtic in the North Tipperary Tuesday night C league would be a useful experience for sitting on the bench whilst ‘Wild horse’ Andy carroll batters all round him. However, unfortunately the Paxman’s poor first touch, amateurish one-footedness, lack of any meaningful aerial presence and general inability to handle even minor pressure pose major obstacles to any dream call up.

5. Benni McCarthy: Benni Mc C had a rather disappointing intial stint at Upton Park that was marred by a variety of dietary issues and unpleasant verbals with the Hammers management who suggested that he should eat more greens and get a bit of exercise from time to time. Having joined the Hammers for £2.2 Million in 2010, he accepted a 1.5 million pay off after 14 months during which he failed to score and was fined £200,000 for failing to lose weight. He responded to criticism from Vice Chairman Karren Brady by saying that it made him want to ‘throw up’ which proved too little too late in order to save his Hammers career. After costing the club £5 million he may want to try and repay their generosity by making his services available for free.

VERDICT: This shabby lot highlight that cheap often equates with nasty rather than cheerful. Carlton Cole is just to ‘gone’ to return, whilst Mido and Benni McCarthy pose too great a risk of upping the offside count due to their immobility and tendency to forage for food up at the opposing teams end. Tony Cottee is too old and has a reek of Sarf London about him that lingers. That’s it- after much consideration it’s clear that Pax Meagher represents the best option for Messers Sullivan & Gold. They won’t even need to shell out for a jersey as he has invested in one himself.

Hammer's stars urged to fake their own deaths!

As the transfer window closure date looms ever closer, the pressure upon West Ham to find a striking back-up for Andy ‘injury-prone’ Carroll has intensified to breaking point. The Hammers board have emphasised that their failure to identify a suitable striking understudy is not due to any skin-flint behaviour on their part, but rather relates to UEFA ‘fair’ play rules regarding the total wage bill that is allowed for any single club.
Is 'Lucky' playing undercover for the Hammers?
As such, unless the Hammers can reduce the bill (by offloading some high earners) then they simply cannot offer the colossal salaries that the ever so talented forwards of today’s game would undoubtedly expect. With no clear contenders seeking the services of Ricky VazTe and other possible exports, VERYWESTHAM have identified no less than five ways the Hammers can free up cash for a new striker!

 Option One: Kill off some first team squad members. Unfortunately, the current squad lacks an obvious unpopular member. Both Alou Diarra and Ravel Morrison have previously been in the sin bin but this was for mere ‘needs a bit of a spanking’-type offences, and as such the death penalty would be perceived as too harsh a punishment for the crimes of sulking or pretending to be a gangsta etc. The likes of Gary Breen, Julien Faux-Pas and the legendary Allen McNightmare can count themselves lucky that their tenure at Fortress Upton Park predated the new regime, as a firing squad would have been an inevitable intervention in all three cases!

Option Two: Offer a pay cut for existing squad members but with payment in kind. The Hammers close association with high-brow lingerie retailers, Ann Summers would seem to offer an ideal means of ‘rewarding’ our lads for their on-field efforts. In particular, the man-boob support braces™ and knickerbox underbody armour range™ could prove pretty useful for the squad both on and off the field and thus allow for a massive cut in wages. However, any such plans have been scuppered by Captain Kevin Nolan, who has warned any first teamers who wear provocative underwear beneath their kit will be forced to room with him on the upcoming away trip to ‘crazy and anything goes’ toontown. Hmmmm.  

Option Three: Encourage high earning players to fake their own deaths. The Hammers bosses, having trapped themselves in a situation with a lack of anything approaching adequate striking resources, have resorted to leaving subtle hints to their first team squad that might encourage them to exit the Hammers payroll. Drawing from the amazing success of Timothy Dexter – the 19th century American entrepreneur who announced that his wife was dead and that the woman (of similar appeareance) who was occupying his house was merely her ghost – the Hammers might pretend that Kevin Nolan has passed on and that the guy who keeps popping up out of nowhere to score for the Hammers is in fact a poltergeist!

An alternative ruse might be to take a similar line to Ken Kesey, author of “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” who faked his own death to escape a marijuana possession rap in the mid-1960s only to return alive and well a few months later back from Mexico where he had been hiding out. A similar ‘loan period’ arrangement might apply between the Hammers and their less sophisticated (and quite economically challenged) neighbours south of the Thames at Millwall. However, the ultra-violent Mexican street gang culture of South London might prove too terrifying for any of the current Hammers squad.
Option Four: Cook the books. No. Bad option. Tevezgate sent a warning to all clubs that all paperwork must be in order, forever more. In particular, Sheffield United fans would resist any moves that might result in their receiving another massive 20 million cash injection as the last one has almost resulted in their club getting relegated from the football league as they languish in the third tier having squandered colossal amounts of Hammers-donated cash on what has become a veritable donkey sanctuary at Bramall Lane.

Option Five: Try to reason with UEFA! As always with any serious news item, we like to finish with a light-hearted piece – the stranded cute little kitten rescued from a tree-type of thing – and as such we have included the ridiculous notion of trying to reason with the geriatric fascists at UEFA. With the amount of dosh that is sloshing around in soccer these days, it is abundantly clear to anybody with the slightest grasp of economics that such rules around expenditure merely serve to divert the money elsewhere e.g. under 21 players are now massively elevated in value which will only serve to populate soccer with spoilt and overpaid wannabes who haven’t yet even kicked a ball at the highest level (think Chadwell Heath pre-Allardyce!). Some unhelpful observers have suggested that if the Hammers invested a bit more in the youth system (which includes giving developing stars some occasional game time) this wouldn’t be such a problem for the club as we would have the usual burgeoning flow of young talent. Either way this option is, of course, laughably naïve as the unreasonable and out of touch UEFA ubërlords would simply use any such representations to further amuse and titillate themselves while they feast upon the continued corruption and demise of the beautiful game. 
                                                                        Mon Dieu! Hahaha...Whateeever next!

I guess it’s time to summon the firing squad.

Saturday 17 August 2013

We are top of the league! West Ham 2-0 Cardiff

The perfect start for the Bubbles boys in a match that was all hussle and bustle and lots of West ham pressure that is soooo much more lively than anything we’ve witnessed preseason! Premiership newbies Cardiff City found the going pretty tough and ultimately couldn’t even get a shot on target over the ninety minutes. They also looked pretty nervous from set pieces as the muscular Hammers imposed themselves throughout.

After a number of half chances the breakthrough came after 13 minutes when Jarvis combined with Joe Cole who slapped one into the net on the turn. Jarvis will be delighted to have already surpassed his assist count from last season. The first half stormed along with crosses raining in on to the Bluebirds penalty area but that vital second remained elusive. 1-0 at half time but really a two goal lead would have been a fairer representation of proceedings.

Early in the second half and Cardiff started to look less dominated but without creating clear chances. Then on comes Downing for Jarvis and the game ignites again. Downing will be well pleased with his performance demonstrating how he can be tricky and penetrating and importantly, two-footed as Cardiff couldn’t work out whether to shepherd him inside or outside as he darted around the right flank. Then on 65 minutes Mark Noble makes a rare foray forward into the Cardiff box, slips it to Captain Kev and it’s 2-0.

Cardiff tried to respond by bringing on ex-Hammer Nicky Maynard for ex-Hammer Craig Bellamy (both of whom received generously warm receptions). They managed to create two late chances for Maynard (to miss spectacularly from 5 yards out) and a Whittingham free-kick (that slipped wide) but it amounts to nought and it’s a clean sheet as well as a tidy victory for Sam’s boys. 

There’s even time for Alou Diarra to come and at the end it was all smiles, especially for Billy Bonds who’s contribution (783 games) to the West Ham cause was honoured in a prematch ceremony. Special mention for Cole, Diame and Downing who all looked a class above anything Cardiff had to offer.  
So it’s joint top of the league, with Aston Villa’s late goal against Arsenal pushing them ahead on goals scored. It's early days, and Cardiff may well prove to be short of Premiership standard but you can only beat what's put in front of you.
Next it’s off to Newcastle for next week’s match….if we set off now on foot we should make it just in time.

Half time Report: West Ham 1-0 Cardiff City

 A few minor surprises in the starting eleven as it's Joey O'Brien and Joe Cole instead of Ratzvan Rat and Stewart Downing. Otherwise, it's a predictable side.

Whahey! And off we go. Hussle and bustle and lots of West ham pressure in a fast flowing match that is soooo much more lively than anything we’ve witnessed preseason! Premiership newbies Cardiff City are showing some nervousness from set pieces as the muscular Hammers push forward and a few early half chances ensue. Cardiff showcasing their new Chilean midfield signing Gary ‘the pitbull’ Medel (apparently named after Gary Lineker!?!) but he’s struggled so far to make an impact upon the dominance of West Ham’s midfield and especially Momo Diame who looks right on song again.

Then along comes unlucky 13 for Cardiff and Matt Jarvis slips the ball to Joe Cole who continues his excellent preseason form with a delightful shot on the turn. 1-0 to the Bubbles boys. Soon after another golden chance as Cole is slipped through by Noble but tries an audacious chip that falls short reminding us that he’s no replacement striker for Carroll!

As the half progresses it’s all Hammers now…..the crosses start to reign in then Diame is terribly unlucky with a surging run and shot that is just wide then Collins gets a free header from a corner that slides wide. Still 1-0 and the Hammers need to press this advantage for a crucial second. Cardiff meanwhile look best on the break – maybe they should give us a few more corners?

Cardiff get a glimpse with a free kick from all of 35 yards out just before half time but the Hammers stay cool. Real cool baby!
it's half time. All Hammers. this game is ours to lose. Hmmmm.

AaaarghhhHHHHH!!! Big Sam’s new formation shocker as Hammers prepare to bludgeon Cardiff with a blunt instrument!

Sh******* We're off!!!
So finally, it’s back! In all it’s gorey glory, the Premiership is here to haunt our Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and occasional midweek 'peace'. For Hammers fans, the new season brings much hope while the doubters hiss about ‘second season syndrome’ (SSSsssh). So, after a busy Summer of transfer rumours and a few defensive and mostly midfield signings, they may have a point as West Ham find themselves concerningly light up front.

Sources around Upton Park have revealed that in keeping with Big Sam’s openess to try out new tactics and all round desire for innovation, he has designed a new team formation that can finally provide the elusive tactical Plan B that the Hammers have seemed to lack under his two-year reign. When Andy C is missing, Big Sam can, if he so wishes, line out with a team entirely composed of midfielders!
While some purists might suddenly break out in rocky mountain spotted yellow fever-like blisters at the thought of such ‘nonsense’, the stubborn Hammers boss has argued that it has a variety of benefits, not least of all that it doesn’t require employing over-priced and  moody strikers. Moreover, the English game is so stuck in the dead-empire tradition of 4-4-2, it will undoubtedly flummox most teams who are likely to be seen wandering aimlessly and confused around the pitch wondering who to mark etc.

Canny observers have spotted that Big Sam is building a Barcelona-type system where the need for actual dedicated strikers is dispensed with. A similar system was adopted by the Spanish National side – with more than acceptable results. However, spare a thought for poor Mark Noble who pulled the short straw and is being asked to fill the keepers slot. Luckily, he managed to get quite a bit of practice in that role whilst Big Sam secretly perfected the system in pre-season training in Austria! 
Whatever side or formation or strip Big Sam sends out - we'll be there to encourage, analyse, scrutinise and  advise them through the season.
Buckle up tight folks, the engines just about to kick in for another whirlwind journey …. aaaAAAAAArGHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Hammers need another miraculous ‘great escape’!

With the new season upon us, the warning flares are already being released around Upton Park as the brave Hammers find themselves already stranded at the bottom of the league. With perhaps the strongest squad since the disastrous 2003 season, when the Hammers were relegated despite having Di Canio / Cole / Lampard / James / Carrick / Defoe / etc etc, Big Sam needs to take urgent action as the Bubbles boys welcome high-flying Cardiff who currently occupy third place and a Champions League berth!
Premiership table: August 17th 2013

The table never lies

Hammers fans will be somewhat cheered by the presence of Mark Noble, James Collins and Georgie McCartney who were all in the team that achieved Premiership safety in 2007 when Carlos Tevez scored the winning goal at Old Trafford to secure a sensational 1-0 victory for the Hammers. No doubt Big Sam will be summoning his troops to remember that with 10 games to play that West Ham were hopelessly detached from the rest BUT STILL MANAGED A GREAT ESCAPE.
                                                                       NEVER give up!
Some mathematically over-focused Hammers fans will be praying for a definitive result in the early kick off match between Liverpool and Stoke as this would lift the Hammers off the bottom prior to their match but for the rest of us laid back types as the new season kicks into gear - anything is still possible!

Thursday 15 August 2013

Hammers New Squad Numbers: It’s an ego minefield out there!

With the release of squad numbers for the coming year, we assess the winners and losers of the 2013/14 allocation and look for clues as to Big Sam’s intentions for the coming season.

A big winner was previous misfit Alou Diarra who has moved up five places from ‘a duck and a flea’ (23) into the top twenty at number 18 (‘Coming of age’), in keeping with his new found popularity at the Boleyn. Similarly, Modi Maiga will be delighted to have the legs eleven perch while Ricardo Vaz Te is the intriguing ‘Mickey’s cousin’ (12). Captain Kevin Nolan continues to redefine the number 4 (‘Bobby Moore’) with ‘he’ll surely score’ (double figures again this season). Conversely, Guy Demel has been allocated ‘one score’ (20) in the hope that he might finally break his scoring duck for the Bubbles Boys. 
The ongoing difficulties with new Spanish goalkeeping recruit continue as ’Adrian’ continues to refuse to reveal his surname. Quack quack!! Jussi Jaaskelainen has opted for number 22, which is exactly two-fifths of his chronological age! Hammer’s fans will be expecting more than just two little ducks during a 38 game season! They will be more than reassured by last season’s heroics where he kept an impressive 11 clean sheets and pulled off the most saves of any goalkeeper with an incredible 156, but surely his efforts warranted the Kelly’s eye?

George McCartney has been given the number three berth in recognition of the number of minutes he was fit during last season’s campaign. Similarly, Jack Collison’s allocation of number ten looks a little ominous. For the loyal Mark Noble, there is no need to get excited as he remains sweet sixteen and never been kissed?!?

Meanwhile, squad rapper Ravel Morrison has opted for the gangsta-like ‘Ravel’ to adorn his shirt rather than the conventional use of one’s surname. His allocation of the ‘young and keen’ (15) is well justified by his impressive pre-season efforts. Momo Diame has been given the key of the door (21) which hopefully is the way in rather than an exit strategy to the big houses at Chelski or Arse-anal.

Hammers faithful will surely spare a thought for poor Andy Carroll – forced to adopt the number 9 (or ‘doctor’s orders’ referring to the number 9 laxative pill dished out by medics during the war). Hopefully Andy won’t suffer the same scoring constipation that blighted his first dozen games for the Hammers last year.

Interestingly, the 24 and 25 positions remain vacant awaiting possible new signings, with bookies offering short odds that Liverpool legends Ian Rush and Sammy Lee are most likely to follow ex-Reds Carroll, Cole and Downing to Fortress Upton in the last minute madness of the transfer window.

Meanwhile, the Premiership rules regarding squad numbers mean that some particularly appropriate numbers will not be used. As all Hammers faithful are aware, the number 6 jersey has been ‘retired’ in honour of Bobby Moore. In a similar gesture, the club have opted to retire the 88 jersey in memory of Benni McCarthy’s productive period at the club. Moves to recognise the performance of Hammers loverboy striking legend Frank McAvennie have run into problems due to disagreement regarding the wide variety of possible numbers – 46 (‘up to tricks’), 51 (‘I love your mum’), and the inevitable 69 (‘your place or mine’?) 
Frank - in action

Either way, with Big Sam at the helm, regardless of the opposition - we've got your number              

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Night out lands Carroll in trans-gender prostitution debacle!

Recent media reports have highlighted Andy Carroll’s generous side whereby he has been pictured apparently donating a £50 note to a street hustler in London’s Soho area. In fact, our intrepid staff detective has revealed that the picture in all likelihood actually shows Andy being propositioned by a short-sighted nocturnal reveller who looks quite the worse for wear and who seems to have mistaken Andy’s Samson-like locks for those of a temptress of the night

Go on, Gis a Kiss my lovely...
The more than averagely manly Carroll looks far from amused by the poor gentleman’s error – moreover, the ace ‘ninety grand-a-week’ striker is thought to have been deeply insulted at the offer of a mere fifty lids for his attentions. However, some observers have suggested that Carroll should ‘get with the times’ - Frances Francis of the Female impersonators guild seized the opportunity to highlight how her members have had to reduce their appearance fees at stag-do-s etc by almost 25% during these harsh recessionary times.

                                                  Andy, in his Newcastle days, possibly
These embarrassing scenes are nothing new for those men who temp fate (and myopic disability) in their penchant for flamboyant hairstyles – Rene Higuita, the infamous Colombian Net minder, found himself the subject of endless public harassment by gold-digging Romeos who regularly mistook him for the ultra-loaded US chatshow host Oprah Winfrey.

Luckily, the talented performer had a trademark manoevre to prove his true identity that the real Oprah's was unable to perform.
While Andy may well disapprove of being mistaken for the fairer sex, other Geordie heroes have been less averse to such cross-gender experiences, with the evergreen Gazza once successfully modelling for a myopic man’s razzle mag as Bertha the Bootiful!

Either way, this latest incident bodes badly for Premiership defences ahead of the coming season when the physically robust striker will have a point to prove and it will undoubtedly take more than a mere fifty quid to tame the hirsute Hammer’s hero.

                                                            Oops, pardon me Sir!