A West Ham-supporting customer in the Newham Bookshop is asking for The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. The loss at Swansea might have been bad, but hopefully the Allardyce empire is not as yet in terminal decline with the Goths lurking outside the Green Street gates.
Vivian says the bookshop hosted a very successful signing for Steve Bacon’s new book There’s Only One Stevie Bacon (published by Biteback) before the Villa match. A tome by the legendary Clicker Bacon, as immortalised by Porky’s cartoons in Fortune’s Always Hiding, should be worth reading. So if you do buy it please visit the Newham Bookshop to do so, as it’s the best independent bookshop in London.
It’s down to myself and Fraser tonight as Nigel’s away and Matt is in a boutique hotel in Aberaeron, having turned the Swansea debacle into a romantic mini-break. Jeremy Nicholas plays Paradise, which is a little over-optimistic for Crewe on a Tuesday night in front of 18,000 fans. The Carling Cup is now the Capital One Cup, which gives us the intriguing acronym of COC.
Allardyce makes ten changes from the side and plays the squad players. It’s Potts and O’Brien in an unlikely centre back partnership with the forgotten Jordan Spence at right-back. Maynard goes close with a good effort and Diarra has a long range shot parried by Phillips. Crewe play some neat passing football and a shot parried by Henderson could easily have been deflected in. But O’Neil restores some passing skill to midfield and after 34 minutes West Ham’s nerves are eased as Maynard finishes smartly from Vaz Te’s cross.
THERE'S ONLY ONE MATTHIAS FANIMO
Matt fails to fall for my text suggesting that it’s the game of the century. The second half sees some interesting substitutions. On comes one Matthias Fanimo (presumably nicknamed Fanny by his team-mates) after 60 minutes. The 18-year-old nearly makes a goal with his first cross as Maiga volleys over and Matthias looks to have good control and a fine left foot.
The Irons’ second arrives when Taylor’s rolled free-kick finds Nolan who tests the keeper with the alert Modibo Maiga firing home the rebound. That goal gives Modibo confidence and he goes close with several other efforts and starts to look a skilful striker. Henderson pulls off a couple of good late smothering saves. Robert Hall gets a cameo and there’s six minutes for George Moncur, not quite long enough for him to be here, there and every effing where. It would be no surprise to see the Essex Lion getting a run-out too.
It’s job done for West Ham and several players have put themselves in contention. Maynard had a lively game against his old club and Maiga, Diarra, Vaz Te, O’Neil, Taylor, O’Brien (in place of Demel) and even Henderson may all be in with a chance of starting against Fulham.
At the final whistle we head for the Black Lion for some Maldon Gold and have the odd experience of finding seats and not having to queue at the bar. On Sky Sports News Paolo Di Canio is congratulating his giant-killing Swindon side with a series of slaps and kicks. Now Swindon would be an interesting draw in the next round…