Happy New and angst-free year!

Happy New Year all Hammers fans!

We wish a year of peace of mind and a situation where we can start to believe in the future again!
We especially hope for a prosperous year for those of you that are regular visitors and commenters - no one mentioned, no one forgotten but you know who you are! We hope that some of that good fortune will rub off on the Club.

Joppe also promises to do his best to crawl out of his depression and be more positive about things - if he find a reason to...

Team against Arsenal

With all the injuries Prince H talked about in his last post and the fact that we'll have a hard time coping with any more you wonder what team we will field in the Arsenal games.
Upson will hardly be played as he is bankrolling the january recruits and is "worth more to us alive".
Behrami is on the comeback trail and either need a few games to get in shape or need to take it slowly - hard call.
is so precious to us at the moment that I'd rest him. The problem is to find any replacement old enough to drive a car. I would try Spector in defensive midfield and (in total disagreement with my last post) N'Gala in defence somewhere. Unfortunately I think Zola feels obliged to play Diamanti.
Sears is recalled from Palace where he failed to score in his 18 appearances for them. He'd be my choice ahead of Nouble against a weaker side where he could hope to play some balls he could use his pace on. On his + sides is also the fact that he has has been playing competitive football this season. But we'll need to have some kind of target player looking person up there to keep their back four from making base camp on our side so I'll go with Nouble.
Green is hardly enjoying his stay with us at the moment and I'm sure that he would jump at a chance to join a top 7 team. Maybe he should be rested to give him a chance to get his spirit back, but as Kurucz is out this won't happen.

So instead of Behrami, Gabbidon, Ilunga, Noble, Parker, Dyer, Hines, Cole and Franco (suspended) who would all "normally" be in line for a start, we could end up playing

......................... Green
Faubert - Da Costa -Tomkins - Spector
......................... Kovac
Collison - Jimenez - Diamanti -Stanislas
........................ Nouble/Sears

Our chance lies in..... let's not fool our selves, we don't have one.
(But then that's what I said before the Chelsea game as well).


A whole team off!

Hi! Hurrah, once again we are the leader of the pack!
We have just beaten Everton and are in the top of the league. Of course I am talking about The Premier Leauges injury table.
Five of nine of our lost men have problems with their hamstrings! Can't our physio do anything to make these hamstrings softer, warmer, stronger??

I am certain I should be able to lend some guys from the reserve team (Edgar? Grasser?) to make "our best team on cruches" complete. Sorry, but two things are not correct: having Behrami in it is a bit of cheting as he is close to full fitness, and I can't find a goalkeeper. Maybe on Sunday?
On the other hand, I do not count on Dean Ashton anymore....

Could we please get some news about Hines knee soon? According to Physioroom Carlton Cole is closest to a return, but I guess Parker and Noble will be with us sooner rather than later? May we see all of'em against Wolves (10th Jan).

Anyway. Our team:

Behrami - Gabbidon - Davenport -Ilunga
LBM - Noble - Parker - Dyer
Hines - Cole

Could they be the answer to beat Arsenal this Sunday?

An Academic Question

West Ham – the academy of football. Taste that!

Even though I’ve always thought of that statement as more than a bit arrogant the fact that we have produced a string of talent has made it possible for us to play against the best teams in English football for quite a few seasons.
We have had the opportunity to bring on recruits fresh from, or in some cases still in, our famous academy. We’ve seen them “get their chance” a lot the last season or two, and by the famous Duckers-epos “The Football Project” this necessity was transformed into a virtue and a cornerstone.
Zola was lured here partly by his interest in forming and honing young players and there is little that gets the blood of a supporter flowing like a lad from the academy taking his first bow at Upton Park, not to mention scoring on his home debut. And I still get the shivers when I think of the Noble penalty against Liverpool a few seasons ago, a shiver that would not have been even close to the same if yet another hired gun would have put it away. Some boys get away with badge kissing!
But would it be possible to point out a few problems with this talented youngster thing without being branded as anti-academic?

It takes a great deal of coaching guts to resist the urge to field a player before they are ready (or the situation is right) when there is a lack of cover in a position.
“If they are good enough they are old enough” is often used as a way to rectify this in “throw them in at the deep end” situations.
However, there is a huge difference between being good enough to be the new boy in an otherwise stable lineup and good enough to be thrown into an ever changing squad like ours this season where the youngsters cannot rely on their surrounding teammates to tell, show or even know, what should be done.
The lack of composure and cool shown by our side of late may have several reasons. Lack of the right on/off the pitch leadership or the lack of, or trust in, a game plan are all possible reasons, but it is certainly not helped by the number of youngsters and the relatively in-experience in our side, in crucial positions at that!These poor lads have also been used as reasons and explanations for not getting proper replacements for lost players. To gain the most of the talents of Sears, Collison, Nouble, Stanislas, Tomkins, Hines, N’Gala etc and to help them fulfill their potential these young lads need to be schooled, not only technically and tactically but also into the premiership game.

It’s not only if a player is good enough that is the question, it is also if the team and the leaders are good enough to give him what he needs to succeed.


Not really West Ham

A strange sense that West Ham are not really responsible for our teams performance has crept up on me and seem to have infected the mindset of quite a few fans on West Ham related sites and forums. There is a clear sign that more people than usual are trying to distance themselves from the present results as well as from the present XI. Even though “we’re better than this” and “if it wasn’t for…” are probably the most common thoughts in the heads of fans on the losing side, I think we have taken it a step further.
“It’s the Puffins fault, we’ve had a continuous drain of talent and have not been able to buy the right players for the Zola way of football, and on top of that we’ve had our most valuable players injured.” are the current mantras.
Now this is all true but it is in no way unique to the 2009/2010 season or, for that matter West Ham. We’ve lost talented players to better paying/performing sides before and it would be downright na├»ve to hope that it will not happen in the future. There are, believe it or not, also other teams that have experience of limited transfer budgets, and the need to finance a reshaping of a squad by the sale of players. Take a look at Fulham where funds have been scarce but where the leaders adapts the way of playing football to the situation. They are fielding West Ham rejects for crying out loud!

An intriguing question is, would we win football games with the Fulham squad?

Obviously not having the players that we fancy hamper our performance, but the job of the executive leaders at the club is to get on with it and work with the situation at hand. Adapt the game plan to the current situation and maybe realize that adding one or two players to the existing squad may not transform it to a squad able to play 433 against a well organized PL side with great success. The players we field are West Ham and it’s West Ham that is losing the games, not the Icelanders! Fix the obvious things that are wrong with the team performance instead of blaming our lack of fortune on the financial crisis and the greed of some Icelandic creditors!

Why on earth did I write this shitty post today? Not quite sure, but I blame the Puffins!


West Hamstring with no edge

After twenty minutes we had lost both Ilunga and our "General Generator" Scott Parker to injuries, and the small Croatian had scored his first for the home team after his long lay-off. There was very, very little in West Hams favour then, and it really looked like our players understood that as well.
When we lost Parker there was noone in the first half who knew what to do or who to lead our team forward. We were not lucky with their first goal either. After a counterattack with Lennon as always "PL:s Bolt", the ball fell (un)luckily to Modric who shot in the ground, the ball bounced over Green's arms and into the net. Just 11 minutes gone.
But as we've said before the goal also showed a problem that we have had in defence all season. All players are just looking at the ball. Noone saw Modric coming behind them. And there were loads of players who should have been able to pick him up. Can Mr Zola please fix this problem??
After 1-0 and those injuries I thought we were dead and buried. Well, we actually were, even if we had a better second half and even a period of about ten minutes where we threatened a nervous home team. In that spell though, Defoe scored their second in another counterattack.

After the break we showed more heart, Diamanti most of all, but Tottenham with King, Defoe and Modric back in the team were this day a superior team. At least our defense had a really good game.
I've tried to find any news about Ilunga and Parker but at this moment found none. And with Franco - with a fifth yellow card - also off the FA-game against Arsenal I guess we will see Alex Dyers young men have a go....

Green 6,5 - A couple of misunderstandings between him and his defenders, and in a perfect world he should have been able to steer Defoes first shot differently, still a good performance. And more resolute than lately.
Faubert 6,5 - Another good performance from our French guy even if he has to practise those crosses over New Year. Battled well.
Tomkins 7,5 - Has improved very much lately and this performane was really good from our youngster.
Matthew Upson 7,5 - I could only find one mistake during the whole game. Really concentrated on his task, which he handled very, very well. MotM.
Ilunga 5 - Fought hard against Lennon, looked solid, then he had to be taken off. Early! Never ran back when we lost the ball when they first scored in their counterattack. Probably injured already. Another hamstring?
Collison 5 - Had the same problems as the last game. When we expect him to push forward he lacks the last "damn hell". He retreats when he has a chance to win important space, and even a goal chance. And especially when Parker was forced off I expect this young man to be a more driving force. Maybe hard words, but who else to rely on in these moments?
Parker 5 - Looked like he was goin to fight as usual, but all of a sudden he was off for Jimenez. Just after their first goal. Another hamstring?
Kovac 7 - Another really good game from Kovac and by miles our best midfield man today. Fought hard. Too bad he can't make a pass. He is not the man that can "conduct" the team, but that's not why he is here.
Behrami 4 - We are so happy that he is back! But this was not impressing, he is not ready for a game like this yet. Fought yes, but did a lot of mistakes, and as with Kovac, sorry he can not make good passes.
Diamanti 6 - Totally invisible in the first half, it was not his game at all. Grew after the break and took responsibility with some great moment's and good passing. Not that it did help, but that is what we like to see.
Franco 5 - Tooooooo lonely up front with no help. I doubt even Cole could have made it today. Yellow-carded and will miss the Arsenal game. Maybe best so. Wolves is far more important.

Jimenez 3,5 - At least he was behind our goals against Pompey, this time he had nothing to offer. Plays like a (uninspired) teenager against men. I doubt that he will be with us after January.
Spector 5,5 - Decent performance, at least if you go out to the kitchen to grab something in those "moment's" he always have.
Stanislas 6 - Tried. As always a bit too hard.

This did not look like a "all for one, one for all"-performance. We were tired after our important game against Pompey 48 hours ago. And we do very seldom perform against Tottenham. So to lose Parker after just 11 minutes was just the destiny for another loss. Atleast I was impressed by the defence today (mainly Tomkins, Upson, Kovac).

Wolves (Arsenal) next! And the frightening January window :-S

Agreeing with Whinger?

Arsene D'whinger had another trademark outburst, this time about the long throwers. As far as I understand he wanted them banned in some way.
Some of you may recall THIS post that I wrote after our encounter with Delap et al. last season, where I spill my guts over the Stoke way in general and the long throwing Delap in particular. I remember thinking I was really clever when suggesting that "throw in gloves" was to be the next thing. It didn't take long for that to come true did it?

But the real problem in my eyes is not so much the long throws as such as the way they distort the "flow" of a game. We are used to the way corners staccatos (is that a word?) a game and the problem with the long throws, as I see it, is the time it takes to get the ball in play.
If there is a limited time for a throw in to be taken, short enough not to allow the center backs to take a 50 m jog into the box, the problem should be solved.
Is the referee committee listening?


Goin for 10th spot?

So this was the essential win, a temporary breath or just the beginning of a new era?

Of the teams we have behind us at the moment all but Pompey have had less games played, on the other hand it's just four points more to reach Sunderland in tenth position....
An even league which we hopefully can take advantage of.
For the second time in a row we showed these necessary big hearts. So even if Parker once more was the big organiser and mean machine in the team, we did also have others who gave us surprising efforts!
After a nervy start we showed at least that we are a better team than Portsmouth, and won for the first time (!) ever at Upton Park against the blue sailors.
I think the main difference from games like the ones against Birmingham is that we've stepped up a gear mentally. All players are working for each other and all of a sudden you can see midfielders and even defenders in the opponent's box. And if we can continue to fight like this we will soon be off the bottom. Newcomers in the team like Franco and Diamanti have surely understood it all!!!

Green 6 - Still a bit nervy, should as we always suggest leave his line a bit more often (and with a more reliable attitude) and I still do not likte those many long kicks. But made a great save when Piquionne (a great player) came through in the second half, may have been crucial. His first cleen sheet since August! Keep'em comin'!
Faubert 7 - Probably his best performance for us since the beginning of the season. Fought hard, showed heart and took great responsibility. Not to say that his opponents were the hardest in the league. Anyway: Good.
Tomkins 7 - Kept first Piquionne quiet and then Kanu. After some nervy games this was up to the youngsters standards. And he have to continue like this on Monday!
Upson 6,5 - It's of course Matthew Upson who can give the defence the stability back. Like this performance which gave us our first clean sheet since 1931. Still this was a bit sloppy at times from our Captain. A few misjudged moments could have cost us. Otherwise solid.
Ilunga 7 - This is the way we used to see him. Fighting hard in defense, good movement goin forward. made some crucial blocks, and few mistakes. Dindane was useless when it was Ilunga against him, so next it's probably Lennon! Show courage!
Jack Collison 6 - Well, even if his miss when he shoud have scored was bad, those things happen. I was pleased with most of his moves goin forward, but less impressive to work for the defense. Sometimes these go together and our young Welsh turns a bit cowardly. Moves for safty instead of challenge - which we all know he can do. Can also play faster! Still: Had at least three good opportunities!
Mark Noble - - Why not change our team name to West Hamstring? I do not know how many players who have had to be taken off this season for injuries to their hamstring?? Noble as early as after 20 minutes today. Had nobig effect on the team in those minutes though.
Scott Parker 8,5 - Once more MotM! His big heart and fighting spirit is not only his, it is a big influence on the whole team! Started actually a bit sloppy, but who remembers that? Soon, he became on of the main men in the PL this round. May we keep him forever!
Radoslav Kovac 7,5 - Ups, this player can run! This man can also influence the team with hard tackles and good moves! Lovely performance in the middle of the park. And our Chech makes his best contribution - by miles - for claret & blue! So far! (Well, he did well against Chelski too) May be important for Parker as well, as he gives Scotty more room to improvise a bit. Most of us have asked why we bought this man back this season, he (and Zola/Clarke) may give us the answer now! People grow differently into a new team. Goalscorer! (His first since he became Cl&bl permanent).
Alessandro Diamanti 8 - I think our entertainer No. one already has answered those who dismissed him and thought he was the wrong answer to save us. Nowadays he has so much more than a lovely left foot (still sooo important) he fights, and he has started to (try to) find his teammates and become a teamplayer. He can change gear and affect the team in a "spiritual" way! Still makes those silly things, but we may need them sometimes as well! Another good goal from the spot!
Guillermo Franco 7 - Tested late before the game and got the nod. I didn't know and even if it was far from his best game for us we were few who recognised he played with a knock. Still worked very hard, and clever as always! He is not fast but has a big toolbox, and somtimes he should be able to use it even more, like looking up to find teammates in even better positions. But I'm happy to see him here, not least because he is a great teamplayer. And he seems to like it here!

Subs: Jimenez 6,5 - (on for Noble 20th) At times very invisible, still involved in both our goals. So happy for him, as our Latin loan has been struggling a lot to find his feet in this league. When Jimenez was given the freekick out on the right I cursed that Diamanti had been taken off, but the Chilean answered right away: Lovely, sublime freekick to Kovac.
Behrami 6 - (on for Diamanti, 71t) - Well, came on when Pompey tried to get something from the game and pushed us hard. I do not know how much Valon affected the game, but it all of a sudden looked more positive for us again.
Nouble - If this guy really run as fast as he looked like, he must be given more than one minute and a half in each game!

So I do not care that we did not look like world beaters against a poor team like Portsmouth. Or that we may not played beautiful like Arsenal at their best. We won, we played with big heart, we kept a clean sheet and more players than Parker and Franco showed that they want to help us through!

Spurs next!



What a wonderful win! And a clean sheet!
At least we will stay safe until Monday!
My match player report will be for you to read tomorrow, if interested.
But one thing is certain already, our old man Mullins was not MotM....


The death of West Ham is far too exaggerated!

This was by far the most of fighting spirit I've seen in our team since..... hm... maybe our loss to Tottscum (3-4) two seasons ago...
1-1 against a pretty blunt Chelsea – who was given a point by the referee, and another goal from Diamanti – is not bad for a start, but the way we really fought was above all.

Have they already hired that psychoanalyst or was this just a way to show Zola and Clarke their faith? I think it was the latter. The first half was pretty even, the second was Chelsea's, still we should have won this. Franco's header in the dying minutes was fabulous, Carvalho's push at the Mexican was a penalty (not rewarded) for sure and Upson's challenge on Sturridge was cut clear and another shame for the referees, as Chelski were given the chance from the spot....
Still just one point, but if we can continue like this - with the same heart - even against more beatable, less well-organised teams, we can do what we did last year!

Green 6,5 - A little bit shaky from the start, but saved well after that, not least when Zhirkov had his chance in the end.
Faubert 6,5 - Agressive, good. One of his better games as RB.
Gabbidon 7 - Solid as a rock, until the hamstring (?) once again haunted him. Had to be taken off after only 20. The hand ball? Nah....
Upson 7,5 - Thank God he is back! And not only his name, but the true old Upson!
Ilunga 6,5 - Involved, good. Went forward again! And doin it all of a sudden against Chelski may show Upsons important role.
Collison 6,5 - Much better today than lately. I like his runs cross the field up front. May miss sometimes when we play defense, but less often today. Was tripped by A Cole and gave us the penalty.
Kovac 6 - I am not so fond to confess this, but we really needed him today. Did much better than lately, still a weak link as he can not take a pass and often play to far from his opponent at the moment. Still, useful today and helped the midfield as he took responsibility!
Noble 7 - Much better today than lately. Fought soooo hard, took his freekicks and corners much better that lately.
Parker 8 - We've all seen Parker run like hell, fight like hell, being our heart! Still his effort today was on top of all his former games, at least in these senses!
Franco 7,5 - His best game for us, even if he did not score this time. He is an intelligent player and a class-act and showed it once more with his moves. Won more headers and held up the ball well (well, mostly). Has already got used to the PL!
Diamanti 7,5 - Well, sometimes he still think he plays in Italy and acts the dead bird, but this time he used his skills to find his teammates much more than earlier. Good. And even if sometimes he looks like a player from my back-yard, in the next movement he may be world-class. If not yet, he can be the next big hero for us. A true entertainer. Scored the penalty.

Sub: Tomkins (on for Gabbs) 7,5: Except for one weak effort he came on and did tremendously well, kept his concentration and kept Drogba quiet.

So those of you who says we have bought the wrong players: I'd say: Franco is a really good additon to our team, so is Diamanti!! They can even be the difference when we conclude this season.

Today was a true team-effort, and I can say that all players did what they were there to do! Thus: Congratulaitions to all. Not least our beloved Zola/Clarke. The have made some mistakes, but they have had too much sticks (as they cant buy, but just sell) , and this showed that they can, and probably will be, the answer to most of our problems. Also, thanks to our fans, Upton Park was on show today!

Well, I really loved the performance today, still we must know that Chelsea lacks a bit of form. And that our next game, against Portsmouth is far,far more important than this one! Sorry!

Happy Christmas!!!


Deep down

As I said in the earlier post, who cares who plays well and who doesn't in i decisive game like the one against Bolton. This game is a team effort more than any other.
But: Now we had another loss, even if good intentions in the second half with a injury-stretched-squad and we are deep into sh*t.
There was some individual faults though that separated the teams tonight and looking at the players Bolton actually had better individuals. Stronger and less nervous. (Hello, it's boring Bolton I'm talking about). Well we had many bright players off with various resons, but who cares?
I stood right behind the goal last time we lost to Bolton 1-3, a game were actually Green made the same odd mistake flipping the ball and gave it to the opponent, well a carbon copy of the he did yesterday. As our England No 1 said before the game: "You don't get much bigger than Tuesday's game.". Stronger and less nervous. When he walked off the pitch I couldn't find a more lonley man in the world.
Whatever happens this loss leaves us in a very bad shape this January and how that affects us selling, buying players, selling the team (or not) I am not the man to tell.....
I must say that the ugly way we started and the ugly way we played in was maybe the way to do it. Just banging the ball upwards was not the way to do it without Cole. Franco, Dyer/Stanislas and Diamanti can hardly win a header against those tall defenders still we changed things around a bit and maybe the boring tactics from our leaders was right. If individual mistakes had not been....

Am I totally blind or? Noone discuss Lee's goal, I think Ilunga is clearly on the right side when the ball is played, but noone else seems to see the offside, so I guess I'm at least colour-blind (claret).

Green 4 - His mistake at their second cost us very very much. The curse of a goalkeeper. But why should he be affected by the rest of the team?
Faubert 5 - Bolton tried his flank a lot. Not totally convincing, he did at least OK and fought. The best we have for the RB.
Tomkins 4 - Poor guy. Have I ever seen a player so nervous?? After his first mistake, they came one after the other. Their third goal just the exclamation mark. Time for another selection this weekend again as I think Da Costa will take his place if Upson will be out still. If not earlier he can learn his trade in the CC....
Gabbidon 7 - Our best player along Parker. No mistakes as I saw it. Really convincing game.
Ilunga 5,5 - Looked better today. Was really a part of the build-ups. May find his best soon again. It better be soon.
Collison 5 - Far from his best he had his moments.
Parker 7 - Like a lion once more. Our lung and heart, but not enough this time.
Kovac 5 - Did not like to see him at the teamsheet. But: This was the best I've seen from him so far.
Dyer - Was happy to see hom back, also as he can be the difference for us in a gae like this. But it was chilly and after just 20 he was off... Once again. Will we ever se him again? I doubt it.
Diamanti 5,5 - Beautiful goal. Otherwise very silent evening.
Franco 5,5 - Not his type of game, still moved well and tried hard.

Stanislas 5 - On for Dyer. Well, at least things seem to happen.... Nice try. Even worked in defence today.
Da Costa - Played five minutes up front. Should have been on instead of Tomkinsmuch earlier and I think it would have been right for Nouble to get those few minutes at the end in stead. Even if I can see Zola's idea, it was desperate. May be an idea to hold onto though.



.... I do not care - not at all - which eleven players who will play for us and Mr Zola. As long as they perform. As long as we'll keep a clean sheet. And as long we will have 3 points with us home!


Can it be worse?

As I was unable to follow the game other than on whufc.com you'll have to discuss this loss yourselves. No marks from me.
Another huge Q:n is ; can we really rise from this situation? It seems that we do not have enough leaders out there. Parker seemed far from one today (like he was the other day, gainst Burnley) of the few moments I was to follow from a stream (and he should be the one), Diamanti is energetic but do push himself more than others and our young veteran Noble is below-par (even if his sending off - for the second yellow was an awful miss from the referee as Noble really took the ball well).
Clarke and Zola changes their team all the time, so who do they trust? At least it seemed (the shy, not Captain-substance) Gabbs did really well, and I'm happy about that, cause he should play in a back four that I want much more soild (why do they have to change it every game?) and not changed every week if not new injuries occur. I'd go with Faubert, Da Costa, Gabbs, Ilunga until Upson is back.... The "only" player they seem to be sure of is Kovac who had played more minutes last games than anyone excpected, and if he has convinced Zola/Clarke to continue game after game it's too beyond me..

Today Wolves won, and all other contenders for relegation had one point, including Portsmouth. So no big changes in the bottom. That could be worse. But on the field?? Tell me.....


Takeover rumours heating up!

Yesterday there was a public presentation by Straumur where they presented what has been going on with their debt during the first 6 months of moratorium, and what their plans are for the future if they are trusted with an extension of the moratorium by the Icelandic court this Friday.

Even though rumors about Gold and Sullivans interest in West Ham has been going on since last summer, the last week or so a rumor has been growing that David Gold and David Sullivan was to table a bid this week. This offer to Andrew Bernhardt, or rather Straumur, supposedly consists of a “nominal fee” for West Ham while accepting to take over the debt.
Today this rumor exploded in articles by WH owner linked Burt of the Telegraph, the Mirror and on the BBC website.
To me there is a nice connection between these two events.

Straumur painted a picture stretching over 5 years during which they hoped to regain some or most of the money owed. What is clear is that they are planning on this process taking time and rather find more funds later than less fund now. One reason for this prolonged process is that by doing it this way the so called “unsecured claimholders” will likely regain more of their money.

Another bit of info seemed to be apparent in the presentation – that Straumur has no funds to inject to boost any needing company – hence Straumur should be interested in help to do so.

Enter Gold&Sullivan. If what they have leaked to the press is accurate they are willing to take on the debt of the Club and to pay the current owners a “nominal fee” for a controlling post in the Club and an option to buy the remaining share “at a later date”. The willingness of the current owners to let a part of the Club go at this time probably lies in how this option is designed. G&S are also to inject some transfer funds to build the value of the Club and secure premiership survival. Some rumors say that in addition to this the current owners will be handed continuous payments during the period up to a certain date or their sale of the remaining share, whichever comes first.

To me this makes a lot of sense. That’s why I have fallen into the trap of commenting on it. Straumur reduces its risk of having a debt ridden Championship side in their asset portfolio without being able to do anything about it while securing a future payment through the option.

Having said this, the current owners must still, obviously, be prepared to turn Gold and Sullivan down if the offer is just too low to make financial sense, or perhaps if an offer from the Intermarket Group is for some reason preferable...


O, for f**k's sake, 0-4

I do not think that we would have had much of a chance picking points against The Champs with Cole, Upson and many others out.
So losing is, even if we got a good record, not so much to complain about... in itself. But the way we did it!
So: I'm very disappointed today... when will we stop to let these loads of goals in? When will Clarke show these lads how to defend?? When will the team start to act like a team defending?

It was good taken goals from ManU, no doubt about it (even if the third really looked offside for me), but it was not hard to see that we did not work like a team in those moments. The first (time: 45,30 in the first half which was decisive) one was a good act from Scholes but still a(nother) foolish disaster from Kovac who easily moved away(!) from Scholes when the redhead was to shoot. Kovac went behind (!) him instead of trying to take it cool and block the shot.
Green was there to touch Scholes shot but was not able o hold it. Maybe if he had been well?? The second (Gibson shot) was a beauty, and impossible to defend, the third (who looked like offside to me) came from our right flank where Anderson passed with ease a good one behind our defenders in the box. I think either Spector, Collison, Kovac or Diamanti really have to put some pressure early on here. Valencia ran well, and our CB:s found themselves standing on their heels. The fourth one was close to the same, but from our left where Ilunga did not manage to prevent the low cross. As it was from a fast break and an unorganised midfield we only had Tomkins and Spector in the middle. And Tomkins did not look behind him, left Rooney unmarked to protect the first post while Spector had little chance to run for Rooney. So the two last goals was all up to players who did not know what to do in certain situations. Tomkins (who I like and has a great future with us) was on for the good Da Costa. Maybe the Portugese had a knock, but changing the back four nearly every game does not help our cause.
Looking at ManU:s defence it seemed to be in shatter (From the 34th minute they had a back 4 consisting of Evra, Carrick, Brown and Fletcher), but what did it help without our man "strong as a gorilla"? We missed Cole like a headache tablet when having a hang over, but I think a key moment was when Hines had to leave the field (injured). He had a good first half and absolutley made a fool out of Neville a number of times. I guess he had done so to a player like CB Carrick as well, if he had had the chance in the second half to counterattack a coupe of times more. He had scored I presume, or put up Franco. So he was surely missed too.

Green 5 - Subbed late on as he was felling ill. I think understand why with our goalrecord.... Not his best game even if not at fault with the goals. But if feeling sick, I think it is a shame not to give Kurucz a rare start.
Spector 6 - A really decent performance from the American. I mean from his standards. Made some mistakes, but do also need more help from the midfield.
Tomkins 5 - Covered well helping Spector, but lacked a bit of match-practise and made a mistake at the last goal. Even if I do not blame him for this, but our coaches.
Gabbidon 6 - So, so but at least pretty solid and will play better with Upson and even Da Costa beside him. Was the last man and not close enough to Giggs when he passed the ball to Gibson at their second, so no wonder he hesitated. Did probably take the right decision.
Ilunga 5,5 - I think he is to raise his game a bit from time to time, but he is maybe more than others dependent of having solid players around him. He knows he can't do it alone and even if he had a wonderful cross today it's far to rare these days.
Collison 5 - A great player who did not make any impact today.
Kovac 3 - During the game I called him our new Mullins. But that was evil. To Mullins. But Kovac do also tackle far to seldom, play too far from the players he should cover, can't pass a ball and looks sometimes like a grandmother out to shop but (by aliens) is transformed from the mall to the football field without knowing how. Was at fault for their first decisive goal and couldn't cover any ground at all. Sorry to say: May be our worst buy since Camara (who at least only was on loan).
Parker 5,5 - Parker in the game against Burnley may be the best performance I've ever seen from him. This was not close. Not at all. Started with his circles, and never got any further. I guess Scholes is a tougher opponent....
Junior Stanislas 5,5 - At least this guy tried a lot. Faded and did not well defensivly. Still I give him credit for his Energy and the ability is there somewhere.
Franco 6 - Isolated up front - and he is not the type of player to be - but moved well and fought.
Hines 6 - Sorry to see him injured as we all could see that when if sometimes failing he gave the defenders a hard time every time the ball was feeded to him. Off at halftime. One of our best player's so far. Was even was to fast for the referee... who missed how he was held down by the United defenders. Hope he'll be back very, very soon.

Diamanti 6 - Well, the Energy is there And we saw one really great freekick (do not mention the the others, please). We do like that someone take shots, but he has to learn to find his teammates as well. Now! When this guy learn how to be a teamplayer I will be very happy as he then can be the special player we all longing for.
Dyer 4 - Was he on?
Kurucz - Debut. Late sub, nothing to do.

Now it's time for Birmingham, a team that are much more solid than we are, and haven't lost for six PL games. So no easy points, not at all. Still we have to win three! Look at it brightly: Before the game against Fergie's men, we had a decent run as well. Please do not mention the goals we concede.... Do we have to be this fragile? How I can long for LBM!


Life sucks and then you die.

We lost to a title contending team, nothing too upsetting about that.

There were all sorts of negatives to take from this game, however, but I'll focus on Green being replaced. Regardless of the reason this is NOT a good sign.
If we had an owner Zola would have just about time to pack his bags.


Shaky back 4? Back 8 you mean!

The general consensus seem to be that our back four is a bit off, and the blame for this has fallen on virtually every player to figure in our defensive lineup.
Upson doesn't care, Ilunga doesn't track back, Tomkins is not what he was last year, Spector lacks speed and talent, Gabbidon is still not match fit, Collins is gone, Da Costa is still not quite up to the English (?) game. My favorite objection so far is one that I picked up at KUMB, Faubert is .... French!
Even though I have agreed with most of the above at one time or another (I mean Faubert is French isn't he?) fortunes (or Clarke/Zola) hasn't made it easy for us.

In the first 14 games this season 8 defenders and eleven (11!) different defensive lineups have been tried! Eleven! Only Faubert has been used in only one back-four position (but then he's been used as a winger...).
No back 4 lineup has been fielded more than twice!
To put this in some perspective, Burnley started the last 5 games with the same 11 players.

The reason for a finding is usually the most interesting part of it and here is a discussion in place.
The "bare to the thread squad" is a given reason and the sale of Collins is another, and related, reason. We just don't have decent backup, forcing us to play people out of position.
Spector is one example and when I read that he relished the opportunity to play in the center of defence with the US squad I almost panicked!

But does Zola and Clarke have a part in this?
My impression was that they may, as I thought I remembered some unnecessary changes, but after going back and checking the lineups I'm not sure they have had much of a choice. Most changes have been forced, and giving Tomkins the chance after Collins left may well have been the right thing to do.

So, even if I think that my first pick is less than a good PL line (Spector, Da Costa, Upson and Ilunga) there is a desperate need to let whatever 4 is preferred a good chance to "gel".

A letter was sent...

West Ham officials must believe that there is a desperate need for good news.
In 17:th place averaging 1 point a game and with a financial situation that is as grey as the latest November, indeed they are right.
Usually when times are dire, and there are no lingerie related stories available, the PR officer of the official site releases stories about the ladies team, the new stadium tour dates, another statement from DiCanio, or an interview with a player stating that everyone in the squad is “buzzing”.

This time the board wanted to kill two birds with one stone. To show that there is progress at the club and that Duckers is still alive. So they had Duckers present what he has been working on since he has been cut off from the real action – a letter!
This is a letter to get the approval to start to work on the new training ground. Not a decision to do so mind you, the decision was to send a letter.

Whats next?