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The wrong end of things (again)

Filed: Monday, 24th January 2011
By: Paul Walker

Ok, this is going to be a partisan, angry, twisted, bitter, frustrated rant - pretty much par for the course and sure to hit a raw nerve amongst Irons fans. But is it just me who feels we are getting the rough end of things from all levels of football authority since the Tevez saga?

Mention this theme to anyone outside the West Ham family and you are laughed down as paranoid. Ok, I’m paranoid.

But Saturday’s red card for Freddie Piquionne was just another decision that went against us, cost us victory and will have serious knock-on effects on Wednesday’s Carling Cup semi-final second leg, with our leading scorer now banned from the match at St. Andrews.

Piquionne scored a great header for what should have been the winner in one of our best, most committed and defiant performances for months, and at such a tough place as Everton it was even more outstanding.

Ok, the laws say you should be booked for getting involved with fans as you celebrate. But does anyone know what it’s really like to have been a success-starved, nerve-wracked West Ham fan, and player, these past months?

I drove away from Goodison Park with that 'it would never happen to a Manchester United player' theme pounding in my head. Then Ben Shepherd, bless him, and his Goals on Sunday team, proved there is one rule for us and one rule for Man U players.

Referees do not have to book players for Piquionne’s supposed offence. I knew I’d seen far worse go unpunished but couldn’t remember when.

But TV clips of the Villa-Man U game proved the point. Ashley Young was booked for rushing up to the crowd after scoring, and then Vidic did the same thing, with half a dozen team-mates jumping all over him, and didn’t get a card.

And guess what..he’d already been booked and would have had to see red. But he’s a Man U player, his and his colleagues’ offence looked worse than Piqiounne’s, but there was no card.

Piquionne did not jump into the crowd, he stood in front of them on the right side of the barrier, all he’d done was jump the advertising boards. Surely a quiet word would have been more sense. Peter Walton is in his last season on the referees’ list, he can’t be bothered about assessors now.

But our whole, sad, season could be further ruined by that red card. Without Obinna as well, and Cole struggling with injury, who will play up front on Wednesday?

It’s just another of a long list of poor decisions. I still can’t forget the late ‘winner’ at Wolves scored by Piquionne that was disallowed by Mark Clattenburg, or the clear penalty turned down when Lars Jacobsen had his shirt dragged off his back at Birmingham. Counting Saturday’s draw, that could have been six more points on our tally.

TV proved Piquionne didn't handle at Wolves. Clattenburg made that laughable decision from 20 yards behind the striker, so how could he have seen whether it was handball or not? Clattenburg is one of those annoying referees who has started to believe his own publicity, and has introduced the ‘shoulder shrug’ into refereeing signals.

Remember his decision and the incident when Gomes put the ball down expecting a free-kick and Nani was s allowed to score? Where was the game played? Old Trafford of course.

And there have been other rulings from the authorities. Remember the Millwall cup tie? We were finally heavily seemingly for what happened half a mile away at Upton Park tube station and Millwall fans were praised for their behaviour despite countless seats being ripped up in their end.

Ok, all this sounds bitter, twisted and irrational.. Seems to come with the territory these days as a West Ham fan.

Gladly there were good bits from Goodison. Our fans were magnificent, out-singing the home support all afternoon. And the side did play their guts out, for themselves and the manager. James Tomkins was outstanding under the aerial barrage, Noble, Parker and Boa Morte were excellent and Zavon Hines covered himself in glory.

He was out there because of his pace, mobility and desire to run at defenders. He was kicked mercilessly by John Heitinga - he of the most thuggish Dutch squad ever to walk the planet - and Mr. Walton did precious little about it.

Piquionne also got plenty of treatment, and his first booking was for retaliating after being kicked and body checked. Walton missed most of that but was quick enough to get his cards out for the goal celebrations.

Ok, I am paranoid - but what do you expect?

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by WHam yankee
12:14PM 25th Jan 2011
''Don't leave out Specs from the songs of praise. He's taken a lot of flak (much of which was deserved), but he's really given a lift this year.''

by TrevB
11:32AM 25th Jan 2011
''I've thought for a long time that we've been getting the wrong end of decisions since the Tevez saga. I think the media have been gunning for us since then as well.

It feels as though every time the club starts to come together and move forward, something comes along to hinder it. I think there have been another couple of penalty decisions against us this season as well. There was a Carlton Cole goal disallowed last season (or season before?) for an alleged foul, when replays (not to mention real time) showed he had done nothing more than use his strength to shrug off a defender.

I think the media frenzy surrounding Avram Grant last week was disgusting, and based purely on heresay - either from someone inside the club who is trying to undermine everything we do, or just purely made up by an unscrupulous journalist, safe in the knowledge that a 'source from within the club' doesn't need to be revealed and therefore doesn't need to be verified. Either way, it was malicious.

What other football clubs get the same treatment from the media that we do? When Roy Hodgson was sacked for doing a worse job than Grant, considering the different statures of the clubs, it happened at once, and seemed to catch the media by surprise whereas Grant, who wasn't sacked, was being told he was by every online media source that's ever existed in the build up to the Arsenal game.

The fact that we have remained a Premier League club since the Tevez saga is testament to everyone, because I really do believe it is against the odds - I think we peed off a lot of other clubs, the FA, and a lot of fans too, and as a result no one wants to do us any favours.

That said, I think we can continue to defy them all and stay up again this season - the improvement since the first couple of months is dramatic, and apart from the odd occasion where we've been woeful, I think we look stronger and stronger every week. If the coaching staff could work on getting the back four to concentrate for 90 plus minutes, I think we would solve most of our defensive problems, which have, I believe, cost us more points than our forwards, missed chances.

I'm glad they're sticking with Grant; he may not be the best in the world, but he's probably a lot better than anyone else we could lure, and I feel it's time we changed our mentality to managers and return to the old days, where managers were backed. John Lyall would have been fired unceremoniously in 1978 if things had been like they are now, but they stuck with him and I think most people would agree that he proved them right to do so.

Grant may not have the charisma of some of our previous managers, but he has the dignity and integrity of some of our favourites, and anyone who believes the football hasn't improved dramatically since last season should go and follow another team.''

by Jim (EFC)
11:15PM 24th Jan 2011
''I'm an Everton fan and I just want to say I hope your club make it out of the bottom three. Your team were excellent on Saturday and should have won. So best of luck mate for the rest of the season...and you're totally right about favouritism from refs for the so called big clubs.''

by Dave Claret & Blue
09:05PM 24th Jan 2011
''Totally agree, have same feelings myself. I don't think Spurs want to move, I think it's a smokescreen to put pressure on the authorities to approve the building of a new stadium near their current one.

I also agree that the rest of the footballing community seems to take great relish in kicking us when we are down. We've paid the price for the Tevez affair, let us get on with trying to restore our beloved club's reputation!''

by paul (EFC)
12:58PM 24th Jan 2011
''As an Everton fan I think it's a stupid bloody rule. However, we have our own litany of stupid decisions that go against us when we play the Reds...''

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