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So this is what you get for £100m and a ‘next level ‘manager


Filed: Tuesday, 4th September 2018
By: Paul Walker


Blimey, you could almost hear the panic buttons being pressed throughout the West Ham world after the latest debacle. None more so, maybe, than inside our beloved owners’ boardroom.

All this coming on the day when Pep Guardiola bounced Sane out of his squad all together for a poor attitude in training. He should come and manage our lot, now being run -I use that word advisedly - by his predecessor at the Etihad, who has a serious problem with player attitudes, but on the pitch.

Lose four straight league games - two we expected, two we most certainly did not - means the social media knives are already out for Manuel Pellegrini.

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The views were damning after the 1-0 home defeat by Wolves, where Carlos Sanchez produced the most ridiculous, clueless, stupid piece of play 20 yards from our goal in the dying minutes of a game we did not deserve to win, but one that had us clinging to an unlikely point.

Clumsy Carlos didn’t know whether to go long from our short free-kick, or give it back to the ’keeper to waste some time and at least ensure an unlikely draw. In the end those pesky, high pressing Wolves players grabbed the ball and won the game.

Since then the horror of our situation has sunk in. Four defeats, two goals scored, and with Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United next in line. David Sullivan has several times said that managers do not survive seven straight defeats without being sacked. Maybe he‘s about to have to re-visit that opinion.

He has a manager on a three year contract worth £30m, plus a whole gang of his mates recently employed on decent money plus a director of football Mario Husillos, his pal, who was last heard of signing shed loads of players that sent Malaga down from La Liga.

So exactly how much will that lot cost to sack, David? Too much surely for West Ham, who have just shifted on first Slaven Bilic’s entourage and then David Moyes and his mates. We could be spending more on dumped staff and managers than we are on players soon.

Of course we are already hearing that ‘all is calm’ in the corridors of power at West Ham and that Pelle has the full backing of his bosses. Let’s see how that sounds in three games time. The outcry from fans these past hours has been as damning as it is dispiriting and shell shocked.

There are some challenging scenarios here. Have some of our fans decided that Pellegrini is the wrong choice. Did he come back from salting away shed loads of cash from China to find he couldn’t get gainful employment in Europe’s mainstream . So instead he discovered a couple of East End mug punters willing to pay him £10m a year. The irony of Sullivan and David Gold being turned over is not lost on many of us.

Then of course it is being asked exactly how many of this incompetent squad did Pelle actually sign? It must be remembered that after signing on as boss at the end of May, he disappeared back to South America on extended holiday, leaving the club, eventually Husillos, to sign new players. On his arrival in London, after a spell as a caped crusader thwarting street crime in Santiago, did he discover players in his squad he wasn’t sure of?

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Sullivan appointed Pelle and a director of football, to allow himself to take a back seat in the transfer market, but it is being asked just how far he retreated.

I mention this because Stuart Pearce, Moyes’ number two, who was axed along with his boss at the end of last season, had a telling remark on Sky’s Debate programme a week or so ago about his time at West Ham. In particular how many of the new signings were in the pipeline before Pelle took over. Pearce reckoned from his own knowledge, Ryan Fredericks and Jack Wilshere.

But one stinging remark struck a cord. He said: To have board members that get advised by agents to sign this player or that player, or who have one agent solely supplying one club with players, he’s got a vested interest and it can’t be healthy for any football club.”

Now things may have changed since Pearce left, but one particular agent - you can all guess the name - does still bother me. The sale of Cheik Kouyate for a very low figure of £10m when we are now clearly missing a strong, powerful midfielder who can press as is the modern way - and with no genuine replacement signed - clouds my view on the situation.

As does the fact that it is alleged that Sullivan’s son Jack was packed off to Portugal with an agent to try to tie down a few signings here and there. I wonder, did Pelle approve of or even sanction that?

And while Pearce was sounding off, another of our player legends, Rio Ferdinand, launched into the club on BT Sport over the new signings and their application as well as pride in the shirt. Rio’s remarks were lost somewhat because they appeared just as Gary Neville was slagging off Jose Mourinho’s comedy turn at Old Trafford.

So hear are some of Rio’s words. "Last season I was calling for a philosophy within the club. I didn’t know what West Ham stood for last year (season). What was the philosophy as a team? And if there was one it wasn’t being carried our properly by the players.

"Now this manager’s (Pellegrini) duty, his job now after spending all that money, is to create an environment where these players understand and know exactly what’s asked of them because beforehand that wasn’t the case. Have we seen that yet? We haven’t. These guys need time.

"Somewhere like West Ham, where they’ve been struggling to have an identity for the last few years, who is in the club telling them, this is what it means to play for West Ham? Who is telling them players? This is what it means, this is the standard you have got to get to if you play at West Ham.

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"When I was there you passed and moved, the fans demand that you did the work ethic was a basic, which was a standard. No-one could question the work ethic of players. Maybe the quality wasn’t as high as other teams, but the work ethic and the desire to play, and to play the West Ham way, an exciting brand of football, was there."

He added: "I was told about the likes of Bobby Moore, the Tony Cottees. Who are they told about now when they come from all over the world. You have to live up to something, and that isn’t happening.

"Where is the investment in youth? Do the guys come through the door now know about the club’s past? They’re getting big wages, big cheques, But you need to be told what to do."

I feel no apology is needed for repeating Rio’s words. Did what we witnessed against Wolves meet those standards? Why was Felipe Anderson, who played so well at Arsenal, a £40m record signing, so easily nullified to leave him virtually wandering around? Why was Wilshere so easily robbed continually and unable to have any real part in the game?

Why do we not have a single player who can comply with the modern way of high pressing? Everybody does it now, Liverpool, Manchester City - where Pep used similar tactics at Barcelona. If Lionel Messi can press and win the ball back, so can some of our lot.

Pelle dd not employ that system at Manchester City and he is not doing so at West Ham. So we are being run ragged, penned it and robbed of the ball over and over again. Wolves did it brilliantly last week against City and they did it to us at the London Stadium. We are behind the times with a manager seemingly also behind the times.

I am in my 60th year watching West Ham, and I struggled on a long journey home to recall anything so dreadful, so disorganised, so lacking in a plan, so lacking in technique as well as fight.

The only people who impressed were Lukasz Fabianski, Marko Arnautovic and Issa Diop, with Fabian Balbuena close behind. The rest need to have a long, hard look at themselves. And our new captain looked genuinely stunned by what had gone on in TV interviews. Mystified by the lackings of players all around him.

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Now I know this sounds like an angry rant from someone who spent nine hours travelling to get to and from the game. Too right it is. Normally I can find words on a journey home to explain what has happened. Saturday was different. Me and the lad had to sit and listen to a well meaning Chelsea fan being sympathetic. This was in the middle of what was, for us, a journey of ten different train and two taxi rides.

It struck me that Chicharito was probably sitting with a plate of burritos with his feet up trying hard not to laugh at being paid upwards of £100,000 a week to stroll around on nice sunny day for just 15 minutes of action. OK, that’s harsh on the little Mexican because there were others equally at fault.

And what do we get from Pelle? “We need to defend better and score more goals.” Ok, let me know when the rocket science stuff starts mate, because you are talking like a man who knows he cannot be sacked. I just hope it doesn’t get to that stage for Sullivan and Gold, who have already employed six managers in eight years with us.


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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