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That Was The Season That Was 2012/13 - Part Two


Filed: Thursday, 13th June 2013
By: Gordon Thrower


In what some people are already calling "dire stuff" it's time for Part Two of our traditional look back over the last season. Gordon Thrower takes a look at August, September and October 2012 as the season finally gets under way.....

August

At the conclusion of the last part of this review we were looking at the signing of Ghostbuster Ivan Ramis. Despite some sources suggesting that the deal is a done deal, the player signs for Wigan. The change of heart seems to have come from the club as James Collins returns from Aston Villa instead for £2m. Which is £3m less than we got from him when he went in the other direction. Less heralded is the arrival of young ‘keper Raphael Spiegler, who maintains the Ghostbusters soundalike theme in arriving for a nominal fee from Swiss side Grasshoppers.

Trialist Bilel Moshni has impressed enough for us to stick in a reported bid of £150,000 to his current club Southend. The bid appears to be rejected and the player remains by the seaside. One who does arrive is French international Alou Diarra who arrives from Marseille for a £2m fee. Kumb commences a search for a new Staff Writer after we beat up the old one for his “Alou, Alou” headline.

There’s an injury scare as Diame limps off with a knock in the Senegal team’s Olympic Quarter final. Meanwhile, in a nod to tradition, the GB XI also goes out in the quarter finals to South Korea to a wave of national indifference. Any disappointment the nation might have suffered is tempered by the three gold medals we pick up in the athletics in the space of an hour or so on the same night, courtesy of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford.

The Olympics finish with a closing ceremony every bit as awful as the opening one was good. Somehow the talent-free zone that is Gary Barlow is allowed on stage as a range of tenth-rate acts pollute the airwaves. I guess someone felt that what with all the medals we won, and what with the opening ceremony being so great, we’d rubbed the rest of the world’s noses in it quite enough for one year.

Low points include thousands of Ed Sheeran fans going onto various social media sites to proclaim their darling’s genius for coming up with “Wish You Were Here” a mere 37 years after Pink Floyd first released it, and the presence of the Spice Girls. High points were the presence of the Who and the continued non-presence of the England Supporters Band.

Back up over the border Rangers are finally admitted to League 3 as Celtic fans claim that the current club have won no titles what with them being new and everything. Which seems petty even by the “two bald men fighting over a comb” standards of Scottish football.

After all the preamble and speculation the season actually starts. We open against the Villa, who turn up in a horrific fluorescent green away kit and spend ages passing it back and forth between their back four without bothering to try to score. A Nolan goal on 40 minutes is enough to give us all three points on a rather warm day. That puts us joint top of the league then.

Bottom of the league are QPR, for whom Rob Green has a shocker against Swansea in a 5-0 defeat. Meanwhile Alan Pardew – whose name rings a bell – lands himself in spot of bother and gets himself a touchline ban for shoving over a linesman in his side’s 2-1 defeat of Tottenham. Well it WAS a throw-in.

It's that weird period when the season has started but the transfer window is still open. We still have business to conduct. Matt Jarvis signs from Wolves for a reported fee of just under £11m. Hammers all over the world are confused at the thought of having owners who actually put their hands in their pockets.

Jarvis gets a baptism of fire as we travel abroad and go down 3-0 to Swansea. A JJ og, Michu and Graham are on target for the Swans on a day of defensive nightmares. Particularly from Collins. Not joint top of the league anymore then.

We take a night off from the league to defeat Crewe Alexandra 2-0 in the 2nd round of the League Cup. A second string XI stroll through the proceedings as Maynard and Maiga are on target.

Royston Drenthe becomes the latest player to be linked with the club, with us (according to his agent) apparently making a polite enquiry as to what sort of wages the free agent would be after. Presumably the answer was “too much” as we never hear anything else.

The transfer window hots up again. Andy Carroll is coming, or maybe not. Maynard’s goal against Wigan turns out to be his last for the club as he goes to Cardiff. Carroll finally ends the will-he-won’t-he speculation by coming in on a one season loan deal.

Carroll’s arrival has hilarious ramifications for Liverpool who turn up at Fulham with a bag full of cash asking if Clint Dempsey can come out to play, Fulham, still cheesed off by the scousers’ earlier illegal approaches reply: “He’s gone mate. We flogged him to Spurs. But thanks for pushing the price up for us”. The deal leaves Liverpool with only Suarez as a main striker. Nobody feels sorry for them.

Talking of illegal transfers, Yossi Benayoun whose departure to Anfield in 2006 took place AFTER he’d agreed a new deal at the Boleyn, returns to E13 on a loan deal from Chelsea. The treatrment room hurriedly consults the Israel fixture list to establish which weeks Benayoun will go down with a mysterious injury.

Sam Baldock is next out. Bristol City is his destination which, if that song is accurate, should please the womenfolk of the West Country anyway.

Other transfer news elsewhere sees QPR sign Brazilian ‘keeper Julio Caesar. Yeah that’s right, the team that signed Rob Green signed another international ‘keeper. That won’t end in tears then.

News from the front pages includes the announcement that the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong has passed away at the age of 82. We’ll have none of that Capricorn One nonsense around here thanks. Buzz Aldrin once decked one of the idiots responsible for propagating those conspiracy theories and we’re with him on that one. They went to the moon. Deal with it.

The month ends with us in 10th spot with three points from our two games. Long way to go then.

September

Andy Carroll makes his debut on the first of the month against Fulham. Three first half goals from Nolan, Reid and Taylor see us stroll home for a comfortable 3-0 win. Carroll has a fine game, linking up nicely with the team and providing a focal point for the attack, overshadowing Dimitar Berbatov, a deadline day signing who makes his debut for our opponents, presumably having spent the money Spurs gave them for Dempsey.

Unfortunately, Carroll immediately immerses himself in Irons tradition and joins a long list of players who have injured themselves on or before their debuts. A pulled a hamstring with 25 minutes to go is an injury that will keep him out for an estimated six weeks.

Free agent Michael Owen gives up football once and for all by signing for Stoke on a one year deal. Sad.

We’re in action less than usual this month as international matches take precedence. A comfortable 5-0 away defeat of Moldova is followed by a stuttering 1-1 draw with Ukraine (or “The” Ukraine as we used to call it) as England’s World Cup Qualification bid opens. Same as usual then.

The independent panel charged with looking into the Hillsborough disaster publishes its long awaited report. It finds that over a hundred police statements had been “edited” in a blame-shifting exercise. Accidental death verdicts are later set aside in advance of new inquests to take place in the new year.

We gain our first away point of the season up at Carrow Road, drawing 0-0 against Norwich who moan that Spurs’ favourite cyclist Chris Foy should have given a penalty for a challenge by James Collins, despite the challenge taking place just outside the box.

The following week we concede a 9th minute goal at home to Sunderland, Their scorer, Fletcher, has scored all their goals so far this season. We batter them for the remaining 81 minutes but it takes until stoppage time for Nolan to pop up with a deserved equaliser.

The Sunderland match is tinged with sadness in our part of the ground as we hear that Alan Smith, a friend with whom we’ve been attending matches since the new West Stand opened, had passed away the night before the match. It’s with trembling voices that we sing Bubbles. Rest in peace mate.

We finish the month with a tame exit from the League Cup as a 2nd XI succumb to Whelan’s Wigan. A side so young in places they probably qualify to make shirts for Whelan’s old sportswear chain lose 4-1, despite Modibo Maiga giving us an early lead. One time Hammers target Ivan Ramis is on the scoresheet for the visitors.

A tv documentary highlights Liverpool’s current status as a figure of fun (Tottenham of the North anyone?) when Brendan Rodgers is shown holding up an envelope. “In here there are the names of three players who I KNOW will let me down this season” he declares in a portentious manner. The fact that the trick is well known from the days when Alex Ferguson pinched it off some sports psychologist (the envelope is, of course, empty) rather diminishes its effect on the bored-looking players, some of whom have clearly heard of the ploy before.

Mark Noble puts pen to a new three-year deal after much speculation over his future. “I’m over the moon” he claims. Nice to see that some players have a sense of tradition as the old cliché makes its 10 billionth appearance in an interview with a footballer. I remember David Cross saying the same thing to an interviewer after the 1980 FA Cup Final. Psycho, however, was taking the p*ss.

The month ends with the FA fining John Terry £220,000 and banning him for four matches for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last season. Terry issues a general apology that he has clearly had absolutely nothing to do with preparing and is clearly the product of the Damage Limitation Team in Chelsea’s PR unit. The giveaway is that the announcement contains a number of words containing more than one syllable that Terry wouldn’t be able to pronounce let alone spell if left to his own devices. Fans note the double standards in place pointing out that had a supporter been convicted of using the same language the punishment would have been a life ban from Stamford Bridge.

Like much of the year the weather sucks – some parts of Britain getting a whole month’s worth of rain in a day. Seriously guys, this global warming joke has run its course. Can we go back to driving bigger cars now?

As the season begins to develop slowly, the month ends with us in tenth spot with 8 points from five games. Nice but let’s not get carried away…..

October

October starts with an away win in the Premier League – the first since a 3-1 defeat of Blackpool under Avram Grant in the last relegation season. This season’s recipients of the first of the “How Shit Must You Be” awards are QPR who go down 2-1 thanks to goals from Jarvis and Vaz Te. Ref Mark Clattenburg remembers he’s on live tv and books ten players, eight of which are Hammers, in a game in which there is barely a foul worthy of the name. For good measure he sends off QPR sub Diaktie. Rob Green, relegated to the Loftus Road subs bench by the late signing of Brazilian ‘keeper Caesar, is seen giving a wry grin as his replacement has an uncertain evening.

Post match, wannabe Hammers owner Tony Fernandes takes to twitter to announce his support for beleaguered QPR boss Mark Hughes. That’ll be the modern equivalent of the “vote of confidence” that traditionally precedes a sacking then.

Sad news as the death of John Bond is announced. Remembered elsewhere for his managerial exploits, “Muffin” was an integral part of the Hammers sides of the late 50s and early 60s.

Bond’s memory is honoured at the start of the next match, another derby, this time against Arsenal. A fine Diame strike gives us the lead which we hold until a defensive lapse lets in Giroud just before the interval. We have our chances but injuries to Vaz Te and Demel deprive us of a whole right side. Walcott and Corzola make it 3-1 to the visitors, a result that doesn’t match the performance. Meanwhile, Vaz Te’s dislocated shoulder keeps him out until the new year.

On-loan Ravel Morrison is in the news again. Rumours appear that Birmingham want to send him back to the Boleyn due to “attitude” problems in training. The rumours are swiftly denied by both club and player though.

Second choice ‘keeper Steven Henderson departs on loan to Ipswich, bemoaning his lack of first team opportunity, though quite what he expected with the arrival of JJ isn’t really explained.

All hell breaks loose in the world of tv as a documentary is broadcast that suggests that Jimmy Saville may not have been quite the nice guy that absolutely nobody thought he was. The news, though pretty much common knowledge to anyone who has ever watched tv, seems to come as a surprise to the police who spring into action some 30 years late and launch Operation Yewtree whose remit seems to be to arrest just about anyone who ever appeared on a tv light entertainment show during the 1970’s.

An Austrian chap with the unlikely name of Felix Baumgartner breaks all sorts of records by jumping out of a capsule suspended from a balloon. From 24 miles up. It’s a damned impressive feat and Luis Suarez spends hours sat in front of YouTube looking for diving tips.

With World Cup qualifiers coming up Roy Hodgson cheeses off Rio Ferdinand by announcing his omission from the squad first to a few blokes he happened to meet on the tube. The faux-pas grabs all the headlines whilst the fact that the thuggish Ryan Shawcross has somehow made the squad seems to elude the attention of the press. A 5-0 win over San Marino is followed by a stuttering 1-1 draw in Poland as a pattern begins to develop.

Commemorative stamps are issued as the authorities mark the 250th time England and Poland have been drawn together in qualifying as the TV companies issue an appeal for technical help as the video of the ill-fated 1973 World Cup qualifier begins to wear out.

We return to League action with a fine 4-1 win over Southampton at the Boleyn. Noble (2 – 1 pen), Nolan and Maiga are on target as we gain revenge for the diving that marked the meeting between the sides the season before. One of Noble’s efforts is a free-kick that eludes everyone and drifts past the ‘keeper for a comedy goal.

We soon come back to earth as a poor away performance sees us go down 2-1 up at Wigan. Our reputation as sequence-busters is enhanced as it transpires that it’s Wigan’s first home win of the season. One time target Ivan Ramis nets the home side’s first to add to the one he got against us in the League Cup. Annnoying, isn’t it? Tomkins hits the bar before converting a late header for the final score to make things look closer than they really are.

Operation Yewtree gets into full swing as Gary Glitter gets arrested. They may be late but the police are at least starting in the obvious places I suppose.

Chelsea go down 3-2 at home to Man Utd, whose winner from Hernandez appears to have benefited from some temporary repeal of the offside law. Chelsea finish the match with nine men as Ivanovic and Torres are both given red cards. Chelsea, in a manner reminiscent of their actions when they played Barcelona a couple of years back, decide to accuse ref Mark Clattenburg of “inappropriate language”, hinting that he may have made a “racial slur”. This oe will runand run we suspect.

We finish October in 9th place with 14 points from out 9 matches so far. Comfortable as a pair of old slippers then. Some tough matches ahead though…….


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.







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