|My old man's a dustman....
There can be no denying the fact that historically the Hammers have at times found themselves in the role of feeder club for the bigger outfits of the Premiership – and there have been other occasions when relegation has forced the club to engage in humiliating fire sales to reduce the wage bill. For most of the time, the bubbles brigade accept such events as the necessary spoils of battles lost, and the individual players are seen as merely going along with the necessary, and in some cases even making sacrifices for the greater good of the club. And then there are those whom the fans turn against, in some cases nastily – think Ince, Lampard and, of course, Jermain Defoe.
Let’s get a few things straight – the Lad behaved foolishly at a time when Hammers folk were hurting – one of our greatest ever squads managed to get itself relegated in an unbelievable nightmare of a season punctuated by managerial casualties and a bizarre run of misfortune that ended in tears….lots of tears…and then the inevitable squad exodus. Defoe was first off the mark with a transfer request that he apparently wrote on the team bus after the final match, but interestingly, was one of the few who remained at the Boleyn for the following season. Sadly, three sendings off and mucho petulant behaviour saw the club only too happy to finally let him go, albeit with a bad taste in the mouth.
Subsequently having to watch him mature with two goal-filled spells at Tottie Hotspurts (with some stunning strikes against our lads along the way) have served to further alienate him from the Hammer’s faithful but in all honesty we need to remember that we nicked him from poor Charlton at age 16 (for which we had to pay over a million in compensation) and the lad did come from the same stable as John Terryble, Cashley Cole and cuddly Lee Bowyer, so I guess ruthlessness has never been an issue for the pint-sized assassin.
And now the rumour has deemed that he is on the verge of a triumphant return to West Ham where we are in dire need of somebody to deliver goals and add some bite to a defensively sound unit. Undoubtedly Defoe’s scoring record and previous connection with the club point towards a possible coming together but the Judas tag may be hard for some to overcome (until he scores a few times anyway!) and then there is the whole issue of his suitability for the club with our tactical philosophy at this time.
So many observers are making the presumption that Big Sam would want Defoe when the reality is that he has little regard for small forwards and Defoe is unlikely to be effective as a lone striker as physical presence is not one of his strengths and the winger system that Allardyce has been patiently building would not be particularly suited to Jermain’s undoubted talents.The bookies also don’t fancy Defoe’s chances of returning to Upton Park for a final hurrah as the Hammers are joint fourth in the running along with Liverpool (?!), while a claret and blue turnout is thought to be more likely in the colours of Aston Villa at 7-1. Wise men indeed down at the bookies.
Either way, Jermain’s recent placatory comments, where he essentially apologised for the circumstances under which he departed from West ham, allow the bubbles brigade to savour some of the happier Defoe moments – the goals that brought us the Premier academy league title in 2000, the 41 goals in 105 appearances and, of course, the best of them all – the small matter of the victory at Old Trafford in 2001 where his delicious strike separated the sides at the final whistle.
Awww, Ok then….we forgive you!