I'm angry, and rightfully so, the loss against Liverpool this weekend was one to stirr the emotions. we put in a good display, and pretty much matched them in all parts of the field - the problem every game is that we are playing with 9 men versus 11, the last resort inclusion of Di Michele and Tristan up front for lack of better options is killing us, and I swoon at the thought of a return of Carlton Cole next week.
I sat down the pub on Saturday amongst the throng of Johnny-come-lately Liverpool supporters...ones who had probably not left the States let alone go and see their team play live. I of course was the lone claret and blue wearer and arrived to some sneers at my local. It irks me that the top 4 get such strong support, I can't really blame them, everybody would like their team to be successful, but there's a certain arrogance about just "picking" a team - it never would have worked for me, my team was handed to me, it came with the blood line, it came with deepest lows of regular disappointment, but with the ecstatic highs of when you do pick up that win. It comes with a sense of belonging and community, you walk around any English town and see a West Ham shirt, you can give a nod to that fella, he'll know you're nodding because he's in a Hammers shirt, not because you possibly went to school with him. The same can't be said about many other teams. The top 4 are homogeneous, the same, they're just a badge, a brand, a franchise, these teams could fill 80,000 seat stadiums anywhere in the world - we don't have that sort of pull, nor would I want it. I'm saying all of this because I wasn't impressed by the Pool fans at the pub on Saturday, no sense of fair play, and annoying chants of "Nando, Nando" for the lady-boy Torres - I just want them to feel my pain for once...go a couple of weeks without a win, be involved in a relegation scrap, have an injury list that looks more like your first team selection sheet, have fuck all money to spend on transfers, rely on an academy to bring through youngsters that comprise half of your squad, have problems securing a sponsor because your previous one has gone bust, have a chairman who is 300m quid in debt, just have something that tests the character, and if you think that coming second in the league is that test then you're having a laugh - the fact of the matter is if you follow a top four team you celebrate more wins in one season than about two thirds of the rest of the supporters in this league celebrate in two seasons...I suppose I'm just angry because this lot just took themselves too seriously, and in my eyes if you win the majority of the time but have no humility you are obviously a twat.
I'm not doing player reports this week, too much to say and not enough time.
Noble - controlled the game, good passing, positive attitude
Tompkins - Torres rarely got a decent shot off
Green - great PK save, unlucky it rebounded back towards goal, some other excellent saves too
LBM - had the beating of Skkkrrrtlll all day but lost his head as per usual
Just Bad, downright bad?
Di Michele - no confidence in front of goal, how many sitters has he missed? PS you didn't need to try and round the keeper to score, you could have placed it bottom right, he wasn't the quickest off his line.
Tristan - not a shadow on the player he was years ago. His touch is still there, but he has no pace, poor positioning, and has only scored this season when he has less than 3 steps to take...any more than that and someone's tackled him.
Rant over, move on, two games left in the season. Fulham's surprise win at Villa was an interesting one, and seems to have put the dampers on any possible European qualification for the Irons, especially if they carry that form forwards. I will however be very pleased if we can relegate Middlesborough on the last day of the season, and put one of the most boring teams in the history of the sport into the dark crevices of The Championship. Spurs too picked up a needed point against Everton, and now we find ourselves 2 places back from the grail of 7th place with Everton and Boro' to play. Everton is a tough one to predict, we should match up fairly well, and they have little left to play for as they are sitting all cushdy in 6th with no one able to catch them up, and of course the unpredictable ability to score 3 goals on us in the course of 10 minutes as demonstrated earlier in the season. This game will however determine our focus going in to the final game, if 7th is still to play for we should come out all guns blazing against Boro. If not we could see a final slide down the rankings with a loss to Boro on the final day...it's never easy to play sides at the bottom this time of year, and if we're not up for it then they could easily do one over on us.
Much to look forward to then, and the last two weeks should be interesting, although anything is more interesting than last year's finish in 10th.
As I was wrapping this up I've just noticed the barcodes have beaten Boro'...thank you West Ham for having a good season, the bottom is terribly close this year, and the last two games will be a dogfight from 13th place down...glad we're nowhere near involved in that!