Filed: Friday, 1st August 2014
By: Paul Walker
Good grief, Iíve only been away for a few weeks, have I missed much down at the Boleyn? Too right I have. Some of it you just couldnít make up!
Sometimes I wonder just why West Hamís much-loved leaders manage to get their size 12s into their own mouths so frequently, maybe we should still be sponsored by Dr Martins!
They canít really be left to run anything. Weíve had owner (David Sullivan these days) and manager, BFS, bickering from one side of the globe to the other over contracts, transfers, results, tactics and general club policy.
Then thereís Gold(en) oldie showing how (West)Ham-fisted (sorry, couldnít resist it) he can be when heís wrestling with that newfangled social media and IT stuff. I sympathise there, my newest daughter-in-law keeps a list of my passwords on her mobile because I canít be trusted.
And then there is the old grouch himself complaining that having to play a little attacking football is confusing his players who donít seem to be able to adapt. Funny that, when they go off to play for their various countries, they all adapt to different styles very quickly, so where is the problem?
And if a new manager, heaven forbid, was appointed, there would be a pretty swift change of style then and everyone would cotton on mighty quick or be on their way. Just look at what Louis Van Gaal is doing at Old Trafford. Young kids there are doing extra training and agreeing publically with their new boss about it. Good for you, Luke Shaw.
We have, I believe, Premier League-quality coaches on our staff all badged up to meet UEFA standards. Part of the job description surely means that they can put on defensive coaching sessions, attacking sessions and a few set-plays without too much problem.
Now Iíve nothing against Teddy Sheringham, a super player who did us proud at the tail end of his career. I am sure he can help a lot on the training ground, but attacking coaching should be dead easy for the staff we already have. And while we are at it, whatís all this nonsense about Teddy not being able to make away game? Are we getting in the way of his poker, golf and general top of the range socialising? Hope not.
I just canít turn my back, and itís the fault of Ďer indoors. I was told at the end of the last, traumatic, turgid, season that I was to put aside West Ham for a while and concentrate on a couple of holidays (I am retired, Iím allowed) and Manchester City supporting number one sonís wedding. And the pending arrival of our first grandchild. Well done son number two, good West Ham lad that you are. Plenty to take up my time thought Mrs. W.
Her approach was something along the lines of Ö.there are more important things in life(?), thereís no matches so they donít need you and what can go wrong in the summer anyway? That shows just how little she understands my club!
It was easy to predict. Am I the only one who didnít go for the PR nonsense about the end of season showdown with Big Sam? All taking place at a heavily-gated porn mansion in deepest Essex. There he was, highly respected and experienced Sam being told he had to change his style, transfer policy and start being nice to us, the fans. Didnít wash, did it?
Samís few, curt, words on the subject fooled no one. He was then off to Spain to leave the Davids to run things. And they did, acquiring a striker it seems he didnít want on a long contract, but one they knew well from their days in Brum. That was the easiest guess of the lot. Sullivan hadnít stopped moaning about having his deal to buy Wilfried Bony for £8m last summer rejected by Sam.
So Sullivan was damned sure he wasnít going to oversee another summer fruitlessly chasing strikers, or seeing the expensive one we have break down injured again without any back-up. Welcome to West Ham, Mauro Zarate.
Then we have the Ravel Morrison situation. Seems he did have a worrying groin injury after all, despite BFSís sneering that he should play through the pain. Morrison was shunted off to QPR where Ďarry handled the injury problem by not playing the lad into the ground, and not even using him at Wembley in the play-off final.
Why then did West Ham not insist on the hernia operation the day after QPRís last match, so Morrison would have been over the problem and recovered in time for pre-season? But no, we have mumbled suggestions that the lad didnít fancy the op and long-distance flying even less. Again, I can sympathise there, I hate flying, and Arsenal were able to cope with Dennis Bergkamp never flying with them and managed the problem.
Then we have the long trip to New Zealand, a necessary evil these days to promote the brand and help acquire more commercial revenue to turn into transfer and budget revenue to get round the disgraceful FFP regulations like Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs etc are doing by travelling to the USA.
BFS has backed van Gaalís stance on such things, but if he wants the extra money to spend in the market, itĎs a fact of life, IĎm afraid.
And of course we had Sam moaning about the imposition of attacking style as well, while giving Morrison - for whom things have since taken a turn for the worse - a flea in his ear.
Now Sullivan would probably have sacked Sam at the end of last season if Gold and the queen of darkness had not talked him out of it. Nobody can have had much doubt about his attitude after that outburst at the annual dinner.
But you felt that by giving Sam such a public kicking, the board may have been waiting to see if he íwalkedí. No such luck there, Sam is too cute for that, has top legal advice and a sharp agent. And nobody walks these days, just to save the club money.
Frankly, if they want to sack a manager they should wait until there is a hint of insubordination, of complaining about the way he has been asked to do his job, of contesting club policy on a certain player! Sorry, have I missed something. If I hadnít done what I was told to do by my former boss, whether I thought he was a plank or not, I would have been shown the door.
So we have had to get on with it. But Sullivanís public slagging of And Carroll--he didnít get injured on purpose-- and the money he has cost, Samís attitude towards tactics and Morrison and raking up the Bony situation helped nobody.
But what it did do was to get the very strong ĎBFS outí mob on their feet again, and they have a point, but I donít want to go into all that again, we all know the arguments. What it did show to the powers that be was that there will be hell to pay if things donít go right next season. Sam has not one inch of slack any more, neither do the Davids either come to that.
But what we did not want to happen was a manager sacked a fortnight before the season starts, with all the upheaval that causes amongst staff, and while we are in the middle of a transfer window. Such nonsense would have wrecked a few deals no doubt, and really damaged the clubís image. Who would want to join us in such a situation, we have enough trouble getting people over the line as it is.
And I have now seen the dreaded expression Ďfavoured agentsí used this week (by big West Ham fan Rob Shepherd in the Mail). I wondered how long that would take. I have always felt that if Sam was to be axed by Sullivan, it would be over his transfer dealings and the agents he uses more than anything else, because Sullivan has his own favourites too!
But we have managed to do good business so far. We have all wanted to see the club look into the lower leagues for likely English talent, and Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet fit the bill. Enner Valencia could be a real gem if the World Cup is anything to go by, while Zarate---if Sam can bring himself to use him properly--has that spark of pace, skill and talent seen fleetingly at Birmingham.
I like the look of Choikhou Kouyate, a real powerhouse, and I rate Carl Jenkinson, just the sort of player we should be trying to attract from the really big clubs.
So all thatís gone pretty until the children who run our club started to throw their toys out of the pram. The timing was shocking, also the lack of respect for the fans who were looking for a nice, quiet summer with some good signings and a change of emphasis on the way we play.
That is until David Gold presses the wrong button on his smart phone and a word I have never heard of in the context of new tech, 'favouriting', comes out of left-field.
Gold should really not need telling. I am very impressed with the way he maintains contact with so many fans on twitter, but he must know that now--particularly with the number one football writers all on holiday after the excesses of Brazil--the number twos and the bright young things who maybe donít know how to get stories but can work a computer brilliantly--get to take centre stage.
Every news organisation these days has people who monitor every possible twitter feed of showbiz, football, politics etc, and they can trace stuff back for years (Poyet please note) and every word that can be twirled, twisted or misinterpreted is leapt on. Gold just fell into the trap.
I have never touched twitter, it is an accident waiting to happen. A vehicle for abuse and ripe for the slightest mistake to get people into trouble. I am tempted to say to Gold, leave it to young Jack, but that would be giving in. Just be careful out there, old son!
Like I said. I canít turn my back for a minute. It really is the time for the children to play nicely together, otherwise we make ourselves the easy story of the summer, a laughing stock again.
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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