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Not getting any easier, is it?

Filed: Sunday, 17th April 2011
By: Paul Walker

So itís come to this. Five games left, two that Avram Grant does not believe we can win and three more that the rest of us doubt we can win.

We havenít won three league games on the trot since 2008 and we havenít won three from five since a spell that started on Boxing Day the same season - so why does anyone think we can suddenly produce a miracle?

Because that is what is needed now after the spiritless, spineless, painful capitulation of the last two games against Bolton and Aston Villa.

Weíve got Danny Gabbidon swearing at fans on Twitter - maybe someone asked him why he didnít compete in the air against Gabby Agbonlahor for Villaís injury time winner - and Grant showing just why he should have been sacked in January and any month previously.

I actually stopped writing my views over the past few weeks because I was being accused of being negative and we should all be pulling together. Fair point. But Iíve been pulling together, as have family and friends, but frankly itís hard to believe that the team and management are pulling together.

These last two games (probably more) have been the pits. Over 3,000 Hammers fans went to Bolton and were stunned by the lack of fight and moral fibre. It was the first game in 50 years - apart from one match at the old Den when a full scale riot was going on and bottles were fizzing around my head - that I have left early.

Nine minutes to be precise. Iíd seen enough, if the players were not going try, why should I. I felt bad about that and waited until the end against Villa, wondering how we would react to that last seconds goal.

Manchester United would have thrown themselves forward in frantic desperation, Liverpool - at Arsenal on Sunday - reacted in just the same way, and won a penalty and a point. West Ham, nothing, we didnít even get the ball into Villaís box.

We should have had another penalty, when Richard Dunne shoved over Carlton Cole - no, Mark Halsey, it wasnít shoulder to shoulder. But we should have seen Vidic sent-off when we were 2-0 ahead against Manchester United in the last home game - refereeing has just become a sick joke.

But no sicker than the lack of planning, organisation, commitment and effort from our lovely boys of late. I thought we had a defensive coach in Wally Downes, but we are still letting in shocking goals at the back.

Since that FA Cup defeat at Stoke, when we were cheated out of victory, nothing has gone right.

Now Stoke are in the Cup Final and we are going nowhere, seemingly, but down. It will be good to see Carlos Tevez lifting the cup for Manchester City. Good luck, pal, you deserve it.

There is so much wrong with us at the moment, itís hard to know where to start. The 4-3-3 formation does not work. We leave too much space in front of our full backs, who get attacked constantly without support.

We have conceded more headed goals than any other Premier League team this season, and still we donít contest crosses, stop them coming in or cut them out. Robert Green, for all his heroics, does not command his area and Matthew Upson, and now Gabbidon, constantly lose out in the air. Two more headed goals against Villa and not a challenge on Agbonlahor or Darren Bent.

Now we could do with Bent up front. Oh, I forgot, some of our fans made it clear to Alan Curbishley that they didnĎt want a player from Charlton, he wasnĎt good enough. But look at him now, he might well get into our attack.

It has, in fact, all gone wrong since Scott Parker got into the England set-up. Nobody would deny him a last chance of a proper international career and maybe a major finals next summer. But I went to Cardiff for the Wales game with only one thing in my head - please donít get injured, Scotty.

I should have known better. We have lost Dean Ashton due to international duty injury and Thomas Hitzlsperger for much of the season for the same reason. Parker returned from England duty with a calf injury and more damage to the shoulder injury he has been playing with for weeks.

He clearly didnít look fit against Manchester United or Bolton - and he could take some blame for both Daniel Sturridge goals because he just couldnít get close enough to the young striker.
He wasnít fit enough to face Villa - an Achilles injury now - and may not play again until those last three games of the season, at home to Blackburn and Sunderland and away to Wigan. The games Grant seems to be targeting.

But then the bottom line is that Grant probably knows he is going and may even have a new job lined up if the strong rumours about returning to Chelsea as director of football are to believed. And with his Russian-Israeli mates behind him, thereís every chance that rumour is true.

And does anyone believe that agents and advisors for our first team players are not already sounding clubs out about taking on our stars? Ask yourself this, how many of our current first team squad will not be playing in the Premier League next season?

The vast majority I would suggest. The loan players will be long gone too. Itís us, the fans, who will be relegated, while the current owners take the chance to slash the wage bill.

One of the Davids said recently that they left Birmingham with no one paid more that £20,000 a week. Thatís Championship wages for Championship players. Itís the future for us too if this current bunch donít start fighting for the shirt.

But then we have only won 15 out of 71 league games in three seasons, and just 70 of 198 since the beginning of the Tevez ĎGreat Escapeí season. Just what makes Grant think things will change in the next month?

And just to end....letís get off Mark Nobleís back. Yes, it was a poor error that gave Villa their equaliser, but he runs his guts out for the club; he loves fighting fires all over the pitch because others canít be bothered. At least he is trying for the cause, how many others can say that?

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 gportugal
08:51PM 20th Apr 2011
''Agree with all the themes of this piece except for the portion on Noble. Yes, he converted two penalties back to back against Man Utd but his error leading to Villa's equaliser was one of many this season. Such as the free kick he conceded leading to Rooney's first goal.

He has talent and does work hard, but he has serious lapses of judgement on a regular basis that are partly responsible for us facing relegation. This is a player who should have matured a lot more than he has by now. And his lack of maturity is costing West Ham United large. ''

by Sharon Cross
01:19PM 18th Apr 2011
''Agree totally with what you are saying - although Grant wasn't our manager last season when we played Wolves, Zola was and it was Sullivan that was making a big deal of it. Just like they made a big deal of Saturday with the flags and brass bands and all the best of British stuff - and then we lose!

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for raising money for the Bobby Moore Cancer Fund and remembering our great hero as he would have been 70 last Monday - it's just a shame our current players (with the exception of Noble, Parker and Green) are not fit to clean Mooro's boots!''

by Tell it how it is Charley
08:50AM 18th Apr 2011
''I take KUMB as an independent where you can tell it how it really is. I think 'if you all club together and be positive' then youīre just hiding the true horrors going on at this club.

Robert Green would be my player of the year just for consistancy. If you were playing in a defence that has leaked nearly 70 goals I think the trust you have with your fellow defenders would be shaky. I accept itīs one the criticisms levelled against him that he lacks a big pressence, although there is not one better reflex keeper in the world.

The thing West Ham havenīt dealt with is stopping so many crosses entering in the box. Noble lacks pace but itīs the left and right side of midfield that are badly disjointed. Only addressing the problem late in January that the team needed a decent left back, this should have been seen last summer. But like you say if you play 4-3-3 thjat you passing must fluent.

The only positive out of this is that a move to Stratford becomes more unlikely. How the club is in a financial position to support the income drop, God only knows. Administration must be close. The biggest lossers will be Sullivan & Gold. But the real reason the club are where they are today is our 'Life President' Terrence Brown, this guy should be barred from the Boleyn for life!''

by hammer_atown
08:05AM 18th Apr 2011
''Zola did like to pick and choose games, whereas I'm not sure you could say Grant does the same. Whilst he makes baffling decisions at times, I don't think he writes off games before they were played like Zola did. I do think it took a very long time to break that mentality at the club. ''

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