Monday, 29 August 2011

The two faces of Big Sam

Big Sam at Away Games                                                                  Big Sam at Home                             

Another away win to make it a recording breaking three wins out of three on the road. The pleasing part is we didn't even play that well! Forest started the game much better than us and were all over us in the opening minutes. Greeno made some excellent saves but the first goal changed the game. Forest came close several more times but Greeno denied them while Nolan and Cole added two more goals which left us 3 nil up with 33 mins gone. Cole & Nolan worked well together and could have netted more. We could have easily been 7-0 at half time if we exploited all our chances. Nolan missed from 3 yards, which the radio commentary team described as the miss of the season. An embarrassed Nolan admitted he was sloppy as he thought it was already in the back of the net.

The final triumph of a 4-1 hammering was without the help of Ilunga and Parker. I am hoping Big Sam has finally since sense and dropped Ilunga from the starting line up and the bench. Maybe he read my blog or listened to our new podcast ;-) My only concern is that some papers are reporting that he was dropped due to a slight injury. Wishful thinking on his agent part I'am sure. Hopefully it is the last time we see Ilunga in a West Ham shirt.

However, It is sad that it is the last time we will see Scotty Parker in a West ham shirt but we have to move on. On the bright side the midfield worked better without Parker yesterday as it has been looking crowded lately.

Spurs are said to have increased their bid from £4 million to £6 million with the additional sweetener of season loans of Jake Livermore and Danny Rose from Spurs. If true, both are rated and have been loaned out to the championship before. Jake Livermore denied the rumour in his twitter account but maybe Spurs haven't discussed it with him yet. I also think £6 million is probably the correct valuation. They say a good premiership footballer is worth around £2 million per year of their remaining playing career. At 31 I can't see Scotty playing beyond 34 at the highest level so £6M seems about right.

It is just a shame the West Ham hero is going to our arch rivals Spurs, it will certainly help losing the reported £75,000 per week off the payroll but I was just hoping Arsenal come in with a late bid after their 8-2 trashing yesterday. He would have fitted in so well at Arsenal and it would have really pissed off Spurs.

I'am told the fee has now been agreed and Parker has also agreed personal terms. He is having a medical today so it appears a done deal. I don't be grudge him his future in the premiership after the way he paid last season for us.

We have a little break now until the next home match against Portsmouth on the 10th September. I am hoping Big Sam uses the time wisely to rid our team of the belief we can't win at home.

I don't know whether the fans are part of the problem, we have so high expectations and maybe that makes the team nervous playing in front of us. I am sure we will overcome Portsmouth to register our first home win.

We are recording our next 'Moore than just a podcast' this week and we have lots of material with what's gone on in the last week. We also hope to have an interview with match day announcer Jeremy Nicholas talking about his new book 'Mr Moon has left the stadium'

Come on you Irons  Let's win at home! Bye Bye Scotty

Saturday, 27 August 2011

My preview of Nottingham Forest v West Ham

Will our away form continue tomorrow afternoon at the City ground? 
Out of 113 competitive meetings, West Ham have won 44 and Nottingham Forest 43, while 26 have been drawn.

The last time we met in the championship at the City ground Forest triumphed 2-1 in September 2004, but it was Nottingham Forest's first win in 10 home league clashes with West Ham.

The Hammers have scored 150 league goals against Forest.Forest have avoided defeat in 42 of their last 44 Championship games at the City Ground.

As for team selection, I will lose all faith in Big Sam if Ilunga starts tomorrow and puzzled if he  even makes the subs bench.

It is great that West ham have signed 22 year old Sam Baldock from MK Dons. I am not sure whether he was registered in time to play on Sunday but I do hope so. I read somewhere he has scored 5 goals in 5 games for MK Dons this season.

This is a scouting report from the Guardian two years ago

Here is one of Sam's recent goals on Youtube in the May Play off final semi in May 2011

My prediction is a very hopeful 2-1 away win to make it 3 out of 3 on the road

Come on you irons

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bobby Moore and I

Above is a picture of Bobby Moore and myself (I am on the right age 11) taken in 1979

Bobby was running a summer soccer school for kids in Tolworth, Surrey at Deckers Sports Ground now called Goals Tolworth

I don't remember whether I asked him for his autograph but if I did I lost it so very pleased to finally get hold of a authenic Bobby Moore autograph from a fellow season ticjet holder in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower. The autograph is on the front of a 1976 West ham v Liverpool programme. Bobby was playing for Fulham by then but still came back to watch West ham v Livepool as a fan and signed the programme for a 10 year boy who now sits next to my seat in the STB Lower.

My new pride and joy is below:

Earlier this week fellow Westham Season ticket holders @GeorgeWHUFC  @WestHamJB myself with special Guest AFC Wimbledon player and Under 21 Wales International Reece Jones recorded our first alternative Westham podcast called 'Moore than just a podcast' in honour of Bobby Moore. It is a bit tongue in cheek and having a laugh but hopefully we will make a few more.

The pilot podcast episode one is now availble on Podbean here 

Hope you enjoy our ramblings, we certainly had a laugh making it

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Elephant in the room

Big Sam needs to address the Elephant in the room
Another loss in the last minute at home, another mistake by Ilunga if the BBC London radio commentary team are to believed.

I was out at a business function for the kick off of tonight's first half but following along on text updates on my blackberry in-between dinner courses. I was pleased to see Stanislas grab an early goal for us to finish the first half 1-0 up. However I expected this, we were playing league 2 Aldershot who are 57 places below us in the league. Last Saturday I went to the AFC Wimbledon v Hereford game and the play was no-where near Premiership and Championship levels so I was confident we could overcome a league 2 side.

I caught  the second half of the match on BBC Radio London, no sooner had I started listening then we went down to 10 men after debutant Callum McNaughton got sent off for West Ham for a professional foul.

Luke Guttridge equalised for Aldershot on 78 minutes. The BBC radio commentators said Ruud Boffin should have done much better to save it.

Then on 89 minutes with one minute until extra time Ilunga lets in Hylton who finds Boffin's goal from 12 yards out after a goalmouth scramble.

Most of 19,000 fans left the ground after that, although some stayed to boo Ilunga then to boo to the whole team off at full time.

I am speechless and embarrassed. I feel sorry for all of you that spent £10 or £5 going to tonight's match.

Big Sam must address the Elephant in the room and work out why we can't win at home and concede in the last 90 seconds of the last 3 home games!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ilunga not fit to wear the shirt

Perhaps the biggest surprise for today was the continued inclusion of Ilunga. Certainly he was to blame for the Cardiff defeat costing us a point so many were hoping that George McCartney would be match fit and take Ilunga's place. Ilunga hasn't been the same since that one good season when he signed him to replace George McCartney. Last year that saw him excluded from the 25 man West Ham squad last season along side Benni McCarthy.

Ilunga was poor today and cost us at least one if not both goals. His first half wasn't too bad but he seemed to lose concentration at times in the second half.

On the other side of the coin Tomkins had another great game in the centre of defence and was getting his head to most things. I was surprised Scotty Parker won West Ham man of the match as it was Tomkins for me by a long way.

Leeds came forward as we knew they would but they also showed frailty at the back.

The referee seemed to have a poor game but my view in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower it appeared he denied both West Ham and Leeds from penalties which should have been given.

Anyway typical West ham, not bad first half, poor second half with the odd good spell after Leed's own goal. 

Everyone knew the equaliser was coming in the second half, in fact I just tweeted we will concede a goal if we don't do something fast as the goal went in. Me and my big mouth.

It was also cruel to concede the second goal on 90 minutes, bit of a theme now after Cardiff.

It felt more like a loss than a draw after the game while travelling home. Two dropped points without a doubt.

As I have said on this blog before, this is a very tough league and if we expect to walk it as champions we are deluding ourselves. 

John Carew had d├ębut today to the recycled song of 'John Carew Carew, He's Bigger Than Me And You - John Carew Carew, He's Bigger Than Me And You, He's Gonna Score One Or Two, John Carew Carew'

The other song was ' We can't win at home, We can't win at home. We're west ham United, we can't win at home...' which bought a smile to some.

Oh well as the saying goes nothing to see here, move along.

Next week brings the riot rescheduled Aldershot clash followed by an away game against Nottingham Forest which will also be televised. Hopefully we can win both and move onwards and upwards.

Tomorrow we are also recording the pilot of a new West Ham podcast with fellow season ticket holders @GeorgeWHUFC and @WestHamJB  We also hope to have a surprise football player guest from newly promoted football league team AFC Wimbledon. Watch this space to hear our first attempt went.

I bought a signed copy of West Ham announcer Jeremy Nicholas' book called Mr Moon has left the stadium at Newham bookshop in Barking road. Managed to read the first four chapters on the way home which was entertaining and kept my mind off dropping two points today.

You can buy it on Amazon for £7.99 here

Come on you irons and lets destroy Aldershot on Tuesday.

Sean (@Westhamfootball on twitter)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

My West Ham v Leeds preview

It is doubtful whether West Ham will start James Tomkins after he limped off in the second half of our win at Watford with a hamstring niggle. That is a shame as he was our best player on Tuesday.

However I am hopeful that our new striker John Carew will be be match fit and I would imagine he will be on the subs bench and feature at some time during the match.
The statistics are against us with Leeds winning 48 of 102 competitive meetings with West Ham. The Hammers have won just 27, with 27 drawn. Leeds are vying for a 14th win in 19 league meetings.

West Ham have only won two of 26 league games with Leeds over 29 years (March 1998 and November 2000).
However we on the positive side we are looking for a third successive victory, after back-to-back away wins over Doncaster (1-0) and Watford (4-0).

Another victory will give us our best start to a league season in 12 years.

Leeds can be dangerous going forward but also leek goals. My prediction to 2:1 home win for the hammers.

The bookies have us 8/11 odds on favourite for the win with Leeds at 4/1 for a win and the draw at 3/1

The match is live on Sky Sports 1 Kick Off at 1.15pm
It is also live on BBC Radio 5 Live and on the net at

I will be at the match for my first home game of the season in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower after being on holiday for the Cardiff game.

Come on You Irons

Sean  (@Westhamfootball on twitter)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Let's not get too carried away!

There is a lot of enthusiam following the two back to back away wins with us briefly climbing to 3rd in the fizzy pop league now 5th.

Like most fans I have great expectations for a win against Leeds on Sunday but we all need a reality check I am afraid. This is a very tough league and promotion won't come easy as some as suggesting.

Whilst we have a good start we have to remember three teams have done better with a 100% record. Southampton, Brighton and Derby have won three out of three game and are all on 9 points.

These pack of three are followed by Middlesborugh on 2 wins and a draw on 7 points and then we lead the 6 point pack with Crytal Palace, Cardiff and Blackpool all hot on our heels.

While WestHam still remain favourites for promotion Leciester, Southampton, Brighton, Blackpool amd Cardiff closely follow in the odds so it will be a close run thing as the season progresses.

I remember the last two seasons in the Championship only too well.

In 2003-2004 we finished 4th in the championship on 74 points some 20 points behind leaders Norwich  We went on to lose the Championship play off final to Crystal Palace at Cardiff. This game I remember only too well with the pain of only goal going in in slow motion in my head.

In 2004-2005 we also did it the hard way finishing 6th on 73 points, 21 points behind leaders Sunderland  That time we were lucky enough to win the play off final at cardiff and return to the premiership.

I also have no doubt that some Championship teams will want to prove something against us and either throw 11 men behind the ball or go that extra mile to put one over on us.

I am hoping I am proved wrong and we storm the league as champions but I have been a WestHam fan for too long and know WestHam always do things the hard way ;-)

Whilst I would love a trip to Wembley to win the play off finals I would rather finish in the top two and get the automatic promotion.  Time will tell but experience tells me not to get over excited about two back to back wins.

Come on you irons and bring on the Leeds!

Sean  @WestHamFootball on Twitter