21/05/2010

What's your diagnosis?

As a fan one more or less have to adapt to whatever happens in your Club. That adapting process can be a painful one. How on earth should I feel about the inevitable, and in my view needed, sacking of Zola and the disgusting way G&S has handled it. Can I just see them as separate incidents? Of course not, but where does that leave me?

And what attitude should I have to the economic side of their ownership? I am quite sure that the Clubs economic situation was worse than Duxbury et al. wanted us to think (even though maybe not as shockingly dire as G&S told us after the take-over) and I’m fairly convinced that there was no one else that had the economic muscle to complete a take-over. In that sense they saved us from going into administration and, most certainly, relegation. But then it is as certain that they will limit the spending on players in a way that will burst a few bubbles. We will lose some players that will be able to find better financial deals elsewhere and that is always hard to stomach. G&S will however keep some other bubbles flying as a more conservative salary policy will pave the way for a more balanced squad. Fewer peaks but also less visits to the abyss is my hardly unique prediction for next season. A bit like learning that your depression is treatable but that you will never be as happy as you used to, ever again.

That provides an effortless queue for the Grant part of this post. Grant was not my first choice, but then was he anyone’s first choice? However considering the alternatives I think it has its flipsides. One is that you can read anything you like into his “CV”. One may want to emphasize the success at Chelsea, or say he was never a part of it. One may look at his work at Portsmouth and interpret it any way one chooses. Is he the one that managed a team to relegation or is he the one that against all odds got a relegation doomed team to the FA-cup final? Loser or winner? Talk about bipolar! I see his West Ham gig as the first true test as a manager in the UK, even though his ability to get the Pompey players to perform as they did although they were already doomed to relegation may say something. My guess is that Grant will have me off the lithium and longing for excitement. Fancy that, the team known for its contempt for consistency having an outside chance of stability!

Then the Olympic stadium. If I feel divided in the other issues I’m split right down the middle on this one. It forces you to answer to the question “Do you feel it is of importance that West Ham can compete with the top clubs for players and trophies or are you fine with letting players that succeeds in our colors go on to build the back bone of ManUre and Chelsea?”. If you have a clear answer to that one, the stadium question is a no brainer. Unfortunately I don’t. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Hand me the Prozac!

Mental state and West Ham

This post transformed to the one above for technical/tactical reasons - sorry about that Allan.

12/05/2010

Same Sullivan...

I think one can separate the team from the owners to some extent. Like the ManUre fans chant "Love united hate Glazers".

G&S are bastards, we all knew this.
However, they are the bastards that were willing to spend money to save our Club from economic oblivion and a Portsmouthian fate. No one else was. If they were forced away from the Club for some reason, what would be achieved? There are no buyers!

Zola was probably unwilling to go - why? Because he believed he had done wonders with the team and deserved another season? Maybe one can argue that one should know when a party is over, but then he was under a contract and had all the rights to try to hang on for the length of it. But he is not quite the first manager to be sacked under that kind of circumstances is he?

G&S was always going to try to avoid paying Zola off. All the abuse during the season had that sole purpose. If the rumours are true really doesn't matter, does it? The lawyers that are, or will be, involved will sort it and it certainly doesn't change my view of G&S. They are and were bastards.

It may have some detrimental implications for the future however.
What manager would like to come to our Club and risk to share Zola's fate? G&S seem to try the "we stand by our players and managers" defining "our" as people that they have hired - let's see how that hangs with the managers they are courting.

Shame Sullivan!

If it is more than a rumour, if it is closer to the truth, I think it is a real shame. If Sullivan has breached Zola's contract by saying that Franco has breached the contract himself (and not paying him a penny) cause the Italian defended his own players and asked a question when Sullivan himself went out to the media and critisised the players openly - then it's not fun anymore. It is filthy oppression. It is acting like a former Eastern dictator, thinking he can do anything he wants with people.

Zola may not have reached any hights with his team, so this is not about finding a new manager or not, it's about how G&S acts. To humilate our servant Zola this way - if the rumours are true - is disgraceful.
It will not get us any new fans, it will not get us any energy, it will probably mean that players are looking elsewhere, it will not improve our team. The opposite. We can be seen as the gready basterds and maybe – if supporting our new owners doing things like this – we are. This is not the West Ham way, no way.

West Ham fans should act and refuse to buy any season tickets before this is reasonable solved. We still got the power.

At least to do something when we find out the truth in this matter.

11/05/2010

Quite Gianfrancly, it's for the best

The OS awards our manager of the last 2 seasons a one (1!) sentence long farewell!!

G&S have no reputation of being soft, but this is a bit too much. It ends the piece with “The club will make no further comment on this matter” – yeah right. Sully is known as the strong silent type isn’t he?
On the note of the sacking itself – I don’t doubt for a second that it was handled lousily as G&S certainly doesn’t share Zola’s suffering when having to tell a player he is not in the team for the next game. But then Zola knew this was coming and I’m sure he will be economically compensated.

“Na├»ve” is probably the word I will use to describe Zola while with us.
I very much liked the way he wanted us to play and his visions for the future was very tempting – all the things a player and a fan wants to hear. The image of an attacking and technically able squad will stick in the back of my mind as a icon and monument over his reign at Boleyn Ground. Unfortunately he never got us to play fluid football on the floor bar a few precious moments.



... and I very much doubt that he ever would.
One could argue that he never got a chance due to dire times. But as our manager during these hard times I still expected more, like adapting o the situation. His inability to learn from his tactical mistakes was one of my problems with him. I would fully expect a West Ham under Zola to gather in the center of the pitch and play 5 yard passes to covered players or a long ball toward Cole also next season.
My “favourite” hang up, however, was the ever-changing team sheet (even though I respect him for trying not to communicate through one as Curbs allegedly did), making it all but impossible to form a team of the players.
He was obviously liked by most in the squad, as a person, and it will be hard to find one that has not pledged his allegiance to Zola and this is what makes it a bit hard to criticize him. It feels a bit like stabbing your friend in the back. Let's see how the players will handle that.

I will most likely miss him if we, as expected, get a manager that (as main qualification) can forge out decent results from a mediocre squad.
Or rather I will miss what we never had.

Best luck for the future Gianfranco!

Money is the law

It was nice to see Zola play for us this Wednesday, he was king of the pitch in the testimonial game for Carr (and should actually be able to play in the team if he wanted to). But he may sooner than later leave us...

It was very nice to see LBM back on Sunday, with his energy and no-nonsense play he was the king of the pitch (together with Diamanti) against Man City. But he may sooner than later leave us....

I think they both could do business for us (Zola as head coach). At least we need a player like LBM, as he fights like a wounded lion each time on the pitch. A game like the one against Wolves or Fulham would have looked different with him on the pitch.

Boa Morte reacted angrily at Sullivan after our owner had said some very unwise words. So answering the owners, who had accused Zola and the players with mainly the same words, was to cost him two weeks salary (according to reports) in fines. The Portugese had to apologize. Money talks. Money rules. I do not like the way our owners handle things.....

I really would like to see us write a new contract with Ilan right now. He kept us in the PL and are the only one who can score in the box. And are about to learn some understanding with Cole, a thing we've asked for too long now....

It is never easy to be a West Ham fan, but I do wonder what team we will see in August. We all knows we need change, but if every other senior player agree with Boa Morte and Zola, and continutes to have this strained relations to our owners, then we may see too many good players leave. And an unsecure team... once again....

I do hope I'm wrong.

03/05/2010

Way to little, still enough!

Long time no seen!

I´m sorry I haven´t been able to deliver updates the last couple of weeks. Last time was at the end of march and I was struggling to see where we were going to get the points needed to stay up. It seems we didn´t need the amount of points I thought was needed since it seems that this will be the season with least points required to stay up, ever. This, ofcourse, isn´t good enough!

Yesterday we had a splendid chance to get another three points against a Fulham side who never win against West Ham. A Fulham side thinking about the clubs biggest game ever in a forthnight. A Fulham side who wouldn´t be interested in a fight since the players wouldn´t want to risk an injury before the final. What did we do? As we´ve done quite a lot of times this season. We rolled over without a fight. We were not up to it. I´m getting really frustrated with performances like this and I don´t think I´m the only one.

We don´t seem to be psyched up at the start of the games and most of the time we´re not able to change that around during the game either. During the games we don´t seem to have a strategy how to get the ball and when we get it we doesn´t seem to know what to do with it. This is a management issue. Are you really up to it Zola? It certainly doesn´t seem so!

(Game: Prediction, Outcome, +/- from the game, +/- overall)

January:
Aston Villa - WHU: 0p, 1p, 1p, 1p
Portsmouth - WHU: 3p, 1p, -2p, -1p
WHU - Blackburn: 3p, 1p, -2p, -3p
Total January: 6p, 3p, -3p, -3p

February:
Burnley - WHU: 3p, 0p, -3p, -6p
WHU - Birmingham: 1p, 3p, 2p, -4p
WHU - Hull: 3p, 3p, 0p, -4p
Manchester United - WHU: 0p, 0p, 0p, -4p
Total February: 7p, 6p, -1p, -4p

March:
WHU - Bolton: 1p, 0p, -1p, -5p
Chelsea - WHU: 0p, 0p, 0p, -5p
Arsenal - WHU: 0p, 0p, 0p, -5p
WHU - Wolverhampton: 3p, 0p, -3p, -8p
WHU - Stoke: 3p, 0p, -3p, -11p
Total March: 7p, 0p, -7p, -11p

April:
Everton - WHU: 0p, 1p, 1p, -10p
WHU - Sunderland: 1p, 3p, 2p, -8p
Liverpool - WHU: 0p, 0p, 0p, -8p
WHU - Wigan: 3p, 3p, 0p, -8p
Total April: 4p, 7p, 3p, -8p

May:
Fulham - WHU: 1p, 0p, -1p, -9p
WHU - Manchester City: 0p
Total May: 1p

(Prediction, +/- according to prediction, pointing towards x amount of points)

Total 2009: 18p
Total 2010: 25p, -9p, 16p
Total 09/10: 43p, -9p, 34p