Monday 31 March 2014

Slumberland 1-2 West Ham: Another season ends with mid-table obscurity and still six games to play!

Spare a thought for all those Poor West Ham fans who were left to wallow in their present disgruntled state after Monday nights away win against a determined Sundeland side. With the club now lying stranded a full eleven points clear of the final relegation spot, and with only an outside mathematical chance of getting pulled into some of the end of season relegation histrionics, they need to focus on other activities to keep themselves amused and titillated.

Fans are said to be considering their options for the much needed adrenaline buzz, and amongst these are included travelling in disguise to neighbours Millwall, who look destined to drop from the chumpionship.  However, given the chronically low expectations at the unfashionable south-East London club, there is not expected to be too many tears or self harm when they finally take the plunge.

Meanwhile, up at Tragic Sheffield United, there is an endless stream of opportunities for dysphoric bliss, as the once modestly sized club continue to languish below even the play off places in League One. However, the chirpy cockerney accents and indefatiguably upbeat personas would be likely to clash horribly with their sombre Northern counterparts.

And so back at Fortress Boleyn where it appears that Big Sam will have to move on as his brand of dour efficiency is simply unacceptable to the thrillseeking Hammers faihtful - oh how we'd love to be in Fulham's shoes - bracing themselves for a fire sale as they try to dodge the bankrupcy that can so easily follow relegation, and which for Portsmouth, Coventry, Wolves et al has precipitated a slide down the leagues...

Meanwhile we are left in our safe slippers, cosily observing proceedings with a nice cup of Horlicks.


Sunday 30 March 2014

The REAL Reason Hammers fans are Sore with Sam

Poor Sam Allardyce has fallen foul of the fickle types amongst the Boleyn faithful and has only served to inflame their annoyance with his listening gesture after the crucial WIN (!?!) against Hull City last week. No doubt Cardiff and Fulham fans will be wondering what is going on and surely wishing they could get a similar result by any means necessary in their next games.

However, folk need to appreciate that the tastes of the Bubbles brethren are different - for sure, we have the Moore, Hurst, Peters, Bonds, Brooking, Bishop, Di Canio deblah blah legacy to protect, but equally, there can be no overestimating how addictive the end of year relegation histrionics are for otherwise bored and hopelessly domesticated fans.

Without the distraction of a relegation dog fight, the season simply has no meaning. And therein lies the crux of the problem as for a second year running BFS has left us stranded in mid table obscurity, with our season effectively over before we even get beyond March! Let's face it, another win and a draw from the remaining seven games and we are surely safe? Our greatest achievement since the '81 Cup Final? Surely the great Tevez escape?

And so it is that reports of desperate Hammers fans engaging in all sorts of dangerous thrill-seeking in order to replace the buzz of the relegation battle, with some spending small fortunes on hangliding and heli-skiing gear. Moreover, the West Ham Fans Wives Support Group have made representations to Messers Gold and Sullivan to find us a twitchier manager as they fear their menfolk will wander with all that free time on their hands. And let's face it, the current Hammers home jersey is so stylish that only trouble can come from wandering around in public adorned in full battle regalia.

So come on Sam, let'shave a few more 'moral' victories where we engage in lots of pretty passing around the centre circle region before losing to an 'ugly' goal from the unsophisticated opposition. No doubt Sunderland will be happy to oblige tomorrow night! On the other hand, if we avoid defeat, they stay 9 points behind us, with Fulham and Cardiff looking buried already...

Friday 28 March 2014

Demel Defamation Debacle Escalates

absolute proof
The controversy continues around Guy Demel's groundbreaking goal that seized all three points for West Ham on Wednesday night against Hull City.

His sizzling soopercurved shot was described in sections of the press as an "aimless mishit cross"!!!

This has been interpreted by the legal eagles at VERYWESTHAM as an outrageous misinterpretation of events  - that is probably slanderous and maybe even defamatory! As a consequence, the internationally acclaimed blog has vowed to offer all support available to them in the fight to clear Demel's name.

The 'news'paper involved cannot be named for legal reasons, but suffice to say that it is one of the titty-friendly tabloids that specialises in character assassination of top stars and media celebrities like Demel. The outrageous comments only came to light when a friend of one of the catering staff at VERYWESTHAM was informed by a cousin who lives in Borough, and who thus reads that sort of trash, of the attack upon Demel's artistic integrity.

The legal team at VERYWESTHAM have employed the Irish military's unique  
torpedo-trajectory technology to plot the movement of the ball on said night in question and because of it's incredible accuracy can confirm without doubt that the shot was netbound regardless of James Chester’s intervention.

If the titty-rag in quetsion does not issue an immeduate apology along with 1.3 gazzillion in damages, VERYWESTHAM may be forced to issue another footie-fatwah. Previous recipients of the curse of bad luck for all eternity that comes with the fatwah include Luton Town (now non-league), Oldham (getting there) and, of course, the tragic Sheffield United.

Meanwhile, the big Guy is said to be handling the whole debacle in his usual courageous and dignified manner.


Wednesday 26 March 2014

Gizmo Gives the Goal to Guy!

As poor Hull City defender James Chester shouldered the blame for the own goal that gifted West Ham the game in a tense affair at Upton Park, few noticed the wicked right-sided spin placed on the cunningly low trajectory ‘shot’ from swashbuckling Hammers right offensive full back Guy Demel!

Video evidence remains inconclusive as to whether the intense swerve on the ball would have curved it into the Hull net, as Chester’s touch undoubtedly altered it’s trajectory, and Guy will have to await the verdict of the goal attribution panel.

The popular Hammers defender has still to score in almost three years at the club during which a variety of barriers (stubborn woodwork, fussy referees) have denied him his first strike for the Hammers but the former Ivorian international remains undimmed in his determination to one day show the Hammers fans his ‘special’ goal celebration routine.

Thankfully, here at VERYWESTHAM, we have special torpedo-trajectory technology borrowed from the Irish military that allows us to plot the movement of the ball with incredible accuracy and which clearly confirms that the shot was netbound regardless of Chester’s intervention.

Well done Guy!!!

Nervous Hammers crawl home after mauling from ten man Tigers

In the end it was cruel on Hull, who pushed bravely despite being reduced to ten men early on as the Hull keeper was unluckily sent off for hauling down Momo Diame – but only after the big man handled the ball! As Hammers fans licked their licks in anticipation of a mauling, Hull continued with Long and Jelavic up front and, if anything, had the better of things after going down to ten men.
West Ham, meanwhile, stuttered to the break to regroup having lost their shape and sense of purpose. Almost immediately after the break Hull were rewarded for their courage with a deflected Huddlestone Free kick that touched Jelavic on its way past the stranded Adrian. Game on!
The Hammers mustered a mild response until lady luck again smiled upon them as unlucky James Chester deflected a poor cross into his own net after 53 minutes of play. What followed was a disappointing show from the Hammers who stumbled home without hardly managing to string a decent attack or series of passes together, defending deep and hoofing the ball away. Truly awful stuff that only served to irritate and agitate the Faithful. Top amongst the horror show were Taylor, Demel and Downing - three players who have had great seasons so far, but were sadly off form tonight.

Hull huffed and puffed, but somehow West Ham managed to hold on to the three points but not without their pride dented. You could see the Hammers fans relief to reach 34 points, as we have been consistently poor over the past 4 games and look bereft of ideas. Even worse, James Collins went off early with what looked like a recurrence of his calf injury.

On a more positive note, raise a glass for Roger ‘The Relegator’ Johnson who played well and notched up his first victory in the claret and blue.  

Hull embrace the wheel of fortune

In their tussle earlier in the season, Hull City came out on top after a VERY soft penalty for a ‘challenge’ on Robbie Brady and despite dominating for large periods came away with nothing.

And so tonight the Hammers are ahead thanks to a penalty that was a little fortunate given that it was preceded by the ball touching off Momo Diame’s hand which, although obviously accidental, undoubtedly conferred an advantage to the Hammers Midfielder. Mike Dean initially seemed to wave play on but then in response to the referee’s assistant pointed to the spot.
The usual summary justice at the hands of Mark Noble followed to put West Ham 1-0 ahead, but significantly, Hull are also down to ten men as the keeper was sent marching despite feigning injury for a full five minutes!

After a run of poor results, the Hammers needed a bit of luck and now are well positioned to push away from the relegation mire. With Hull insisting on playing two up front, there’s likely to be a few twists to this one yet!

Are Big Sam’s boys set to ruin our involvement in the end of seasons histrionics again this year?

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Late Injury Scare for Hammers

As if things aren’t bad enough, the latest rumour from the Boleyn is that West ham may have to face their crunch tie with Hull City tomorrow without the services of  key players. James Tomkins has suffered a really really bad case of hurt feelings after Dwayne Wooneys outrageous push before the audacious, albeit illegal, goal from the Manchester United striker. Even worse, goalkeeper Adrian has a terrible case of wounded pride having been caught out by the stylishly striking phenomenon.

Big Sam may also have to sit this one out as he is thought to have torn a muscle in his voice after a period of sustained whinging after the match, which many neutral observers thought that Man United probably deserved to win – mainly because they were the only side who created any scoring chances of note.

Meanwhile, Kevin Nolan has been struggling all week with an acute bout of annoyeditis, which when combined with a scouse accent makes for a particularly debilitating affliction.

On the up side, defensive attacking sensation Guy (pronounced ‘Gei’) Demel has been spotted practising his long awaited goal celebration in preparation for the big match. There has been endless speculation amongst Hammers fans as to the nature of the celebration and all we can reveal at VERYWESTHAM is that it is pretty theatrical with more than a dash of Gallic flair!

Either way, we are in for a night of much tension and lots of excitement!

Sunday 23 March 2014

Hammers Striking Ace looks to Exit Door

It’s been all talk of late amongst Hammers faithful as to who of a dozen palyers out of contract this summer should be given new contracts, but there are also those who are contracted only slightly beyond that and for whom the remainder of this season will also define their Hammers future.
Ricardo Vaz Te signed a single year extension to his contract at the beginning of January 2014 but has again stuttered due to patchy form and then a shoulder dislocation and as a result has only mustered seven appearances this season. Now that he is fit again, it is surely ominous that he could not even make the bench against Manchester United – a fixture in which we frequently find ourselves chasing the game and where players like Vaz Te who can produce the unexpected are especially useful.
Long gone it seems are the days of hat-trick heroics and play-off final triumphs that were such a crucial part in bringing the Hammers back to the Premiership. Sadly for Ricardo, he has never quite performed at the highest level and perhaps most damning is the observation that, now into his third year at the Boleyn, do any of us really know where his best position is? Therein lies the crux of the problem – he’s a good striker at Championship level but not for the premiership, while at the highest level he is not crafty enough for the wing as his crossing is modest and he has a tendency to put the head down and run up dead ends.

Ricardo has previously spoken of a desire to return to Portugal and it would not be surprising if he was a major success at that level, however, with the Olympic Stadium beckoning, it looks like the end of the road for Vaz Te will interject before then. Ultimately, although he has been a great  servant for the club, as the song says – if you love ‘em, set ‘em free!

Saturday 22 March 2014

Hammers score three to stage massive comeback in second half rout

After a disappointing first half, things really kicked into gear in the second half at the Riverside where a hapless Middlesboro side were dismantled by three goals provided courtesy of West Ham favourites - Yossi Benayoun, Bobby Zamora and the sensational Raveldo Morrison.

In other news, a sad Millwall side slipped closer towards relagation from the championship losing to Leeds, while tragic Sheffield United were derailed losing 2-0 at home and now have only an outside chance of making the play offs in League One. Leyton Orient provided further justification for their exclusion from the Olympic stadium as they could only muster a draw against lowly Walsall and look stranded in League One for all of eternity. In better news. Dagenham picked up a useful point away to Bury.

Meanwhile, in this evenings late kick off, the Hammers first team's poor luck against Manchester United continued as Dwayne Woonie scored two freakish goals to give the Mancs an outside shot at a Chumpions League place.


No Van Persie or Vidic - but does it Mata?

        As under fire Manchester United travel to the Boleyn for the tussle with a determined West Ham, embattled manager David Moyes has to make do without both his bes defender and attacking option. Mandy Vidic starts the ban for his red card moment during the thrashing by Liverpool last weekend, while Robin Van Persie is apparently out for a whopping six weeks and does not make the side this evening.
The tension is rising...
Conversely, Big Sam Allardyce has an almost fully fit squad to pick from and wil see this as an excellent opportunity to put one over on the visitors. However, there is still the small issue of whether West Ham can stop Wayne Rooney adding to his seven goals in the last seven games versus West Ham, while Juan Mata will be among a host of United sideliners who will wish to impress Moyes before the rumoured major clear out in the Summer.

At the other end, West Ham will look to the subtantial presence of Andy Carroll to pressurise an apparently vulnerable Man United back line, while Stewart Downing will almost certainly have been licking his lips watching Patrice Evra stumble around during the midweek Champions league tie versus Olympiakos. West ham are priced at 3-1 against for the win, which must be considered reasonable odds, although the draw at 13-5 also looks tempting.

Strap in tight for an early evening cracker with kick off at 5.30.

Moyes Misery Mounts as Sam Selects Strongest Side

Poor David Moyes, after a humiliating 3-0 thumping at home from Liverpool, there latest Premiership outing is against the eternally unforgiving Hammers of East London. Yet more terrible scenes of ruined expectations and scorned entitlement await the ‘Devils’ as their descent into mid-table obscurity continues. For any loyal fans (generously estimated at less than 1% of Man United followers) there is the hope that they might turn it around next season, but today without Van Pushie and Vidic they look decidedly vulnerable.

Moyes' early experience of opponents running rings around him
Allardyce has offered words of comfort to Moyes during the lead up to the match – but not after ridiculing the former defender for his lack of discipline during his own career which led to a disappointing scouting trip to observe Moyes being red-carded and thus missing his chance to join the Allardyce revolution at Limerick City FC in the early 1980s.

Sam has suggested that Moyes needs to be ruthless and guillotine much of the current geriatric and / or underperforming bunch. In addition, Moyes will almost certainly seek to sack a large proportion of Man United fans who simply have not been there for their team this year.  It seems that for many the new Man United ‘brand’ is not attractive as they simply cannot warm to modest doses of misery and intense mediocrity. 

And so to today’s encounter, where Sam’s starting line-up includes all of the hammers top guns and who will be looking for revenge after last season’s referee-assisted escape for the Mancs.

Let the misery flow!!!

Alleged Hammers starting XI: San Miguel, Gee, Ginge, Tomka, Linda, Stewie, Nobes, Momo, Captain Kev, Jarv, Steven Seagal.

Demel goal makes all the difference!

Guy Demel’s determination to break his Hammers scoring duck reached a new level of intrigue today as he was caught on film trying to impersonate Carlton ‘Killer’ Cole during the visit of Sports Comic Relief for the charity Crossbar Challenge. Each player announced themselves as they pitched up to take a shot but in Guy’s case he introduced himself as “Carlton Cole – Striker!!!!”

This is thought to have been the latest in a number of clumsy efforts to play up front by the tenacious right back. Observers have noted how Guy has become obsessed with getting on the scoring sheet for the Hammers, especially since his unfortunate own goal against Liverpool in December which was the start of an embarrassing 4-1 rout.  

                                                                       Not one to celebrate.
Moreover, the Ivorian was tantalisingly unlucky twice during December – firstly when a thumping header came back off the crossbar against Norwich, and then even more frustratingly, his first “goal”- a scrambled effort against Slumberland - was disallowed by spoilsport match referee Andre Marriner. 
                                                                              6-1 Against
Likewise, fans have become increasingly desperate to find out what the Demel goal celebration will entail and PatsyPoormakers have even started a book, with the current favourite an audacious back flip at 7-2, followed by the simple but effective double arms aloft salute at 6-1. Conversely, at 500-1 it is thought that he is unlikely to engage in the dugout vandalism that got Italian star Jacopo Violan sent off for excessive celebration of his goal in an Italian lower leagues game between Pontilcelli and Riolo Terme!!!

Meanwhile, the defensive masquerading continued with an impersonation of James ‘Ginge’ Collins doing an Andy Carroll imitation, with a realistic wig and Geordie accent. He also managed to banana-kick the ball with incredible lifelike similarity to Hammers striking sensation.  


Friday 21 March 2014

West Man United: The Greatest Hammered Devils

Ahead of tomorrow's crunch Premiership clash between West Ham and Manchester United we consider a team comprised of players who have played for both clubs  - the impressive ‘West Man United XI’. Ultimately, we ask, 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  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.Too old to make a fairytale return to the Boleyn. 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.
More than a century ago both clubs were graced with the contributions of this scottish forward who between 1900-3 scored 41 goals in 78 appearances for the Hammers, including four on his debut! A subsequent spell at Man United delivered 13 goals in 29 games, before he returned to the Hammers for 5 more years. The status of players at the time is highlighted by the fact that his date of death is unknown! Hammer

Industrious and gamey, the 'Guvnor' was a top performer in the Hammers shirt after replacing Billy Bonds in 1987. However, mishandled his Hammers departure that included  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'  started to realise his potential with some impressive turn outs this season until being sent on loan to QPR after a falling out. Considered by many to be 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 to the Boleyn in 2006 as part of a bizarre deal. He then underperformed for two-thirds of a season of Carlos  in a lacklustre side until it all clicked into gear for the final 10 games where he couldn’t stop scoring, including a final day 1-0 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 and then moved across the city in another strange transfer deal!!!!.Verdict Hammer.

Final score 5-4, one that is unlikely to be repeated tomoorow in the Moyes versus Allardyce tussle! Will this XI change much over the coming years? Will the Hammers pinch a few Devils on loan? Would Man United fancy trying to prise the likes of Winston Reid from the Hammers??? Any suggestions for replacements???

Thursday 20 March 2014

Repka Revelations Continue as Autobiography Hits the Shelves!

It's just Tom-ato ketchup, honestly!
As Tomas Repka’s autobiography is about to hit the shelves of bookshops all across the UK, with a plethora of shock revelations regarding deliberate foul play from the legendarily volatile Czech defender, we at VERYWESTHAM have opted to soften the shock for vulnerable fans by letting them in on some of the juiciest bits before the book arrives – a move that also can help cash-strapped fans in their efforts to cut down on unneccesary spending on Hammers-related merchandise.

Amongst the many “truly shocking and grotesque revelations” are included;

                                                            Paolo and Tom share some on-field 'banter'

1. Although Repka received 19 red cards during his career, most of these were for minor misdemeanours such as “chewing gum in an unnecessarily aggressive manner”, "refusing to engage in the usual polite on-field player banter” and “coming across as deliberately Russian”. He even once got sent off for kicking the ball ‘too hard’ in the general direction of an opponent. Having gotten a reputation amongst the refereeing fraternity he then became an easy target for their increasingly over-zealous policing of Hammers matches – even receiving 149 yellow cards during his time at West Ham for 'crimes' such as for ‘not standing up straight’ and ‘walking around with his laces not tied up properly’.

                                                                      You're nice, you are...
2. Many of Tomas’ apparently ‘hard-man’ gestures are merely misinterpretations of the gentle fellow’s complex socio-behavioural profile. Tomas likes to share his cultured side with fellow perfomers in the great family of footie. For example, the forehead and nose touching that has been widely interpreted as an aggressive gesture is a common show of affection amongst the Eskimo community, with whom Tomas has deep empathy. Similarly, his ‘assault’ upon a photographer’s camera was merely a show of union with his Native American brethren who believe that photography can steal your soul.   
                                                      Drive carefully out there, my roadsharing  friends
3. Despite his hard man image, Repka often engaged in impromptu community policing – including filling in for the traffic corps by remonstrating with another motorist who was apparently driving in an inconsiderate manner and posing a danger to both themselves and to others. Unfortunately, due to the aurally-harsh nature of the Czech language, his helpful driving advice was mistaken by the other motorist for an extreme verbal attack. Thankfully, the whole matter was quickly sorted out when his pals in the local constabulary arrived!

                                                                         Wicked and merciless
4. ‘SuperTom’ as he was nicknamed by Hammers fans, hated to upset opponents, especially the weird geeky ones who are forced by the tougher guys to play in goals. As a consequence he never put any opposition keeper through the humiliation of picking the ball out of the net, preferring instead to leave that role to the wicked and merciless Iain Dowie. Amazingly, the kind-hearted Czech softie managed to maintain a scoring duck throughout his 188 appearances for the Hammers!

5. Tomas is a lover of all things artistic and his many tattoos have led to him being nicknamed ‘the human ink well’. However, rather than some cheap attempt to frighten other players, these are actually Tomas’ way of encouraging players to unleash their artistic side! Moreover, his favourite colour is the not so tough pink - as worn in this bring your own jersey for Friday training ground picture, while he also likes nothing better than to hang out with the artsy-fartsy set in his spare time, especially those who like to indulge in some traditional Czech cross-dressing.

6. Finally, Tomas’ love of poetry extends to include even the rudimentary rhyming couplets so often employed by football fans to express their happiness when embracing the cultural feast that is the modern English game. Despite its mock-violent thematic slant, Tomas frequently smiled at the ironic chanting by Hammers fans of the 'Repka song', including the classically hyperbolic lines;

"He's big, he's Czech, he'll break ya f*cking neck...."

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Potts to Survive Summer Clearout

Dan meets VWH's top youth columnist
Hammers fans have been left on tenterhooks by the shock revelation that it is planned to retain the services of only three out of twelve players who are due contract reviews in the Summer. While that almost certainly means the end for the ageing Jussi Jaaskelainen, as well as loanees Roger Johnson, Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino, It also signals likely exits for Hammers favourites Joe Cole and Jack Collison. Now well into their 30s, both Georgie McCartney and Matt Taylor also face the chop, while for Jordan Spence time has finally run out.

Pablo Armero and Abdul Razak arrived in the January transfer window, but in both cases appear to have been brought in as longer-term prospects. And so, we are left with Elliot Lee and VERYWESTHAM favourite Dan Potts – two players who have been the most exciting talents to emerge from the academy over the recent past, with Potts even fitting in some first team experience. However, in both cases their lack of inherent physicality may not bode well for continued favour in the Allardyce regime.  
Current U18 team coach, Steve
Potts has suffered nasty concussive injuries over the past two seasons at Southend in a preseason friendly and then against Arsenal, but when interviewed in Cork last Summer Big Sam voiced his belief that the lad would make the step up to regular action with the first team as long as he is given enough time to develop physically. Undoubtedly, young Potts has the skill and pace to cut it, but remains slight in build – attributes that didn’t stop his dad, Steve, becoming a Club favourite and Hammer of the year in 1995.

Our money is on Armero, Razak and Potts all to stay, with the allegedly unsettled Lee to find first team opportunity elsewhere.

Monday 17 March 2014

Begorra Begod, it's the Emerald Hammers!!!

On St Patrick's Day we get to celebrate all things Irish and indeed the ideal opportunity to consider how a team comprised of the greatest Irish Hammers might look.

So here it is, after detailed trawling through club records, a team coddled together from the most notable Irish players to turn out in the claret and blue.

The Irish brigade
Back Row: Breen, Brady, Henderson, Moroney, Keane, Cantwell
Front Row: O'Brien, McCartney, Dowie, Lomas, Hughes

Goalkeeper: We have had a lot of short stay Irish netminders at the club with no single player really making the position their own. Allen McNightmare was certainly the most memorable, sadly for all the wrong reasons – possibly making the greatest contribution of any single player to our relegation in 1989. Will we ever forget all those crazy moments when he came running off his line only to get stranded in no-man’s land!

We got a slice of Gerry Peyton towards the end of his career, mainly in a covering role while Roy Carroll performed pretty solidly until personal problems interrupted. David Forde never really got a proper chance and Noel Dwyer was well before our time.

It's not been all good news of late fro young Henderson, as he dislocated his shoulder while on loan in a collision with Notts Forest's fellow irish International Simon Cox and has had to watch as Adrian has seized the gap presented by Jussi Jaskelainen’s gradual retirement, but he gets the nod and hoepfully will get every chance to justify this selection  when he returns….fingers crossed!

The defence was… well, frankly, worrying! Unbalanced and not endowed with aerial presence. There would undoubtedly be much sweating at set pieces.

Joey O’Brien at right back is the man of the moment (and had no real challenge from former players). The uber consistent and ydnamic defender has become a Hammers favourite and is set to return to action having recovered also from a dislocated shoulder. It's surely time for Martin O'Neill and Roy 'gentleman' Keane to bring him into the Republic of Ireland squad.

Centre back is a real patch up…..Gary Breen and Clive Clarke…Hmmm. At times we have seen Georgie McCartney provide pretty solid cover in that position but the disatrous injury-fest that beset the club in December demonstrated how Georgie is better suited to full back as the likes of Man City ran riot through a porous central defence. Never the less, we are going with Gazza Breen and Georgie. They may lack aerial prowess, but Colin Clarke was too lacking in mobility and not suited to 21st century footie.

Left back provide a more challenging call – We got a useful turn out of Chris Hughton at the twilight of his career but Noel Cantwell was a much more formidable left full from long ago and a previous club captian - he gets our selection.

Midfield is by far our strongest zone. Steve Lomas as enforcer and water carrier and a nice partner for Chippy Brady. Although Brady is primarily a Gooner, we got two very decent seasons out of him that included some cracking moments, and a delightful strike against the Gooners!.

Wee Michael Hughes was a great seizure from Wimbledon - gamey, if lacking in physicality, and with a useful habit of scoring at key moments. Both Frank O’Farrell and Tommy Moroney were key contributors in the early fifties but Tommy Moroney gets the final nod, mostly based upon his presence on the glorious Ireland team that was the first foreign team to beat the old enemy on their own turf at Goodison Park in 1949.

Of note: Kevin Nolan should be on this list but no manner of persuasion has been able to  get him to use the Parents rule as qualification. Perhaps luckily for West ham since the extra mileage of International football might have caught up on those now ageing legs. Mark 'O'Noble' may yet decide to opt for Ireland as for some bizarre reason he has been unable to convert from U21 captain to full England honours and is thus still eligible for Ireland.....C'mon Mark, take a sip!

Up front, David Kelly underachieved – too light for top-level English football. David Connolly was too, well, David Connolly (i.e. perfectly average). Robbie Keane came and went in the blink of an eye, with most of that time spent on the injury room table, but on the basis of what might have been (and forgiving him the goal-line miss against Blackburn that could have spurred a more meaningful survival bid two years ago) he gets the nod, just!

                                                             The new Tony Cottee???

Hammers fans will be hoping that young Sean Maguire, who is presently on loan at Sligo Rovers in the League of Ireland until next July, will make the step upwards into the first team. he's still a mere 18 and has lots to learn, and so far has notched up there appearances for 'the bit of Red' (as Rovers are called). Again, fingers crossed!

And finally, Frankenstein himself, terrifying Iain Dowie – a true Hammer who was not prolific by any means but always gave 100% and created opportunity for those around him. A real servant who had two determined spells at the club and is one of the more refreshing TV pundits about. Loyalty – a rare thing amongst our footballing folk these times.

So, a team that would by no means be worldbeaters, but we might expect plenty of effort and any team with Liam Brady could always find a moment of magic, while Michael Hughes would be sure to spoil a few Man United celebrations and Robbie could always find cause for a party!