I’ll admit to being particularly pleased as I left SJP last Saturday, after we had extended our run of form to 6 matches, as going in to the game, I looked at the patched up nature of the team and feared that an improving QPR side had some handy resources at their disposal which could be used to expose some of those areas where the team lacked continuity. But full credit to all involved vs QPR, the team put in another solid performance and may have won by more in the end.
Where these types of performances and belief in the systems, management and players have been hiding as we crashed from January 2014 – September 2014, God only knows, and hopefully, whatever the causes were of that capitulation are long gone and never to return. I know many feel the sale of Cabaye capsized the whole operation. Personally, I find it difficult say that it all hinged on any 1 thing, like Cabaye’s sale or solely on the manager. But as I look at the squad now, maybe we’re a little bit more protected from being in a position where any 1 player is so significantly better and more important, than anything else we have on our books, that the loss of them causes such a vacuum? Certainly there’s not a Cabaye or a Remy in our squad now. Those 2 were so far better than everybody else and one of them wasn’t really ours. Ok at times Coloccini can look superb but during our run of misery, I wouldn’t say he looked supremely better than anybody else. So maybe the lack of a ‘star man’ has helped the team and that’s why, literally, anybody can step in at the moment and the whole thing doesn’t fall apart?*
Now, what usually happens, when Newcastle United start performing unexpectedly well, is that certain areas of the media (both written and broadcasters) have a bit of a wobble at the thought of the Geordie upstarts gatecrashing their plans for a neat little “top 5/6/7” and feel the need to upset that particularly, unpleasant prospect, and start writing/speculating/reporting bollocks to unsettle players. I never understand why, for if they were as clever as they made out, they’d know we’ll fuck everything up anyway, eventually, ‘cos that’s the way we do things. Anyway, when the inevitable does happen, we’re really better off just ignoring it.
And the first little hand grenade thrown our way, might be this bullshit, clampdown on beer!!! On Saturday, there’s no drink on the trains or at Upton Park. There’s been a zero tolerance approach on buses for a little while now, but I think that’s a bit more straightforward….. Basically, a group of pathetic, cretins who have no respect for people, property or authority, got all ‘4 can, van Damme” at Hartshead Moor services last year and trashed the place. If we’re honest, there’s been similar embarrassments too, such as Wigan (a), so the polis are lacking in leniency, coach drivers are shitting it, so buses are clamping down, but this is the first dry train Iv known on the outbound journey. This feels particularly harsh. A British Transport Police presence on the trains should be enough to ensure behaviour meets acceptable levels. Finally, if West Ham would rather not have their tills stuffed full with beer tokens for probably no more work than an hour before KO and 15 mins at HT then so be it, but I’m not hearing of this happening to other clubs. Feels like we’re being treated a bit unfairly, maybe we’ve gained a reputation now and this will be how it is until we prove we can behave? In the absence of any communication, we’re left to speculate.
So, what of Fat Sam’s Hammers? They’re currently sitting in 6th place, on 18 points. At home, they’ve won 3, Liverpool (3-1), QPR (2-0) and Man City (2-1). They’ve drawn 1 vs Aston Villa (0-0) and lost twice, to Spurs (0-1) and Southampton (1-3). Their leading scorer is Diafra Sakho, who has 7 goals.
Sakho, Mark Noble, Valencia, Song, Downing and Kouyate all face fitness tests. News that Andy Carroll has recently returned to their starting XI after injury will no doubt set off the “Ex Mag” alarm, Kevin Nolan will no doubt be aiming to notch against us again!!!! Downing and Valencia have been earning rave reviews so it would be handy if they missed the clash.
Alan Pardew has confirmed that Coloccini, Tiote and Steven Taylor have all got some training ground time in this week. Whether that’s enough to see them recalled immediately or not is debatable. The club have also confirmed that Ryan Taylor’s latest injury is not as bad a s first feared, which is great to hear.
It was welcoming to read Siem De Jong’s tweets about getting his boots back on but a comeback is still some time away.
Tim Krul is the latest to head for the physio room with a knock picked up in training.
Riviere has trained too but given Perez’s form, he’s unlikely to get straight back in.
Ryan Taylor – Knee – 2015
De Jong – Thigh – 2015
Obertan – Groin – No Return Date
Santon – Knee – No Return Date
Good – Groin – No Return Date
Abeid – Toe – 2 Weeks
Aarons – Hamstring – Chelsea (H)
Doubtful/Fitness Test Required
Coloccini – Calf
Steven Taylor – Knee
Tiote – Calf
Krul – Knock
Possible Team (4-2-3-1)
FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT – This is the team I think Pardew may pick, not necessarily the team that I’d personally select
- Elliot: 2. Janmaat, 5. Williamson, 6. Dummett, 3. Haidara: 8. Colback, 4. Anita: 7. Cabella, 10. Sissoko, 11. Ameobi: 9. Perez:
Alnwick, Streete, Armstrong, Gouffran, Riviere Cisse, Ferryra
Referee: Mike Dean
League History at The Boleyn Ground
1984/85 Drew 1-1. We hadn’t won a game since Pedro’s New Year’s Day hat trick vs. The Mackems and we had to settle for a point when Chris Waddle and Paul Allen’s goals shared the points. Attendance, 17,723
1985/86 Lost 8-1. The horror of all horrors! Whitehurst’s goal completely lost amongst the absolute carnage of multiple goalkeeper’s and West Ham players scoring for fun! Attendance, 24,735
1986/87 Drew 1-1 Far more respectable. Neil McDonald (Penalty king) and Mark Ward on target as the season drew to a close and survival was within touching distance. Martin Thomas saving a Tony Cottee penalty. John Anderson was sent off, causing some old fashioned pagga! Attendance, 17,844
1987/88 Lost 2-1. United headed into the Christmas period of matches with a 2-1 defeat. Mirandinha on target for us but Paul Ince and Stewart Robson goals condemned us to defeat. Attendance, 18,679
1988/89 Lost 2-0. United’s away form head been terrible. This continued as Alan Dickens and Ray Stewart sent us home with nowt. Both sides went down. We finished bottom, 9 points short of safety, 7 behind the Hammers. Attendance, 17,765
1989/90 Drew 0-0 United extended their unbeaten run to 8 games with a point. Attendance, 25,892
1990/91 Drew 1-1 A season of mid table mediocrity in the second division drew to a close, but we still had time to squeeze in a few more winless results. Gavin Peacock and Ian Dowie on target. West Ham were promoted, finishing 2nd behind Oldham. Attendance, 24,195
1992/93 Drew 0-0. The Hammers obviously missed us, so returned straight back to Division 2, we played out a goalless draw as we went 4 games without scoring. Both sides would be promoted. West Ham finished 2nd behind us. Attendance, 24,159
From 5 minutes
1993/94 Won 4-2. As we powered our way to a 3rd place finish, we registered a win at Upton Park. Rob Lee with 2, Andy Cole and Alex Mathie (Super Sub) with the others. Attendance, 23,132
1994/95 Won 3-1. Won again with repeat goals for Rob Lee, Mathie, Steve Potts OG. Attendance, 17,375
1995/96 Lost 2-0. Normal service resumed. Danny Williamson and Tony Cottee with the goals In my opinion, this defeat was the sickener that set off the wobble as we blew the league. Attendance, 23,843
1996/97 Drew 0-0. Another point in the bag as we crept up to steal 2nd and Champion’s League qualification. Attendance, 24,617
1997/98 Won 1-0, an exquisite John Barnes goal won the game for us. This was the next match after the Barcelona win! Attendance, 25,884
1998/99 Lost 2-0. With attention firmly on a FA cup semi final, league games came and went. Di Canio and fucking Paul Kitson on target. Attendance, 25,997.
1999/00 Lost 1-2 Hot on the heals of the FA cup semi final come down, The Irons turned us over. Gary Speed had given us the lead, but Paulo Wanchope hit 2. Attendance, 25,817
Speed’s goal here after 2 min
2000/01 Lost 1-0. Still scratching for consistency under Robson’s rebuild. Kanoute’s second half winner sent us home empty handed and the great London run without a win continued. Attendance, 26,044
2001/02 Lost 0-3. Having just beaten Man Utd 4-3, we crashed at Upton Park. Hutchison, Di Canio and Kanoute making it a grim afternoon. Attendance, 24,810.
2002/03 Drew 2-2 After Craig Bellamy had given us an early lead, we were indebted to a Jermaine Jenas equaliser to nab us a point after Defoe and Joe Cole had turned the game on it’s head. Attendance, 35,048
2005/06 Won 4-2 Souness somehow managed to string a couple of decent wins together. This result followed a win vs. Arsenal. Michael Owen got 3 and Alan Shearer got 1. Attendance, 34,836
2007/08 Drew 2-2 Fighting back from 2-0 down under Kevin Keegan to claim our last points of the season. Martins and Geremi/McCartney OG earned us the draw after Ashton and Noble had got the home side off to a flyer. Attendance, 34,980
2008/09 Lost 1-3 This season is really best forgotten, but after Keegan’s exit carnage ensued. Chris Hughton stepped forward in an attempt to see us through the turbulence. It didn’t work, we lost 4 in a row, including this one. Owen’s strike was a mere consolation with the game, long since lost. Attendance, 34,743
2010/11 Won 2-1.With Hughton’s side struggling to find consistency, we had to recover from an early Carlton Cole goal to win. Kevin Nolan and Andy Carrol doing the business! Attendance, 34,486
2012/13 Drew 0-0. Many Mags left Upton Park convinced that this point wouldn’t be enough. Gouffran had missed an empty net and Nolan and Carroll had missed sitters too. In the end, it was. Attendance, 34,962
2013/14 Won 3-1. Cabaye’s last appearance in a black and white shirt……. and you could sort of tell by his gestures to the crowd at the end. Attendance, 33,343
– Hammers Fanzines
Over land and sea – Facebook page – Click here
Knees Up Mother Brown – online ideally – Click here
Blowing Bubbles – online and paper – Click here
It would be great to think we could win again, but I’d snap your hand off for a point. I’m sure Carroll will score, so 1-1.
*Obviously, now that I’ve said, the wheels will come off, big style and we’ll be humped twice in 4 days……… If that does happen, then you can blame me……… or the editor for not spotting such an obvious jinx and cutting it out………
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