Monday, June 28

Just like watching West Ham

The sense of injustice creating false hope, the ability to concede a goal from a free kick on the edge of the opposition's box… watching England really is just like watching West Ham.

It's always been a mystery how so many England players managed to get relegated with West Ham in 2002-03. Against Germany David James, Glen Johnson, Jermain Defoe and sub Joe Cole, along with squad member Michael Carrick, were all members of that Glenn Roeder side. Or maybe it's not a mystery anymore; they were just overrrated. Good club players who fade at international level.

The West Ham links are completed by Matt Upson (who scored a good goal but along with Terry received the runaround from more mobile attackers), Rob Green and ex-players Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.

None of those players won anything with West Ham - even as kids you might expect really world class players to perhaps help their side get to to say a League Cup Final — and now it's time for England to forget about the not-so-golden generation and start anew.

A 50 per cent quota of English players in the Premier League and a united governing body covering all four divisions might be a start.

Thursday, June 24

Season ticket to share?

If anyone wants to share a season ticket in the lower Dr Martens Stand with the legendary Denis Campbell then he's keen to hear from you. DC is a legend in Ken's Cafe and has many a tale of Jimmy 'The Tree' Quinn and Trevor Morley and an extensive knowledge of the North London line and 'the Sweeney route' to WHU through Hackney to regale you with... email him at

Super Matty Upson

After a nervous start Matthew Upson looked really solid in the second half against Slovenia and made a crucial game-saving tackle at the end. Hopefully this will guarantee him a place in Postman Pat's side ahead of Jamie Carragher, slower than BP at a gusher and thoroughly exposed by Zavon Hines, and Casualty regular Ledley King.

And I still think that at some stage David James will get sent off and Robert Green will come on to make the vital save in a penalty shoot-out…

Monday, June 14

Calamity Green

Just when a West Ham player emerges on the World stage catastrophe happens. Poor old Robert Green. My initial image was of David Sullivan cursing in his Chigwell jacuzzi as six million quid was wiped off his keeper's value.

Soon the texts were arriving. As Matt wrote: "Good shot that would have beaten any keeper — even Allen McKnightmare." DC simply texted an existentialist wail of "Rob Green!" while my Arsenal supporting sister-in-law waded in with "Wot a bunch of useless football players wot a goaly!" and a Spurs fan commented "Typical West Ham player".

Does no one realise poor Rob has been psychologically damaged by playing a season behind a defence that that has more leaks than a BP deep sea oil well? It must take him half a game to realise he's actually got John Terry in front of him and not Jonathan Spector or out of position French novelist Gustav Faubert. I still maintain Green, bouyed by his second half save from Altidore, will go on to make the crucial penalty shoot-out save in the Final.

And the other good news for us West Ham fans is that at least no-one will try to buy him now.

Monday, June 7

Der Hammer

Thomas Hitzlsperger from Stuttgart (is he our only German?) is WHU's first new recruit of the summer. An interesting signing, as he's had five seasons at Aston Villa and has always impressed with his long-range shooting, hence his nickname of 'The Hammer'.

One area we've been desperately short in is goals from midfield, with seemingly endless one-twos and players trying to walk the ball into the net. He's picked up a championship medal at Stuttgart and is still only 28. It might cost a bit to get his name on a replica shirt though.

And enjoyed this from the website: "It is destiny," he told with a smile. "I knew that West Ham were called The Hammers and it has actually always been on my mind whether I would play for the club one day. I am really pleased to be a Hammer."

At least he stopped short of saying he grew up supporting the Der Hammers!

Friday, June 4

We've got a manager…

Finally Avram Grant has returned from his holidays to become West Ham’s seventh manager of the decade.

A relief, as the last time we had such a long wait in the summer of 2001 we ended up with not Steve McClaren or Alex McCleish, but Glenn Roeder.

We’d better have it right, because the decision to axe Zola and Steve Clarke will presumably eventually cost the club around £3 million.

The positive thing is that this is David Sullivan’s man and he’ll surely have to shut up and let him get on with the job.

Grant has all the experience that Zola lacked having managed club teams in Israel, the national side, Chelsea and Portsmouth. However, I’m still not entirely convinced of his transfer market acumen as most of Pompey’s players were bought by Paul Hart. At Chelsea he bought Anelka, Ivanovic and Di Santo in the transfer window, which is decent enough although accomplished with unlimited finances.

But for the short term we could do worse than cherry-pick his old charges at Pompey with Belhadj, Boateng, O’Hara and Piquionne all in the frame for a trip to the East End, with Upson and Cole possibly up for sale.

The big plus with Grant is that he has strength of character and gets to cup finals. He won over the big egos in the Chelsea dressing room and kept Portsmouth’s players motivated even after administration.

Oh, and David Gold says he has a sense of humour, which is always needed at Upton Park. And under Granty, at least the after-match rub-downs might be more entertaining than under Zola and Curbs.