philipl Posted December 3, 2007 Share Posted December 3, 2007 West Ham Preview It's 'ello to the barrow boys of the East End and their owners the biscuit boys of Iceland. I have tried and as yet failed to get an 'ammer to respond to the mildly provocative set of questions I sent them. Perhaps they haven't been born yet judging by this advert I found at the top of the Westham.org web site: Fetus Ultrasound Free online pregnancy calendar now with 'In Utero' images from GE! Obviously the work of West Ham Girl of a season or two back- she got them over-excited... eventually. Enough of this jollity, quite a number of us wonder whether we should be playing West Ham at all. The Arbitrators of Sheffield United's appeal in the Tevez affair commented they would have deducted points (and thereby relegated) West Ham had they been originally sitting in judgment originally but the £5.5million fine and no points deduction was within the range of punishments the FA Committee could have given and so they were not empowered to change it. The £5.5m fine was effectively reduced by over £2m as West Ham climbed four places and gained the prize money accordingly adding insult to the injury of escaping relegation. The somersaults and contortions whereby West Ham asserted their “ownership” (when the FA told them to) of Tevez in a transfer to Man United in which they were entirely by-passed increased the sense of massive injustice. Of course the Tevez- inspired escape was an astonishing achievement more than somewhat tarnished in footballing terms by the Devine impact of the hand ball, off side and never crossed the line goal at Ewood Park without which West Ham would still have gone down. Even more spectacular was the way West Ham under the Chairmanship of a long time Executive Board member of UEFA whose ground is closer to the City of London then the Emirates Stadium is (as the Eggman explained to a bemused Knees up Mother Brown web site which extols the virtues of a true working class cockerney club) and associated with the saintly hands-in-everything-good Sir Trevor Brooking, managed to avoid the fate which would have undoubtedly have befallen practically any other football club. So in the spirit if fair play and all that is good about England, I asked Paul Holland of www.blades-mad.co.uk to help preview Sunday's game from the perspective of the club many believe we should have been playing this season but for West Ham's string pulling and having friends in the right places ("guilty but we'll be nice to you and on appeal we say we don't know why they didn't relegate you but they had the right not to"): 1) Many football fans have a deep sense of unease and miscarriage of justice over the Tevez affair but we weren't the victims. What is it like to be a Blade? As a fan its great, all Sheffield United fans are passionate about their team and no doubt same rules apply over the Yorkshire border but one thing is certain that most (if not all) Blades fans agree that United were unfairly relegated from the Premier League. Of course you can argue that United didn’t earn enough points to stay up and probably should have done better against Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season but at the end of the day West Ham United signed and played two illegal players and should have been brought to justice in the proper manor that all teams agreed to in the Premier League. I don’t however blame the players in question, like many of our foreign imports they came to this Country to earn big money and play at a better standard of football – it’s West Ham United who should have abided by the rules of the game. 2) Are there any continuing legal actions? Any chance of the Blades succeeding? I’m not sure about succeeding, but Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe has made it quite clear that the Blades plan to fight this battle to the bitter end. The arbitration appeal failed as did other attempts to claim back money which we lost due to relegation; the Bramall Lane club now plan to take it further by suing the Hammers; no actual court date has been set, but June 2008 has been penciled in. 3) I think it is fair to say outsiders are not surprised to see you struggling since the extraordinary decision to appoint Bryan Robson as manager. Do you have any hope of promotion this season? I think it’s fair to say that a large population of Blades fans wasn’t happy with the appointment of Bryan Robson nor the others who didn’t match the standards (Dave Bassett, Peter Reid and Stuart McCall). The Blades had a stutter start to the Championship and have found games difficult to control when on paper maybe United should have been coasting it! However in the last ten games its clear there is a difference since the defence has been strengthened with the loan signings of Phil Bardsley and Gary Cahill from Manchester United and Aston Villa which has seen the Blades go six league games unbeaten until 24 November when they lost to Plymouth but soon picked up the pace with a surprise 3-0 win at Charlton. Maybe our season has turned and the introduction of new backroom staff is what has turned our fortunes around – I wouldn’t like to say that we’ll win the league but I hope come May we are at least in the top six. We could be this season's Sunderland. 4) We were sniffing around old boy James Beattie this summer but we saved a million and got Roque Santa Cruz instead. How is Beats doing for you-lucky escape for Rovers or did we miss out? I wasn’t aware that Rovers were interested in their former player – at first I wasn’t quite sure he would fit the bill considering his Premier League record but has fitted in well and has linked up with striking partners around him like Danny Webber and ex-Rovers Jonathan Stead. Maybe if he moved back to Ewood Park things might be different but it is commonly known that foreign players cost less than British national which is a shame for our Country – Beattie reminds me of Neil Shipperley, a traditional target man with power and strength. He has however been linked with a move to Midlesbrough in January, not sure how much is true but our board have been talking to the Boro board and have at least reassured Blades fans that there is no clause in his contact that allows him to leave if he wants. 5) Is Beats still capable of drinking most supporters under the bar (allegedly but I've got friends who lived to tell the tale or so they claim)? Wasn’t aware he had a drink problem – but I wouldn’t mind challenging him if he’s paying! 6) What do you think of the Rovers this season? Rovers have surprised me this season and admire the likes of Morton Gamst Pedersen and David Bentley who both have lots of skill and talent whilst Brad Friedel is quality shot stopper. It was a shame that Rovers went of the UEFA Cup; I always like to see British teams do well in European competitions – and whilst appreciate that the Blue & White haven’t won for four matches now I hope they do finish in a European spot but Champions League will be beyond them. 7) Any views on our six toed neighbours the dingles from Burnley? Make sure you do the double over them please. Unfortunately that won’t happen this season after drawing 0-0 at Bramall Lane, arguably United should have won after James Beattie saw a perfectly good last minute goal disallowed for a non existent push. For some reason the Blades and Burnley does have a biggish rivalry and doesn’t help when they acquire four of our former players, Jon Harley, David Unsworth, Andy Gray and Ade Akinbiyi. They have aspirations to gain promotion to the Premiership and did introduce a laughable offer of half-priced tickets if they gain promotion but unless real investment is put into the club I’m afraid they will live in the shadows of Ewood Park for a long time to come. Back to the game we will actually playing on Sunday. For all the cheat etc in West Ham's recent heritage, they are a club who have graced football with some of its biggest names and more recently Ludo Miklosko a particular favourite of our's and still goal keeping coach at Upton Park. It is fair to say that if West Ham had all their players fit, they would be a very potent outfit. The Eggman and his backers certainly opened the biscuit barrel when it came to reckless spending during 2007 with fat transfer fees and even fatter wages being lashed around sadly twice frustrating/damaging Rovers' intent and ambitions in the process (Look-cash Neil and Craig Barter-me). Quite how the economics of all that loose money are intended to work out is a bit of an Icelandic Saga but a forward line of a fit Ashton with a fit Bellamy would trouble every Premiership defense bar none. I have seen a few games played by West Ham and they certainly know how to knock the ball about retaining possession and are very effective in getting in behind opponent defenses and scoring clinically with Carleton Cole a very effective big man up. Fortunately, they are Curbishley-porous at the back if we can get the ball into the final third of the pitch with only the excellent Robert Green between them and many embarrassing goals against this season. Lucas Neil is as in his largely superb career with the Rovers- all pugnacious tackles, driven, organised and periodic concentration lapses. No doubt the booing at Ewood will help to keep Lucas fully focused unfortunately as in the Boro game at Upton Park he gifted no fewer than three one-on-ones; all stopped by Robert Green. This is Rovers' third home game on the trot facing a club which took all three points last year and the second where the opposition have a former Ewood favourite superstar who is out injured. I suspect this is more likely to be revenge time (Newcastle) rather than another defeat (Villa) but my forecast is that it will be a high scoring draw with 2-2 or 3-3 on the cards. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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