Just where do we go from here?

It's the despair that gets you in the end. Minutes, hours, days after the shambles of Burnley, the rank and file West Ham support struggle to comprehend what they have watched.

It's not just the usual abuse from the twitter tribes, full of obscenity and hate, which is best to ignore. It's the ordinary lads who feel the need to try to express their feelings at their club.

There is so much suppressed anger, I have heard it said we are always two bad performances away from a crisis. And that's the problem, you only have to scratch the surface of West Ham fans when things start to go wrong, and the venom and vitriol just pours out.


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The scares of the unpopular move from Upton Park, the wounds from the unrest of 18 months ago, it's all there, sadly.

Since witnessing that horrendous display at Turf Moor first hand, I have spent a long time searching through the social media fan base, assessing what the genuine punter feels.

And it is everywhere you look. Utter despair.

The complaint is that expectation levels have been artificially raised since the move to Stratford and the appointment of Manual Pellegrini, his coaching staff and the players acquired with around ?180m of expenditure.

It sounds a lot, but it takes little account of what has been sold and how the playing staff has been cut considerably. Someone suggested Pelle has overseen a ?700,000 reduction in the weekly wage bill.

Then we wonder why the squad depth isn't there. It's why we have a fumbling veteran 'keeper that cost nothing being ritually humiliated on a cold, wet day in deepest Lancashire. Nver a pretty sight when the journeymen of Burnley are extracting the Michael.

Social media was a painful read after that. The tactics are wrong, the substitutions are wrong, the effort isn't there, too much money is being paid to lazy players. Heads drop, too many terrible basic errors, why can't they fight for the shirt? People have left home at 5:00am for this.

The Board gets a bashing. They don't care about the club's image or the fans, I kept reading. We have gone nowhere since the move from Upton Park. Some say we have regressed when we were promised a new level, that it's all about money for them.

Sadly many feel we have a fractured fan base now, far too many people despairing at what is happening.

Everywhere you looked there was unrest and problems last week. Hammers Chat produced a ten minute-long depressing assessment. There was similar material on KUMB, WHTID, Hammers United, WHUISA and Real.



So much annoyance, so much anger outside the club's 'shield' of the OSB. Hammers United have complained to UEFA and the Government about a lack of engagement, the lads at Real have complained to the club over 'broken promises' following the cancellation of the march. Everybody gets referred to the OSB, who seem to be good at assessing beer prices and pie fillings.

There have been some articulate articles. Here on KUMB we ran a piece asking whether the owners had taken the club as far as they could, while an article on WHTID questioned what West Ham had become.

None of these groups are associated with the OSB, the fans group the club set up by selecting their own candidates and having members voted on by predominantly employees or former employees of the club. To an outsider it looks like the club are permantly at war with their own fans.

It's not a good look.

Of course problems on the playing side are all Pelle's fault, aren't they? Guess what, he even wanted Roberto ahead of Lukasz Fabianski. Wow, the 'source' quotes are working overtime to distance the establishment from blame for Pelle and Mario Husillos' recruitment.

Ah, 'source' quotes. The Athletic produced such a report last week, that it is believed upset people at the club. Their sources were 'wrong', of course. Not withstanding that 'source' quotes are now the accepted method the club seem to use to make any announcements these days. A level of hypocrisy there.

And a result and reaction like that at Burnley, coming at the end of a week when the club tried to manage the narrative, searching for positivity. Some hopes. The Player's Project, a hugely laudable venture, was promoted in the week.

To get decent coverage several players were 'put up' for interview. John Cross in the Mirror got Felipe Anderson to say how much he liked London and enjoyed the museums. And how grateful he was for the love and help from the club.

Jason Burt had Jack Wilshere (remember him?)in the Telegraph insisting he was nearly ready for a return. The best was Ian Ladyman in the Mail talking to Mark Noble.

Ladyman got our captain to say that he 'wanted to make decisions' at the club when his playing career winds down. Not the sort, clearly, when you are training the Under 18s, but ones that influence the boardroom. I've not seen that line from Noble before.

That got good showings, but on the same day our beloved Lady Brady was in the Sun again having a pop at Andy Carroll, Mario Balotelli and Mezuit Ozil. And that's what got more nationwide publicity. Sometimes you cannot make it up.

In the aftermath of Burnley some of the best, most honest, quotes came from Declan Rice. "It's hard to put it down to one thing. We train really hard week after week, we keep our heads up and are positive. Then it gets to the game and we go 1-0 down and our heads drop.

"We need to get back to the basics of football. We are not doing the basics properly, the simple five-yard passes, the tackling. Eleven players win you games, you don't win games with one or two players, everyone has to be at it from the start. We were bullied all over the pitch."


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Nothing wrong with the basic honesty, and this was the lad who was 'pulled' from a Goals on Sunday appearance a week earlier. Why? Couldn't he be trusted? He is an England international who has handled FA press conferences with calm professionalism, in front of some of the most incisive interviewers in the business.

What were West Ham Utd frightened of? Surely not the high-quality interviewing techniques of Chris Kamara, or the air-headed, me, me, me stuff from Alex Scott. A proper journalism, Vicky Gomersall, did a much better job this weekend in the Sky programme.

Were the club frightened that Kamara was going to trap Rice into saying something silly? Not really Kamara's style that.

At least Rice was honest after Burnley, much more than the disgraceful, snide, sly trip by Ashley Westwood on Manuel Lanzini, the game over at 3-0 with seconds left and the Burnley man saw fit to bring down Lanzini, the fractured collar bone and operation followed.

He did not have to do that to a fellow professional. OK, got that off my chest, it has annoyed me ever since.

So where do you start after that Burnley debacle? OK, Roberto can surely never play for the club again.

You cannot play as badly as that, and then spend the second half standing in front of 3,000 furious West Ham fans heaping ridicule, derision and sarcastic cheers onto your head without it having an serious effect on what is left, if any, of the 'keeper's confidence.

It has gone beyond the point of saying he's a 'decent shot stopper.' He has lost the confidence of the players in front of him, simple as that.

All three of three Burnley goals were his fault. He punched a cross he could have caught easily, conceded a corner (yes, I know it wasn't a corner, but...) and then stood and watched as the usual back post cross came in and was nodded back for Burnley to score. Same mistake week after week.

Then he threw a hospital ball to Ryan Fredericks and Burnley pounced for the second. Then came the flap and punch into his own net. Yes, our defenders allowed Ashley Barnes to back into the Spaniard, but the pathetic attempt to push the ball away by a 6ft plus 'keeper was laughable, and 20,000 plus folk were laughing.

Pellegrini seems so determined to stick to his idealistic attacking policy, regardless of the opposition. He is also determined to maintain the system, moving players in and out seamlessly.

That may have worked at Manchester City, but not, seemingly here. And only Brazil in the '70s were able to play without a goalkeeper. You can only do that when you have Pele, Carlos Alberto, Gerson, Rivellino, Tostao, and Jairzinho. You can get away with Felix between the sticks.


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What was left, was for fans to try to explain their displeasure at the state of the team. Its imbalance, its lack of depth, the lack of youngsters coming through. Yes, I know there is talk of Nathan Holland, Connor Coventry and Andrew Scully.

Maybe they will get a shout, but I feel too much is being made of the success of the development squad this season. Don't forget they were relegated last season, are playing inferior sides now, and it is such a big step from Under 21 football to the senior level. Would you put any of them in against Spurs?

A lot can happen in a fortnight, but I can't see much option but to continue with Pellegrini. There are rumours that those close to the manager believe his days are numbered. But just where do you find a replacement?

Getting rid of the manager and his staff would cost over ?20m we are told, plus the vast amount needed on a replacement. David Sullivan doesn't take those sort of gambles, does he?

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