Kim Sears in the news today for some feisty swearing while supporting her fiancé Andy Murray at the Australian Open. Thanks to my pal Matt for pointing out that it's lucky Kim's never been to Upton Park.As Matt says: "And she watches one of the world's elite tennis players. If she'd spent a lifetime suffering the likes of Mido, Titi Camara and Iain Dowie she'd have something to swear about…"
Ravel Morrison is in talks with Lazio and it looks like he'll be leaving WHU in the summer. After Sir Alex Ferguson decided he had to get Ravel out of Manchester it now seems the idea is to get him out of the country. Looked like he was becoming a real player after that superb goal at Spurs, but Big Sam gave up on him later in the season. Harry Redknapp coaxed some goals out of him at QPR, but revealingly he isn't interested in signing him now. While Cardiff's Russell Slade sent him back to West Ham after an unsuccessful loan period this season. There's been a dispute about fines this season and a court case (he was found not guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend) and Ravel has been relegated to training with the kids. On ability he should be starring in our side right now. Lazio really is his last chance.
Shame to get another away draw, but it could be worse as WBA will surely be concentrating on survival. And if Adrian plays like Phil Parkes did at WBA in 1980 it might be an omen… Three away draws in a row so if we are going to get to Wembley we'll have to do it the hard way.
Able to watch this one at home as my front room becomes an imaginary pub. The first half is as might have been predicted. City really come at West Ham and to make it worse they have a Time Lord up front in Matt Smith. When not waving psychic paper at our defence Smith has a header cleared off the line by first Mark Noble and then another header brilliantly headed off the line by Andy Carroll. Overlapping left back Joe Bryan also shoots across our goal. West Ham come into it a bit more for the last 15 minutes but the only half chance is when Jenkinson gets in a cross but Andy Carroll, under pressure from Flint, prods straight at the keeper. Tomkins is the pick of our defenders and Bristol are lucky to escape bookings for a couple of agricultural challenges on Reid and Jenkinson.
We show a bit more energy in the second half, though Smith heads over when he should have done better. Downing gets across the box to fire over. Sakho and Amalfitano replace Valencia and Song. The subs improve things. Amalfitano has a curling shot easily gathered byFielding. Sakho goes very close after a brilliant lob over Ayling's head and then a dipping shot on to the top of the bar. It looks like we might have to settle for a replay until the 81st minute when Andy Carroll bulldozes his way down the right and does really well to lob in a cross. Sakho has a lot to do at the far post but heads in off the underside of the bar before running to our 1,100 fans.
There's one late Smith herder wide, but we see out time as our fans sing "Diafra Sakho…He scores when he wants!" and "Que sera sera…" Plus "Is there a fire drill?" as there City fans sneak off early. Not a great performance, but a professional one. We could easily have been embarrassed on a cold January afternoon at a three-sided stadium in the West Country. All that hard work against Everton hasn't been wasted; what matters is that we're in the draw for the next round.
Luis Van Gaal says the Man United bench was left "twitching our ass" after switching to 4-4-2 against West Ham. There can't be many times West Ham have left anyone twitching their ass in recent years, so it's presumably a sign of progress. Though we did normally make Tony Adams look like an ass or possibly even a donkey.
Today's Evening Standard suggests Man United's Darren Fletcher is coming on loan for the rest of the season. He was certainly a player that Sir Alex Ferguson trusted, but I'm always reticent about signing players from Man United as they invariably disappoint on the way down from Old Trafford. Look at Rio Ferdinand at QPR and Tom Cleverley at Aston Villa, though Teddy Sheringham is the exception to this rule. To be more positive, Fletcher is 30 and having overcome serious illness should have a few years left and might be useful as cover for Song and Kouyate.
Meanwhile the Mirror claims that Winston Reid wants to leave if Arsenal bid for him in the window and that Arsenal have quoted a whopping £12 million for Carl Jenkinson. Might there yet be a straight exchange of the pair? Though Arsenal are also said to be interested in signing defender Gabriel Paulista from Villareal, which might scupper any Winston deal.
Ricardo Vaz Te has had his contract terminated by mutual consent, but like all Hammers fans I'd like to thank him for providing the best moment of recent years with his winning goal against Blackpool in the 2012 play-off final. Returning to Marylebone station that night the platform was echoing to choruses of "Ricardo Vaz Te, he scores when he wants!" He scored 12 goals for us in the second half of that season and was a big factor in our promotion. Vaz never quite looked like a Premier League player though and wasn't helped by two bad shoulder injuries, but moments I'll remember include his first PL goal at QPR and scoring the second in the 3-0 win at Tottenham last season. Good luck in the rest of your career, Ricardo.