Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Good (Blackpool) Bad (Southampton) & the Ugly (Brighton)

Three games have gone by since I have properly blogged last and I got to thinking they can be described as the Good, the bad and the dam right ugly games if you will excuse the pun.

Luckily I have been able to watch all three games even though two of them were away.

Let's start with Blackpool for the good.

I can't remember a more pleasing day at the Boleyn back on Saturday 15th October. The sun was shining, the beers were flowing, the crowd had great expectations and the team certainly delivered with a 4-0 trashing of Blackpool. I did an article for the Blackpool Gazette before the game and I must admit even I wasn't that optimistic!

Everyone played their part in the game, we passed the ball around and played attractive football but Baldock and Carew stood out for me as the men of the match.

Below are some of the songs we sung in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower on that afternoon

Next came the Bad (Southampton Away)

I was lucky enough to be invited into a corporate box for the game and stayed overnight in Southampton sampling the south coast hospitality ;-). The Southampton people looked after us in the box and kept us plied with food and drink all night. The West Ham away support was fantastic with 3,500 fans out singing the home fans. It was announced it was the stadium capacity record that night so we sung 'It took us to fill your ground' and 'your only here for the west ham!'. The west ham fans sung their hearts out all night. Despite setting up an ambitious 4-4-2 formation we never looked the better team. Southampton passed the ball around well and we didn't really start playing for the first 35 minutes. We started playing in the last 10 minutes of the first half, which is when we conceded the only goal. We defended well all night and this was a rare lapse in concentration which cost us dearly. I must admit I was drunk by the second half  but I thought we played well in the second half and were unlucky not to get an equaliser. I thought we could have easily got a draw, whether we deserved it was another matter. We hit the post twice and their keeper made some excellent saves worthy of Robert Green.

Fair play to Southampton, as I have said before I don't mind being the second best team in the league as long as we come second and many Southampton fans said the same back to me on that night.

Hard Life in the Southampton Box

Finally there was the Ugly at Brighton.

This was a game I really wanted to go to but season ticket holders needed 6 priority points to get a ticket and my away games (non corporate) are limited these days with a young family. I visited Brighton with the family last weekend and we went past the impressive Amex Community Stadium. Luckily the game was on Sky Sports so we all got to watch it.

What can you say?, it was a horrible watch in horrible wet weather and the one goal came from a mistake from the defender, Dunk and the goal keeper Harper should have done better against his former team mate Nolan.

Big Sam says it was all part of the plan and a great fought victory! Yea right! I think we just got lucky.

However lucky teams win automatic promotion so I won't moan too much and gladly accept the 3 points with a big smile on my face.

I did some Skype video interviews for Sports Tonight LIVE TV during the game and after full time which can be found below. Onwards and upwards to Leicester on Saturday.

We have just published Moore Than Just A Podcast Episode 9 (Diouf Off)  which covers the Southampton and Brighton Games. It can be found at and on ITunes (Just search for 'Moore Than Just A Podcast')

My Diouf offensive history post can be found here!


Friday, 21 October 2011

The Controversal Potted History of El Hadji Diouf

Diouf's professional career has been overshadowed by controversy. During his time Rennes, France he was convicted for driving without a licence, and was involved in a car crash. The French courts sentenced Diouf to community service.

During the start of his early Premier League career in England, Diouf has been involved in several incidents where he has spat at football fans and opposition players. In 2002 he was accused of spitting at West Ham Fans fans whilst warming-up at a sub for Liverpool during a game at Anfield.

On 13 March 2003, whilst playing for Liverpool, he was involved in an incident when he spat at Celtic fans during a televised UEFA Cup quarter-final. His club fined him two weeks' wages, UEFA gave him a two-match ban, and Diouf was charged with assault. He later pleaded guilty, and was fined £5,000.

Whilst he was on loan at Bolton, Diouf was charged by the police for spitting at an 11-year-old Middlesbrough fan during a 1–1 draw in November 2004.

Then, on 27 November 2004, Diouf spat in the face of Portsmouth player Ajan De Zeeuw. He was fined two weeks' wages by Bolton and was banned for three games by the FA after pleading guilty to a charge of improper conduct.

On 20 September 2009, Diouf was questioned by police after allegations that he had made a racist slur to a ball-boy during a match at Everton, telling him to "fuck off, white boy".Diouf defended his actions by saying that the ball-boy had thrown the ball to him "like a bone to a dog" and that Everton fans were racially abusing and throwing bananas at him; police found no evidence of this.

In April 2010, Diouf was arrested and charged with motoring offences in Manchester.

On 8 January 2011, following Blackburn's 1–0 win over QPR in the FA Cup third round, QPR manager Neil Warnock accused Diouf of taunting  Jamie Mackie whilst the latter lay on the pitch injured with a broken leg and referred to Diouf as "lower than a sewer rat".

On 2 March 2011, Diouf was one of three Rangers players sent off in the Old Firm Derby, after an altercation at the touchline with Neil Lennon and dissent to the referee at full time.Diouf was fined £5000 in April 2011 and warned over his future conduct by the Scottish Football Association.

On 14 July 2011, it was reported that Diouf had not joined Blackburn Rovers for a pre-season tour of Austria and that his whereabouts were unknown.

On 21 October 2011 he started training with West Ham. You know what will happen next!

Is this a guy we want pulling on a West ham shirt? You just know it will end in tears!

Friday, 14 October 2011

My preview of #WestHam v Blackpool

So we play the Seasiders on Saturday at home which I am looking forward to. Hopefully one team that will not treat the day like a FA Cup final and will play openly. I not sure Ian Holloway knows to play any other way. I am told Blackpool returned most of their ticket allocation so it may turn out to be the smallest away fans of the season so far with less than 1,000.

There is a possability that Winston Reid  who has recovered from a hamstring, Mark Noble with a problem toe and Matty Taylor with a calf injury could all be passed fit and available for selection for the game.

David Bentley has returned to Spurs after his operation and will not be seen in a West Ham shirt again and Guy Demel is pushing for a start after recovering from a hamstring problem.

West Ham have won 21 of their 51 competitive matches against Blackpool, with the Seasiders winning 17, and 13 drawn.

The Irons are unbeaten in six league clashes with Blackpool, winning four and drawing two since a 2-1 defeat at Bloomfield Road in March 1966.

 It's 77 years since Blackpool last took away maximum points from the Boleyn.

 West Ham's 18 points after the first 10 games is our best for eight years.

Sam Allardyce began his league managerial career with Blackpool for two seasons from July 1994.

I have done an interview for the Blackpool Gazette about what Blackpool fans can expect on Saturday ;-)

Prediction is an open game but I think we will edge it 3-2!

We will be recording Moore Than Just A Podcast Episode 8 on Monday evening to review the Blackpool game and look ahead to Southampton away.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The truth about the Olympic Stadium

There has been a lot of crap written about the original Olympic Stadium bid, why the bid collapsed and the new tender process. I thought I would share what I know to dispel some of the myths.
In the original bid a stadium holding company jointly owned by West ham and Newham council would own the Olympic Stadium and pay the estimated £5M per year running costs.

The cost to convert the stadium from 80,000 to 60,000 would be £95M with £35M from the original Olympic budget plus £20m from West Ham and £40m from the local authority, Newham Council.

West Ham would rent the Stadium from the holding company on a 125 year lease. However it was hoped revenue would also come in from Essex Cricket Club, NFL, Concerts and other sports to contribute towards the £5M running costs and paying back the repayments and interest on the Newham council £40M loan.
West Ham's liability could have been as much as £5M per annum to pay both rent and help pay back the Newham council loan.
Newham withdrew their £40M funding after Spurs, Leyton Orient requested a Judicial review and an anonymous person made a complaint to the European commission saying that Newham's £40M loan amounted to state subsidy which is forbidden within Article 87 of the EC Treaty (as well as Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998), which states: 
“any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods shall, insofar as it affects trade between Member States, be incompatible with the common market.” 
It is believed the OLPC, Newham Council and the Mayor of London secretly agreed to call Spurs, Leyton Orient bluff by cancelling the original bid and retaining ownership of the stadium in state hands.
Amusingly this same article 87 may also scupper a £17M loan from the Mayor of London to redevelop White Shite Lane.

Anyone can make an anonymous complaint on-line about proposed state aid. Here is the link if you want you get your own back on Daniel Levy.

Most including the London Mayor Boris Johnson believe  West Ham remain the only viable football tenant for the new tender process. Spurs have almost committed to redevelop White Shite Lane and some still say their OS bid was a big ploy to get their own way with regards to planning permission & government support. Leyton Orient say they would consider a ground share with West Ham or reduce the stadium to 25,000 as originally planned. yea right! dream on Barry. He thought his club would be paid off as part of a bargaining deal.
So under the new tender process West Ham are believed not to be required to contribute £20M and only pay £2M per year as a football tenant.
This has huge potential savings for West Ham in the tens of millions and removes the liability of finding other tenants to fulfil the running costs and find other tenants.

Many of suggested we would no longer have an asset. Well the Boleyn is worth £20M at most and probably a lot less the way land & house prices are going in that part of East London.

I would rather pay £20M off the £75M debt than have the old fashioned view that we must own the deeds. The richest club in world Manchester City do not own their stadium and rent it from the council. If it is OK for them it should be OK for us.

Some have suggested we might only get a short term lease of 5-10 years and Spurs could move in later after 2017. David Gold has dispelled this myth on twitter and claimed we would be looking for a 250 year lease on the stadium to play football.
The only big loser in all of this is the tax payer who will be stuck with the extra re-development costs and potential short fall in running costs.
Well done Levy and Hearn you must be very proud of yourselves!
More can be found out in Newham's FAQ here 

Also below is an interview I did on Sports Tonight LIVE on Tuesday 12th October on the OS Debate

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Moore Than Just A Podcast Episode 7 & Belated Eagles v Irons Match Reports

Crystal Place v West Ham Match report from Matty Hill @MattyHill84 on twitter

After Hearing once again that we were to revert to 4-5-1 after Tuesday's slip up to Ipswich I was quite relieved seeing as our away form so far had been the main source of our current league position.

A starting debut for diop, and loanee almunia there was a fresh outlook but looking at the programme it was clear to see that big fat sams ideal starting eleven would be a team full of John coffees (like the drink only not spelt the same) after a good attacking start from both sides their first goal went in and Faye and Jimmy Tomkins were left looking lovingly into each others eyes.

Soon after though bentley worked the right really well (like he did for most of the game) and a cross came in that met Coles flailed shot that the palace keeper saved but only to land at nolans feet, for our off form captain to draw us level, he finished well considering. 

Lansbury looked once more like a youngster aiming to amaze as he was dashing all over the back four, a few failed crosses from mcartney (whom I really rated until today) and some good attacks from the palace youngsters took the game into half time.

During which I had a foot long hot dog to console myself whilst preparing for another 45 mins in the Holmsdale stand far from my west ham brothers who were drowning the place out with corus after corus of bubbles.

The second half began an unchanged west ham we hadn't left the starting blocks and were punished after a few mistakes by faubert (who had been looking better until today) and much needed tackles wernt made, goal number two for the home side went in. 

Time dragged and so did bottom lips as from about the 60th min palace decided time wasting was a good tactical option to take. 

A few more long range efforts from bentley and Lansbury saw our first substitutes of the game and a change of formation (4-4-2)off went an unfit,slow jack (proving taylor is missed on the left) and a fatigued cole and on came a massive Carew/Bigfoot and a hobbit/baldock after a few good moves I already felt comfortable with baldock in a no.7 shirt. Carew went straight forward and centre on the last man and let baldock do all the leg work after 10mins it paid off as their back 4 stared to stretch and a well crossed floater from Lansbury met Carew's head to give us our well deserved equaliser. A few more chances went astray one brilliant one from Carew that would of resembled the other. Sears then entered the field of play and bently made way with an applause from the west ham fans. Followed by a corus of "where winning awaaaay " but with the words replaced to mark our recent loan inquiry for a familiar little argentine. "he wants to coooommee home" and carlos's name was all I gathered. Then! The 4th official held up the board to say 4mins stoppage time added on ( 4mins from where nobody knew!) which triggered something I hadnt seen from my claret and blue for a while. A sense of urgency, fight and passion filled every man wearing the badge, something that we lacked last season! At the heart of this emotion filled 4mins was our captain proving that even though his ability might still be on it's way from Newcastle but his spirit is deffinatly thriving through the veins of the other players.

Final result 2-2 against a young fit palace side I was happy with a point.

Henry Lowe's Crystal Palace v West Ham Match Report @HJLowe6 on twitter

I think I speak for most west ham fans when i say that we were all going into this game against 9th place crystal palace with optimistic views of a big win at selhurst park especially taking into account our recent away form under the "Big Sam" regine. With big wins at both watford and nottingham forest under our belts everyone at west ham was going into this one believing that we could continue our outstanding away form against a crystal palace side who although swept away a strong brighton side at the amex had not been using the flashes of class that they had shown in that game in their previous encounters with leeds united and blackpool. However as we had been defeated by an ipswich side who had made a slow start in their championship campaign there was perhaps a doubtful thought in some west ham heads that this would be a tougher challenge than we first anticipated. 

The day started well as there was a lot of noise being created in the surrounding streets of selhurst park where west ham fans were living up to the name that they have always had. I had gone to this game on my own as most of my friends actually support Crystal Palace. Spirits were high in the lead up to the game with both sets of fans walking within metres of eachother and not a sight of trouble anywhere near the ground. Selhurst park has always been one of those grounds that if you didnt support a london club you most likely wouldnt make the effort to visit. Dont get me wrong the set up is good and it isnt a bad ground but then again no ground is like upton park. The police were out in force along the streets putting somewhat of an uneasy atmosphere on the proceedings. The athur waite stand beckomed for the 4,000 odd travelling west ham fans. There was plenty of noise from the west ham fans in the minutes leading up to the game beginning. As the two teams emerged the famous glad all over song burst out and the palace fans were in force singing it. I felt west ham fielded a very strong side but with mark noble matt taylor and joey o'brien all key players missing through injury it wasnt sam's preferred starting 11. 

Palace started the stronger looking menacing in attack while the west ham defence was defiantly not at its best. Darren Ambrose struck in the 6th minute of play to give palace a 1-0 lead that in some respects was handed to them on a plate with some very poor defending and Ambrose was able to squeeze a shot through and beat West ham's number 13 debutant Manuel Almunia. But from that moment in west ham started to play with some very attractive football and Julien faubert key to most attacks bombing down the left wing beating dean moxey with most attacks. Jack collison and Henri Lansbury also were playing a key part in the play but more importantly playing well together wihich could prove very valuable for west hams title hopes this season.

 We carried on pushing palace back and on the 16th minute carlton cole's header back across goal was put in the net by kevin nolan on the back post. The noise from inside the Arthur Waite stand was deafining as all west ham fans were celebrating the goal that surely would kickstart things and see us to a comfortable victory. The first half was very entertaining with some class football on display and west hams julien faubert still key to most attacks. The half time whistle blew with the scores level at 1-1 which in all truthelness was a fair scoreline. The teams re-ameged from the dressing room to a round of applause and we were back underway. Both teams were playing good football with Wilfred Zaha looking threatening for crystal palace, it was mainly down to him that palace took the lead on the 52nd minute when glenn murray struck low into the bottom right hand corner of the goal leaving manuel almunia on the floor looking into the net. The second half passed by rapidly with a bunch of crystal palace fans making some good noise which we were easily matching with renditions of carlos tevez wants too come home and bubbles. jack collison who was playing well and carlton cole who had been somewhat isloated were replaced on the 68th minute by john carew and sam baldock making west ham alot more threatining up front. it was down to this tactical change that west ham got their second of the match to pull level when john carew made his mark and hit the back of the net with 10 minuted left to play. The final 10 minutes plus 4 for injury time were quite even with good efforts from our sam baldock and crystal palace's jermaine easter but as the final whistle went i think it is fair to say that the points were fairly distributed. I think we can take many positives from this london derby and sam allardyce said himself that he was pleased with the result. Good action from selhurst on a nice day to enjoy.

After the match Henry had his picture taken with BFS, Carlton Cole and Henri Lansbury.

                                                                      Henry with BFS

                                                                   Henry with Cole

                                                            Henry with Lansbury

Both Match reports are covered on Moore Than Just A Podcast Episode 7

Moore Than Just A podcast will be on an international break next week. We will be back after the Blackpool game. COYI