Tuesday 31 December 2013

Fulham in audacious move for Hammers Starlet

Morrison gets the 'Tomkins treatment'
Reports in the media this morning have revealed the extent of the delusion at Craven Cottage as to their status within the echelons of Premiership football. Apparently, new boss Rene Meulensteen has pencilled in Hammers wonderkid Ravel ‘Raveldo’ Morrison as one of a number of high profile signings aimed to save the relegation-threatened West London outfit. Here at VERYWESTHAM, we can reveal that the Cottagers also would like to gain the services of Lionel Messi as well as a shock move to bring former Spurs star Gareth Bale back to London – but to the posh side this time.

How Raveldo probably looks in Fulham Fans' dreams
Julian Thorpington-Barnes, speaking from his trendy little West London bistro, offered that the ‘trendy’ club should be allowed extra squad members due to the chronic issues with gout  that have beset the club. “The FA also need to realise that a loose conglomeration of artisans such as those who perform for Fulham inevitably need time off to attend art exhibitions and poetry readings”. The occasional artistry of Berbatov and Duff is simply not enough for the Fulham-faithful.

                                                                  How Morrison looks in real life
Other sources have claimed that the rumours are merely a cheap ruse to unsettle the Hammers in order to avoid another humiliating 3-0 whu-pping like that which finally ended the tenure of previous Fulham boss Martin Jolly. “Why would Messi join Fulham – their strip is crap – all white and black, it’s a nightmare to avoid colours running when you wash it? His mum will almost certainly block any move”. Other reports have emerged that in fact Fulham are seeking the services of Jim Morrison, formerly of the Doors and who has been out of action with a nasty injury for some time.

Monday 30 December 2013

Anelka Outrage: Big Sam is to blame!!!

As the debate raged about Nicolas ‘Le Sulk’ Anelka’s “celebration” after scoring against West ham on Saturday, Mike Peabottomley – head of PR at British geeksports – has offered an illuminating and unique perspective on the matter: “Nicolas was almost certainly practising hand gestures from his new preferred sport. After years of breaking opposition fans’ hearts with his cold assassin-like play, he has turned away from soccer to Underwater Rugby – the fastest growing sport by that name in the world at present” 
                                 Note 'Grabbing players equipment' the scourge of modern URugger
Nicolas himself has offered a variety of lame excuses for his gesture, including the much debated anti-establishment “Quenelle”. However, Peabottomley has likened the gesture to the flip-flop fascism of Paolo Di Canio – half-baked and mostly misunderstood by the exponent. ”Nicolas was probably using the evocative quenelle as a distraction from the fact that he actually hates soccer and wants to play U-Rugger instead – even though it is mostly populated by weirdos and loners, most of whom have been banned from potholing and trainspotting”.

                                                           "Hey - pass it here - I'm in acres of space"

It is thought that Anelka fell out of love with soccer football during his time playing under Big Sam at Bolton where he was an accomplice in a variety of disgraceful crimes against football. Allardyce’s troops at the Reebok regularly ‘battered’ opposing teams before stealing points with utterly aesthetically unappealing goals from knock downs and other messy manoeuvres – something like Kevin Nolan’s poor quality strike for West Ham against the baggies on Saturday.

                                                                  It's Ok - he plays for top clubs
In other news, top politicians have acted angrily at the increasing trend for untrained and unintelligent sports stars to invade the political domain, regularly trying to steal a march upon our publicly–elected reporesentatives’ highly sophisticated practices. The right honourable Sir Rodney Wiltybits – chairman of Politicians Anonymous, speaking from the lingerie section at Marks and Spencers lashed out at the trend “we simply cannot tolerate have-a-go-Joes and other charlatans to populate our political landscape with foul and obscene gesturing and the like”….  


Sunday 29 December 2013

Say Hello to Ishak Belfodil: at last an understudy to Andy Carroll?

Breaking news from France is that Ishak Belfodil the French-Algerian forward who has been warming the bench at Inter this season is on his way to West Ham. L'Arena reports that apparently, a six-month loan deal has been agreed that will bring him to the Boleyn until the end of the current season. West Ham fans will hope that this is the start of a series of squad enhancements that can propel them to safety as they face into 2014 second from bottom of the Premiership.

Is the Algerian international the answer to West Ham’s problems? Well, for sure Belfodil has got some Allardyce characteristics –he’s big at 191cm, also muscular weighing in at 86kg and as footage of him in action shows he’s also pretty pacey and hard to dispossess– perhaps a bit like a mixture between Diame and Vaz Te, but looks stronger than both in the air.

For Inter he has been employed mostly as a right-sided  forward rather than as all-out striker and has a scoring record that does not suggest he is quite the hitman that many are hoping for – having scored a respectable 8 goals for Parma last season (mostly headers and some pretty impressive efforts amongst them) he has struggled at Inter and remains to break his duck with them. he managed to get himself voted onto the Serie A flops of the year (no goals, one red card for fighting off the ball!!!), but Italian soccer press can be pretty cruel and in reality he has not been given much of a chance and almost certainly would plead that he has been largely played out of position on the wing rather than his prefrred centre forward berth. However, Hammers fans will note that at a mere 21 years of age and with pretty sporadic experience in the French and Italian Leagues, he lacks the experience that the pressures of a Premiership relegation dog fight require.
Only for the different colour of boots they'd be identical...
However, with his youth and after a frustrating season where he has been unable to break into the Inter first team, the reported six-months loan period at the Boleyn may be attractive to the youngster.  He has quite a few Carroll-like attributes and could be a useful back up for the injury-prone star as West Ham face a nervous period when their star forward finally returns from his lengthy injury-problems. Also, in a World Cup year when Algeria will be competing - he needs to get some proper game time. Impact sub i hear you cry?

In the background is a pretty complicated legaal arrangement between Inter and his former club Parma who retain 50% ownership of him, although it is unclear whether this is likely to prove relevant to a loan deal and may only become an issue if a more permanent deal is sought.
The reports suggest that he will arrive in the next few days.......Waddaya think???

Allardyce in 'entertaining match' scandal!!!

WTF!!! Just as we were getting ready to join the sack Allardyce, it’s gone too far….deblah…West Ham way…deblah…..Trevor Brooking….Alan Devonshire….ZZZZZ. Suddenly, up pops an amazing manoeuvre by the crafty Allardyce with a sensationally entertaining 3-3 thriller at Fortress Upton.  Gone were the ‘ we just can’t seem to score’ and forgotten was all the talk about ‘clean sheets’ as the Hammers and Baggies went at it and the laundry bills were high!!!

Having gotten off to a fabulous start as after an early West Brom scare, Nolan and Cole conspired to score……a GOAL!!! Dust down the rattlers, sound up the brass band….a GOAL!!!

Then the game settled and we looked assured. Let them sweat and we can catch them when they push up…..errr, what’s going on with Tomka? Did those coppers twist him too harshly when arresting him over the Yulefoolishness period? Either way, we were down to a the Paddy-pretenders at Centre back with Joey ‘the lips’ and Georgie McCartney posing as top class centre halfs. Hmmm. West Brom started threading little balls through the gap between our two heroes and inevitably Nicolas ‘hate me if you must’ Anelka slipped between them for a characteristic poachers goal. Grrr.

Then the referee conspired to award the Baggies a corner that wasn’t and a sleeping Hammers defence forgot that they were all misaligned and in stole Le Sulk to make it two, before apparently performing the “Quenelle” which you can look up for yourselves on google. Hmmm.

The war-wearied troops came out for the second half full of gusto but after an initial furious ten minutes the pace dropped off and it looked like a 3or 4 -1 drubbing. That is until Modi Maiga decided to drop the shoulders and fire in a stunner from just outside the box – a goal that, strangely,  oozed confidence?!?  Tears followed, and not just from Maiga. Soonafter we were ahead as finally captain Kevin scored again in trademark hustler fashion, bundling the ball over the line form a messed up West Brom clearance.

So at 3-2 attention reverted to our motley back four and within minutes we wilted again as Berahino escaped down the left and rattled one across Jussi into the right hand corner…. Damn. Memories flooded back to a sickening 4-3 defeat at Upton Park versus the Baggies in 2003. However, thankfully we held out after both sides went at it hammer and tong and it ended 3-3. Frustrating but bloody exciting – the West Ham way is back!!!

Meanwhile, on Demel goal watch, the swashbuckling Ivorian again hit the bar and we must thus continue to wait before finding out the true nature of his much speculated upon goal celebration routine.

Ba Humbug! Hammers target five signings for the transfer window

The season is long and hard and inevitably reinforcements become necessary as we hit the hard months after the busy Christmas fixture list. However, even an outbreak of the bubonic plague would have hhad less of an impact upon the Hammers squad, as injury-itis has selectively robbed poor Allardyce of his best and most important players leaving a makeshift side with no recognised centre backs  to bravely eek out a point against West Brom yesterday. The cries of salary and spending caps have been dismissed as the Hammers board get down to the business of identifying players who are actually fit for the cause of trying to save our season, and Premiership status. Here we examine some of the more attractive possible recruits for Big Sam and the Two Davids to try and recruit during the transfer window…

1. Demba Ba
The Hammers are perfectly positioned to make an audacious swoop for the out of favour Chelski striker who got his first taste of English soccer at the Boleyn. The West Londoners will be expecting us to move for him and will be on guard but since it took us almost 10 years to retrieve young Joe Cole after they kidnapped him, we can expect to have Ba at our disposal for at least half as long before the FA coppers catch up with us! Bring him home we say, NOW!!!

2. Ents

The remarkable deterioration in the Hammer’s results since Winston Reid's injury-enforced absence highlights the need for adequate ‘man-mountain’back up – the giant Ents from the Lord of the Rings could provide the perfect replacement for Winston and the absence of the forested ones from the storyline of the Hobbit means that they are at a loose end and would almost certainly be available to provide much needed muscle in the centre of a leaky Hammer's defence.

3. Elliot Lee

The pacey and tricky little striker could provide some welcome diversity in the Hammers offensive efforts and represents a much more attractive option than a past-it Jermain Defoe. WAIT.......Hold on, he’s actually our player! Errr why is he stuck yoyoing from loan periods at Nowhere FC to languishing in the stiffs until he reaches the Allardyce-required age of consent (23 years of age before Premiership action is allowed) while we have clearly needed a striker to offer support for ‘lonely’ Carlton Cole and misfiring wanderer Modi Maiga. Let's double sign him!

4. Mugatu
Although the Big Sam ‘method’ has brought a new found efficiency to the club, Hammers faithful still pine for a classy midfield maestro of the Devonshire / Brooking / Bishop ilk and the stylish playmaker from Zoolander could be just the person to add a little more flair to the Hammers ahead of their move to the fashionable Olympic stadium. Although likely to command a high price, Mugatu would be attracted to the East Londoners by virtue of our aesthetically pleasing club kits, especially the legendary double claret hooped sky blue away strip.

5. Wilson

No, not Palacios, but the faithful Wilson who saved Tom Hanks from total insanity in Castaway. Given the terrifyingly one-sided possession statistics for most of West Ham’s games, where we seek to survive on 30-35% possession, the squad desperately needs some ball contact in order to maintain their ball skills and Wilson could prove just what’s needed.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Blunt Hammers and Saggy Baggies: it’s a proper six pointer!

Oooogh, here we go. The real season has commenced where we get to see who really are the men and who are mere boys as the stakes get higher. Let’s face it, the end of last season was REALLY boring without our annual relegation battle histrionics and, in the absence of a genuine European challenge, the relegation fist fight is the best we can muster.  In that sense, today’s opponents – fellow relegation scrappers West Brom represent ideal opposition as the great escape starts in earnest!
The Baggies are another side who swooned last year but have struggled to get going this year and jettisoned their manager in the process. However, ex-Hammers coach Steve Clarke must be more than a little disappointed to have been shown the door, given that he had dragged the West Midlands side away from their usual relegation Yoyo-ing to upper mid-table security. No doubt he will be welcomed warmly elsewhere, and return in the near future to wreak his revenge on the foolish Baggies board.

Meanwhile, Big Sam AKA ‘the Cuddly from Dudley’, must wait on James Collins and Ravel Morrison who are doubtful. Their availability is likely to be crucial. Allardyce was a Wolves fan as a kid and therefore the pleasure of putting one over on the ‘local enemy’ will serve as an additional incentive. Carlton ‘Killer’ Cole – who is in deadly form of late, will again lead the line and we can expect a physical battle with the experienced Jonas Olsson at the West Brom end.

With these pair having amassed a mere three points between them during December, this game will double that haul regardless of the result. We can expect a frantic and tense encounter. Allardyce is under more pressue than Baggies stand-in-boss Keith Downing, so let’s hope the additional pressure doesn’t rub off on his players. It’s not clear how the Baggies intend to use Shane Long, who must represent a decent target for the Hammers in the January window as his form has suffered from the rather eratic use of him in the Baggies starting line ups this season.

Either which way, it'll be blood and guts out there. our hearts predict a tense 2-1 encounter, with the odd goal going the Hammers way.  The head senses a 0-0 as the drowning men pull eachother deeper into the relegation mess.

Friday 27 December 2013

And Now The Season Begins in Earnest

and the sack, surely?
 So, as we recover from a predictably disappointing Christmas, we could still end up bottom of the Premiership  when the bells ring in the New Year.  It’ s fair to say that we are in REAL trouble and need to have a rethink about what’s actually wrong – are we just misfiring or do we need to ask whether we are not actually good enough? All the talk about Andy Carroll has tended to distract from the fact that we have not really played well for any sustained period all year. Moreover, as we await the return of the saviour, it’s probably worth noting that he scores a colossal seven goals last season. Although the hirsute one is back in training, Big Sam is notoriously conservative about playing players who are short of match fitness and in reality if the Hammers have Carroll starting for the final ten games it will be as good as it gets.

The departure of James Collins against Arsenal was a frightening moment as without Winston Reid we are really down to the bare bones in central defence. George McCartney did a decent shift as fill in alongside James Tomkins but who amongst the West Ham faithful really believed we could hold out against a forceful Gooners attack after we managed to steal the lead. Moreover, thinking back to the Pre-season period – who would have ever predicted that we would be playing McCartney-Tomkins as our central defenders, with Matt Taylor in a crucial midfield  berth and Carlton Cole as our main striking threat?

It’s good to know that the Davids intend to splash cash in January as the signs are that this squad may not have the cutting edge required to win enough games to stay up. It usually requires ten victories and at a mere three wins to date, we are well short of that figure at almost the half way mark of the season. The next two matches against West Brom and Fulham are now crucial and West Ham really need to put in two decent performances and win at least one of the games.

Perhaps a more worrying possibility that has currency amongst many Hammers faithful is that Allardyce’s tactical limitations have been rumbled by opposing teams. It’s easy to attack against a side who don’t score goals against you and it’s hard to see beyond the recurring statistics of 40% and less possession during games. A midfield with Noble, Morrison and Cole in it should be able to hold on to the ball much more than these figures suggest.

On the plus side – there are plenty of struggling sides down at the bottom half of the table who we would expect to compete well against as the season really kicks off and especially when Reid, Downing and Carroll return and with possible reinforcements (whatever happened to all that guff about salary caps and avoiding fines for excessive spending?). 

A final thought – how many of yesterday’s side will survive as far as the Olympic Stadium? We reckon Noble and Tomkins with the rest moving on through retirement or natural justice.

Thursday 26 December 2013

Noble NOT in Newcastle shocker!

As media speculation continues to link Hammers favourite Mark Noble with a possible move to Newcastle or Everton in the January transfer window, a recent appearance on Hammers TV provided an ideal opportunity to ridicule such idle speculation with Noble apparently wearing the Tynesiders colours! In reality, the loyal Noble is just as likely to join Grimsby or even St Mirren as Newcastle or indeed any other Premiership side, and is currently on a long contract having signed an extension last year. Moreover, he doesn’t even speak French, so a move to Alain De Pardew’s squad would cause endless communication difficulties!

After over a decade and almost 250 first team appearances, there is no sign of the Canning Town Kid’s dedication to the Hammer’s cause wilting. Even in the disappointing defeat to the Mancs, Noble put in a determined shift and forced the Hammers to keep their heads up pushing forward and refusing to give up. As our most present player of this season, it would take at least two players to even replace his match time – something the statistics-loving Allardyce will certainly know. Moreover, his growing understanding with Ravel Morrison bodes well for the future and suggests that any post-Allardyce Hammers midfield should be more than able to hold on to the ball when the inevitable reversion to the West ham way happens .  

Maybe all this media speculation is a good thing as it might prompt Big Sam to install Noble as the new team captain, or even Roy Hodgson to take a look at his consistently excellent performances as one of a handful of quality English midfielders in the Premiership. On that front, word is that Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane are keen to enlist Noble’s services for a Republic of Ireland squad that is rebuilding post-Trappatoni. Either way, it’s time Noble got his chance on the International stage. No doubt the heavily Irish backroom staff at Arsenal will be taking the opportunity to have a close look at Noble against their troops today.
Let's hope they are well-impressed!

Hammers edge it in tight encounter: The West ArseHam XI

Ahead of today's Premier league clash between West Ham and Arsenal we reflect upon those players who have graced both clubs with their endeavours – the ‘ ArseHam United XI’.  We give our verdict on which club got the better shift from these players during their spells at the clubs.

Almost claimed the Gooner's stopper spot but unfortunately prone to wobbly moments and fell down the pecking order. Played a mere filler role for the Hammers  on loan two years ago before Arsenal sold him to Watfordwhere he has nailed down the stopper position. Verdict Gooner.

Never made it at Arsenal but has thrived at the Hammers since arriving three years ago after a decade in the Bundesliga and looks set to see out his career in East London. Strong and competitive right back, he has yet to score for the Bubbles despite regular swashbuckling forays up the right wing.  Verdict Hammer.

Part of the legendary Gooners ‘tight-arse’ back four. Immensely competitive with an excellent positional sense he amassed multiple honours at Highbury until the legs started to give. Hammers got a decent twilight shift for two and a half seasons. Verdict Gooner.

Fell out of favour at the Arsenal and despite injuries problems was a tenacious performer in the Hammers midfield and was player of the season in 1988. These days he works as a popular football pundit on Talksport and Arsenal TV. Verdict Hammer

Solid defender who started at Spurs, moved to the Arse but had his best period at West Ham where he spent 6 years and was a useful part of the much fabled boys of '86 side. Now a Successful coach, currently with the Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane at the Republic of Ireland. Verdict:  Hammer.

Didn’t quite make the grade at Arsenal but blossomed at Birmingham and was a solid performer at the Hammers for two seasons before his confidence seemed to dip and it was off to Stoke and now with Brighton. Verdict Hammer.

Arsenal legend. Gifted with a cultured left foot and remarkably hard to dispossess. After 7 years at Highbury he moved to Juventus where he was a huge success. Enjoyed two and a half years at the Boleyn where he still had plenty to offer including a sweet strike against the Gooners in a 3-1 Hammers win in 1987. Verdict Gooner.

Part of an awesome Gooners unit that pillaged all afore them. However, the Hammers got stung by a well past it pro who was simply squeezing another (expensive) season from a gullible Icelandic-led Hammers.He moved on to the US, Scotland and Japan before retiring to become a full time posing model. Verdict: Gooner.

Legend. Gooners enjoyed endless years of watching 'Wrighty' scoring for fun. Nowadays works as a Fabtastic pundit – albeit underused due to his earnest volatility! Hammers were privileged to enjoy a period in his twilight that was also pretty productive. Verdict Gooner.

Back when he had pace and a hunger mostly for football, big John was a right handful but couldn't nail down a place in a formidable Gooners squad and moved East. Good scoring record and capable of all sorts of mayhem due to his considerable physicality. Hammers got the better shift by far. Verdict : Hammer.

A graduate of the Ajaz youth system, Yossi first plied his Premiership trade at the Boleyn and was a big hit before going on tour to Chelsea, liverpool and a pointless period at the Emirates.  returned briefly to West ham before jumping on tha QPR dosh bandwagon for a nice little earner before he retires. Verdict Hammer.
Hammers 6 Gooners 5: West Ham nick it, just like today (?!?!!)
Substitutes: Bobby Gould, Maroanne Chamakh; Lee Chapman; Henri Lansbury; Kaba Diawara.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Dylan to launch James ‘Hurricane’ Tomkins campaign

Developments in the James Tomkins arrest debacle took a new turn last night as rumours emerged that a host of celebrities plan to take up the cause for the under fire Hammers star. Folk leg-end Robert Zimmerframe has seized upon the minor incident as a means to promote his ailing career by launching a Ruben ‘Hurricane’ Carter-style protest campaign in search for justice for the possibly innocent Hammer.  
How a Dylan visit to an imprisoned Tomkins might look
As the campaign spirit kicked in, sources close to the infamous Manson-family sisters indicated that the girls are considering a courthouse protest similar to the one they staged for the Charles Manson trial in 1970 and are already mobilising for Tomkins appearance at Basildon Court on January 9th.  However, given that the Manson ‘girls’ are now in their sixties, it is predicted that a modern day equivalent drawn from the local community might be better suited to the role. It is expected that there will be no shortage of volunteers from the TOWIE series of which James is possibly a fan.

Although some observers have pointed out that Tomka is merely upholding a tradition of geezer-foolishness at the east London club, some have pointed to previous attempts by the rozzers to frame the West Ham defence with the bizarre arrest of Tomkin’s central defensive partner James Collins in 2008 as a prime example. Collins was arrested in Berkeley square for allegedly being involved in a brawl but subsequently de-arrested when it became apparent that it was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity!  
                                                             The ears give it away!
After Tomkin’s performance at Old Trafford earlier in the day, it is thought that he indeed may have been mistaken for his fellow-Essex celebrity and former X-factor contestant ‘Rylan’ who is known to do convincing impersonations of a range of top soccer stars. 

Sunday 22 December 2013

Royaume-Uni Nil Pointes as Carlton Cole ends Hammers Old Trafford drought

The VERYWESTHAM team decided to give the Old Trafford game a miss yesterday as their two previous trips brought an aggregate 11-2 beating having involved the 7-1 April Fool’s day thrashing in 2000 and the 4-1 tonking in May 2008. We had not even managed a goal in the interim – which does little for the belief that staying away makes much of a difference either way! That said, the Hammers under Big Sam have given man United a run for their money on every occasion that we have met and very nearly beat them twiceat the Boleyn last season. A somewhat optimistic bubbles brigade tuned in.

However, it was to prove another frustrating day for the Bubbles men yesterday as the annual trip to Manchester United delivered the annual zero points. It was almost as boring as receiving the Eurovision Song Contest points from the French jury where Royaume-Uni inevitably get nil points. It was pretty much the usual story with a brave first 25 minutes during which Adrian was excellent and full justified his selection in goals ahead of the autumnal Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Then Man United got a free kick – for no apparent reason – and were allowed to take it quickly and as the Hammers back peddled it was too little too late and Welbeck smacked the ball under Adrian and it was 1-0. Hmmm.

In truth, we were lucky not to concede a penalty before that when Mark Noble had the audacity to touch against Januzaj who duly did the back flip and double somersault routine that so often brings a penalty for the home team at Old Trafford. Maybe things are changing now that Mr Nasty has left the manager’s dugout (although he continues to loiter around the building adding to the pressure on David Moyes) and the youngster was booked! Errrr.

We stuttered without real intent and then they suckered a well-executed second with Januzaj slotting one in from almost the same position having worked his way in via a one-two with Welbeck. Suddenly we were out of touch and they started playing circus tricks. We came out looking energetic for the second half and after a few minutes Big Sam decided to throw caution to the wind and play two up front. However, almost immediately, and within seconds of his arrival as a substitute, Ashley Young scored a stunning goal from the edge of the area being teed up by Wayne Rooney. Game over.  
We didn’t drop heads and were duly rewarded when carlton Cole beat a lazy offside trap and was ice-cool in pushing the ball between De Gea’s legs. Our first strike at Old Trafford since Dean Ashton’s delightful overhead kick in 2008. Plus Ca Change, plus c’est la meme chose! At least we got a goal for once =- maybe it's a case of small steps and we might nick a point next year?
Oh. And isn’t our away kit totally drab – bring back the iconic skyblue with double claret lineage as soon as possible!

Saturday 21 December 2013

Breaking News: Man United Fans less annoyingly arrogant than usual!

In shock developments, we at VERYWESTHAM can reveal that a detailed survey of small to medium-sized towns near nowhere in Ireland and Britain has found that local ‘Mancs’ are less confident than they have been for almost twenty years ahead of today’s season-defining encounter with the mighty Hammers of East London.

Our intrepid reporter, Pax ‘Jeremy Paxman’ Meagher has been out and around some pointless little rural hellholes in Co. Tipperary in Ireland to capture the atmosphere amongst a highly representative cohort of Man United ‘followers’ ahead of the big kick off. “There was hardly a peep out of them” said the reporter “and a few kids offered to sell cut price Man United jersey’s trying to raise money for Arsenal or Chelsea kits and get out before the ship sinks any more”.

Meanwhile, Pat O’Hooligan, Headmaster at Ballygobongos National School issued a plea to David Moyes to think of the young lads who face another Monday morning of taunting and bullying if Manchester United lose at home for the third consecutive Premiership match.

The evidence suggests that the pressure is clearly getting to David Moyes, who has been even more prickly than usual (which is actually quite prickly) in his pre-Match interviews with the media. The naturally-gifted curmudgeon refused to clarify whether Dwayne Rooney would start in what appears to be a cheap hand-me-down Fergie-style mindgame manoeuvre. Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce has been bold in ringing in the changes by installing Modi ‘Mohawk’ Maiga as the lone striker and bringing in Matt Taylor and Adrian who have patiently awaited their chance and duly impressed during midweeks annihilation of Spurs in the League Cup.
However, the name that most folk have been looking out for is that of Ravel Morrison, ex-Devil, now Hammer, who has worked tirelessly for this moment and this theatre in which to let his former employers know what they let go.


West Ham: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Noble, Morrison, Taylor, Jarvis, Maiga, Diame. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Rat, Collison, O'Brien, Diarra, J.Cole, C.Cole

Man United: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Evans, Smalling, Januzaj, Valencia, Jones, Cleverley, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: Johnstone, Giggs, Hernandez, Young, Kagawa, Buttner, Fletcher

West Man United: The greatest Red Hammers XI

Ahead of today's crunch Premiership clash between the Hammers of East London and Red Devils of Manchester we consider the merits of a team comprised of players who have played for both clubs making up the impressive ‘West Man United XI’.  Ultimately, will these performers be considered Hammers or Devils?



At Man United he failed to inspire confidence - epitomised by ‘the goal that never was’. Joined West Ham in 2005 after falling out over a lack of first team opportunities. Had a good initial season but sustained a back injury in Jan 2006 and slipped into a variety of difficulties that ultimately earned him a place in the ‘Troubled Bubbles XI’!  Verdict Neither.

Hammers debut at the tender age of 17, Rio soon forced his way into the regular first team squad where he continued to impress until Leeds paid a record 18 million for him in November 2000. Quickly moved to Man United where he has been a fantastic servant for a decade and was key to the many successes of the past decade.Verdict Devil.

8 appearances for Man United where he was never really given a chance. A bargain signing for 500K for West ham that led to a five year career and over 100 appearances . Versatile defender who had his finest hour when scoring twice in a 4-0 victory over Man United in 2010. Ran out of road as the Hammers regrouped after relegation and moved to Birmingham. Verdict: Hammer.

Top man. Signed from Cork Athletic in 1952. Noel enjoyed a fruitful 8 years at West Ham with 250 appearances. Captained the Hammers to promotion back to the top flight for the first time in almost 30 years in 1958 . Sold to man Utd for almost 30K in 1960 where he captained a cup winning side and was part of two league winning teams. Verdict Hammer.

Hmmm. One that got away having impressed at youth level but nicked by Man United. He might have fared so much better had he stuck with the Hammers and gotten a better shot at first team football. Many observers would say that he has never lived up to his potential. Verdict Neither.

Industrious and gamey, the 'Guvnor'  was never found wanting in the Hammers shirt after replacing Billy Bonds in 1987. He didn’t handle his Hammers departure very well being photographed in a Man United shirt well before the deal was confirmed. Probably did not deserve the  criticisms thrown his way by Fergie and after 6 years and over 200 appearances Verdict: Devil.

Another one thrown in as a teenager at 17 into the Hammers first team. Skilful but perhaps a little ‘ghosty’ at times. Happy to do the unglamorous work and stayed loyal after relegation in 2003 before losing patience and moving to Spurs for 3.5 Million and then Man United where he has never quite stepped up to the lead role in midfield predicted for him. Solid. Verdict Devil.

Trouble with a capital T during his time at Man United, Fergie tired of his disciplinary problems and Big Sam obliged for a mere 650K. Initially farmed out for a season to grow up at Birmingham City, 'Raveldo' has started to realise his potential with cnsistently impressive turn outs this season. is he the most naturally skillful English player since Gazza? Verdict Hammer.

A hero wherever he roamed throughout his career (even Millwall!). Arrived at Man United late in his career but proved another astute Fergie signing and achieved legendary status in stoppage time of the  1999 Champions League final. Came to the Hammers not far short of pension age but still had plenty to offer by virtue of his excellent footballing brain.  Verdict Devil. 

Played in a different era when United were not quite the same powerhouse they are now but picked up a cup winners medal, scoring in the 1977 final against lovely Liverpool.
Moved to the Hammers in 1979 after a nasty knee injury but still managed to play a major part in the 1980 Cup final victory over Arsenal, teeing up Trevor Brooking’s ‘stunning’ header! Verdict Both.


Arrived at the Boleyn in a bizarre deal in 2006. Bemused Hammers faithful endured two-thirds of a season of Carlos trying to inspire a lacklustre side and then it all clicked into gear for the final 10 games where he couldn’t stop scoring, including a final day win at Old Trafford to keep the Hammers up! The Apache had some classy moments in the United shirt but got sidetracked by his own ego needs. Ultimately moving to City was the final straw.Verdict Hammer.

Substitutes: Luke Chadwick, Les Sealey, David Bellion.

So, it seems players tend to deliver in similar amounts whether at the Hammers or Man United and with a fairly equal divide of players moving in each direction, albeit usually Northwards early in their career and Southwards as the decline sets in or the hunger for first team opportunities starts to bite in earnest.