West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul and Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals.
Monday, April 4
There's only one effing Rooney
West Ham 2 Manchester United 4
What sort of person gets married without checking the football fixtures? It must be love for my old school friend Nick, as despite being a Man United fan he’s booked his wedding at Brixton Registry Office for 2pm, bang in the middle of the West Ham versus United match.
Still, I’m buoyed by Matt’s pre-wedding texts in Morley’s department store, revealing that we’re, incredibly, two goals up at half time, through a pair of Noble penalties.
“We’ll probably still lose 3-2,” I say to Paul, my fellow West Ham supporting old-Shenfieldian. Out of sympathy for the groom we don’t mention the score.
BRIDE IN THE NAME OF LOVE
Jenny the bride looks radiant in her cream silk dress. And the wedding vows are so moving that I can hardly keep my eyes off my phone, which keeps vibrating with three further text messages from Matt. Are we 5-0 up? Am I going to cheer loudly at a vital point of the ceremony like Terry did in Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Then it’s time for my reading of The Lover Tells Of The Rose in his Heart by WB Yeats (is he that bloke who set up a wine lodge in Romford?).
Nick and Jenny successfully complete their nuptials and we head out into the photo area. You’re not single anymore!
It’s a chance to get out my camera and pretend to take a picture while checking my texts. Bloody hell, we’re 3-2 down and Rooney has scored a hat-trick. Suddenly that Yeats reading with its lines, “The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told/ I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,” seems strangely appropriate.
Still, we might yet pull it back to 3-3. Bugger! A new text from Matt says it’s 4-2.
It’s some wedding present for Nick, who is so chuffed he even mentions United’s comeback in his speech at the Prince Regent.
Match of the Day is watched after too many glasses of champagne and wine. Both our penalties are clear-cut and well-executed by Nobes, even though Vidic argues that the second was a foul outside the box. It’s a mystery how Vidic remains on the field. He should have been sent off either for a professional foul on Ba or a blatant hack on Cole, but the ref is Fergie’s new best mate.
United’s come back stems from Noble giving a free kick away on the edge of the box and a brilliant Rooney strike. Rooney then shows world class finishing as he takes the ball away from Upson with his first touch and lashes home with his second.
We seem bamboozled by United bringing on Hernandez and Berbatov and shifting Giggs to left back and the effort we’ve put in to the first 65 minutes. Although United’s third is a dodgy penalty after Valencia flicks the ball on to Upson’s hand from a few feet away. Hard to see how Upson could have got out of the way.
CALM DOWN, WAYNE
Rooney scores and then runs to the camera shouting obscenities in the manner of Jeremy Clarkson suffering from road rage after a News of the World sting. There’s only one effing Wayne Rooney.
Our defence is at fault for the fourth with Giggs crossing and Upson letting the ball go under his foot and through to a grateful Hernandez.
Championship form from United, but a worrying collapse from us. Maybe we scored too soon. All season we’ve looked vulnerable when ahead.
Back in the bottom three again. But at least our players don’t use industrial language. Perhaps the Premier League will eventually award us the points as a punishment for Rooney’s F word tirade…