Filed: Monday, 24th March 2014
By: Paul Walker
Depressing, hideous, an abuse of our loyalty and support..and those are only the printable views on Saturdayís quit shocking display against Manchester United.
Last week I wrote a piece about our prospects of avoiding relegation. 'Sleepwalking to Disaster' ran the headline.
Well, I got some stick for that, and not only from KUMB readers but also my match-going young friends. Something about being a daft, unduly pessimistic old codger was roughly the theme.
Too negative was the general reaction. To such an extent that I started to doubt the wisdom of the piece, even if the general idea of writing for a fansí website is to encourage opinion and sensible debate.
I can handle that, although being sworn at on line and told I was not worthy of being a West Ham supporter was a bit rich, when my family Hammer heritage goes back to grandad going to Wembley in 1923! All that was before the dismal, deflating, shambles we witnessed against the worst Man Utd team in a generation and a side clearly picked with the Manchester derby clash this week against Citeh in mind.
Itís not often I leave the Boleyn unable to put words in the right order (no, nothing to do with the booze!) or to manage a coherent view of what I have watched. But West Ham managed that on Saturday. It was not so much the loss, few of us expected much more against Man United, but it was the manner of the defeat that hurt.
Last season we managed a couple of rip-roaring draws in the Cup and League against the current champions; we gave them a real run for their money and I doubt David De Gea will forget in a hurry the battering he got from Andy Carroll.
And that was against a proper Manchester United side before Fergie opted for the quieter life of the American conference circuit and the occasional walk on a Hollywood red carpet. Who said he has delusions of grandeur?
This Man Utd outfit played and looked like a David Moyes team from Everton. They pressed hard and high all over the pitch, forcing constant errors, poor passes and sloppy loss of possession. And you could say the two goals were freaks and we should have had a free-kick and a penalty before both of them.
But another round of referee-bashing avoids the issue. Big Sam spends virtually every after-match press conference moaning about officials. At Everton (yes, Gareth Barry should have been sent off), at Stoke (yes it was handball and a penalty) and now after the Wayne Rooney wonder goal (yes, he did nudge a weak, ineffective James Tomkins out of the way).
Sam should make a pledge now not to lambast referees after games, officials seem to be ganging up on him now to achieve some revenge.
To the point of Rooneyís goal our performance had been OK, but with constant, alarming, loss of possession. After that stunning strike we played like a team with aspirations only to keep the score down.
We never put them under any physical, sustained, pressure, we had no pace and no direction other than the long ball up to Carroll, while giving him precious little support. There was not an ounce of variety, no creativity in midfield where the only player with such ability on our books is playing and scoring for QPR at the moment.
Sorry, I digress from the subject. The whole point of Carroll is that he is good in the air and you have to feed off the second ball. What ever happened to that? The big Geordie got the dayís biggest round of applause when he rose high to head the ball on and then turned to gallantly race after itÖsays it all, really. Even Stoke, I ask you, claimed we were easy to work out.
You saw David Beckham smirking in a box, Roy Hodgson looking grim and disbelieving next to David Gold, while Manchester United were made to look like a Champions League team, which Bayern Munich in a couple of weeks will show them they are not.
The longer it went on the worse it got. We even left a few minutes early and miraculously made the early train from Euston back to Manchester, probably the only plus point of the day, particularly as there didnít seem to be a Manc who had managed to make the same train. Mind you, Man U claim to have more fans in London, anyway.
As for us, the board (and Sam) must realise that our fans cannot be continually let down in this fashion, and with everyone from Russell Brand to our neighboursí Jack Russell explaining that we are one-dimensional. WE ALL KNOW THAT.
When this debacle of a season is over, our owners must decide what direction--in terms of playing culture, style and entertainment value--this club is going in. Like I said, I have never called for Sam to be sacked, but the fans need some faith that in the pre-Olympic Stadium future, we are intent on re-branding the club as an active part in the football -as- entertainment industry.
So bad was Saturday, and while I was trying to get my head round what I had witnessed, another of my match-going young mates came up with a initially cynical theory. The lad is big in the City and seemingly owns half of Surrey, so he has obviously got a cleverer mind than me.
But he suggested that as Sam knew all the afternoon results before the game, and was aware that the majority of our relegation rivals had seen their goal differences damaged, then he should plan his tactics accordingly.
Cardiff had seen their GD worsened by three, Fulham (five), Sunderland and WBA (by two)and Crystal Palace (one). So if we didnít let more than a couple in, our position over the clubs below us would improve, even just slightly.
Just a look at our goal difference shows it is worthy of a point against Norwich and all of the bottom five. Sunderland, even if they win their two games in hand on us, cannot overtake us with six more points.
I do hope that Big Sam was not thinking that way, but for a man so dependant on statistics and his laptop, you can bet it crossed his mind.
So finally, a return to my negative thoughts. We have taken just four points from nine matches against the top seven. Not good enough.
If you can manage to emerge from the glow of Februaryís achievement, we have won just five of 22 league matches since Ravel Morrisonís great goal helped humble Spurs. Frankly, he should be recalled immediately from QPR and at least made to sit on the bench and be a vital piece of shock tactic to be thrown into the fray when needed. And I donít care about his agent, contract problems or whether people donít like him.
Now we have Hull next on Wednesday while Sunderland are at Liverpool the same night. Itís another big, big chance to put genuine blue water between ourselves and the bottom. We have eight games left, five of which are away, where we have managed just three wins from 15 games this season.
I hope thatís not too negative for everyone?
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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